Football across Europe's major leagues remains on hold as the continent battles the coronavirus pandemic.

Though the tide appears to be turning in the fight against the spread of the virus, two leagues have decided the 2019-20 season cannot be resumed.

Others are steadfast in their determination to finish the campaign and crown champions through games that will likely take place behind closed doors.

Here we look at the state of play across the top leagues.

Premier League – SUSPENDED 

All professional football in England was suspended on March 13, putting Liverpool's march to a first top-flight title since 1990 on hold.

Liverpool were a massive 25 points clear of defending champions Manchester City when the season was suspended. The Premier League clubs remain committed to finishing the season "when it is safe and appropriate to do so". 

The league's 20 clubs were reportedly told in a videoconference on Friday that neutral venues would be needed to finish the season.


LaLiga saw its season suspended indefinitely on March 23 but preparations for a return appear to be ramping up.

Spain's prime minister Pedro Sanchez said on Tuesday that players could return to individual training on May 4.

There remains, however, no indication as to when the season can resume, with Barcelona two points clear of arch-rivals Real Madrid, while Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui said players will need "at least five weeks" to prepare.

Bundesliga – SUSPENDED

On hold since March 13, the German Football League (DFL) had been taking steps towards a May 9 return but left the final decision in the hands of the government, which then elected to delay making a ruling until May 6.

Hopes of a resumption next week now appear faint, meaning fans face a longer wait to find out if Bayern Munich, who lead the Bundesliga by four points, can retain the title.


Friday's emergency meeting of Lega Serie A reportedly saw all 20 teams agree to resume the campaign, suspended since March 9.

All teams in Italy are set to return to training on May 18, the day after the government's existing lockdown measures expire.

Juventus were one point clear of Lazio at the top when the season was brought to a halt.


The decision was effectively taken out of the hands of the French football authorities this week when the government ruled that no sporting events could take place before September.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) met on Thursday and declared Paris Saint-Germain, who were 12 points clear at the top of Ligue 1, champions on a points-per-game basis. Marseille and Rennes join them in next season's Champions League.

Toulouse and Amiens were relegated and replaced by the top two from Ligue 2, Lorient and Lens, with Nimes spared as the relegation play-offs were scrapped.

Eredivisie – CANCELLED

Following an announcement from the Dutch government last month that all events would be banned until September, the Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) declared its intention to end the season in the Netherlands.

Ajax and AZ were level on points at the top of Eredivisie when it was suspended, but the decision was made not to declare a champion or relegate any teams. The top two go into the Champions League.

Gareth Bale has declared he would love to play in MLS - and revealed Luka Modric is a lousy golfer.

The Real Madrid winger has two years left to run on his Santiago Bernabeu contract and the 30-year-old has indicated he will see out that deal.

Bale ranks among the world's best-paid players and his present salary, reported to be worth upwards of £15million annually, would be out of the reach of MLS teams.

But there may come a time when Bale can be persuaded to leave Europe for the United States, and the golf courses he loves across the Atlantic could be a selling point.

Speaking on the Hat-Trick podcast, Bale said of MLS: "I really like the league. It's grown so much over the years.

"When we come over and play them now in pre-season, the games are difficult. The standard's getting a lot better, the clubs are improving, the facilities are improving, the stadiums are improving.

"It's a league that's on the up and still rising. A lot more players want to come over to America now and play and I'd definitely be interested in it.

"I love going to Los Angeles on holiday."

Asked by the US-based podcast what he enjoyed doing in Los Angeles, Bale said: "I play a lot of golf.

"I've played Pebble [Beach] a couple of times. I played Cypress Point which is a private members' club which is next to Pebble Beach - that was probably the best course I've ever played so far."

Bale faced heavy criticism in Spain after celebrating Wales' European Championship qualification with a flag bearing the now-famous slogan of 'Wales. Golf. Madrid. In that order.'

He insists it was "a bit of banter... a bit of fun", but Bale's love for golf is not something he hides from.

And when Madrid team-mate Modric proved hapless with a golf club, Bale had to laugh at the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner.

Asked to identify his worst golfing team-mate, Bale said: "Luka Modric, 100 per cent.

