Lionel Messi will remain at Barcelona until at least 2021 after the exit clause in his contract expired, according to multiple reports.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi had a stipulation in his existing deal, which runs until the end of next season, that allowed him to leave Barca for free at the end of the 2019-20 campaign.

However, according to widespread reports, the Argentina international has not taken up the option, which needed to be activated at the weekend in order to take effect.

Barca captain Messi will now contest a 17th season at Camp Nou.

Speculation that Messi's time with LaLiga's champions was coming to an end gained traction in February amid a public falling out with sporting director Eric Abidal, who suggested a lack of effort from the squad was part of the reasoning for sacking coach Ernesto Valverde.

In March, the 32-year-old used the Barca's announcement that wages would be slashed by 70 per cent during the coronavirus pandemic to criticise people inside the club "that want to put us under a magnifying glass or try to pressure us into something that we were always clear we wanted to do".

Manchester City and Inter were reportedly monitoring Messi's situation at Camp Nou, though in April he branded rumours he was going to move to the Serie A club "fake news".

Messi is Barca's all-time leading goalscorer and president Josep Maria Bartomeu is keen to tie him down to another contract.

The attacker will be hoping to win a 35th piece of silverware with the Catalan giants when LaLiga resumes from June 11.

Barca sit two points clear of Real Madrid at the top of LaLiga with 11 games remaining, while the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Napoli is likely to take place in August.

Philippe Coutinho is aiming to return to the Premier League, according to his agent Kia Joorabchian.

Coutinho was a star at Liverpool, yet failed to establish himself at Barcelona following a €145million move in January 2018.

The Brazil playmaker subsequently joined Bayern Munich on loan in August 2019 and has scored eight goals in 22 Bundesliga appearances.

With Coutinho out injured, it does not seem likely Bayern will be extending his stay after electing not to take up a €120m purchase option, with a host of Premier League clubs, including Tottenham, Arsenal and former side Liverpool, reportedly interested.

Joorabchian, who also represents Coutinho's compatriots David Luiz and Willian, has now confirmed the 27-year-old has set a return to England in his sights.

"He has a desire to come back to the Premier League at some point," Joorabchian told Sky Sports.

"It may not happen this year, it may happen this year but we don't know. We really have not discussed anything for now."

However, Joorabchian insisted talks of Barca putting a £70million (€78m) price tag on Coutinho, or asking for a £9m (€10m) loan fee, are wide of the mark.

"I've never heard those figures, we've never discussed numbers, none of those figures have ever been discussed," he added.

Sandro Tonali is keen on a move to Juventus or Inter according to Brescia owner Massimo Cellino – news that will apparently come as a blow to Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona.

In-demand midfielder Tonali continued to burnish his reputation this season despite Brescia languishing at the bottom of Serie A.

With relegation looming, the 20-year-old appears certain to move on and he is not short of potential suitors.

Cellino believes Tonali will remain in Italy and told Corriere dello Sport he has no interest in advances from Ligue 1 champions PSG.

"Nasser [Al-Khelaifi, PSG president] would like him in Paris, he wrote to me today, but Tonali doesn't want to go to France," the former Leeds United and Cagliari chief said, before claiming Napoli and Fiorentina were in the hunt but are likely to fall short at the expense of Serie A's traditional giants.

"Inter and Juve are the destinations he prefers. [Napoli president Aurelio] De Laurentiis has offered me €40million, Fiorentina want him too, but his destiny is pretty much written."

Tonali was also purportedly the subject of a part-exchange offer from Barcelona that came up short.

"Before COVID, Barcelona had reached €65m plus two very interesting young players valued €7.5m each, one was a full-back," Cellino added.

"I believe that the Catalans received an answer they didn't like. And not from Tonali."

Brescia will resume their seemingly doomed 2019-20 season against Fiorentina on June 22 and Cellino insists no final decision will be made on Tonali's future until the campaign is concluded.

