Real Madrid star Eden Hazard says he has rejected multiple offers from Paris Saint-Germain and would never sign for the Ligue 1 champions.

The Belgium international claims he has always made it clear he would only return to France's top flight to play for former club Lille, the team he left in 2012 to join Chelsea.

PSG were linked with a move for Hazard before the completed a switch to Madrid this year for a reported €100million fee.

"No, never," he told L'Equipe when asked if he would ever join PSG.

"They've often wanted to sign me. I didn't want to come back to Ligue 1 and with another club to Lille.

"I always told them no. In my head, it was clear.

"They're a club who can help you win the Champions League, but they were not in my plans. If I come back to Ligue 1, it will be with Lille."

Hazard has struggled to make a significant impact in Spain since arriving from Chelsea in June.

The 28-year-old has scored only once in eight appearances in all competitions and has been accused in some quarters of being overweight.

Hazard this week denied those suggestions, telling Sky Sports: "For the last month, I've been in good condition with no injuries.

"I'm in good shape. When I'm on the pitch I will always try to do my best, with Real Madrid or Belgium. I just want to keep this momentum."

Madrid host Real Sociedad in LaLiga on Saturday before they face PSG in the Champions League at the Santiago Bernabeu next Tuesday.

Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa is set for a spell on the sidelines after undergoing neck surgery.

In a statement issued on their official website, Atleti confirmed Costa had an operation on his herniated cervical disc on Thursday.

The procedure was successful but normally requires a recovery time of two to three months.

Speaking earlier this week, Atletico president Enrique Cerezo insisted there were no plans to sign a January replacement for Costa in the event of surgery.

"No, because we already tried to sign [a striker] at the beginning of the season and you know that you have to sell someone to be able to buy someone," he told AS, citing his club's salary limit.

"So, I don't know. In principle, no. We have a fantastic team and fantastic strikers who score many goals."

Record signing Joao Felix is in line to boost Diego Simeone's attack by returning from a sprained ankle when Atletico visit Granada in LaLiga on Saturday.

Like Costa, the Portugal forward has only two top-flight goals to his name this term. Alvaro Morata leads the way with five for a team that have 15 goals in 13 LaLiga outings so far

Atleti are third in the table, a point behind Barcelona and Real Madrid having played a game more.

Gareth Bale's popularity in Spain appears to have sunk to an all-time low as he heads back to Real Madrid following international duty.

Not sighted in LaLiga for well over a month, the winger made his second Wales start in four days as Ryan Giggs' men secured Euro 2020 qualification with a 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday.

Bale's timely return to fitness prompted suspicion, and his actions after the game have attracted more scorn in certain sections of the Spanish media, who have routinely criticised him for spending too much time on the golf course.

In Cardiff, he was pictured celebrating with Wales team-mates behind a banner that read: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

Madrid newspaper Marca, said to have close links to the powerful club that employs Bale, did not take kindly to what has been perceived as a mocking gesture.

The front page of its Thursday edition featured Bale and the headline: "DISRESPECTFUL. WRONG. UNGRATEFUL. IN THAT ORDER".

AS, also headquartered in the Spanish capital, depicted the four-time Champions League winner sinking a close-range putt alongside the headline: "BALE IS IN A HOLE".

Meanwhile, online newspaper El Espanol captured the order of priorities supporters expect – "MADRID. MADRID. MADRID. IN THAT ORDER" – while columnist Tomas Roncero summed up what appears to lay ahead.

His comment piece in AS included a simple, ominous quote for Bale's future: "Out, out, out."

The media message crossed borders ahead of Madrid's meeting with Real Sociedad on Sunday.

In an interview with The Athletic, ex-Madrid president Ramon Calderon called Bale "childish" and claimed fans were "very angry" with the one-time €100million signing.

Lucas Vazquez has suffered a fractured big toe in his left foot, Real Madrid have confirmed.

Vazquez sustained the injury when he dropped a weight during a gym session, according to reports in Spain.

Madrid, who host Real Sociedad on Saturday, have not specified a timeframe for his recovery.

The 28-year-old missed matches against Mallorca and Galatasaray in October due to a calf problem.

"Following the tests carried out today on our player Lucas Vazquez by the Real Madrid medical department, he has been diagnosed with a fracture to the distal phalanx in his left hallux," read a club statement.

