Javier Tebas said the return of LaLiga owed everything to a united effort to bring back football, after Spain's prime minister Pedro Sanchez gave the green light.

The Spanish government has said it will support the resumption of matches from the week beginning June 8.

LaLiga had targeted June 12 for its first games since the coronavirus crisis caused the season to be suspended in March.

Now all efforts can be directed towards making that happen, with games to be played behind closed doors.

LaLiga president Tebas wrote on Twitter: "We are very pleased with the decision, it's the result of great work by clubs, players, coaches... CSD [National Sports Council], agents, etc.

"But it's very important to follow the health regulations and to respect the evolution of the pandemic, we can't lower our guard."

Barcelona lead Real Madrid by two points in the battle for the title, with all teams having 11 matches remaining.

The LaLiga season can resume in the week commencing June 8, Spanish prime minister Pedro Sanchez has announced.

Sanchez made his declaration as he addressed a range of coronavirus issues on Saturday.

LaLiga officials have been looking to Friday, June 12 as the date on which they want the league to return, and they can now push towards that target.

Sanchez said: "Spain has done what it should and now new horizons are opening for everyone. The time has come to resume many daily activities. From June 8, LaLiga will return to football."

Clubs have returned to training, although social distancing rules have been followed and full group sessions have not yet been able to take place.

Matches will have to be played behind closed doors, but Sanchez's announcement should allow the 2019-20 season to play to a completion.

When the league was suspended in March, Barcelona held a two-point lead over Real Madrid at the top of the table, with every team having 11 games still to play.

LaLiga president Javier Tebas said earlier this week he was "excited" about the prospect of matches returning. He stressed they could only proceed with clearance from health authorities, but the go-ahead from Sanchez means Spanish football will soon be up and running once more.

Until now, players have only been allowed to train in groups of 10 or fewer.

Reports on Thursday said LaLiga would restart on June 12 with a derby clash between Real Betis and Sevilla.

Mauro Icardi seemingly has no future at Inter.

But Icardi is wanted in Paris, where the Argentina international has spent the 2019-20 season on loan.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly looking to sign Icardi permanently.

 

TOP STORY – PSG LODGE ICARDI BID

Paris Saint-Germain have offered Inter €50million to secure loanee Mauro Icardi on a permanent basis, according to Sky Sports.

Out of favour at Serie A outfit Inter, the forward was loaned to Ligue 1 champions PSG at the start of the season.

Icardi's loan deal included a €70m purchase option but PSG are determined to negotiate, with Juventus reportedly interested.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo reports Barcelona full-back Nelson Semedo is prioritising a move to Manchester City. Semedo has been linked with a switch to City – a transfer which would see Joao Cancelo swap clubs. Juve are also reportedly eyeing Semedo but the Portugal international wants to leave Camp Nou for the Premier League.

Lucas Hernandez to Newcastle United? Bild says the Premier League outfit are considering a move for the Bayern Munich defender ahead of their proposed takeover.

- According to ESPN, Bayern are eyeing Manchester United target and Borussia Dortmund sensation Jadon Sancho. The England international has also been linked to Liverpool, Chelsea, Real Madrid and Barca.

Juve, Chelsea, City and Bayern are interested in Barca goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, says Sport. However, the German is poised to sign a contract renewal with the LaLiga holders.

- Calciomercato claims Milan are moving closer to signing Marseille's 20-year-old defender Boubacar Kamara.

- Everton and Newcastle are both tracking Napoli forward Hirving Lozano, according to Corriere dello Sport. The Mexico international only arrived from PSV at the start of the season.

Inter remain interested in Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa, says Calciomercato. While Brescia's Sandro Tonali is at the top of the list for Inter, Chiesa has not been forgotten about in Milan.

Vinicius Junior said Real Madrid want to win LaLiga for their fans following the coronavirus pandemic.

LaLiga has been suspended since March due to the COVID-19 crisis, though the league is hoping to resume in June.

