Real Madrid great Raul will take over Los Blancos' Castilla side next season, the LaLiga giants have confirmed.

Raul had been in charge of youth sides Cadete B and Juvenil B, and will now take on the top job in Madrid's famed academy.

Castilla - Los Blancos' B team - currently play in Segunda Division B - Group 1, having lost out to Cartagena in the promotion play-offs last season.

Current Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane also started his senior coaching career with Madrid's Castilla side, with Santiago Solari having followed a similar path.

An academy product himself, Raul spent 16 years as a key figure in Madrid's first team between 1994 and 2010, winning six LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies during that time.

Maurizio Sarri has claimed he could not play his preferred system at Chelsea as he had to accommodate Eden Hazard.

Belgium international Hazard starred for Chelsea last season, scoring 21 goals and providing 17 assists across all competitions.

His form earned him a move to Real Madrid, while Sarri - who won the Europa League and led Chelsea to a third-place finish in the Premier League - left for Juventus.

Sarri's first and only season at Stamford Bridge looked to have been a success, but issues over his playing style proved a sticking point throughout his tenure.

And Sarri believes that having to find a way to play Hazard in his preferred role meant he could not deploy the free-flowing, 4-3-3 system that had drawn plaudits during his time at Napoli, and also caused problems in defence.

"In recent years, I've had 4-3-3, but the 4-3-3 at Chelsea was very different to the one at Napoli," Sarri told a news conference.

"We had to accommodate Hazard's characteristics, as he could change the game, but also his presence caused issues in defending that we had to work on."

One player that Sarri brought to Chelsea last season was Gonzalo Higuain, who joined on loan from Juve in January.

Higuain was a crucial player in Sarri's Napoli side before he left for Juve in 2016, and Sarri is looking forward to another reunion with the 31-year-old, should the Argentine wish to remain in Turin.

"You know I love [Higuain] a lot. I have always been very supportive. It depends on him," Sarri said.

"In terms of the other players at Juventus, I have to be very modest because here there are staff who have been dealing with them for many different years.

"I think it's absolutely fair that I listen to them, then we'll make a decision together. The staff know the players better than me - maybe Higuain is the only one I know slightly better - so it will be up to me to listen to them and adapt."

Atletico Madrid have agreed a deal to bring Marcos Llorente to the Wanda Metropolitano in a reported €40million move from Real Madrid.

Llorente made just seven LaLiga appearances last season and will hope for more opportunities with Atleti, where he appears set to replace Manchester City target Rodri.

Incredibly, Llorente is following in the footsteps of his father, Paco, and his grandfather, Ramon Grosso, who also represented both of the capital's biggest clubs.

They are not the only players to turn out for the two teams, though. Here are six of the best players to have featured for Atleti and Madrid...

Thibaut Courtois

Courtois enjoyed a superb three-season loan spell at Atletico, helping them to end an 18-year wait for a LaLiga title and reach the Champions League final in 2014, having also won the Copa del Rey and Europa League. He was similarly successful upon returning to Chelsea, adding two Premier League titles, an FA Cup and the EFL Cup to his list of honours, but he has yet to hit those same heights at Madrid after leaving Stamford Bridge last year.

Theo Hernandez

Before older brother Lucas agreed to depart Atletico for Bayern Munich, Theo controversially left them for Madrid in 2017 having not played a professional game for Simeone's side. The left-back made 23 appearances in his debut season for Madrid, winning the Champions League, but was loaned to Real Sociedad for 2018-19.

Raul

Though he went on to secure a place as a legendary figure in Madrid's storied history, things could have been very different for Raul, who was in Atletico's academy until it was closed as a cost-saving measure. Madrid took advantage and got him on their books, and Raul went on to win six LaLiga titles and three Champions League trophies with the club, becoming their record goalscorer with 323 strikes to his name before eventually being displaced by Cristiano Ronaldo.

Alvaro Morata

Morata spent four seasons with Atleti as a youth player but made his breakthrough in senior football with bitter rivals Madrid, where he won eight trophies - either side of two seasons with Juventus - including two LaLiga crowns and two Champions Leagues. A lack of first-team football saw Morata on the move again in 2017, but he failed to settle after being made Chelsea's record signing and was sent back to boyhood club Atleti on loan in January. A steady start returned six goals in 17 appearances in all competitions.