"I'm not dealing with anyone. There are still 12 games to play and the boy must remain calm," he added.

Manchester United, Liverpool, Real Madrid and Bayern Munich… take your pick.

Kai Havertz is not short of options following his stunning form for Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga.

As clubs queue up to sign Havertz, a Premier League giant is reportedly leading the race.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD FAVOURITES FOR HAVERTZ

Manchester United are favourites to sign in-demand Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz, according to The Sun.

Havertz has been linked to the likes of Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Real Madrid after his exploits for Bundesliga outfit Leverkusen.

United are ready to swoop for Havertz, as well as Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport says Paul Pogba is open to swapping United for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain. Linked to former club Juventus and LaLiga giants Madrid, PSG have emerged as a possible destination for the disgruntled Frenchman.

Manchester City are determined to sign Juve centre-back Leonardo Bonucci, but Calciomercato claims the Serie A holders are unwilling to sell the key defender.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Barcelona are positive about signing Lautaro Martinez from Inter following Mauro Icardi's move to PSG. Inter recouped at least €50million after Icardi's loan deal at PSG became permanent. While Barca are aware it will be difficult to prise Martinez to Camp Nou, the LaLiga champions view Icardi's transfer positively.

Chelsea are leading the race to sign Barca outcast Philippe Coutinho, according to the Daily Express. Coutinho has spent the 2019-20 season on loan at Bayern but the German giants opted not to exercise their transfer option. Now, Chelsea are prepared to bring the former Liverpool star back to the Premier League on loan. Tottenham have also been linked.

- Juve's Douglas Costa is wanted by Atletico Madrid. That is according to Calciomercato, which claims Atletico want to bring in the Brazilian attacker in exchange for either Thomas Partey or Stefan Savic. Douglas Costa has been linked to United, while Arsenal are eyeing Partey.

Milan will meet with potential new head coach Ralf Rangnick, claims Gianluca Di Marzio. The Rossoneri continue to be linked to Rangnick while Stefano Pioli remains in charge.

- La Repubblica claims Juve have entered the race for Hellas Verona defender Marash Kumbulla. The 20-year-old has been linked to the likes of Napoli, Lazio, Fiorentina, United, Tottenham, Chelsea, PSG and RB Leipzig.

LaLiga has confirmed the season will restart with a Seville derby on June 11 and the campaign will wrap up on July 19, it was confirmed on Sunday.

Suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, LaLiga will get back underway with a clash between Sevilla and Real Betis.

The remaining 11 matchdays will be played in less than six weeks as Barcelona and Real Madrid battle for the title.

Barca were two points clear of their bitter rivals when the season was stopped due to COVID-19, which has killed more than 373,000 people worldwide.

Quique Setien's men return to action with a trip to Real Mallorca on June 13, a day before Madrid host Eibar.

Barcelona also host Atletico Madrid on July 1 before facing rivals Espanyol in a derby clash a week later.

Barcelona's remaining fixtures
June 13: Real Mallorca (A)
June 16: Leganes (H)
June 21: Sevilla (A)
June 24: Athletic Bilbao (H)
June 28: Celta Vigo (A)
July 1: Atletico Madrid (H)
July 5: Villarreal (A)
July 8: Espanyol (H)
July 12: Real Valladolid (A)
July 15: Osasuna (H)
July 19: Deportivo Alaves (A)

Real Madrid's remaining fixtures
June 14: Eibar (H)
June 18: Valencia (H)
June 21: Real Sociedad (A)
June 24: Real Mallorca (H)
June 28: Espanyol (A)
July 1: Getafe (H)
July 5: Athletic Bilbao (A)
July 8: Deportivo Alaves (H)
July 12: Granada (A)
July 15: Villarreal (H)
July 19: Leganes (A)

Lionel Messi believes football will never be the same following the coronavirus pandemic.

