Borja Valero urged Inter team-mate Lautaro Martinez to ignore Barcelona's advances and stay at San Siro as he hailed the Argentina forward.

Martinez has been the subject of consistent transfer speculation this season, with Barca said to be interested in Lionel Messi's international colleague.

The 22-year-old has scored 16 goals in all competitions for the Nerazzurri this season, starring alongside Romelu Lukaku.

After netting just nine times in the entirety of the 2018-19 campaign, Valero believes Martinez is Inter's most improved player.

And the ex-Fiorentina midfielder wants Martinez to remain in Milan.

"From year to year, he is the one who has improved the most," Valero told Gazzetta dello Sport. "In addition to scoring, he does an extraordinary job for the team."

As for why Martinez should stay at Inter rather than go to Barcelona, Valero said: "Here we have a very important project. It is clear to everyone. To make it happen, we need him to be with us."

Valero expects January signing Christian Eriksen to follow Martinez in showing signs of progress once he has settled at Inter.

"He only arrived this season," Valero said. "A week before, he was still playing for Tottenham. Then he had changed the league, country, language, training system.

"It is not easy to get used to it quickly. When he was gearing up, the season was suspended. He has everything to lift Inter. He just needs time."

Lucas Vazquez dreams of retiring at Real Madrid but believes he would adapt well to the Premier League.

Save for a season on loan at Espanyol, Vazquez has spent his entire professional career at Madrid.

He has won the Champions League three times while also lifting the LaLiga title in 2017.

The winger is out of contract at the end of next season but wants to remain a one-club man.

Vazquez told The Guardian: "The dream is to retire at Madrid but in football you don't know.

"When I was little, I always watched the Premier League with my brother. It was, it is, very attractive: a nice football to play, one that could fit my characteristics and personality well."

LaLiga remains suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic but a return appears to be edging closer, with players allowed to resume training this month.

Madrid trailed LaLiga leaders Barcelona by two points when the season was brought to a halt.

"Above all, you have to be responsible. If we can play, with the right safety measures, we'd all love to complete the season," Vazquez added. 

"It would be good for people, for society: for two hours you're not just thinking only about this [virus]. Football brings happiness."

Asked about the prospect of playing behind closed doors without fans, Vazquez replied: "I've played behind closed doors and it was strange.

"Being able to communicate, hearing everything, is odd. If the manager is on one wing and I'm on the other, he's got to express with gestures or I haven't got a clue.

"You can always blame the noise when you don't do what he says. Just not if it's empty."

Juventus and Real Madrid have long been linked to Paul Pogba.

The Manchester United star is reportedly unhappy at Old Trafford, where he endured an injury-hit campaign prior to the coronavirus pandemic.

But another club are reportedly trying to sign Pogba.

 

TOP STORY – INTER EYE POGBA

Inter are dreaming of signing Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, reports Gazzetta dello Sport.

Pogba has been heavily linked to former club and Serie A champions Juventus, as well as LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

However, Inter are now in the mix to bring the French star back to Italy.

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira claims Liverpool are nearing a deal to sign RB Leipzig's Timo Werner. The Premier League leaders and Champions League holders have offered a five-year deal for the German, who has already turned down Bayern Munich.

Barcelona are ready to sell nine players, according to the Mirror. Antoine Griezmann, Luis Suarez, Ousmane Dembele, Ivan Rakitic and Arturo Vidal are month the names that could leave the LaLiga champions.

Atletico Madrid are still hopeful of signing soon-to-be free agent Edinson Cavani. The Paris Saint-Germain forward was wanted by the LaLiga club during the January transfer window, but a move did not materialise. However, Mundo Deportivo claims Cavani is set to join Atletico.

Milan are trying to prepare for life after Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Lille's Victor Osimhen is being considered, according to Calciomercato. Chelsea and United have also been linked to the Nigerian forward.

- France Football reports PSG are interested in Chelsea midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko, who is on loan at Ligue 1 rivals Monaco.

West Ham are open to selling club-record signing Sebastien Haller, says the Express. Haller only arrived from Eintracht Frankfurt at the start of the season.

Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen insisted he is "very happy" at the LaLiga champions, despite putting contract negotiations on hold.

Ter Stegen's current deal expires at the end of the 2021-22 season and the Germany international has been linked with Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich amid doubts over Manuel Neuer's future in Bavaria.