Santiago Solari

Midfielder Solari made the move from River Plate to Atletico in 1999, but their relegation from LaLiga in 2000 led him to the Santiago Bernabeu, where he served as a workmanlike force for the 'Galacticos'. Solari won a pair of LaLiga titles and the 2001-02 Champions League, thanks to Zinedine Zidane's stunning volley against Bayer Leverkusen, but did not enjoy the same success as his former team-mate in the dugout, lasting less than five months in charge last season.

Bernd Schuster

Schuster evidently did not mind making controversial transfers. After great success at Barca, he moved to the other side of the Clasico rivalry and won two LaLiga titles and the Copa del Rey. The German midfielder and future Madrid coach went on to claim a further two Copas with Atletico following his 1990 move across the city.

Atletico Madrid are set to seal the signing of midfielder Marcos Llorente after announcing a deal with city rivals Real Madrid has been agreed.

Llorente will undergo a medical before signing a five-year contract at the Wanda Metropolitano in a move believed to be worth €40million.

The 24-year-old midfielder is primed to replace Spain international Rodri, who is said to be on the brink of a €70m switch to Premier League champions Manchester City.

Atletico have already signed defender Felipe from Porto and are reportedly set to bring in Benfica's teenage sensation Joao Felix.

Further moves are set to follow with a number of high-profile players departing Atleti – including Diego Godin, Juanfran and Lucas Hernandez – and Antoine Griezmann expected to leave.

Rivals Madrid have also been active in the transfer market, bringing in Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and Ferland Mendy in addition to previous deals for Eder Militao and Rodrygo Goes.

Madrid released a statement to confirm Llorente's imminent move on Thursday.

"The club wants to show its gratitude for all these years of dedication and professionalism and for [Llorente's] exemplary behaviour from when he arrived in 2008 to his trajectory with the first team," it read.

"Real Madrid wishes you good luck on your new stage."

Llorente made just seven LaLiga appearances last season, although he was a top-flight regular for Deportivo Alaves in 2016-17.

Douglas Costa does not know where Neymar will be next season but trusts his Brazil team-mate will make the right call on his future.

Neymar became the world's most expensive player when he joined Paris Saint-Germain in a €222million deal in 2017, but he has not been able to improve the Ligue 1 club's fortunes in the Champions League.

The former Barcelona forward is now reportedly available, with the Catalan giants and Real Madrid said to be interested in taking him back to Spain.

Juventus winger Costa, who went to the 2018 World Cup with Brazil but missed out on a place in the squad for this year's Copa America, believes Neymar will make the right decision.

"I have no idea [where Neymar will go], I guess nobody knows - only Neymar," Costa said.

"That's a very personal decision but he will choose the best for his career."

One rumoured offer for Neymar could see Philippe Coutinho go in the other direction and join PSG, having failed to impress at Barca since his January 2018 move.

Costa said of the midfielder: "He is a fantastic player. We know that he was very important in Liverpool. In Barcelona, he's still searching for his space. But he is phenomenal."

Former Bayern Munich man Costa has a new coach at Juve in Maurizio Sarri and is looking forward to the 2019-20 season under the ex-Chelsea boss.

"I don't know [Sarri] personally," he said. "I could see his work when he was at Napoli and I believe he's a great coach because he had an amazing season in my first year in Italy.

"I think we all have great things we can develop with Sarri."

The race is heating up for Neymar.

With Paris Saint-Germain reportedly willing to part with the world's most expensive player, two LaLiga giants are set to go head-to-head.

Will Neymar end up at former club Barcelona or bitter Spanish rivals Real Madrid?

 

TOP STORY – BARCA AND MADRID FIGHT FOR NEYMAR

A return to Barcelona and a blockbuster transfer to Real Madrid both appear on the cards for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

According to Mundo Deportivo, Madrid are reportedly ready to pay €130million for Neymar in a deal which would also include either James Rodriguez or Gareth Bale.

But Globo Esporte says Neymar – who left Barca for PSG in a €222m transfer in 2017 – is still on track for a Camp Nou comeback.

It comes after Le Parisien claims PSG want €300m to part with the injured Brazil forward.

 

ROUND-UP

Aaron Wan-Bissaka is set to become the world's most expensive full-back as Manchester United negotiate a £55million deal with Crystal Palace, according to the Daily Record. However, talks between the two Premier League sides have dragged on and the Red Devils have identified alternatives, with Sky Sport Italia claiming Napoli's Elseid Hysaj is a target.