Madrid were two points behind defending champions and bitter rivals Barcelona through 27 matches at the time of postponement.

Coronavirus has wreaked havoc in Spain and across the globe, and Madrid star Vinicius wants to give Los Blancos supporters something to smile about.

"I've watched the games again and I think so. I think we were better than them in more aspects," Vinicius told Marca when asked if he thought Madrid were better than Barca in their two LaLiga meetings this season.

"We've had very good games until now and we have to recover our best form. We're really hungry to come back, to win, and we want to win this league title for our fans. People have suffered a lot and we want to give Real Madrid fans something to cheer about in this situation.

"We know that winning the league isn't going to be a solution for big tragedies, but it would be something to smile about, something to be happy about."

There were 11 matches remaining in the 2019-20 season and Vinicius added: "The result against [Real] Betis [2-1 loss was a great shame. Now, we have a mission we can't fail. We can't fail and we're not going to fail."

"We may have only returned [to training] 11 days ago, but everyone's rhythm looks good," he continued. "We've still got lots of group work to do because we can't do it yet, but all my team-mates are very strong and very well. There's still quite a bit of work left to do, but we're feeling good."

Madrid had also lost 2-1 to Manchester City at the Santiago Bernabeu in the opening leg of their Champions League last-16 tie before the season came to a halt.

The Champions League could return in August and Brazilian forward Vinicius said: "If the Champions League returns, it will be great news not only for football, but for the world. Being able to play games in other countries will be a very positive sign because we'll be closer to normality.

"The result of the first leg [against Manchester City] was bad, but we're Real Madrid. Our obligation is to prepare ourselves well and, if this game comes, when everything is over, every Real Madrid fan can say: they gave everything, we're proud."

Barcelona boss Quique Setien said he would "love" to coach Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar at Camp Nou.

Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222million transfer in 2017, but the Brazilian forward continues to be linked with a return.

The 28-year-old failed to make his way back to Barca at the start of the 2019-20 season and he is reportedly a transfer target again.

"Without doubt, I would love to be able to coach Neymar one day," Barca head coach Setien told beIN SPORTS.

"Absolutely. He is a player who is at an exceptional level, nobody can place that in doubt.

"I have already fulfilled the dream of coaching the best in the world, which is Leo [Messi]. As for those who could come in, we'll have to see, but I would be delighted."

Since swapping Barca for PSG, Neymar has won three successive Ligue 1 titles, to go with Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophee des Champions honours.

Neymar scored 13 league goals before Ligue 1 was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and PSG were eventually declared champions.

The former Barca forward is not the only player being linked with the Spanish giants.

Inter forward Lautaro Martinez has been tipped to join Barca, while Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic is reportedly wanted at Camp Nou.

"We all know that there are perhaps four of five strikers capable of playing in this role and he is one of these," Setien said when asked about Martinez.

On Pjanic, Setien added: "I've always stated that I like great players and he is a fine talent. This is true of many that are linked to the club via the press."

Aritz Aduriz said his farewell inside an eerily quiet San Mames stadium was more than he deserved at the end of a storied career.

The 39-year-old announced his retirement this week after 20 years playing mostly in LaLiga with Athletic Bilbao, for whom he scored 118 league goals.

The Spain international striker was given a special send-off on the Athletic home pitch on Friday, with team-mates giving him and his family a guard of honour as he took one more walk on the turf.

A celebration of his career would likely have seen the stands packed with supporters were it not for health protocols during the coronavirus pandemic making such an occasion impossible.

Aduriz, though, thinks he has already received more than enough recognition.

"This is more than I think I deserve," he said. "I think I've had a load of tributes. I've enjoyed it so much here. I don't feel they have to say goodbye to me.

"I've had so much fun that this is more than I ever imagined.

"Athletic are special, different. Above all, there's a crazy human level that makes it like a gang competing against the rest of the world. That makes us different."

Aduriz chose to retire after doctors advised he needs hip replacement surgery, with the weeks during Spain's strict lockdown showing him the time was right to stop.