"We were staying in a hotel and there was nothing to do, and they had a golf course and a driving range there, so I said [to Modric], 'Do you fancy coming down to the driving range to hit some balls?'

"He's got a club in his hand and he doesn't know how to hold it really. He turns his back and he hits the floor, missed the ball.

"I reckon he hit about one ball in 20 attempts and he just gave up.

"The next day he came down and said, 'My back is in absolute agony.'"

Atletico Madrid and England defender Kieran Trippier has been hit with a misconduct charge over allegedly breaching Football Association (FA) betting regulations.

The former Tottenham full-back is alleged to have breached rules E8(1)(a) and E8(1)(b) last July.

Rule E8(1)(a) states: "A participant shall not bet, either directly or indirectly, or instruct, permit, cause or enable any person to bet on – (i) the result, progress, conduct or any other aspect of, or occurrence in or in connection with, a football match or competition; or (ii) any other matter concerning or related to football anywhere in the world, including, for example and without limitation, the transfer of players, employment of managers, team selection or disciplinary matters."

While Rule E8(1)(b) stipulates: "Where a participant provides to any other person any information relating to football which the participant has obtained by virtue of his or her position within the game and which is not publicly available at that time, the participant shall be in breach of this rule where any of that information is used by that other person for, or in relation to, betting."

Trippier has until May 18 to respond to the charges. 

The 29-year-old joined Atleti from Spurs in July 2019 on a three-year deal for a reported fee of $25million.

It took a pandemic to stop the goals flowing from Lionel Messi, the brilliant Argentinian who first found the back of the net for Barcelona on May 1, 2005.

Fifteen years since that first strike, Messi has ploughed through the 600-goal mark for the Catalan giants, coincidentally reaching that landmark on May 1, 2019.

He was spending May 1 at home this year, along with every other footballer in LaLiga, which has been paused since March due to the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus.

To watch Messi in his pomp and assess the pick of his goals for Barcelona is a pick-me-up for any dark day, and here is a look at a chronological top 10 from the Argentinian's collection.

Albacete (H): May 1, 2005

Even at 17, Messi had the confidence of a veteran. Having already seen one goal wrongly ruled out for offside - an audacious chip from the edge of the box - Messi's confidence was far from knocked and just a minute later he latched onto Ronaldinho's scooped pass before lobbing the ball over Albacete goalkeeper Raul Valbuena from 16 yards. Some way to open your account for one of Europe's great clubs.

Malaga (H): March 22, 2009

Thierry Henry's favourite goal by Messi during their time playing together for Barca. Why not let the France great take up the story? "It defied logic what he did," Henry said in the 'Take the Ball, Pass the Ball' documentary. "There's a diagonal ball and he controls it on his chest. He runs full speed, then the first player goes and the second player is just behind. If he takes another step, that player will clear the ball." A shimmy of the body and deft touch later – in the blink of an eye – Messi stabbed into the top corner to conclude a moment of 100-miles-per-hour brilliance.

Real Zaragoza (A): March 21, 2010

Described by some as 'a defining goal' in his career, this strike against Real Zaragoza seemed to take him from very good into another class entirely. Messi displayed all he had to offer in a goal that began when he won the ball from a tackle on halfway. From there, he shrugged off one challenge, raced towards the box and turned a defender inside out before drilling into the far corner, leaving coach Pep Guardiola speechless.

Real Madrid (A): April 27, 2011

At the height of the Clasico rivalry between Guardiola's Barca and Jose Mourinho's Real Madrid, the two teams met four times in three different competitions in less than a month. The league meeting ended in a draw and Madrid won the Copa del Rey final, but Barca triumphed in the Champions League semi-final with a 3-1 aggregate win. The first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu, an ill-tempered affair to say the least, saw Messi make it 2-0 by bursting beyond four attempted challenges and slotting past Iker Casillas, all in the space of around five seconds.

Athletic Bilbao (A): April 27, 2013

Barca would regain their LaLiga title from Real Madrid but were in the midst of a Champions League semi-final shellacking from Bayern Munich when they arrived at San Mames. A goal down in a match that would eventually finish 2-2, Messi received possession from Thiago Alcantara, twisted past Mikel San Jose, Carlos Gurpegui and Ander Herrera with minimal space in which to operate before nonchalantly sidefooting home from just inside the penalty area.