Despite question marks over his own future, Ter Stegen said now is not the time to discuss a new contract due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"We have already had the first conversations," Ter Stegen said during an Instagram Live with former club Borussia Monchengladbach.

"But as I said, we have parked it. There are much more important things.

"I am very happy here and the sporting situation is good, the team is doing well. What more can I ask for?"

Ter Stegen joined Barca from Bundesliga outfit Monchengladbach in 2014.

Since arriving at Camp Nou, the 28-year-old has won four LaLiga titles and the Champions League among other honours.

Barca were two points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid through 27 matches when LaLiga was suspended amid the COVID-19 crisis in March.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez is optimistic sport will soon be able to resume but warned crowds will have to stay away.

The country has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, suffering over 25,000 deaths, but the infection rate has been falling since its early-April peak.

There are now hopes that professional sport, including football's LaLiga, will return to lift spirits after being put on hold in March.

Asked in a news conference on Saturday about that prospect, Sanchez said: "I am more basketball than football, but hopefully soon. It will be the federations and the leagues that decide.

"We have begun to allow individual training in team sports, hopefully it will be as soon as possible."

There is believed to be no possibility of sport in front of crowds for now.

Sanchez added: "Obviously we will see it earlier on television than in stadiums, I'm afraid."

LaLiga is expected to push for a return to competition by mid-June, its president Javier Tebas has indicated.

Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez is optimistic sport will soon be able to resume but warned crowds will have to stay away.

The country has been hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, suffering over 25,000 deaths, but the infection rate has been falling since its early-April peak.

There are now hopes that professional sport, including football's LaLiga, will return to lift spirits after being put on hold in March.

Asked in a news conference on Saturday about that prospect, Sanchez said: "I am more basketball than football, but hopefully soon. It will be the federations and the leagues that decide.

"We have begun to allow individual training in team sports, hopefully it will be as soon as possible."

There is believed to be no possibility of sport in front of crowds for now.

Sanchez added: "Obviously we will see it earlier on television than in stadiums, I'm afraid."

LaLiga is expected to push for a return to competition by mid-June, its president Javier Tebas has indicated.

Diego Maradona was "pure art" and Lionel Messi is "a Speedy Gonzales", according to Argentina assistant coach Roberto Ayala.

Ayala played alongside Maradona at the start of his career and in his twilight years lined up with Messi.

The former Napoli, Milan and Valencia centre-back believes there are significant differences between the two players widely regarded as the best to have come out of Argentina.

"I played with both of them, with Diego I was taking my first steps. They are two footballing giants, and when he retires, Messi will be remembered," Ayala told FOX Sports.

"I don't know if it'll be like Diego, it doesn't matter. They are different. Diego was pure art in all his mannerisms, Messi a Speedy Gonzales who carries the ball two centimetres from his foot."

Messi's failure to win a senior international title with Argentina often counts against him when he is compared to Maradona, who spearheaded the country's success at the 1986 World Cup.

Barcelona star Messi has suffered defeat in four finals – three at the Copa America and the 2014 World Cup – but Ayala is confident he can be successful with Argentina.

Ayala has been impressed by the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's humility in the national team set-up.

"I hope that he gives us his footballing level, that he makes us grow as a team. Having a team with him, not of him," said Ayala.

"He wants to be treated like this, like just one more. We told the players, 'He will not be treated differently by us. You all have to step up, do what you do for your clubs, and he will help you. You have to take advantage of that.'"

Few footballers have enjoyed the worldwide acclaim which came the way of David Beckham.

Originally a superstar at Manchester United, he later became a 'Galactico', an MLS trailblazer and one of England's most-capped players.

Here, on his 45th birthday, we look at the highs and lows of his career.

 

HIGH - A STAR IS BORN AT SELHURST PARK

The goal that changed everything. Back in August 1996, Beckham was a promising young midfielder who had just become a regular for United, his boyhood club.

Then he spotted Wimbledon goalkeeper Neil Sullivan off his line and dispatched an arching effort over his head and into the net from his own half, raising his arms aloft in celebration as if to acknowledge he had truly arrived.

"When my foot struck that ball, it kicked open the door to the rest of my life," he wrote in his autobiography.