It had been hoped his final match would be in the Copa del Rey final against Basque rivals Real Sociedad, but Aduriz does not believe he would have been of much use to his side even if he tried to play.

"I'd been fighting for some time," he said. "After this lockdown, that was the end.

"The body has a limit and the hip made that fight unbalanced. These two months at home have been very difficult for the hip.

"The team is better off without me being there. I couldn't be there in these conditions."

Aduriz confirmed his retirement via a dignified social media post in which he told fans his goodbye was "just an anecdote" amid the trauma of the COVID-19 crisis.

He was similarly reluctant to feel downcast on Friday as he reflected on a career he never thought possible.

"It's a very beautiful day for me. It's not sad at all," he said. "I would never have imagined such a long and beautiful journey, from start to finish. It's a day to be happy and thankful, although it's not easy speaking in the middle of San Mames with so much silence!

"The hardest thing won't be not playing in these remaining 11 games [of the league season], nor in that much-loved and sought-after cup final. The hardest thing will be not being with this squad anymore. I'll miss you all so much. Thank you all for this journey. It's been wonderful, unforgettable.

"I liked football, but it was unthinkable that I'd get to play a game for Athletic. If I've reached this point in my life, aged 39, it's because I've done what I liked the most. I've had a great time."

Jose Mourinho suggested he might not have left Inter for Real Madrid had he travelled back with the Nerazzurri following their Champions League triumph at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Mourinho guided Inter to the treble in the 2009-10 season, making them the first Italian team to achieve the feat. 

It was completed with a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich at the home of Madrid, with whom Mourinho had an agreement in place to take over as their new coach.

Following Inter's celebrations in the stadium, Mourinho did not immediately make the journey back to Milan and, in an interview with The Athletic, explained his reasons for that decision.

Mourinho, who shared a tearful embrace with defender Marco Materazzi before the team left the Bernabeu, said: "When I had these last words with him [Materazzi], it was like I was hugging every player which is something I tried not to do.

"I was on the pitch with them in the celebrations, in the medals, in the cup. I was with them but then I didn't go back to the dressing room because I didn't want to say goodbye.

"It was too hard for me and I didn't want to leave with them to Milan because people were saying I had a contract with Real Madrid. It was not true. I had an agreement, but I did not have a contract signed.

"I really wanted to go to Real Madrid at that time. I really wanted to try to win the Spanish league after the English and Italian leagues. But I feared that if I go back to Milan with the team and, with the reaction of the players and the fans, I was afraid of not being able to leave. I can say that I ran away. I ran away from them.

"A few days later, I signed with Real Madrid and then I could go back to Milan and I could meet the president and have dinner with [owner Massimo] Moratti and his family."

Mourinho's Inter overcame Barcelona in the semi-final, surviving 72 minutes with 10 men in the second leg at Camp Nou after Thiago Motta was sent off.

Inter lost 1-0 but claimed a 3-2 aggregate victory, with Mourinho sprinting across the pitch to celebrate at full-time.

Barcelona goalkeeper Victor Valdes reacted angrily to the celebrations, but Mourinho - despite a heated rivalry with Barca during his time at Madrid - bears the Blaugrana no ill will.

"The game finished, everybody reacted in different ways. We had people crying. We had people on their knees. We had people completely exhausted on the floor," he added.

"We had people running around and I ran to our supporters because I know how much it meant to them.

"Then, when we were enjoying [ourselves], they [Barcelona] didn't react in the best way which doesn't reflect the dimension of the club, a club where I was so happy in the period I worked there, a club that I know is a super-class club.

"But sometimes when we are disappointed we can have these emotional reactions. It's no problem at all, though, just a nice memory"

Carlo Ancelotti says coaching Zinedine Zidane at Juventus changed his ideas on how to play football.

Ancelotti was in charge of the Bianconeri from 1999 to 2001 but was unable to deliver silverware beyond the Intertoto Cup despite boasting a talented squad that included Zidane, Alessandro Del Piero, Edgar Davids and Filippo Inzaghi.

