Jose Mourinho is targeting a return to management and wants his next job to be in one of Europe's top five leagues.

The former Chelsea, Real Madrid and Inter boss has been waiting for the right opportunity since being sacked by Manchester United in December.

Guangzhou Evergrande reportedly tried to tempt him to China with a lucrative offer earlier this month.

But the 56-year-old, who is learning German, insists his focus is on getting back to the pinnacle.

Mourinho has won titles in the Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga but is yet to work in either Ligue 1 or the Bundesliga.

"The most difficult thing for me is to say no to the possibilities I have to work," Mourinho told Sky Sports.

"I have to be patient and wait for the right one, and the right one is at the dimension of what I am as a manager.

"I have to be patient and that's the most difficult thing. I have the impulse so many times but... I have to wait for exactly the right one.

"If you tell me a club in another country [wants] to fight to be champions, to build something special, to bring that club in that country to a different level, maybe [I would be interested]. Who knows? But my focus is on the biggest ones.

"Why do I say no [to offers]? Because the level of challenge that I want has not arrived. But with all the respect for the clubs and the possibilities I have, I think I want the right to choose."

Though determined not to rush any decision, Mourinho admitted to growing tired of being out of the game.

"My friends tell me to enjoy your time, to enjoy your July, August that you never have," he said.

"Honestly, I can't enjoy it. I'm not happy enough to enjoy it. I have the fire."

Cristiano Ronaldo expects friend and Barcelona target Neymar to stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

The Brazil forward has been at the centre of transfer rumours since telling Thomas Tuchel he wanted to leave PSG prior to the Copa America.

LaLiga champions Barca have reportedly offered €100m plus two first-team members in an attempt to re-sign the 27-year-old two years after his departure for France.

Real Madrid, Ronaldo's former employers, and his current club Juventus have also been mentioned as possible destinations.

Yet the Portugal legend believes Neymar is most likely to remain at Parc des Princes.

Ronaldo told Marca: "I don't know. He's a great player and I get along with him very well. There is a lot of talk about him, for Madrid, Barca, Juve.

"It is the job of the press, because you have to sell papers, but I think he will stay in Paris and, if not, look for where he is happy and where he can express his football.

"I hope he will avoid injuries, because he has had a lot of them and that must worry him.

"I worry because I like to see the boy playing. Regardless of where he plays, [it is important he] takes care of himself and has no injuries. That's what I want for him."

Ronaldo left LaLiga 12 months after Neymar to join Serie A giants Juve.

The 34-year-old is now heading into his second season in Turin and first under new boss Maurizio Sarri, who has promised to afford the talismanic attacker freedom to roam the pitch.

Ronaldo, though, insists that he will not neglect his defensive duties as the Bianconeri chase silverware at home and in the Champions League.

"I will do the same thing I did in Madrid or in my first year at Juve or for Portugal: I will defend and close spaces," he said

"I'll be an attacker with freedom but I have to work defensively because only with everyone involved can a team win important things."

James Rodriguez's agent Jorge Mendes does not know what the future holds for the Real Madrid playmaker, though he just wants the best for the player and LaLiga club.

Linked to Atletico Madrid and Napoli, James took part in Madrid's 2019-20 pre-season training for the first time on Monday.

LaLiga rivals Atletico and Serie A side Napoli are reportedly vying for James' signature after the Colombia star spent the past two seasons on loan with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich.

Asked about James' future, Mendes told Marca: "You'll have to ask the president [Florentino Perez] who is here next to me.

"I just want the best for the player and the best for the club."

James – who represented Colombia at the Copa America in June – scored seven league goals in each of his two seasons at Bayern.

The 28-year-old finished with 15 goals for Bayern, who opted against making his stay permanent in Bavaria.

Cristiano Ronaldo said he "hopes to return to Madrid soon" after the Juventus superstar received the prestigious Marca Leyenda award.

Ronaldo was honoured in Madrid, where the five-time Ballon d'Or winner was awarded the accolade "for his successful career as a professional footballer and for the standing he has attained across the world."