"His recovery will continue to be assessed."

Vazquez has made seven LaLiga appearances this season, starting four times and scoring once.

Madrid are level on points with Barcelona but trail the leaders on goal difference.

Gareth Bale's well-publicised celebration of Wales' Euro 2020 qualification will inflame his relationship with Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane, according to Los Blancos' former president Ramon Calderon.

In the aftermath of his country's 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday, Bale was pictured behind a banner that read: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

The slogan stems from a chant sung by Wales fans that pokes fun at the Spanish media's portrayal of Bale, who has been accused of placing Madrid low down his list of priorities and spending too much time playing golf.

The 30-year-old almost left for China during the close season and recently admitted he gets more enjoyment from playing for the national team than Madrid.

Calderon, Madrid's president from July 2006 to January 2009, believes the events of Tuesday could cost Bale a place in Zidane's matchday squad, with Los Blancos set to host high-flying Real Sociedad in LaLiga on Saturday.

"It's going to be difficult for Bale now because it was very childish of him to pose behind that banner," Calderon told The Athletic.

"Fans are very angry because of course they didn't like that, bearing in mind he has hardly played for the team this season then he goes off on international duty with Wales and plays in two matches.

"It's a difficult situation for Zidane and he won't be happy with Bale for posing with that banner.

"Bale hasn't done himself any favours with this. He's adding fuel to the fire and it's going to be difficult for Zidane to include him in the starting line-up and also the bench."

Bale was reportedly on the cusp of joining Jiangsu Suning in July, only for the deal to fall through at the last minute.

Calderon advised the four-time Champions League winner to pursue a return to Tottenham, where Jose Mourinho is now charge.

"He was linked with going to China but that is only for players who are at the end of their careers or who go for money," he said.

"Bale has at least three or four more years at the top level. Could he join Jose Mourinho at Tottenham? Why not? It depends on what Mourinho thinks of him but I'm sure the fans at Tottenham have very good memories of him there.

"For Bale to go back to where he really belongs would be ideal for everyone, because going to China would be a pity."

Gerard Pique has welcomed Spain's reappointment of Luis Enrique but admitted to being surprised at Roberto Moreno's abrupt departure.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed the unexpected coaching change on Tuesday, bringing an end to Moreno's brief stint in charge of the 2010 World Cup winners.

Moreno took over in a caretaker capacity in March and assumed the head coach role on a full-time basis in June.

Luis Enrique had stepped down as his young daughter, Xana, had developed bone cancer. She died in August.

His former assistant, Moreno, won seven and drew two of the nine matches he oversaw in total, leading to a sense of shock when it became evident that Monday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Romania was to be his last game.

"In truth it is a little surprising, we all got a little surprise," Barca defender Pique told Mundo Deportivo.

"I'm not there, I haven't talked to my [Barcelona] team-mates because they played on Monday and they didn't train [Tuesday]."

"I am very happy that Luis Enrique returns to training, that is the best news of all," he continued.

"Regarding the relationship between Luis Enrique and Robert Moreno, I have no idea what happened."

Pique has been out of the Spain side since retiring from international football following the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

He remains a regular starter at club level and expects to stay at Camp Nou until the end of his distinguished career, which could yet end before his contract expires in 2022.

"I have always said my last team will be Barca," said the 32-year-old.

"I have absolutely no intention of wearing any other shirt because... I have been a 'Cule' all my life. For me, being at Barca is the biggest dream of all.

"My intention is to get to 2022, but I don't have a crystal ball and I don't know if I'm going to be able to do it.

"If I see that I lose importance or see that I am not at the [required] level, I have no problem leaving earlier.

"I don't think it will happen because I know myself and I am able to endure until 2022, but you never know."

Jose Mourinho seemingly has Gareth Bale in his Tottenham plans, but he will have to wait until before the start of next season.

Mourinho was named Spurs head coach on Wednesday, a day after the Premier League club sacked Mauricio Pochettino.

Unsurprisingly, there is plenty of talk around his potential movements in the transfer market – including a Tottenham return for Bale.

 

TOP STORY – MOURINHO EYES BALE, BUT CAN'T SPEND IN JANUARY

Mourinho's arrival at Tottenham offers Bale the perfect escape route from Real Madrid, according to AS.

The star attacker left Spurs for Madrid in 2013, but is set to leave the LaLiga giants at season's end, the report says.