However, his time with the 1998 Ballon d'Or winner helped to shape his coaching style for the remainder of a hugely successful career.

"Zidane is the first player who gave me the possibility to change the system and play in a different way," Ancelotti, now Everton boss, told Sky Sports.

"So, when I had Zidane, in the first year at Juventus, I played with a system of 3-4-1-2, having Del Piero and Inzaghi up front and Zidane a little bit behind. The second year, I played with a back four but keeping two strikers in front and one number 10, like Zidane.

"Zidane changed my idea about football. I was so focused before Juventus on 4-4-2 and after with Zidane, I changed, I wanted to put him in the best position for him, to let him be more comfortable on the pitch.

"The experience at Juventus was good in my opinion because I understood really well how the club has to work for the manager, so the club gave to me a lot of support in this. It doesn't matter if they fired me at the end of the second year, until the last day in Juventus, I understood how the club has to work for the manager, to support them, to help them in front of the players, to give the manager the power that he needs to manage the players."

Zidane went on to become Ancelotti's assistant at Real Madrid, where they ended Los Blancos' 12-year wait to be crowned champions of Europe by defeating Atletico Madrid after extra time in the 2014 Champions League final.

Ancelotti's time in Turin helped to him deliver success at the Santiago Bernabeu and learn how best to utilise the abilities of Cristiano Ronaldo and now club captain Sergio Ramos.

"The team had some problems in the past years when I arrived there," he said. "The fact that they were not able to win the Champions League for 12 years was like an obsession for them because Real Madrid was used to winning a lot of Champions Leagues.

"You don't have to build a team around Cristiano Ronaldo and as I said with Zidane, you have to put them in the more comfortable way on the pitch. I don't think you have to build strict tactics with this player defensively because there are players who are more involved in the attacking phase and there are players who have to be involved more in the defensive phase.

"Of course, they have to work together because the team is the most important part of the game, but strikers like Ronaldo who are able to score every single game, you don't have to give too much information defensively.

"It is the easiest way to be a manager, to manage a fantastic player because they are professional, they are serious, they have personality, they are motivated, so it is the easiest way.

"Sergio Ramos also has a fantastic quality. I think his best quality he has is not tactically, it's not technically, it's character and the personality that he has and the ability he has to motivate the people around him, like his team-mates. Ramos during that period was important for this, he was always at the top when the game was important and in the key moment of the games."

A decade ago, Diego Milito scored twice as Inter defeated Bayern Munich 2-0 in the Champions League final to achieve what no other Italian team had managed before.

The Nerazzurri's night of triumph at Real Madrid's Santiago Bernabeu saw Jose Mourinho's side complete a Serie A, Coppa Italia and Champions League treble.

It was a crowning moment in the distuinguished coaching career of Mourinho, who signed off in style before becoming a more regular visitor to the Bernabeu.

But was the 2009-10 treble-winning Inter side the best Mourinho team ever?

With the help of Opta, we have assessed Mourinho's best league seasons from spells at Chelsea, Real Madrid and Manchester United to try and answer the question.


CHELSEA 2004-05

Trophies won that season: Premier League, EFL Cup

Performance in Europe: Champions League semi-finals

Mourinho's Chelsea class of 2004-05 were one of the greatest the Premier League has ever seen. The Blues lost just once, racking up a hugely impressive 95 points in the process – a record haul until Pep Guardiola's Manchester City tallied 100 in 2017-18.

The Blues' 72 league goals were shared around the team, with club legend Frank Lampard top scoring with 13. Eidur Gudjohnsen (12) and Didier Drogba (10) also reached double figures.

Lampard, an ever-present in the league, also provided an impressive 18 assists – double the next best effort, which came from Arjen Robben (9). Damien Duff (7), Gudjohnsen (6) and Drogba (5) also weighed in well.