Bayern Munich (H): May 6, 2015

Guardiola returned to Camp Nou with a Bayern Munich side struggling with injury problems. They kept Barca at bay until the 77th minute of this Champions League semi-final first leg, when Messi finally struck. It was his second goal that earns a place in this list, though: collecting Ivan Rakitic's pass, a simple-looking shimmy left Jerome Boateng on his backside before he chipped Manuel Neuer with his weaker foot.

Real Madrid (A): April 23, 2017

El Clasico rarely disappoints for football fans around the globe, and this edition was no different. Anything but a win would essentially hand Real Madrid the title, and it looked to be headed for a 2-2 draw until Sergi Roberto's swashbuckling run in stoppage time gave Jordi Alba the chance to square to Messi, who finished with aplomb from the edge of the area for his 500th Barcelona goal.

Real Betis (A): March 17, 2019

Rarely has a hat-trick been completed in finer fashion. Messi's two goals had helped Barca to a 3-1 lead at the Benito Villamarin, before he passed to Rakitic, ran onto the return ball and sent a first-time chip over goalkeeper Pau Lopez and in off the crossbar from just inside the box. It was a sublime effort that even had the home fans on the feet, applauding - something Messi himself admitted he has not experienced before.

Liverpool (H): May 1, 2019

Over the past few years, Messi has mastered the art of free-kick taking, with the skill being one of few to elude him in his younger days. Liverpool held their own for long periods at Camp Nou but goals from Luis Suarez and Messi gave the hosts breathing space. Jurgen Klopp's side then had to bow to greatness when, after being brought down by Fabinho, Barca's talisman swept an unstoppable 30-yard effort into the top corner. Barcelona would incredibly blow their 3-0 first-leg advantage, however, losing 4-0 at Anfield as Liverpool reached the Champions League final.

Atletico Madrid (A): December 1, 2019

It was goalless in the 86th minute at the Wanda Metropolitano when Messi collected the ball on the right flank, 10 yards inside the Atletico half. Those famous feet began to shuffle with purpose, and although Atletico knew what Messi had in mind, they were powerless to resist the execution of his plan. Messi surged on, playing the ball to Luis Suarez on the edge of the penalty area before taking the return pass and cracking a brilliant 20-yard shot into the bottom left corner of Jan Oblak's goal. A winner, and one of the highest class.

Barcelona boss Quique Setien has claimed football was out of control before the global crisis - as he remained steadfast that Lionel Messi will extend his Camp Nou stay.

Many sports have been upended by the coronavirus pandemic, with the multi-billion dollar football industry dealt a potentially ruinous blow as clubs and leagues face up to an existential threat.

While Setien remains certain at least one constant will remain, with Messi continuing his Barcelona career into 2020-21, he sees the wider game suffering and wonders if it should have been better prepared.

Asked whether any club could now afford a fee such as the €222million it took to buy Neymar out of his Barcelona contract two and a half years ago, Setien frowned at the prospect.

"No. I don't think there is anyone who can spend that much," he told Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"And small clubs have water in their throats. Many companies lived on the limit and at the first serious jolt they went into crisis. Football lived at an uncontrolled pace."

Setien says there is a great need for football to return, but he harbours reservations about rushing back onto the field.

The Spanish season could resume in June, with clubs set to return to training this month.

"It is clear that everyone's desire is to start again, and we are preparing," Setien said.

"However, it is equally clear that the situation is not simple, and is made up of three elements: the heart, which pushes hard towards the field, health, which must remain the top priority, and the economy, because this crisis has hit hard.

"We are experiencing a dramatic moment and although we have a huge desire, even an extraordinary need to return to play, we want to do it only in complete safety. Ours and whoever is with us: warehouse workers, masseurs, employees..."

Setien has no doubt six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi will be along for the ride, for the rest of this season and into next term, discounting the possibility of a close-season departure.

Friday marked 15 years since Messi scored his first goal for Barcelona, and one year since he netted his 600th for the club.

It is said to be stipulated in Messi's contract that he can walk away on a free transfer at the end of each campaign, but there is such a tight bond between the Argentinian and the Catalan club that it seems unlikely.