Marca reports Madrid have ruled out a January exit for Bale. That would suit Mourinho, who has been told there is no money to spend in the January window, according to The Guardian.

ROUND-UP

- Mourinho has more pressing matters at Spurs. The Mirror reports Christian Eriksen, Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld, who are out of contract at season's end, are intrigued by the prospect of working under Mourinho and are open minded about their futures.

- It could have been different for Spurs. According to the Daily Mail, Leicester City manager Brendan Rodgers was Tottenham's first choice before they turned to Mourinho.

- Meanwhile, the sacked Pochettino may not be out of management for too long. Barcelona and Bayern Munich are ready to pounce for the former Spurs manager, according to The Sun. Ernesto Valverde is under pressure at Camp Nou, while interim boss Hansi Flick will coach Bayern until at least the end of the year.

- Zlatan Ibrahimovic may be getting closer to sorting out his future. Sky Sport reports AC Milan spoke to the departing LA Galaxy striker's agent Mino Raiola on Wednesday about the possibility of a return to San Siro.

- Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is in no rush to renew his Arsenal contract and with good reason. Sport reports the forward is waiting to find out how serious Barcelona's interest in him is before extending a deal that runs until 2021.

- Needing a striker, Manchester United are considering a January move for Roma's Edin Dzeko, according to ESPN FC. Dzeko has scored five goals in 12 Serie A games this season, and United are looking to finally bolster their attack after losing Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez in the close season.

- Olivier Giroud has made just one Premier League start for Chelsea this season and the striker could be set for a January exit. La Gazzetta dello Sport says Inter are considering a move for Giroud in January as they look for a back-up for Lukaku.

The RFEF's Technical Committee of Referees is making changes for the Supercopa de Espana, introducing goal-line technology for the first time while improving communication for VAR decisions.

A revamped Supercopa will take place in Saudi Arabia in January, with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Atletico Madrid and Valencia involved.

For the first time in Spanish football, goal-line technology will be implemented in order to aid officials, with previous such calls made with the help of the VAR.

Referees chief Carlos Velasco Carballo explained on Wednesday: "The system consists of 14 cameras on the pitch. A high resolution camera will be on the goal line.

"This system is connected to the referees and, in less than a second, you hear the word 'goal' three times and the watch will vibrates to indicate the goal.

"It's historic in Spanish football."

The use of VAR in the first part of the LaLiga season was also discussed, with Velasco Carballo revealing the system had corrected 19 of 23 officiating errors.

Criticism of VAR has often come from the way calls are communicated to supporters within the stadium, but Velasco Carballo has outlined plans to improve this problem for the Supercopa.

A "Vardict" system on screens aims to ensure fans are kept up to date.

He said: "It will serve to communicate the decisions to the spectators in the stadium, a fundamental aspect in the success of the VAR. They will have the same information as the spectators watching on television."

Cristiano Ronaldo has made FIFA Ultimate Team's latest Team of the Week after moving onto 99 international goals for Portugal.

Juventus superstar Ronaldo is closing on Ali Daei's all-time world record of 109 after another four goals in the international break.

Ronaldo hit a ruthless hat-trick against Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying, before netting again against Luxembourg to nudge towards three figures.

He is joined in a thrilling FUT front three by Harry Kane and Eden Hazard.

Kane ended the qualifying campaign having netted in all eight matches, hitting 12 goals in total as the competition's leading scorer.

Hazard is struggling for Real Madrid but scored twice in Belgium's win at Russia, while midfielders Toni Kroos and John McGinn were rewarded for their own goalscoring exploits.

Nicolas Otamendi, often seen as a liability at Manchester City, earned a place with his performances for Argentina.

We take a look at the latest squad in full below.