Chelsea were fully functioning going forwards, registering 658 shots in total – 220 of which were on target, an average of 5.8 per game.

But it was at the back where Chelsea were particularly well drilled. They accumulated a sensational 25 clean sheets and conceded just 15 times – the fewest of any team in the competition's history.

Opposition teams managed just 360 shots against Chelsea in total, with only 83 on target – a little over two per game. 

By the end of the campaign, Chelsea earned a league and EFL Cup double, while they exited the Champions League semi-finals to Liverpool and Luis Garcia's famous 'ghost goal'.


INTER 2009-10

Trophies won that season: Serie A, Coppa Italia, Champions League

Performance in Europe: Champions League winners

The greatest achievement of Mourinho's outstanding career?

The Nerazzurri held their nerve in a tense title battle with Roma, who were at the summit after rounds 33 and 34, by just two points.

Inter's win percentage of 63 is lower than the 76 and 84 achieved in the Chelsea and Madrid title-winning campaigns of 04-05 and 11-12, and surprisingly also worse than the 66 per cent of United's 17-18 season.

Indeed, even the 0.89 goals conceded per game is the worst of each of the seasons analysed, although Inter's 34 goals against was the fewest in Serie A that season.

Their 75 goals for – three better than Chelsea managed in 04-05 – was also a league-leading best, and seven better than Roma's, while Inter were only beaten on four occasions.

Milito was the jewel in this Inter crown with 22 Serie A goals, while the former Argentina striker scored the winner in the 1-0 Coppa Italia final win over Roma as well as the brace in the beating of Bayern in the Champions League showpiece. Full-back Maicon was a chief source of provision with 11 assists.

Under Mourinho, who did not lose a home league game as Inter coach, the Nerazzurri kept six Champions League clean sheets in 09-10, while they became the first team to win the competition having failed to win their first three matches.


REAL MADRID 2011-12

Trophies won that season: LaLiga, Supercopa de Espana

Performance in Europe: Champions League semi-finals

Perhaps the most impressive thing about Madrid's record-breaking 2011-12 campaign is that it occurred during the height of Barcelona's breath-taking brilliance under Pep Guardiola.

Los Blancos became the first team in the history of LaLiga to win the title with 100 points, with their Clasico rivals nine adrift.

In a stat completely at odds with Mourinho's reputation for prudence, Madrid's swashbuckling assembly of talent, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Angel Di Maria, Mesut Ozil, Gonzalo Higuain, Kaka and Karim Benzema registered a superb 121 goals – an unbeaten landmark in Spain's top flight.

Ronaldo, unsurprisingly, led the way with 46 LaLiga goals – astonishingly only the second-highest tally in the league that season due to Lionel Messi's scarcely believable 50.

Higuain (22) and Benzema (21) each contributed heavily to the cause, while Jose Callejon, Di Maria and Kaka each chipped in with five.

Madrid had seven players in the top 15 of the assists chart that term. Ozil (17) and Di Maria (15) were creators in chief, while Ronaldo (11), Kaka (10), Higuain (10), Xabi Alonso (9) and Benzema (9) all featured.

In total, Madrid averaged 3.18 goals, 2.47 assists and 7.92 shots on target per game in a campaign in which they were beaten just twice in LaLiga. At the back, they totted up 14 clean sheets and conceded 32 times – the second best defensive record behind Barca (29).

This flamboyant side were knocked out of the Champions League semi-finals by Bayern in a penalty shoot-out, while Barca accounted for their downfall in the Copa del Rey quarters.


MANCHESTER UNITED 2017-18

Trophies won that season: None

Performance in Europe: Champions League last 16

In terms of trophies won, it was Mourinho's debut campaign at Old Trafford that was most successful as United won an EFL Cup and Europa League double in 2016-17.

But their best Premier League performance came in Mourinho's second full campaign, as the Red Devils finished runners-up to rivals Manchester City.

The chasm between City and the chasing pack that season was pretty vast, with United 19 points adrift of the ton-tallying champions.