LOW - THAT SIMEONE KICK

An England debut followed soon after that goal and Beckham was a regular for his country during the qualifiers for World Cup 1998.

Yet at the tournament itself, one petulant kick out at Argentina's Diego Simeone resulted in a red card and meant Beckham swiftly went from hero to villain.

Glenn Hoddle's team lost on penalties in the last 16 but Public Enemy No. 1 had already been identified, with an effigy of Beckham even hung outside a pub.

 

HIGH - A TREBLE WINNER

Beckham followed up his World Cup disappointment by turning in the best season of his United career in 1998-99, when Alex Ferguson's side famously won the treble.

The midfielder had 11 assists in the Premier League and one of his six goals came in the come-from-behind win against Tottenham that sealed the title.

Later that month he would slot in at central midfield in the Champions League final, with United dramatically beating Bayern Munich thanks to two late goals which came from Beckham corners.

HIGH - SEALING QUALIFICATION AGAINST GREECE

Cometh the man, cometh the hour.

In October 2001 England were on the verge of missing out on automatic World Cup qualification when trailing Greece 2-1 at Old Trafford, only to win a last-gasp free-kick 30 yards from goal.

Beckham, by then Sven-Goran Eriksson's captain, stepped up and dispatched one of his finest, and most important, free-kicks into the net. Next stop: Japan and South Korea.

 

HIGH - REDEMPTION IN SAPPARO

Four years after Argentina had eliminated from the World Cup, England faced one of their arch-rivals again in the group phase.

And when Michael Owen took a tumble as Mauricio Pochettino dangled a leg in the box, Beckham stepped up with a chance to right the wrongs of Saint-Etienne.

He thumped the resulting spot-kick straight down the middle and celebrated with an outpouring of relief as England won 1-0.

LOW - PAYING THE PENALTY

'Golden Balls' was not always deadly from set-piece situations and it was a missed spot-kick that contributed to England's quarter-final exit against Portugal at Euro 2004.

Beckham began the tournament by missing from 12 yards when England led 1-0 against France - Fabien Barthez saving that effort - and two goals from Real Madrid team-mate Zinedine Zidane, including one from the penalty spot, meant the Three Lions were beaten.

Later in the tournament Beckham missed his third straight penalty for his country and blamed the turf for an effort that ballooned over the crossbar, with Portugal going on to win 6-5 in the shoot-out.

 

HIGH - A LALIGA TITLE FROM THE GALACTICO ERA

Beckham had left United for Real Madrid in 2003, the latest 'Galactico' to join Zidane, Ronaldo, Luis Figo and Raul in the Spanish capital.

However, as he approached the end of his fourth and final season with the club, he had just a Supercopa de Espana medal to show for his efforts.

Beckham had already agreed to join MLS side La Galaxy in June 2007 when he won his first LaLiga winners' medal, though it was his replacement in the final match against Mallorca, Jose Antonio Reyes, who ultimately scored the goals which sealed the title.

 

HIGH - BACK-TO-BACK MLS CUPS

The rise of MLS in recent years owes much to Beckham's impact, the England midfielder having brought interest and respectability to the competition when he went Stateside.

It had looked like being an ill-fated spell in 2009 when Beckham was booed by Galaxy fans on his return from a loan spell at Milan which saw him miss the first half of his second MLS season.

A similar arrangement followed the next season, but Beckham would be around for the entire 2011 and 2012 campaigns, both of which ended with Galaxy winning back-to-back MLS Cups.

HIGH - BOWING OUT WITH ANOTHER LEAGUE TITLE

Not content with league titles in three countries, Beckham added a fourth with Paris Saint-Germain before he was done.

He played 10 times in the latter stages of the 2012-13 campaign having signed a short-term deal that would see his entire salary donated to a local children's charity.

Beckham was made captain for the final match of his career, a 3-1 victory over Brest on May 18, 2013, and he was reduced to tears when he was substituted in the second half.

Daniel James feels it is a "bit too much" to be compared to Wales team-mate Gareth Bale.

Winger James made an instant impact for Manchester United following his arrival from Swansea City prior to the 2019-20 season, scoring on his home debut in a 4-0 win over Chelsea.