FUT TEAM OF THE WEEK

GK: Gianluigi Donnarumma (AC Milan) - 86

CB: Nicolas Otamendi (Manchester City) - 85

CB: Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 82

RB: Stefan Lainer (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 81

CM: Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid) - 84

CM: Toni Kroos (Real Madrid) - 89

LM: Ole Kristian Selnaes (Shenzhen FC) - 81

CAM : John McGinn (Aston Villa) - 84

LW: Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Piemonte Calcio) - 94

LF: Eden Hazard (Real Madrid) - 92

ST: Harry Kane (Tottenham) - 91

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Andre Onana (Ajax) - 84

LB: Ramy Bensebaini (Borussia Monchengladbach) - 81

RW: Nicolo Zaniolo (Roma) - 80

RM: Robert Skov (Hoffenheim) - 81

RW: Gerard Moreno (Villarreal) - 86

ST: Raul Jimenez (Wolves) - 83

ST: Teemu Pukki (Norwich City) - 81

RESERVES

CB: Scott Wharton (Northampton Town) - 74

CDM: Alex Kral (Spartak Moscow) - 80

ST: Famara Diedhiou (Bristol City) - 79

ST: Victor Osimhen (Lille) - 80

LW: Duvan Vergara (America de Cali) - 76

Stefan Savic has suffered a setback as he bids to return from a hamstring injury.

The Atletico Madrid centre-back has been out of action since Montenegro's 0-0 draw against Bulgaria in Euro 2020 qualifying on October 11.

Atleti announced Savic, who was substituted after 39 minutes of that match, had suffered a hamstring issue but did not offer an estimated recovery time.

And the club announced on Wednesday the defender "suffered a relapse of the grade II injury".

Savic has undergone tests and, according to Atleti's short statement, "is pending response to treatment".

Jose Mourinho has been given a shot at Premier League redemption with Tottenham.

Almost a year on from his acrimonious exit from Manchester United, the two-time Champions League winner has an unexpected chance to prove his best work is not confined to the past.

As the Special One aims to rise again, we reflect on the highs and lows of a managerial career full of highlights and high drama.


HIGHS

Upstaging the elite with Porto

Mourinho made his name at Porto, where he orchestrated perhaps the most unlikely Champions League triumph of the 21st century. Deco and Ricardo Carvalho were among the stars of the side that overcame future employers United, Lyon and Deportivo La Coruna en route to a meeting with Monaco in Gelsenkirchen. An emphatic 3-0 win secured Mourinho the continent's most coveted trophy in just his second full season in charge and laid the foundation for a silver-tinged future.


Tripletta treat

Inter snapped up Mourinho in June 2008, less than a year on from his initial split with Chelsea. It proved a perfect marriage of two tempestuous forces. After cantering to the Scudetto at the first attempt, Mourinho set his sights on guiding the Nerazzurri to greater heights in 2009-10. He did that and then some. Inter pipped Roma to the title, won the Coppa Italia and, after stunning Barcelona in the Champions League semi-finals, Mourinho scaled Europe's highest peak for the second time, a 2-0 defeat of Bayern Munich crowning a magnificent treble.


Madrid make history

Mourinho's decision to depart San Siro for the Santiago Bernabeu brought little immediate success as Real Madrid claimed only the Copa del Rey in an underwhelming 2010-11 campaign. Cristiano Ronaldo had grander plans and his 46 goals the following season fired Los Blancos to a LaLiga title, their one and only under Mourinho. Most impressive was the team's final tally of 100 points, at the time a LaLiga record.


The best of the rest

In a January 2019 interview with beIN SPORTS, Mourinho suggested some would call him "crazy" for regarding a second-place finish with United as one of his greatest achievements. On reflection, it seems a reasonable assertion. United might have finished 19 points adrift of champions Manchester City in 2017-18 but now, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling to cobble together a team fit for Europe, finishing above Spurs, Liverpool, Chelsea and Arsenal appears an admirable feat.

LOWS

Chelsea return ruined

Parting ways with Chelsea once must have been painful enough for a manager who won worldwide recognition in his first Premier League job. To leave in ignominious circumstances a second time surely rankles among his greatest regrets. The Blues described Mourinho as a "much-loved, respected and significant figure" after relieving him of his duties in December 2015 but it was clear that not all held the same affection for him. Mourinho suggested he felt "betrayed" by his players amid a miserable beginning to their title defence, leaving a stain on his Stamford Bridge legacy.

Problems with Pogba

Mourinho arrived at United at the same time as Paul Pogba and together the pair were supposed to lead a renaissance. Instead, they became caught in a vortex of middling results and worse relations. Mourinho's failure to extract the best from Pogba on the pitch, and their frosty exchanges off it, portrayed a manager unable to elevate top-class talent. His treatment of Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial attracted further criticism and echoed the sort of strained relationships that were apparent in Madrid, Mourinho having notably not seen eye to eye with Iker Casillas.