Scoring goals was a slight issue. United's total of 68 and average of 1.8 per game was only slightly lower in both categories than Mourinho's Chelsea team of 04-05, but was the second-lowest among top-six teams that term.

Mourinho's reputation for pragmatism is backed up by the fact United produced 512 shots and 178 on target (an average of 4.7), areas that are all lower than the Blues' efforts 13 years prior.

At the back, United's backline was breached just 28 times – only one more than City conceded – and they kept clean sheets in exactly half of their league matches. Opposition teams managed 436 shots, 147 of which were on target, against United.

Romelu Lukaku was the chief source of goals, his 16 was seven better than the next best league effort achieved by Anthony Martial (9).

Paul Pogba has often been a much-maligned figure since re-joining United but his 10 assists were the best among Red Devils players that term, with Lukaku laying on seven for his team-mates.


VERDICT

If we are judging this purely on trophies, then Mourinho's Inter of 2009-10 are obviously the winners having achieved something no other Serie A team had managed before.

Chelsea' stoicism of 2004-05 makes them a credible challenger and a contentious decision cost them dearly in that season's Champions League and perhaps a crack at a treble.

But based on entertainment value, and the fact they were up against the best Barcelona team of all-time, the Madrid of 2011-12 is the best Mourinho has ever coached.

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

It's fair to say being labelled the "new Kaka" doesn't always work out well for youth products cultivated at Sao Paulo. Just ask Mirray, Sergio Mota and Lucas Piazon.

Oscar, Lucas Paqueta and Reinier have also had to cope with comparisons to the 2007 Ballon d'Or winner, though it would be unfair to judge whether the latter duo have lived up to that billing yet.

Now it's the turn of Brazil Under-20 international Igor Gomes.

Spotted as an eight-year-old playing football in Rio Preto, he was registered by Sao Paulo two years later and moved into their Cotia academy in 2012.

With his lithe frame, exquisite close control and a determined, powerful running style from central midfield, it's easy to see where the Kaka comparisons come from, even if he doesn't have quite the same burst of pace.

Gomes won six titles during his time in Sao Paulo's youth ranks but found the move up to the U17 level difficult to negotiate at first.

"I blamed myself, I blamed myself too much, when I made an error, I was very sad, I couldn't just move on. It hurt me a lot in games because I couldn't develop my football. I had to work on this issue," he told Globo Esporte.

He showed his character to swiftly overcame that hurdle in 2016, though, winning the U17 state championship before moving up to the U20s and tasting Copa do Brasil success.

By the following year Rogerio Ceni, the former Sao Paulo goalkeeper who scored over 100 goals for the club and had an unsuccessful stint as head coach in 2017, had him training with the first team.

First-team ascension

Gomes was a key part of Sao Paulo's run to the final of the Copa Sao Paulo – Brazil's most prestigious youth tournament – at the start of 2018. There was cause for excitement among Tricolor fans given it was the club's first appearance in the showpiece since a side featuring Lucas Moura and Casemiro lifted the trophy in 2010.

Although the Copinha ended with a disappointing 1-0 defeat to Flamengo, U20 coach Andre Jardine was appointed interim boss of the first team following the sacking of Diego Aguirre in November of that year.

Gomes was one of a number of youth players he showed faith in, handing him his senior debut in a 0-0 draw against Sport Recife in November 2018.

Jardine was replaced in February 2019 by Vagner Mancini and a double in a 2-1 Campeonato Paulista quarter-final first leg victory over Ituano, the first of which was a delightful scissor kick, showed he could play an important role in the senior set-up.

However, Mancini was only keeping the seat warm before Cuca took over in April, and game time was much harder to come by under the man who had played an important role in Gabriel Jesus' development at Palmeiras.

Gomes opted against a loan move to Spain that agent Wagner Ribeiro presented to Sao Paulo in July and it wasn't until the arrival of Fernando Diniz last September that his fortunes turned around – he made just two starts and 12 substitute appearances in five months under Cuca.