While the seasons were brought to an end in France and the Netherlands, football in Europe's major leagues is gradually returning behind closed doors.

The Bundesliga resumed on May 16 and Messi and Barca will soon be able to recommence their quest to claim the title in LaLiga, which is poised to return on June 11.

In England, the Premier League will restart on June 17, with Italy's Serie A set to get going again on June 20.

However, the financial implications of the suspension and playing games without spectators in the stadiums will have a significant impact on clubs and competitions around the globe.

Speaking to El Pais, Messi said: "I don't think football will ever be the same. But beyond football, I don't think life, in general, will ever be the same, either.

"All of us that have experienced this situation will remember what happened in one way or another.

"In my case, it's with a feeling of sorrow and frustration for those that have suffered the most due to the loss of loved ones.

"I am sure that football and sport, in general, will be affected. Financially, because there are companies linked with the world of sport that will maybe experience some difficulties because of the coronavirus.

"But also professionally, because with the return to training and competing, what was normal before now is going to be different. It will be a strange situation for us as athletes but also for anyone that has to change their usual work dynamic.

"I am grateful to all of the people that are fighting to beat this virus in hospitals, health centres and care homes. Nearly all of us have doubts about how the world will be after everything that's happened.

"Beyond the lockdown measures and the whole situation, which caught us by surprise, many people have had a really tough time because they've been directly affected.

"People have lost family and friends and were not even able to say goodbye. There have been a lot of negatives to come from this crisis, but I don't think there's anything worse than losing your loved ones. That, for me, is hugely frustrating and unfair."

Barcelona are continuing their push for Lautaro Martinez, while Liverpool have renewed their interest in Ousmane Dembele.

Martinez, 22, has been linked with a move to Barcelona, although just whether the LaLiga giants can get a deal done has been questioned.

Inter have insisted the only way Martinez will leave is by his €111million release clause being paid. That has seemingly not put Barca off.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PUSH AHEAD IN LAUTARO PURSUIT

Barcelona are continuing to chase Inter star Martinez, according to Marca.

The report says the LaLiga side remain firm in their intention to sign Martinez despite Inter wanting his release clause paid.

Martinez had scored 16 goals in 31 games this season when the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

- Linked with a move for Dembele previously, Liverpool could target the Barcelona attacker again. Mundo Deportivo reports the Premier League leaders will consider a move for Dembele if they fail to land RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner.

- Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos is out of contract at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2021. However, Sport reports the defender is set to renew with Madrid.

- Kai Havertz continues to attract plenty of interest. But Marca says the Bayer Leverkusen star will have to wait for Real Madrid, who it reports have been in advanced negotiations for the attacker. Havertz is also said to be wanted by Bayern Munich.

- Will Miralem Pjanic get to Barcelona? With the Juventus midfielder linked with a switch to Camp Nou, Sport and Tuttosport report the Serie A giants have asked for 17-year-old forward Ansu Fati to be included in a deal. Arthur has also been linked to Juventus.

- A possible return to Juventus for Paul Pogba appears to be difficult. However, CalcioMercato reports the Italian champions have offered Adrien Rabiot to Manchester United in a deal for the midfielder.

- David Luiz could be set for an Arsenal exit. The Mirror reports the defender will have to take a huge pay cut to secure a return to Benfica if Arsenal opt against triggering a one-year extension to his deal.

Arturo Vidal hopes Barcelona can come through "11 finals" in LaLiga to ensure he ends the season with a ninth successive top-flight title.

Chile international Vidal won four straight Scudetti with Juventus and was a three-time Bundesliga winner after joining Bayern Munich in 2015.

The 33-year-old tasted LaLiga glory with Barca last season and he is keen to repeat the feat in 2019-20.

Spain's top tier is set to return from a three-month hiatus due to the coronavirus pandemic on June 11, with Barca sitting two points clear of Real Madrid at the summit with 11 games remaining.