Down and out at United

Never before his exit from Old Trafford had Mourinho departed a club without winning a league title. Several were expected when he took charge of the Red Devils in 2016 and, though the resources of neighbours City reframed the standard measure of success, trophies in the EFL Cup and Europa League fell short of the brief. Mourinho stakes his reputation on winning major honours, not friends, yet he left with few of either when United called time on his reign almost 12 months ago. A playing style deemed unacceptable by supporters only contributed to the sense that the new Tottenham boss squandered an opportunity he keenly coveted. He will hope to avoid a repeat.

Jose Mourinho has proven a successful, and controversial figure, during his long managerial career.

Trophies have been plentiful, as have confrontations with rival managers.

There have been clashes in Italy, Spain and England as the former Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and Manchester United has made waves throughout Europe.

Here, we look back at five of Mourinho's most heated moments.


"Demenza senile"

Premier League managers having a go at each other is nothing new, but it felt like Antonio Conte and Mourinho crossed a line in the 2017-18 season. Mourinho appeared to implicate Conte when he suggested counterparts act like "clowns" on the touchline, with the Italian often running into the crowd to celebrate Chelsea goals.

From there, the row quickly escalated. Conte hit back, suggesting Mourinho was suffering from "demenza senile", which translates as senile dementia. Mourinho famously ran down the touchline at Old Trafford when Porto scored a key Champions League winner, but Conte had gone too far and Chelsea quickly clarified that he meant "amnesia".

Having successfully provoked Conte, Mourinho blamed the media for the whole affair and referenced match-fixing allegations made against Siena during Conte's time in charge. The former Italy boss served a ban but was later cleared of any wrongdoing. 

Conte then called Mourinho a "little man" and suggested he would seek to meet his rival "in a room" to sort out their difficulties.

Poking Tito Vilanova in the eye

It was assumed that Pep Guardiola and Mourinho would renew their old rivalry when the pair were appointed by Manchester City and United respectively in 2016, but the row never boiled over.

The closest they have come to fireworks was a clash in the Old Trafford tunnel following City's 2-1 win in the Manchester derby in December 2017. Mourinho allegedly went to the away dressing room to complain over the volume of City's celebrations, only for a melee to ensue. Guardiola was not present at the time and Mourinho later blamed a "diversity in education" between the two Manchester squads for the fracas.

Mourinho and Guardiola go way back, with the Portuguese believing he should have been appointed by Barcelona before they moved for their former player. Later, while in charge of Real Madrid, Mourinho saw his side thrashed 5-0 at Camp Nou, while he was sent off for gouging the eye of Guardiola's assistant, Tito Vilanova, during the 2011 Supercopa de Espana. Mourinho also suggested Guardiola's Barcelona won the 2010-11 Champions League by virtue of generous refereeing.

Wenger a 'specialist in failure'

That Mourinho seemingly lost interest in rowing with former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger was probably a sign of how far the Gunners eventually fell under the veteran Frenchman. Mourinho no longer saw Wenger as a rival. It was not always the case, though, as Wenger was the subject of one of the 56-year-old's most famous rants, when he called the Arsenal manager a "specialist in failure".

Mourinho's Chelsea were a point clear of the Gunners atop the Premier League table in February 2014 when the Portuguese hit out at a long trophy-less wait for the Gunners. "If I do that in Chelsea, eight years, I leave and don't come back," Mourinho said.

Back in 2005, Wenger was called a "voyeur" by Mourinho. "He likes to watch other people," he said. "There are some guys who, when they are at home, have a big telescope to see what happens in other families. He speaks, speaks, speaks about Chelsea."

"I don't want to win the Europa League"

Mourinho has often had a problem with managers who succeeded him at clubs, with Rafael Benitez drawing his ire on multiple occasions. 

After Mourinho left Inter, Benitez took over and claimed the Club World Cup with the Serie A side. "I thought he was going to thank me for the title I gave him," said the ex-Porto boss.

Benitez took charge of Chelsea briefly between Mourinho's two spells at Stamford Bridge, leading the Blues to Europa League glory. "I don't want to win the Europa League," Mourinho said. "It would be a big disappointment for me."

Mourinho had obviously changed his tune by 2017, when winning the Europa League earned Manchester United a route into the Champions League.