The 34-year-old enjoyed incredible success during his time with Madrid before joining Juve in 2018-19, becoming the Spanish club's all-time leading scorer with 450 goals in 438 appearances.

Ronaldo also won four Champions League titles and two LaLiga trophies among other honours at the Santiago Bernabeu.

After receiving the Marca Leyenda, former Manchester United forward Ronaldo told reporters at the awards ceremony: "I felt sorry when I left Real Madrid.

"I miss both [Manchester and Madrid] but because of life's circumstances I have lived more years in Madrid, my children and my girl were born here, so I miss Madrid more.

"This trophy will be in a very nice place in my museum. Madrid is special, I travel a lot but there are few cities like Madrid.

"Much of this award is derived from what I did in Madrid. It is a Spanish trophy and leaves me very honoured. Thanks to all those who have helped me to achieve it. It is a pride for me. And I hope to return to Madrid soon."

Ronaldo made a seamless transition from Madrid to Juve, helping the Italian giants to their eighth successive Serie A crown in 2018-19.

The veteran scored 28 goals in all competitions last season, 21 of those coming in the league.

Antoine Griezmann will quickly prove to be a "very important player" at Barcelona, according to ex-team-mate and former Real Madrid man Asier Illarramendi.

Griezmann, who played with Illarramendi at Real Sociedad, has left Atletico Madrid after five years in the capital to join Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez at Camp Nou.

The World Cup winner is the latest big-money Barca recruit since Neymar's sale to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, with Ousmane Dembele and Philippe Coutinho - each bought for over €100million - failing to sparkle so far.

But Illarramendi does not see Griezmann having any issues fitting in with the Blaugrana after his work rate was honed by Atleti coach Diego Simeone.

"I think Griezmann has already shown what a good player he is," Illarramendi told Omnisport. "It is clear that he will contribute a lot to Barca.

"He works well, as we've already seen with Cholo [Simeone], as well as scoring goals, and I think he will be a very important player for Barca."

At Real Sociedad this season Illarramendi is set to link up with Martin Odegaard, another midfielder who struggled to have an impact for Madrid.

Odegaard became Madrid's youngest ever player in LaLiga when he featured at 16 in 2015 but he has yet to kick on, with a loan move to La Real hoped to provide a platform.

Illarramendi said of the 20-year-old: "I met him four years ago - I think he was 16 at the time - he was young and I was young, too. You could see he had good manners and he was a high quality player.

"Now four years have passed, he has already competed in the Dutch league.

"Even though we haven't played many games, you can see with the ball that he's a guy who has a lot of quality; without the ball, he also works very well.

"He has commitment, he works very well and I believe it'll be a good year for him."

Gareth Bale has been left out of Real Madrid's Audi Cup squad following the collapse of his move to the Chinese Super League.

The Wales international looked set to join Jiangsu Suning after his relationship with coach Zinedine Zidane appeared to have broken beyond repair.

That deal fell through on Sunday, however, with Madrid's board reportedly unhappy at the lack of transfer fee involved, while some outlets suggested Bale pulled out over family concerns regarding the move to China. 

Bale was in pre-season training with Madrid on Monday but worked away from the rest of the squad, while agent Jonathan Barnett confirmed he is likely to remain at the club for the 2019-20 campaign.

Zidane has left him out of the squad for the tournament in Munich, though, which means a reunion with former club – and potential suitors – Tottenham on Tuesday has been scuppered.

There is no place in the squad for Thibaut Courtois either, with Los Blancos confirming he has suffered a grade two ankle sprain.

Belgium international Courtois played the first half of his side's 7-3 International Champions Cup thumping by city rivals Atletico Madrid on Friday.

He was replaced at half-time by Keylor Navas, who was Courtois' understudy for much of last season, having previously helped the club to win three consecutive Champions League titles.

The Costa Rica international only made 10 LaLiga starts for the club in the 2018-19 campaign, but with no timescale put on Courtois' return he will hope to stake a permanent claim for the number one spot.