He has since managed to add two more goals in the Premier League, as well as another for the Red Devils in the Europa League before the ongoing campaign was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The 22-year-old's lightning pace and willingness to run at opposing players has led some to draw similarities to Bale, yet James instead sees the Real Madrid superstar - who he describes as a "just a normal guy" - as an inspirational figure.

"I don't think you can compare me to him," James told Sky Sports.

"To play with him at Wales is obviously amazing. For anyone that doesn't know him, he's such a great guy. Just a normal guy really. He's great with the youngsters and great around the place.

"But to be compared to him is a bit too much, I think.

"What he's done in his career, how he changed from a left-back to a left midfielder, to win the Champions League... it's just amazing what he has done.

"Players like him are the ones you look up to, but I think being compared to him is a bit silly."

James has also had the chance to play alongside one of his childhood idols at club level this season, having always admired Juan Mata.

The Spaniard is not just a role model on the pitch, however, also helping the new boy settle in at Old Trafford.

"When I first met him, he came and sat next to me in the changing room and said, 'I know it's a big move for you, if you need anything here is my number and if you ever need to talk about anything I'm here.' That was obviously great for me," James revealed.

He added on Mata: "He's just someone that I've always looked up to and to play in the same team as him is just surreal for me."

Barcelona are reportedly looking at Jadon Sancho as an alternative if they cannot land Neymar.

Neymar is linked with a return to Camp Nou from Paris Saint-Germain, where he arrived from Barcelona for a world-record €222million in 2017.

But the LaLiga giants have options.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHO AN ALTERNATIVE TO NEYMAR FOR BARCELONA

Borussia Dortmund star Sancho is an alternative to Neymar for Barcelona, according to Sport.

The cover of the Spanish daily says Barca are thinking of Sancho if they are unable to bring Neymar back to the club.

Sancho was enjoying an incredible season with 14 goals and 15 assists in 23 Bundesliga games when the campaign was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

- Linked with a move for RB Leipzig star Timo Werner, Liverpool may not be trying to sign the forward. The Mirror reports the Premier League leaders look almost certain not to do any transfer spending in the close season.

- Lyon forward Moussa Dembele has enjoyed another good season with the Ligue 1 club. The Manchester Evening News reports Dembele would find it hard to turn down a move to Manchester United in the next transfer window.

- Miralem Pjanic could be set for a Juventus exit. Marca reports the pieces are falling into place for the midfielder to join Barcelona. It says another player could enter the deal if Arthur does not agree to leave the LaLiga giants.

- Staying at Barcelona and Sport reports the door is open for the club to land Layvin Kurzawa on a free at season's end with Porto's Alex Telles seemingly nearing a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

- Gianluigi Donnarumma is out of contract at Milan in 2021, but La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the goalkeeper could extend his deal by a year and plan a path forward, with the coronavirus pandemic likely to impact the upcoming transfer window.

- Rayan Cherki, 16, scored three goals in 12 games for Lyon this season, seemingly leading to some interest. AS reports the teenage forward is being watched by Real Madrid.

Leicester City fans could be forgiven for still thinking the images of Andrea Bocelli belting out 'Nessun Dorma' on the King Power Stadium pitch and their heroes lifting the Premier League title were part of a wonderful dream.

Sports quiz aficionados of the future are likely to scratch their chins and rack their brains when trying to remember Wes Morgan as a title-winning captain.

Indeed, had any of these scenarios been presented as possibilities prior to the 2015-16 campaign, the orator of such suggestions would likely have had to contend with a fair amount of pointing, laughing and concerned looks.

And yet, despite pre-season odds of 5,000-1, Claudio Ranieri's cunning Foxes outlasted challenges from the Premier League's big hitters to complete a fairytale story that resonated throughout the world of football.

May 2 marks four years to the day since Leicester's moment of glory was confirmed after Tottenham's 2-2 draw with Chelsea, and to mark the occasion we have looked back at some of the most unlikely title triumphs in football history.

NOTTINGHAM FOREST 1977-78:

When Brian Clough took over at the City Ground in January 1975, Forest were languishing down in the old Second Division. A couple of years later Forest were promoted and under the stewardship of the maverick Clough they were crowned champions in their first season back in the top flight. Forest went on to win the European Cup in 1979 and 1980 in a golden era for the club.