Asked about winning a ninth league title in succession, Vidal said: "Not many players have done this before, so I am so proud of myself.

"I'm really looking forward to winning my ninth at Barcelona, so I will work hard to try to keep making history.

"The 11 matches we have now will be like 11 finals. It will be a difficult challenge as Real Madrid are very close to us, so we just need to focus on winning every single game and also do our best to get prepared for the Champions League as well."

LaLiga clubs will be able to return to full training and use their dressing rooms again from Monday, though strict hygiene protocols will still need to be followed.

"I am so happy to be back in training as the couple of months we have been in lockdown have seemed so long," said Vidal.

"Now it is so good to be on the pitch again with my team-mates. It has been a very tough two months, but now we are training again and it feels really good.

"I feel happy. I had many chats [during the lockdown] with my team-mates from a distance, trying to speak with each other on how we were managing the situation. But now we must prepare ourselves as well as we possibly can ahead of these massive two months we face."

Following the completion of LaLiga, Barca will likely continue their Champions League campaign.

They drew the first leg of their last-16 tie with Napoli 1-1 in February and will host the return match at Camp Nou.

UEFA is yet to confirm its schedule for the remaining Champions League and Europa League fixtures, however.

LaLiga clubs will be able to undertake full training sessions and use their dressing rooms from Monday, Barcelona have confirmed.

An update from leaders Barca revealed the league had enacted phase four of the return to training protocol amid the coronavirus pandemic.

With teams working towards a June 11 resumption, preparations will ramp up from June 1.

Coaches had previously been limited to working with only 14 players at a time.

Barcelona said: "Following the publication of the BOE [official state bulletin] this Saturday, the league has reported that, from this Monday, June 1, the teams will return to training in phase four."

Dressing rooms will also be available again, but the statement added: "The corresponding prevention, protection and hygiene measures established by the health authorities must continue to be complied with, as well as the disinfection and periodic cleaning of the facilities."

Barca hold a two-point lead over rivals Real Madrid at the top of the table with 11 matches to play.

Roger Federer has eclipsed Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi to top the annual Forbes list of the highest paid athletes on the planet.

The Swiss maestro jumped four spots to sit top of the pile, earning $106.3million in the past year as he becomes the first tennis player to lead the way.

That eye-watering figure puts the 20-time grand slam winner ahead of football stars Ronaldo ($105m), Messi ($104m) and Neymar ($95.5m).

NBA icon LeBron James rounds out the top five, raking in $88.2m in a period when some sportspeople took wage cuts amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Endorsements account for most of Federer's income, but he also undertook a tour of North and South America late last year to further boost his earnings.

"The coronavirus pandemic triggered salary cuts for soccer stars Messi and Ronaldo, clearing the way for a tennis player to rank as the world's highest-paid athlete for the first time," said Kurt Badenhausen, senior editor at Forbes.

"Roger Federer is the perfect pitchman for companies, resulting in an unparalleled endorsement portfolio of blue-chip brands worth $100million a year for the tennis great."

Federer's rise to the summit comes after fellow tennis player Naomi Osaka was announced as the highest paid female athlete, her $37.4m putting the Japanese 29th overall.

'Next Generation' is a series focusing on the young players tipped to establish themselves as the elite in the 2020s.

 

Although he didn't know it at the time, March 2017 was a momentous month in the career of Mohammed Salisu, the Ghanaian centre-back who is now interesting many of the world's biggest clubs.

In the town of Nsawam, south Ghana, the African Talent Football Academy (ATFA) first began operating, coaching hopeful young footballers who dreamed of a career in Europe.

With a brand new facility – comprising of pitches and a club house that included a common area, dining space and accommodation – and connections to European clubs, the ATFA began to mark itself as potential gateway for Ghanaian youngsters chasing a better future.

Just six months after opening, the ATFA had its trailblazer, their first 'graduate'. Director Fran Castano travelled with one teenager to Spain.