Inter have been credited with an interest in Messi, but Setien is not concerned, even if there has been conflict between the club's star man and senior management, most notably sporting director Eric Abidal, this season.

"No, because it won't happen," Setien said, when asked if he was worried. "Messi and Barcelona will always be united. It's just like that. Leo has been at Barca for 20 years and nobody could explain a breakdown situation.

"Certain things happen at such big clubs, it is normal that there are conflicts. But they get resolved. There is a great feeling in the relationship between Messi and Barcelona, ​​something that goes beyond money and interests.

"Everything must be done so that Messi is supported at his best so that Barcelona can continue to win as in the last 15 years."

Liverpool have reportedly set their sights on Kalidou Koulibaly, while the Premier League leaders could lose out to Manchester United on another target.

Koulibaly has regularly been linked with a move away from Napoli, where he has developed into one of the world's best defenders.

Could a Virgil van Dijk-Koulibaly central defensive pairing be on the cards at Anfield?



Liverpool are targeting Napoli defender Koulibaly and contacts have already been made, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

The parties are due to speak again in the coming weeks, according to the report, with Koulibaly's asking price likely to drop from €100million (£87.1m) due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The report also says Liverpool would likely sell defender Joel Matip if they landed Koulibaly.



- Another player Liverpool are linked to, Timo Werner, could head elsewhere. The Manchester Evening News reports the RB Leipzig forward is being considered by Manchester United.

- Manchester City will not give up on Milan Skriniar. CalcioMercato reports a €70m (£61m) offer could be enough for the Premier League giants to land the Inter defender.

- Amid debate about whether Dean Henderson, who is on loan at Sheffield United, could replace David de Gea as Manchester United's number one, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer apparently has no doubt. The Daily Star reports the United manager has told De Gea he will remain his first-choice goalkeeper for the foreseeable future.

- Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele has been linked with a move away. Sport reports Barcelona are continuing to track the France international, who was apparently a target for the LaLiga side while he was still at Lyon.

- Mohammed Salisu is drawing attention from several European clubs. Marca reports Atletico Madrid are in pole position to land the Real Valladolid and Ghana defender.

Inter are capable of signing Barcelona captain Lionel Messi thanks to vice-president Javier Zanetti, according to former assistant coach Jose Morais.

Messi has been linked to Inter since ex-president Massimo Moratti said the six-time Ballon d'Or winner joining the Serie A club was not a "forbidden dream".

Barca superstar Messi is contracted to the LaLiga champions until 2021 but his future is far from certain at Camp Nou, where he has clashed with board members this season.

Morais knows Inter better than most, having served as Jose Mourinho's assistant during the Nerazzurri's treble-winning season in 2009-10.

Asked about the possibility of Messi swapping Barca for Inter, Morais – now head coach of K. League champions Jeonbuk Motors – highlighted the influence of the Argentina international's countryman Zanetti.

"You know what, I think it's possible," Morais, who led Jeonbuk to glory last season, told Stats Perform. "You know the reason why? Because they have Zanetti. Zanetti is like a tractor factor for Argentinian players.

"I think he is capable of attracting a player like Messi if he thinks about a different challenge. I think for an Argentinian player, it's almost to have a feeling like I'm going home, I'm going to Inter.

"My feeling is that Inter are welcoming in a special way and for Argentinian players, probably because of the presence of Zanetti. All of the Argentinians joining Inter are extraordinary players, they brought success to the club. I believe Messi can be one of these players."

While the possibility of Messi gracing the blue half of San Siro has excited fans, the prospect of star forward Lautaro Martinez leaving has dominated headlines.

Martinez has been heavily linked with Barca, who are reportedly determined to sign Messi's international compatriot as a long-term replacement for veteran Luis Suarez.

Also linked to Spanish giants Real Madrid and Premier League powerhouse Manchester City, Martinez had scored 16 goals in 31 games across all competitions before the coronavirus pandemic brought sport to a standstill.

Morais said: "I remember players myself, at certain moments of a career there was a player who decided to go to Barcelona because he thought maybe I could win the Champions League. He was a fantastic player like Zlatan Ibrahimovic. He went to Barca. I believe that it can happen with any other player. But I think as a professional if you want to have a career, Inter are definitely a fantastic club to stay and make a career.