HELLAS VERONA 1984-85:

In modern times Hellas Verona are known as a perennial yo-yo club, flitting between Serie A and B. But in the mid-80s, led by Osvaldo Bagnoli, they were top of a star-studded pile. In a league including Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (Inter), Michel Platini (Juventus) and Diego Maradona (Napoli), a well-crafted Verona side sat top of the pile in a shock considered one of the greatest in Italian football.

SAMPDORIA 1990-91:

Just six years on, and with Juventus, Napoli (twice), Milan and Inter each having won the title, there was another surprise in Italian football as Sampdoria became champions for the first time. Yugoslav coach Vujadin Boskov had already led Samp to two Coppa Italia successes and a European Cup Winners' Cup before a strikeforce of Gianluca Vialli and Roberto Mancini inspired the crowning glory. Arrigo Sacchi's memorable Milan side fell short, while an Inter team including Italia '90 World Cup winners Jurgen Klinsmann, Lothar Matthaus and Andreas Brehme were third.

DEPORTIVO LA CORUNA 1999-2000:

Barcelona and Real Madrid may presently have a stranglehold on LaLiga, but back in the 99-00 campaign it was Deportivo, a modest provincial club in the south-west of Spain, that rocked the apple cart - in part thanks to the financing of former president Augusto Cesar Lendoiro. A squad including Roy Makaay, Pauleta and Flavio Conceicao celebrated a famous LaLiga title.

WOLFSBURG 2008-09:

Bayern Munich have historically ruled the roost in the Bundesliga, yet there were five different winners in eight seasons between 2001-02 and 2008-09. The last of those saw Wolfsburg crowned champions for the first time in their history. A 5-0 rout at Hannover was followed by a 5-1 hammering of Werder Bremen in the final game of the season to emphatically complete the job, with Bayern two points back in second. The goalscoring exploits of Grafite (28) and Edin Dzeko (26) were crucial for Felix Magath's side.

AZ 2008-09:

Turns out 2008-09 was a year for upsets. AZ's own success story was described as "my little masterpiece" by Louis van Gaal, who had joined in 2005 after the pressure cooker of life as Barcelona coach. A 28-match unbeaten run was pivotal for AZ, who were champions for just the second time, as they romped to glory ahead of more illustrious names in Dutch football.

MONTPELLIER 2011-12:

Paris Saint-Germain are the modern powerhouses of Ligue 1, but it was a different story in 2011-12, PSG's first season under their wealthy Qatari owners. And rather than the capital giants triumphing, it was unfancied Montpellier celebrating an unlikely success. PSG invested for the future by bringing Carlo Ancelotti to the Parc des Princes in December 2011 and the likes of Kevin Gameiro, Javier Pastore and Jeremy Menez had arrived in the close season. But on the back of Olivier Giroud's 21 goals, Montpellier celebrated their first – and as yet only - top-flight triumph, finishing three points clear of PSG.

LEICESTER CITY 2015-16:

It was an achievement that forced ex-England striker and famous Foxes fan Gary Lineker to present the first episode of the following season's Match of the Day in his pants (albeit only brief-ly). With N'Golo Kante's tireless performances in midfield, Riyad Mahrez's wizardry on the wing and Jamie Vardy's scoring exploits, the Foxes lost just three times in an unforgettable season and finished 10 points clear of Arsenal in second. The usual challengers may have endured plenty of misery but nothing will ever take the shine off a remarkable achievement.

Massive sporting events do not always live up the occasion.

The boxing world was delivered a reminder of that five years ago as a fight a long time in the making proved a drab affair.

It is the unexpected that often produces the most excitement and that was the case during a 2015-16 Premier League campaign that stands as arguably the most memorable in the division's history.

Here we look back at May 2 in the world of sport.

2009: Pacquiao makes light work of Hatton

"From the ends of the earth to the centre of the ring" was the tagline attached to a light-welterweight title bout billed as the' Battle of East and West'.

With seven seconds left in the second round, Ricky Hatton was indeed in the centre of the ring, on his back having been dumped to the canvas by a thunderous left to the chin from Manny Pacquiao.

The fight marked the last at elite level for Hatton, who finished his career in 2012 with a loss to Vyacheslav Senchenko.

Pacquiao has gone on to secure his legacy as one of the greatest boxers of all time, but his journey has not been without its lows, the biggest of which would come six years later at the same MGM Grand Garden Arena venue...