From the Tricolor to Los Blancos?

An increase in minutes under Diniz led to an increase in his production and reports of interest from Real Madrid soon emerged.

It is hoped the 21-year-old will command a record fee of £45million for Sao Paulo, whose previous biggest sale was the £33.5m deal that sent Lucas to Paris Saint-Germain in 2013, and he certainly fits with a recent trend at the Santiago Bernabeu.

After missing out on Neymar to arch-rivals Barcelona, Madrid president Florentino Perez has splashed the cash to ensure his team do not miss out on the next big thing to come out of Brazil.

Since 2017, Los Blancos have shelled out in excess of £100m to bring teenage prodigies Vinicius Junior, Rodrygo and Reinier to the club.

Could Gomes be the next name in the chain? Diniz believes he has the talent for it and acknowledged Sao Paulo's precarious financial position makes a transfer highly likely.

"It's difficult to stay [at Sao Paulo] because of his age and quality. Clubs, and Sao Paulo cannot escape this, almost none do, they need to sell players to honour their financial commitments," Diniz told Radio Transamerica.

"If it arrives at a certain moment, with the size of the proposal, the club is almost obliged to sell. As long as we have the model that is there … we will continue to be a supplier of raw materials. And he is a great raw material.

"Due to the evolution he is experiencing, he is a player on an exponential growth curve. He plays better and better, he identifies with the club and the way the team plays. His improvement was almost instant after I arrived. There is a very clear tendency for Igor to play better and better."

Diniz unlocks potential

It is clear why Diniz thinks that. Of Gomes' 27 appearances in the 2019 Campeonato Brasileiro, 15 came in the space of two months after he took over as head coach, and his two goals and assists came during that run.

He had the fifth most passes completed in the league among players aged under 22, with his accuracy rate a respectable 83.7 per cent.

Gomes is particularly capable of doing damage high up the pitch. He has an eye for an incisive pass and the technical ability to be able to pull off an intricate throughball.

Sao Paulo team-mates Luan Santos (404) and Antony (749) – who respectively played 257 and 1,037 minutes more than him – were the only players under 22  to complete more passes in the opposition half than his 400 in last year's Brasileirao.

It's no wonder he was handed a pay rise in March, though his contract is set to expire in 2023, and Diniz has no doubt Gomes is destined for big things.

"With his age it is always going to be difficult for the team to keep him. If I say what I want, it is that he could stay as long as possible," said the coach.

"He is a player of very rare quality in Brazilian football, perhaps worldwide, and the way he plays is very important."

Marc-Andre ter Stegen's future has dominated headlines.

The Barcelona goalkeeper has been linked with a move away from Camp Nou, where his current contract expires at the end of 2021-22.

But the Germany international appears on the verge of extending his stay at Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – TER STEGEN POISED FOR BARCA RENEWAL

Marc-Andre ter Stegen will sign a long-term contract with Barcelona, according to Friday's front page of Diario Sport.

Ter Stegen and Barca have been deadlocked over talks regarding a new deal, prompting speculation about the Germany international's future.

The Barca goalkeeper had been linked to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich before Manuel Neuer extended his contract in Bavaria.

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid and Inter have enquired about Manchester City forward Sergio Aguero, says Gazzetta dello Sport journalist Nicolo Schira. Dismissing talks between Napoli and Aguero, Schira claims City do not want to sell the Argentina international.

- Sport Mediaset reports Edinson Cavani has set his personal terms to Inter. The Paris Saint-Germain veteran is out of contract at the end of the season and has been linked with Atletico Madrid. However, the Uruguayan has reportedly told Atletico his agreed personal terms with the Spanish club are no longer valid as Inter eye the forward.

Barca are very optimistic regarding deals for Inter forward Lautaro Martinez and Juventus midfielder Miralem Pjanic, says Marca.

- According to Le10Sport, Juve have started negotiations with Mino Raiola to bring Manchester United star Paul Pogba back to Turin.