"I don't know what's going on in the head of a player, if a club like Madrid or Barca, with the impact they have, if it is possible to buy a player from Inter – it's possible. I don't know the conditions of the contract, but it can make the deal possible or not possible. If we speak about Neymar, he wants to leave from Paris Saint-Germain but the price is just too high for clubs to pay. It is not easy to leave.

"If the coronavirus situation will help the player, it's about the contract. I believe the situation in Spain is not too different from Italy at the moment. I don't think this will be a factor for the player to say I will leave Italy to go to Spain. It will be about the vision of his future and goals he has in his career. I hope for Inter they will keep Lautaro Martinez because he makes a difference. You need these kinds of players to win the league."

Morais enjoyed great success alongside Mourinho at Inter, winning the Serie A, Champions League and Coppa Italia in 2009-10 but the Italian club have struggled to reach those lofty heights since the Portuguese's departure.

However, Inter – with Steven Zhang and Suning Holdings Group in charge – have made progress, luring former Juventus and Chelsea boss Antonio Conte to Milan, while investing heavily in the likes of Romelu Lukaku, Christian Eriksen, Nicolo Barella, Stefano Sensi, Diego Godin and Ashley Young.

Inter made a fast start to 2019-20 but fell away prior to the COVID-19 crisis, sitting third and nine points adrift of defending champions Juve at the time of Serie A's postponement in March.

"I believe in the club, in the people who are working there. In Italy, I'm Interista. As Interista, there is only one way to think – it's to believe that the club can, in any circumstance, be a competitor for the title," the 54-year-old Morais added.

"With the investment this season, it's possible. It's important to have stability, in terms of organisation, to succeed in the next years. Conte is a good coach. He has been winning titles. He did what he did with Juventus and Chelsea, and hopefully for Inter, he will also make them champions. This is my wish because I want the best for Inter in Italy."

Barcelona head coach Quique Setien talked up Inter forward Lautaro Martinez and said lining up alongside Lionel Messi was a "huge incentive" for players.

Martinez has been heavily linked with a move to the LaLiga giants, who are also reportedly interested in Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

The 22-year-old already plays alongside Messi with Argentina, having scored nine international goals in just 17 appearances.

Asked regularly about Martinez, Setien praised the forward's talent – and said playing alongside Messi could attract transfer targets to Barcelona.

"Lautaro Martinez is a great footballer," Setien told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Messi likes him? We will have to ask him. All good players can attract Barcelona's interest.

"As well as the fact that for many the fact of being able to play with Leo represents a huge incentive."

Martinez had scored 16 goals in 31 games for Inter before this season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ivan Rakitic has declared he would willingly take the risk of catching coronavirus if it ensured Spanish football could resume.

The Barcelona midfielder said it is football's duty to society to "give a feeling of unity that we need so much", with LaLiga having been on hold since mid March.

Barcelona top the table, two points clear of Real Madrid, with 11 rounds of games to be played. It remains unclear whether the 2019-20 competition will resume although there are hopes of a June return to action.

Leagues in France and Holland have been abandoned and Spain's health minister Salvador Illa has cast doubt on whether football in the country can be played in the near future.

Rakitic told Marca that talk around the incentive for returning has centred around economic factors when the focus should be on how football can improve public morale.

He said in the newspaper: "I want to play. It is evident that we must try to return with the best sanitary guarantees but we must also know that they will never be 100 per cent.

"But that same risk will be borne by all workers on their return to work. Supermarket employees also change in dressing rooms and have the same or more possibility of getting it as we do.

"They take that risk and I want to take it too. I think we have that debt and I'm sure if we asked the fans they would love for there to be football."

The Croatian was asked to confirm the assertion that he would risk his own health.

He added: "Without a doubt and I say this from the awareness that the risk will be very small, but also because of the solidarity with those who have been playing for us from the first minute and that they will continue like this for many days."

Rakitic said he hoped football people, like everyone, would be "a little bit more human" after experiencing the coronavirus pandemic.

And he vowed players would be "more plugged in than ever" when games return, stressing they would give everything even if matches must proceed behind closed doors.