Salisu was signed then and there – his journey to the top had begun.

Destined for the top

Life at the ATFA didn't start particularly well for Salisu.

"I remember my first time meeting him – he came without his boots and was late. I was very, very angry and I was close to telling him to go home," Castano, speaking to Stats Perform News, recalled. It proved a wise decision to hold that thought, however.

"He took some boots from the goalkeeper and after 10 minutes playing we saw something different. I talked to him and told him that if he can be serious and work, I promised him in half year I could send him to Spain."

Sure enough, in October 2017 Salisu was signed by Real Valladolid, with the ATFA earning a small fee and a percentage of any future sale. That could be cashed in sooner rather than later as well, with reports in Spain suggesting Rennes are very close to completing a deal in the region of his €12million release clause.

That would be considered a significant coup for the French side, as Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United and Atletico Madrid are all said to have considered a move for Salisu in the past six months.

It's even claimed the latter were willing to pay €11m, but curiously wouldn't stretch to the full release clause. It's an oversight they could come to regret.

"I told him he would make it [to the top]," says Castano, who previously held many roles in youth coaching and analytics for the Niger and Mauritania national teams, Real Jaen, Leganes and Hearts of Oak, Ghana's biggest club, before setting up the ATFA.

"You always have doubt because it's not only about talent. To come and live in Europe was a big change for him, but I knew he would make it [on the talent side] because I saw his level compared with others in Spain at the same age and the way he can develop. You could see from the beginning he was different. The body, the technique, the winning mentality, the confidence and how he developed faster than anybody. If you increased the challenge, he increased his level."

Persistence and a friend's trust lead to vindication

Castano estimates Salisu played just 10 youth matches for Pucela before being promoted to their B team in the third tier, and then at the start of this season he became an undisputed starter for the senior side – indeed, he's one of just four defenders to play all 27 LaLiga matches in 2019-20.

A former student of sport performance analysis at the University of Granada, Castano's pride in Salisu is obvious – joining Valladolid wasn't just a big deal for the defender, but also vindication for Castano.

"I offered Salisu to a lot of teams, nobody gave us a chance. Nobody knew Salisu or me. I was just starting and it wasn't easy," he said. "I was lucky. My friend Victor Fernandez, who was a great striker in LaLiga for Valladolid and Villarreal, was coaching Valladolid's Under-19s. I called him and told him about Salisu. He told me he trusted what I say and my eye for scouting players.

"After one training exercise, just a few minutes, he [Victor] told me: 'Fran, are sure you know the kind of player you have?' He said he [Salisu] could be a very important defender in professional football. I had thought so, but I wasn't that sure of it until he told me."

Salisu's adaptation to LaLiga was impressive. In October, less than two months after his top-flight debut, he was being championed as a "star" on the league's official Twitter account after impressing in a 0-0 draw with Atletico.

Jordi Masip has been a fixture behind Salisu in goal. The experienced goalkeeper applauded the youngster's capacity to learn and is convinced a big future lies in wait.

"He's a player with an enviable physicality, he gets very fast when it comes to interceptions," Masip told Stats Perform News. "He's very young and he can grow a lot. He's a person that wants to improve and listen to us.

"He has always had a little difficulty with the language, but he is adapting very well, he understands everything, he asks questions and his adaptation is going well. To be so young, his characteristics are very good, he still can give far more than he is already giving."

A dominant defender

It's easy to argue that Pucela would be in even worse shape this season if they didn't have Salisu. After all, when LaLiga resumes they will start in 15th place, just four points above the bottom three.

But being in a team that has to spend longer stretches of time defending, Salisu's quality really shines through and it's clear he's making a difference, with only seven teams – all of whom are in the top half of the table – conceding fewer than Valladolid this term.

When watching Salisu, you really get the impression he loves defending. A real unit with long, gangly legs, he has a habit of pulling off blocks or last-ditch tackles that one wouldn't expect.