- As Roma look to make Henrikh Mkhitaryan's deal permanent, Calciomercato says Arsenal are interested in signing Justin Kluivert. Mkhitaryan has spent the 2019-20 season on loan in the Italian capital.

- Madrid forward Luka Jovic is Milan's first choice as a striker for next season, reports Schira. The Rossoneri are working on a two-year loan deal with the option to buy, however, Jovic's salary is proving problematic amid talks.

Milan's pursuit of Jovic comes as the club close in on Ralf Rangnick. According to Calciomercato, Rangnick is set to become head coach, though the German could vacate his position in season two for either RB Leipzig boss Julian Nagelsmann or Borussia Monchengladbach's Marco Rose.

- According to Mundo Deportivo, City, Juve and PSG are battling for Barca full-back Nelson Semedo. The Portugal international has also been linked to Bayern and Inter.

Achraf Hakimi is set to return to Real Madrid after his agent denied Inter have made an offer for the Borussia Dortmund loanee.

Achraf's two-year loan deal at Dortmund from LaLiga giants Madrid is coming to an end and the Morocco international's future has made headlines following his exploits in the Bundesliga.

The 21-year-old full-back, who emerged from Madrid's youth team in 2017, has been linked to the likes of Bayern Munich, Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Chelsea.

Serie A side Inter have reportedly emerged as serious admirers of Achraf, however, his agent poured cold water over the speculation.

"There is no such offer [from Inter], we will return to Madrid at the end of the season," Alejandro Camano told Assahifa.

"Achraf will be the best player of the world at his position."

During the coronavirus-hit season, Achraf has scored seven goals for Dortmund across all competitions.

Achraf has netted three Bundesliga goals this term, which resumed last week behind closed doors due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Javier Tebas is excited about LaLiga returning, but said it would only resume when cleared by health authorities amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Reports on Thursday said LaLiga would restart on June 12 with a derby clash between Real Betis and Sevilla.

While excited about a return, LaLiga president Tebas played down the speculation.

"The clubs, managers, players, referees … of @LaLiga, we are excited about the return," he wrote on Twitter on Thursday.

"But the competition will only start when the health authorities consider it possible … the coordination work with @deportegob, @rfef is and will be the key."

Barcelona held a two-point lead over Real Madrid when the season was suspended in March with 11 games left to play.

Juventus star Miralem Pjanic said "the future depends on what you do today" amid growing links to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Pjanic has been at the centre of transfer speculation, with the Juve midfielder tipped to swap the Serie A holders for Barca in a deal that could involve Arthur.

Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are also reportedly interested in Bosnia-Herzegovina international Pjanic.

As Juve return to training this week amid the coronavirus pandemic, Pjanic shared a cryptic message via social media on Thursday.

Pjanic wrote: "The Future Depends On What You Do Today. Happy To Be Back On The Pitch."

The 30-year-old joined Juve from Italian rivals Roma in 2016.

Since moving to Turin, Pjanic has won three consecutive Serie A titles to go with Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana honours.

Prior to COVID-19 suspending Serie A in March, Pjanic had scored three goals and supplied two assists in 22 league appearances.

Fabio Capello praised Inter star Lautaro Martinez, but warned the forward it was better to be starting at the Serie A club than being on the bench at Barcelona.

Martinez has been linked with a move to the LaLiga giants, having scored 16 goals in 31 games for Inter this season.

While Capello is impressed by the Argentina international, the former Real Madrid and Juventus head coach said Martinez would face a challenge to break into Barcelona's starting side.

"Lautaro Martinez is a very good player," he told El Larguero.

"He has everything – a lot of quality, very fast moves and also he's very good when he shoots on goal.

"Going to Barcelona and becoming a starter with Luis Suarez there is difficult.

"I think it is better to be a starter at Inter than a substitute at Barcelona."

Martinez has scored 25 goals in 66 games for Inter since arriving at the club from Racing Club in 2018.

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