Rakitic said: "Lately I have heard many people talk about the problems there would be if we do not play, economic problems, European competitions, calendar, promotions, relegations, but I have not heard anyone talk about people, those people for whom their team is part of their life and they have suddenly had it taken away.

"Socially we must take a step, to be able to entertain people with what they like, so that we all stop thinking about viruses and disease, so that we can return to joking around with our neighbour from the opposite team."

Happy birthday, Marc-Andre ter Stegen – the most decorated goalkeeper in Europe's top-five leagues in recent years.

Barcelona's number one has lifted 14 trophies for club and country (13 for Barca and the Confederations Cup for Germany) since leaving Borussia Monchengladbach for the Blaugrana in 2014. Nobody else can match that.

And yet, Ter Stegen's future is uncertain. His contract expires in 2022 and, with the Catalan giants already in something of an economic uncertainty before the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, it is unclear whether they will be able to agree fresh terms with the player.

Ter Stegen has always appeared happy to stay at Camp Nou, though, and when you look at the numbers, it certainly makes sense for Barca to do their utmost to tie him down.

We've gone through the Opta archives and picked out five key stats relating to his performances in LaLiga and the Champions League, compared to the rest of Spain and Europe. These facts and figures stretch back to May 22, 2014 - the day Ter Stegen signed his first Barca contract to become their player - and only include those keepers to make at least 20 appearances in each competition.

Given he was not the undisputed first choice for the first two years and did not even play a LaLiga match until September 2015, the numbers are firmly on his side...


- Only Jan Oblak (99) has kept more clean sheets than Ter Stegen (58).

- No keeper has made more successful passes (3,453), and only former team-mate Claudio Bravo (82.4 per cent) can beat Ter Stegen for passing accuracy (82.2 per cent)

- No keeper has more assists (two, the same as Ivan Cuellar and Antonio Adan). Indeed, Ter Stegen was the first Barca keeper this century to assist a league goal.

- Only three keepers (Oblak, Cuellar and Sergio Asenjo) have made more saves from shots outside the box than Ter Stegen (156).

- Only three keepers (Alphonse Areola, Oblak and Bravo) have a better goals-conceded-per-game rate than Ter Stegen (0.92).


- No keeper has kept more clean sheets (26) than Ter Stegen or played more matches.

- No keeper has made more saves than Ter Stegen (156). Four of those were from penalties – only Andriy Pyatov can match that tally.

- Only Oblak (66) has saved more from shots from outside the box than Ter Stegen (60).

- No keeper has made more successful passes (1,292) than Ter Stegen. Only Germany rival Manuel Neuer (81.1) has a better passing accuracy (80.9).

- Only Neuer (38) and Ederson (33) have made more accurate keeper sweepings than Ter Stegen (32).

Timo Werner does not have a shortage of suitors.

The RB Leipzig forward and Germany international is reportedly wanted in his homeland, England, Spain and Italy.

However, Werner reportedly only has his eyes on one team in the Premier League.



Timo Werner is not interested in joining Bayern Munich as the RB Leipzig star wants to team up with Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool, according to BILD.

Werner is wanted by Bundesliga champions Bayern, who have targeted the Germany international previously.

But Werner – also linked to Barcelona, Manchester United and Inter – is prioritising a Liverpool transfer.


United have offered Jadon Sancho the famous number seven jersey as they try to prise the Borussia Dortmund sensation to Old Trafford, reports The Mirror. Chelsea, Liverpool and Real Madrid have also been linked to the England international.

- Calciomercato says Juventus and Barca are continuing to negotiate a deal that would see Miralem Pjanic and Arthur swap clubs.

Barca and Manchester City are in advanced talks over a swap deal. SPORT says the two clubs are close to reaching an agreement that would see Nelson Semedo join City, with Joao Cancelo moving in the opposite direction.

Milan are dreaming of signing Brescia star Sandro Tonali, according to Calciomercato. With Lucas Biglia and Giacomo Bonaventura set to leave, the Rossoneri are eyeing Tonali – who has been linked to the likes of Barca, United, City, Juve and Inter. Rennes midfielder and Madrid target Eduardo Camavinga and Arsenal's Lucas Torreira are also on the list.