His 67 aerials won is bettered by just eight defenders, while Sevilla's Diego Carlos – widely regarded as one of the standout centre-backs in LaLiga this term – is the only player to make more headed clearances (71) than Salisu (67).

Diego Carlos – and every other defender, for that matter – trails in Salisu's wake with respect to total clearances, however. The 21-year-old has completed 136, with the experienced Raul Albiol (131) boasting the next most.

Salisu also ranks very high in terms of blocks with 22. Gabriel (26) is the solitary defender to have halted more shots. His 31 interceptions is also a decent figure, though the league-high among defenders of 48 is a fair way ahead of him.

What's clear is Salisu's enjoying a wonderful season. Despite his age and lack of experience, he is marking himself out as a consistent and committed performer.

While his technical attributes may not yet be at the required level for, say, Barcelona, he models himself on Blaugrana centre-back Samuel Umtiti and has already shown himself to be a quick learner on the pitch.

Either way, one can certainly see why Diego Simeone and Atletico are said to be keen, but time appears to be running out for El Cholo. With Rennes seemingly circling, a defensive jewel could be about to slip through the fingertips of LaLiga's elite.

Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal "loves" Boca Juniors and is "dying" to play for the Argentine giants, according to Chile team-mate Gary Medel.

Vidal continues to be linked with a Barca exit, the veteran Chilean star a reported target for Serie A side Inter.

The 33-year-old has insisted he is happy at Camp Nou, where he arrived from Bayern Munich in 2018.

Amid the ongoing speculation, former Boca midfielder Medel claims Vidal wants to move to La Bombonera in Buenos Aires.

"Arturo would like to play in Boca with me or without me," Medel, who played for Boca between 2009 and 2011, told Radio Continental.

"He loves Boca and follows them on social networks. He is the only one who follows Argentina and is dying to go. Boca have a magnitude in Europe that you cannot imagine."

It comes as Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio distanced the Italian club from Vidal, who worked with Nerazzurri head coach Antonio Conte during the pair's time together at Juventus.

"I don't feel like making any final considerations, let alone for Vidal. Right now he's not an opportunity for us. We already have a very strong central midfield," Ausilio told Sky Sport Italia.

"[Christian] Eriksen arrived in January and, like anyone else who arrives in January, he needs time, not just to settle on a technical level.

"I've never seen a player who comes to Serie A and immediately makes the difference.

"Think of [Michel] Platini and [Zinedine] Zidane, they're the first two examples that spring to mind."

Jadon Sancho and a return to England continues to make headlines.

The England international and former Manchester City youngster is reportedly keen to move back to his homeland.

But Borussia Dortmund are not willing to make things easy for Sancho's suitors.

 

TOP STORY – BVB NOT BUDGING ON SANCHO PRICE

Borussia Dortmund are not prepared to offer discounts on Jadon Sancho amid strong interest from the Premier League, according to Goal.

Dortmund star Sancho has been linked to Manchester United, Chelsea and Liverpool and the England international remains keen on a move to the Premier League.

While Sancho reportedly has no intention of renewing his Dortmund contract – which expires in 2022 – the Bundesliga outfit are unwilling to accept anything less than £100million (€110m) amid the coronavirus pandemic.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain have made a €60m offer for Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic. Lazio, however, are reportedly set to reject the bid.

- Staying in the French capital and Sky Sport in Italy reports PSG and Inter have reached an agreement over the transfer of Mauro Icardi. The Argentina international forward has spent the 2019-20 season on loan at PSG. The Ligue 1 champions are reportedly set to pay €50m plus €7m in bonuses.

Arsenal, Chelsea and United are interested in Juventus and Italy international Federico Bernardeschi, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Sky Sport Italia journalist Gianluca Di Marzio says United are eyeing Monaco forward Pietro Pellegri. The 19-year-old Italian has been plagued by injuries in France.