Eder Militao, Casemiro and James Rodriguez also miss the trip to Munich having begun their pre-season preparations on Monday.

Gareth Bale is likely to remain at Real Madrid for the 2019-20 season, according to his agent.

The Wales international was reportedly on the brink of signing a lucrative deal with Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning after falling out of favour under Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

That deal fell through on Sunday, though, with Madrid's board reported to be unhappy at the lack of transfer fee involved in the deal, while other outlets claimed Bale pulled out over family concerns regarding the move to China. 

Bale was in pre-season training with Madrid on Monday, but worked away from the rest of the squad.

Speaking to Omnisport on Monday, Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett indicated the 30-year-old could remain with the LaLiga giants as there are no other offers on the table. 

When asked if Bale would remain at Madrid, Barnett said: "Yes."

And when probed whether there were any other potential moves for the four-time Champions League winner, Barnett responded: "I don't think so."

Bale scored eight goals in 29 LaLiga appearances for Los Blancos in 2018-19 – his second-lowest goal return since joining the club from Tottenham six years ago.

He has three years left on his contract at Madrid and featured in pre-season matches against Arsenal and Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup, the latter a 7-3 defeat.

Joao Felix says one conversation with Diego Simeone was enough to convince him to sign for Atletico Madrid.

The 19-year-old joined the LaLiga side in a blockbuster €126million deal earlier this month from Benfica and has made an immediate impression.

He scored his first goal for the club in their thrilling 7-3 International Champions Cup win over neighbours Real Madrid on Saturday and added two assists in a dazzling display.

Some of Europe's heavyweights were linked with the Portugal international but Joao Felix says the lure of playing for Simeone was enough to convince him to move to the Wanda Metropolitano.

When asked why he joined Atletico, he told AS: "Because it's a big club and because they work really well to develop players.

"It was also because of Simeone, who works well with strikers and that helped me with the decision."

Asked if he spoke to Simeone before he signed, Joao Felix added: "Just once and that was enough. He told me that I can learn a lot, I can grow and other things that will stay between us."

Real Madrid could scarcely handle Joao Felix during the friendly thumping in New Jersey, a game the teenager has described as a "dream".

He added: "It was a dream, really good, and I was really happy. It was my first derby and to do what I did isn't easy.

"I am happy with that and it ended better than I hoped. I never imagined it like that but I'm happy that we won. But it was a pre-season game and it serves as work for the team."

Diego Forlan believes that Atletico Madrid are on the right path to finally winning the Champions League one day and thinks that they can now be considered one of Europe's most feared clubs.

The Uruguayan, 40, played for the Rojiblancos for four years, and has been impressed with the work that Diego Simeone has carried out since taking the helm in 2011.

Atletico have reached two Champions League finals under Simeone only to lose both games to cross-city rivals Real Madrid, in extra time in 2014 and on penalties two years later.

"They came very close twice," Forlan told Marca.

"Once leading until the 93rd minute and losing the other on penalties.

"They're on the right track but everyone prepares themselves to win the Champions League.

"Nobody wants to cross Atletico because of what they've achieved. They've earned respect."

Atleti have undergone a squad overhaul in the off-season, bringing in the likes of Kieran Trippier, Marcos Alonso and record signing Joao Felix.

And it is the potential of the 19-year-old that has caught Forlan's eye.

"I saw him at Benfica and he did spectacular things," Forlan said of Joao Felix.

"He's a different player and he's lucky to now be part of a hard-working and humble team."

James Rodriguez's hopes for another chance at Real Madrid have been boosted after he took part in the club's 2019-20 pre-season training for the first time on Tuesday.

After spending the past two seasons on loan in the Bundesliga with Bayern Munich, James had looked set for a permanent departure from the LaLiga giants during the off-season, with Napoli and Atletico Madrid heavily linked with moves for the 28-year-old.

Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti has been open about his desire to sign James, with whom he has worked during previous spells in charge of both Bayern and Madrid.

However, a long-term injury to Marco Asensio and a thumping 7-3 friendly defeat to Atleti on Saturday appear to have convinced Zinedine Zidane to keep the Colombia international at Madrid.