- Will Lautaro Martinez make the move to Barca? SportMediaset claims Inter want €90million plus two players – Arturo Vidal permanently and Antoine Griezmann on loan.

Sergio Aguero believes Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi will retire at Camp Nou as he "loves" the LaLiga champions.

Messi's future has dominated headlines following a public row with sporting director Eric Abidal prior to the 2019-20 season being suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner – contracted until 2021 – has cut a frustrated figure at times this term after on- and off-field issues at the club.

But Manchester City forward and Argentina team-mate Aguero feels the 32-year-old will see out his career with Barca.

"Leo is a player who is already a symbol and legend of Barcelona, but things happen in football," Aguero told El Chiringuito TV.

"Many players have changed for Leo and he stayed at Barcelona. He loves the club, he identifies with Barcelona, he is comfortable and happy.

"No matter how many things happen, he will continue. Unless something catastrophic happens."

Messi had scored 19 LaLiga goals and 24 across all competitions for LaLiga leaders Barca prior to the campaign coming to a halt.

Barca were two points clear of bitter rivals Real Madrid through 27 matches at the time of postponement last month.

Lionel Messi will "have no trouble" signing a contract extension at Barcelona, according to the club's former president Joan Laporta.

Messi's future at Camp Nou has been a talking point amid turmoil at Barcelona, where the star is contracted until 2021.

The Argentina international can leave the LaLiga giants for free at the end of any season, sparking even further speculation over his future.

But former Barca president Laporta, who is expected to run again next year, said it would be easy for Messi to re-sign.

"[Messi] will have no trouble renewing his contract," he told Deportes Cuatro on Wednesday.

A player linked with a reunion with Messi at Barcelona is Neymar, who left the club for Paris Saint-Germain in 2017.

Laporta said he would bring the Brazil international back to Camp Nou, where he starred for four seasons before his departure.

"They were not clear with him," he said.

"I would bring him back for sure."

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe said "everybody is talking but nobody knows" amid growing links to Real Madrid.

The 2019-20 Ligue 1 season has been cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic but Mbappe's future continues to dominate headlines.

Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for Mbappe, who is highly coveted at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Mbappe – who is contracted to PSG until 2022 but yet to sign a new deal – appeared to post a tweet in favour of the French champions on Wednesday.

"Everyone is talking, but nobody knows… MISS MY TEAM… @PSG_Inside," Mbappe wrote via Twitter.

Prior to coronavirus halting Ligue 1 and sport across the world, Mbappe had scored 18 league goals and 30 across all competitions for PSG in 2019-20.

The 21-year-old has added to his haul of honours since swapping Monaco for PSG in 2017 – initially on loan – winning two Ligue 1 titles and the Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophee des Champions.

Barcelona midfielder Arthur has no interest in a move to Juventus and is desperate to stay at Camp Nou "for many years".

Reports in Spain have suggested Juve are ready to try to bring the Brazil international to Turin, possibly as a replacement for Miralem Pjanic, whose future appears unclear.

Mundo Deportivo claimed on Monday that Barca have given permission for Juve to speak to Arthur as the Serie A leaders can offer contract terms well beyond the means of the Blaugrana, whose players have already agreed to a 70 per cent pay cut during the coronavirus pandemic.

However, Arthur, who joined the LaLiga champions from Gremio in 2018 in a deal potentially worth €39million, sees his future in Catalonia.

In a statement sent to Mundo Deportivo, he said: "There will always be speculation but, sincerely, my idea is very clear. The only option that interests me is to continue at Barcelona.

"I'm very secure and relaxed. I feel really well here and, plus, I'm grateful to the club and technical staff for their confidence. This is yet another reason to be totally clear that my only desire is to continue.

"The supposed interest of great clubs is always a compliment for anyone and a positive sign, but my mind is only on playing here for many years.

"Barca is where I have always wanted to be and I want to be Blaugrana for a long time, beyond any other question. Every day, I feel more comfortable and well here, in the team, at the club and in the city. Also, I love both the people and the culture here [and] I feel a lot of support from the fans.

"I'm concentrating 100 per cent on working and coming back to play when possible because I'm really eager to keep improving here and to fight for more trophies."

Arthur, 23, has made 23 appearances in all competitions for Barca this season despite problems with injuries.

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