Parking the bus

At United, Mourinho's team were often accused of 'parking the bus', which is ironic as he is credited with introducing the phrase to English football.

After a 0-0 draw against Tottenham in 2004 during his first Chelsea spell, Mourinho said: "As we say in Portugal, they brought the bus and they left the bus in front of the goal."

And after Inter knocked out Barca on the way to the Champions League title in 2010, Mourinho extended the metaphor further.

"We won the tie in Barcelona, but everyone talks about Barcelona winning and says we parked the bus in front of the goal," said Mourinho. "We didn't park the bus, we parked the plane."

Manchester City are going to great lengths to keep Raheem Sterling.

Though contracted until 2023, the England international's exceptional form has led to links with Real Madrid.

But it could earn him a fresh extension to his bumper deal at the Etihad Stadium.

 

TOP STORY – CITY SEEK STERLING INSURANCE

Premier League champions City have opened contract talks with star forward Sterling, according to the Mirror.

The 24-year-old agreed a new three-year extension a mere 12 months ago but City are taking no chances with his future amid rumours of interest from LaLiga giants Madrid.

Sterling has scored 14 goals in 17 club appearances this season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Corriere dello Sport says Juventus are preparing a €100million offer for Valencia winger Ferran Torres, who has also been linked to Liverpool.

- Bayern Munich are interested in Tottenham teenager Troy Parrott and Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, reports the Daily Mail. Parrott, 17, has caught the eye, while Henderson is on loan at Sheffield United.

- Napoli have offered Fabian Ruiz a contract extension through to 2025, claims Mundo Deportivo. Barcelona and Madrid are rumoured to want the Spain international midfielder.

- According to reports in Spain, Athletic Bilbao want to re-sign Javi Martinez from Bayern Munich. Martinez left the Basque club for Bayern in 2012.

Gareth Bale risked incurring the wrath of Real Madrid with his celebration of Wales' Euro 2020 qualification.

Wales – semi-finalists at Euro 2016 – booked their ticket to next year's European Championship with a 2-0 win over Hungary on Tuesday.

Aaron Ramsey's double in Cardiff ensured Wales leapfrogged Hungary and clinched the second automatic qualifying spot in Group E.

Bale and his team-mates celebratedly wildly post-game, with the former Tottenham talisman particularly catching the eye.

Tipped to leave Madrid and criticised for his priorities amid his love for golf, Wales fans have adopted the chant, "Wales, golf, Madrid", which has been heard during the international break.

And on Tuesday, Bale was seen celebrating in front of a Wales flag with the words: "WALES. GOLF. MADRID... IN THAT ORDER".

Matthijs de Ligt feels a degree of regret about choosing Juventus over Barcelona, according to the Catalan club's director of youth football Patrick Kluivert.

Juve beat out strong competition to sign Netherlands international De Ligt from Ajax in June.

The defender had been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barca but opted to sign a five-year deal in Turin after Ajax accepted an offer worth an initial €75million.

De Ligt was thrust into the starting XI after Giorgio Chiellini suffered a serious knee injury and has faced criticism for conceding two penalties – both for handball – in his nine Serie A appearances.

Former Netherlands striker Kluivert believes the 20-year-old may now be second-guessing his transfer choice.

"I would not say I tried to convince him, I could only tell him very good things about both Barcelona the city, as well as the club," Kluivert told Mundo Deportivo when asked about talks he held with De Ligt.

"But in the end it is the player and his agent who decide. Of course De Ligt is a great defender, but in the end he made a choice. I think he is a little sorry, but it is what it is.

"In life you make choices and sometimes you do it well and sometimes badly. You have to learn from your decisions."

Frenkie de Jong, De Ligt's former Ajax team-mate, did make the move to Barca in the close season and has flourished, with Kluivert praising the "very high quality" midfielder.

Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman coaches both players at international level and has called the Barca job a "possibility" beyond Euro 2020, after which a clause in his contract would allow him to leave for Camp Nou.

When asked whether Koeman could return to the club as head coach, Kluivert told SPORT: "I don't know, maybe, but I insist, out of respect for Valverde, I don't want to talk about other coaches when there's one in a job at this club."

He added: "I know Ronald very well. Out of respect for Valverde, I don't want to position myself.

"[Koeman] is a very good coach, he's doing really well with the Dutch national team."

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