James missed Los Blancos' tour of the United States after featuring at the Copa America but played a full part in training, while Gareth Bale worked separately from his team-mates.

The Wales international's proposed move to Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning collapsed on Sunday and he now looks set to stay in Madrid, unless a deal can be done elsewhere.

Madrid also confirmed striker Luka Jovic trained indoors after his collision with Jan Oblak during the defeat to their city rivals.

The 21-year-old, who has joined from Eintracht Frankfurt, was forced off after 30 minutes but has seemingly not sustained any lasting damage.

New left-back Ferland Mendy and Brahim Diaz were Madrid's other injury absentees along with Asensio, who is expected to miss much of the coming campaign having ruptured his knee ligaments.

Gareth Bale trained separately from his Real Madrid team-mates despite featuring in promotional material for the club's new third kit the day after his proposed move to China collapsed.

The Wales winger "worked inside", Madrid said, as Zinedine Zidane's men hit the track on Monday following their return from a turbulent pre-season trip to the United States.

Bale's relationship with Los Blancos boss Zidane plummeted during the tour and he appeared set to leave the club to take up a lucrative offer at Jiangsu Suning.

But board members at the LaLiga giants reportedly blocked his departure due to their demand for a transfer fee and the deal fell through on Sunday.

Though Bale's status at the Santiago Bernabeu seems to have reached a nadir, the four-time Champions League winner modelled Madrid's new "deep green" third shirt in imagery released by the club.

Whether he will get the chance to wear the new kit during a match remains to be seen.

Jiangsu, however, appear to have completely shut the door to the former Tottenham winger.

Since failing to land Bale, the Chinese Super League (CSL) side have announced the signing of Croatian striker Ivan Santini, who becomes the fifth foreign player on their books.

CSL clubs are only permitted to register four non-Chinese players, meaning one of Alex Teixeira, Eder, Gabriel Paletta will likely make way, with reports suggesting the latter will depart.

Brazil international Miranda joined from Inter last week with the CSL's transfer window set to close on Wednesday.

Paris Saint-Germain should not keep Neymar if he wants to leave the club, says team-mate Marco Verratti.

The Brazil superstar has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, two years after he joined PSG in a €222million deal, with sporting director Leonardo confirming Neymar wants to leave.

Barca have reportedly offered €100m and two of Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, Nelson Semedo, Ivan Rakitic and Malcom in exchange.

And Verratti – who came close to joining Barca two years ago – thinks it would be detrimental to PSG if they were to deny Neymar a move.

"I think that if a player wants to leave, in the end he will always find a way to go" he told RMC Sport.

"And it's better like that, otherwise the club will keep someone who does not want [to be there], who will be against the club.

"When a player really wants to leave, the club must let him go, depending on the conditions set by the club, of course. But do not hold back a player who wants to leave."

Leonardo has said the price must be right for Neymar to leave but Verratti hopes the 27-year-old remains in the French capital.

"Of course, I would be disappointed to see him go," he added. "He's a great player. 

"I've never heard him say he wanted to leave but personally, of course, I would prefer to see him stay."

Verratti's agent Donato Di Campli described the midfielder as a "prisoner" at PSG two years ago when he was being strongly linked with Barcelona.

Instead of leaving, Verratti pledged his future to the Ligue 1 champions after receiving reassurances about their ambitions, a decision he does not regret.

"At the time, I needed explanations from PSG," he explained. "I saw things that did not seem to me to be worthy of a club that wants to win major competitions.

"I did not agree with some things, but we talked to each other and I stayed. I'm glad I made that choice."

Neymar has yet to feature for PSG in pre-season and will miss their final warm-up game, against A-League outfit Sydney FC in Suzhou on Tuesday.

The contract still needs signing but Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is poised to make the biggest move of his career… if you believe reports.

Linked with Europe's biggest clubs last season, Lazio star Milinkovic-Savic is once again in demand heading into 2019-20.

And the Serbia international's future is reportedly already decided.