Juve want to bring Chelsea forward Pedro to Turin, according to Calciomercato. The Spanish veteran, who is set to become a free agent, worked with Maurizio Sarri during the Italian coach's time at Stamford Bridge.

- Sport reports Martin Odegaard's future at Real Madrid depends on head coach Zinedine Zidane. Odegaard has flourished during his two-year loan spell at Real Sociedad and whether the Norwegian returns to the Basque Country remains to be seen.

Arthur remains committed to staying at Barcelona amid Juventus links, Mundo Deportivo says. Juve have been keen on bringing Arthur to the club, with Miralem Pjanic tipped to leave for Barca. However, Arthur is happy at Camp Nou and sees Spanish football more compatible with his style.

Barcelona head coach Quique Setien believes the five substitutions per game will have a negative impact on the LaLiga champions as the league prepares to restart following the coronavirus crisis.

COVID-19 has wreaked havoc globally, with the LaLiga season suspended since March, but the 2019-20 campaign is set to resume on June 11.

LaLiga teams will be allowed to make five substitutions – instead of the usual three – to help avoid injuries and keep players fresh following the coronavirus-enforced hiatus, just like Germany's Bundesliga.

But Setien, whose Barca were two points clear of Real Madrid atop the table with 11 matches remaining, believes the additional substitutes will hurt the Catalan giants.

"I don't know if it will harm us or benefit us," Setien told the Las Palmas Football Federation. "I think it will harm us because of our way of playing.

"We know that a lot of matches we will resolve in the final minutes. If you give the rival the option of putting on fresh players in that time, the weakness that is generated, with tired players, won't come about.

"But it can also give you resources in a specific moment. It's an unknown quantity and we'll see how it goes."

LaLiga will return with the Seville derby between Sevilla and Real Betis on June 11.

On Friday, Spain's Higher Council of Sport (CSD) said it had agreed the resumption plans with the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga.

The CSD issued a statement that confirmed plans for the season to end on July 18-19.

"There will be lots of games in a short time," Setien said. "The heat will have an influence on performance and it will affect injuries.

"We're hoping that it does less damage than people think [it will]. It's possible that there will be lots of injuries like in Germany, because we've spent almost two months sitting on the sofa, not playing."

Setien added: "We're going to play for our objectives in the 11 games [remaining] and that means a stress that we don't know how it will influence us.

"All the teams are starting from zero. There will be 11 games and we have to win them, and we have every chance to win the league. The teams will seem little like the [teams] they were when they finished [playing in March]."

Mexico head coach Gerardo Martino says his season in charge of Barcelona was the worst of his career.

Martino took over at Camp Nou from Tito Vilanova in July 2013 and enjoyed a positive start, winning the Supercopa de Espana on away goals against Atletico Madrid.

Barca started the LaLiga season with a 7-0 thrashing of Levante before winning his first Clasico 2-1 at home to Real Madrid in October.

The season ended in disappointment, though, with Atletico pipping Barca to the title after holding them to a 1-1 draw at Camp Nou on the final day of the league season, having lost the Copa del Rey final to Real Madrid a month earlier.

Martino, who stepped down after the Atletico draw, says it was trying to get the best out of the squad while attempting to embrace their stylistic traditions that made life difficult.

"From the results side of things, it wasn't a bad year," he said, as quoted by Sport. "We won a trophy and we played in a final, but at Barcelona what matters is how many trophies you win.

"However, I say it was my worst year because my contribution as coach started and finished with the management of the team.

"There were concerns that my management had a short life and, for me, the Clasico against Real Madrid that we won 2-1 at home was key.

"We scored the second goal running into space and if Barcelona ran into space, it was because something did not fit together.

"But I understand that, if we could add anything to the team, it was not to deny the possibility of running.

"Speed was going to make Barcelona more complete because when there were lapses in the dominance of the opposition, it was good to go back and move into space. That was carried out the following year, with Luis Enrique."

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