2009: Leinster-Munster semi-final draws record crowd

Leinster v Munster is regarded as one of the biggest provincial rivalries in world rugby, and it reached new heights as the pair met in the Heineken Cup semi-finals at Croke Park.

A crowd of 82,208, a world-record attendance for a club match, witnessed Leinster secure their place in the final with a 25-6 victory.

They would go on to lift the trophy, beating Leicester Tigers 19-16 at Murrayfield.

2012: Messi breaks European club goals record

Lionel Messi's incredible career has been defined by him shattering records and collecting medals at will.

Eight years ago he bettered a mark that had stood since the 1972-73 season with a hat-trick against Malaga.

The treble took Messi to 68 goals for the 2011-12 season, the most by a single player in a European club season.

Gerd Muller had previously held the record with 67. Messi would go on to stretch his advantage over the Germany great, finishing the campaign with a remarkable 73 goals.

2015: 'Fight of the century' fails to inspire

After years of protracted and tempestuous negotiations, Pacquiao and Floyd Mayweather finally agreed to touch gloves in the biggest fight of the 21st century.

The contest did not match the hype surrounding it, however, Mayweather maintaining his unbeaten record in uninspiring fashion.

Pacquiao struggled to land punches on a defensive Mayweather, whose tactical acumen won the day in a fight some dubbed 'Better never than late' in the aftermath.

Mayweather followed up that win with a victory over Andre Berto in September, before coming out of retirement in 2017 to defeat UFC star Conor McGregor and improve to 50-0.

2016: Leicester achieve the impossible

The established order of the Premier League was upset in unbelievable fashion in 2015-16 as 5,000-1 outsiders Leicester City, having narrowly avoided relegation the previous season, clinched the title.

Tottenham had been the Foxes' closest challengers in a year where Manchester City, Manchester United and Arsenal all struggled for consistency, with Liverpool and Chelsea well off the pace.

However, it was Chelsea who ended Tottenham's hopes and ensured the trophy would head to the King Power Stadium.

Spurs needed to win at Stamford Bridge to keep their hopes alive and led 2-0 thanks to goals from Harry Kane and Son Heung-min.

But Gary Cahill pulled one back and Eden Hazard levelled matters seven minutes from time to spark delirious scenes among the Leicester players watching on TV.

Real Madrid full-back Marcelo insisted he did not want to leave the LaLiga giants amid links with Juventus.

The Brazilian has been linked with a move away from Madrid, where he has enjoyed a successful stay since arriving from Fluminense in 2007.

But Marcelo has no desire to leave the Santiago Bernabeu, and he also feels Madrid want him to stay.

"I don't want to leave and I don't think Madrid would let me anyway," he told Fabio Cannavaro during an Instagram Live chat on Friday.

"I'm really happy here. Since I came here with my family, it's been incredible.

"I don't really know if it's true that Juve wanted to sign me to be honest."

Marcelo has continued to be linked to Juventus, the club his former team-mate Cristiano Ronaldo joined in 2018.

The 31-year-old noted the reaction from the Serie A club's fans to the rumours was positive.

"A couple of years ago I heard that I'd signed for Juve, that I'd already pulled on the Juve shirt and that I couldn't live without Cristiano," Marcelo said.

"People invent a lot of things. It was all fine with me, as I saw that some Juve fans quite liked the idea of me joining."

Jose Mourinho believes Real Madrid were the best team in Europe in 2011-12 despite falling short in the Champions League.

Under Mourinho's guidance, Madrid ended Barcelona's run of three straight LaLiga titles, setting records for most goals (121) and points (100) in a single season.

But they fell in the Champions League semi-finals, losing to Bayern Munich – who were beaten by Chelsea in the decider – on penalties.

Mourinho, now in charge of Tottenham, believes Madrid were then the best team in Europe.

"That season, Real Madrid were the best team in Spain and also the best in Europe," he told Marca.

"That's why it was so hard for us to deal with going out to Bayern in the Champions League."

Mourinho said the way Madrid ended Barcelona's LaLiga run was important, although the club have won just one league crown since – in 2016-17.

"Ending that Barcelona dominance and doing it by achieving a record points tally and a record goals tally like that makes it even more interesting and important because we did it in the best way possible," he said.

"It wasn't only that we won LaLiga, it's that we did it in a way that made history."

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