 

TOP STORY – MILINKOVIC-SAVIC GIVES UNITED HIS WORD

Lazio midfielder Milinkovic-Savic has a verbal agreement to join Manchester United, according to the Daily Mail.

With Paul Pogba's future at Old Trafford uncertain amid links to Real Madrid, Milinkovic-Savic has emerged as a transfer target for the Red Devils.

And Serbia international Milinkovic-Savic – who is reportedly rated at £80million – has agreed in principal to make the switch to Manchester as the world waits on Pogba's next move.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Old Trafford and Manchester United are closing in on Sporting CP captain Bruno Fernandes. SPORT claims United are readying a £63m (€70m) offer for the 24-year-old Portugal midfielder. It comes after the Red Devils tried to continue their Portuguese pursuit with a move for Benfica defender Ruben Dias as an alternative to Leicester City star Harry Maguire but the club were unsuccessful, according to O Jogo.

- According to RMC, Nicolas Pepe to Arsenal is not a done deal. Lille star Pepe has been tipped to join the Gunners, however, Liverpool and Inter are reportedly still in the running to sign the Ivory Coast international.

Juventus are in pole position to sign Manchester United's Romelu Lukaku ahead of Serie A rivals Inter. That is according to Tuttosport, who say the possibility of a swap deal involving Paulo Dybala has put Juve at the front of the queue. Dybala is also wanted by Tottenham.

- Marca reports Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen is interested in a move to Juventus. The Spanish newspaper says Eriksen – who has no intention of re-signing with Spurs – also likes Manchester United and Atletico Madrid, having been previously linked to Real Madrid.

- Everton midfielder Idrissa Gueye is set to undergo a medical with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain on Monday ahead of his €32m (£28.7m) transfer, reports the Guardian. Everton, meanwhile, reportedly had a £52m bid for Wilfried Zaha rejected by Premier League rivals Crystal Palace.

- According to Turkish newspaper Star, Besiktas will make another attempt to sign Manchester City defender Eliaquim Mangala. The Frenchman has struggled to make an impact since arriving in 2014.

- Chinese Super League side Jiangsu Suning are unwilling to pay the transfer fee that Real Madrid are demanding for Gareth Bale, according to Marca. Bale was reportedly set for China but that move appears off… for now.

Atletico Madrid are growing pessimistic in their pursuit of Real Madrid's James Rodriguez. Atletico have emerged as frontrunners for James ahead of Napoli, however, negotiations with Madrid are proving difficult, reports Marca.

Gareth Bale's transfer from Real Madrid to Chinese Super League club Jiangsu Suning has fallen through, Omnisport understands.

The Wales international was reportedly on the brink of signing a deal that would have seen him earn £1million per week after falling out of favour under Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane.

The transfer would have brought Bale's spell at the LaLiga club to an end after six trophy-laden years, but he now looks set to stay in Madrid unless a deal can be done elsewhere.

Bale has helped Madrid to a LaLiga title, the Copa del Rey and four Champions League crowns since his then-world record €100.8M (£90.7m) transfer from Tottenham in August 2013, as well as three UEFA Super Cups.

The 30-year-old scored eight goals in 29 LaLiga appearances for Los Blancos in 2018-19 – his second-lowest goal return since joining the club.

His struggles for form and fitness across the course of a torrid campaign for the club led Zidane to claim a transfer would be "best for everyone", while Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett dubbed the Frenchman "a disgrace" for his handling of the situation.

Bale has three years left on his contract at Madrid and he featured in the club's pre-season matches against Arsenal and Atletico Madrid in the International Champions Cup.

Barnett ruled out the possibility of a loan switch for Bale, who has been linked with Manchester United, Inter, Bayern Munich and former club Tottenham since it became clear he was available.

An injury to Marco Asensio may have given Zidane reason to reconsider his stance, the 22-year-old likely to miss up to nine months while he recovers from a cruciate ligament injury.

Should Bale stay at Madrid, he will compete for places with new signings Eden Hazard and Luka Jovic as well as team-mates Karim Benzema, Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Mariano Diaz.

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