- According to Marca, Atletico Madrid will announce the signing of Benfica sensation Joao Felix on Thursday. The 19-year-old has already undergone a medical and signed his contract ahead of the €120m move.

Frank Lampard has notified his Derby County squad that he will replace Maurizio Sarri at Chelsea if the right offer arrives, the Mirror reports. Former Chelsea star Lampard is expected to move back to London following Sarri's switch to Juve.

Paris Saint-Germain outcast Adrien Rabiot is on the verge of signing for Serie A champions Juventus, according to Sportitalia. The French midfielder and free agent has reportedly penned a five-year contract worth €7m plus bonuses, and a €10m signing-on fee.

- According to the Daily Mail, Inter and Atletico Madrid are both eyeing a move for Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand.

Manchester United striker Romelu Lukaku has agreed a deal worth £180,000 per week to join Inter, says The Sun. With Lukaku heading for the exit, United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is reportedly eyeing Bournemouth's David Brooks.

Andre Gomes is on the verge of joining Everton permanently from LaLiga champions Barcelona. Gomes enjoyed a successful loan spell in 2018-19 and a £22m fee has "verbally been agreed", according to the Telegraph.

Sergio Ramos told Luis Enrique each Spain victory will still be his after the former Barcelona coach stepped down from his role as national team boss.

Having been absent from the Spain camp since March due to personal reasons, the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) confirmed on Wednesday that Luis Enrique has called time on his spell at the helm.

Robert Moreno had overseen the three fixtures Luis Enrique missed, and the former assistant will now remain in charge until the end of Euro 2020.

Spain captain Ramos – who had previously insisted the squad were fully behind Luis Enrique's decision to remain away from the camp – offered his full backing to his former coach.

"Every victory of the national team will also be yours, coach," Ramos wrote on his official Twitter account. "All our support and our encouragement."

Barca – Luis Enrique's most recent employers at club level – also offered their encouragement on Twitter.

"Sending you all of our love and respect, Luis," they wrote.

James Rodriguez has been identified as a target by Napoli coach Carlo Ancelotti and the club plan to contact his agent to discuss a move, according to chairman Aurelio De Laurentiis.

The Colombia star's future is up in the air as his two-year loan spell at Bayern Munich looks set to end without the German club making the move permanent, while he does not appear to be counted on by those at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Liverpool, Manchester United and Juventus have all been linked with a swoop for James, but it seems Napoli will be the first to launch a bid after Ancelotti brought up the possibility of bringing the 27-year-old to Serie A.

"We have always said that we need two full-backs and one striker," De Laurentiis told Radio Kiss Kiss.

"James Rodriguez fits the image of what Carlo Ancelotti wants.

"I don't know how much he 100 per cent answers our needs, but we certainly can't put his skill in doubt. At a certain point one must then empower his coach.

"If he [Ancelotti] wants him for Napoli, it is because he knows how useful he [James] can be, even if he is very expensive. I said, 'let's go ahead'."

James, who is on international duty at the Copa America, said on Sunday that he is unsure where his future lies, but De Laurentiis confirmed he will be in touch with the player's agent, Jorge Mendes, to open discussions.

PSV winger Hirving Lozano is being considered as an alternative if a move for James falls through, though De Laurentiis made it clear the club cannot afford to buy both players.

"If I don't reach an agreement with Jorge Mendes, I'll talk to Mino Raiola about Hirving Lozano," De Laurentiis added. "We can't take them both.

"We already have a series of players we can't ignore. We have to sell first and then we can buy.

"Mendes is perhaps the best agent in the world today. He is also a friend. I think James will be very expensive, but if we have to make a sacrifice, we do it. For one player, you can do it."

Becoming a Real Madrid player is starting to sink in for Ferland Mendy, who opened up on his 10-year journey from being told he would never play football again to joining "the greatest club in the world".

The France international completed a €48million transfer from Lyon last week, signing a contract that will keep him at the Santiago Bernabeu until 2025.

At his presentation on Wednesday, Mendy described how he fought his way back from the brink of having his career ended by surgery to realising his ambition of playing for Los Blancos.

"When I was 15 I had a hip operation and they told me I would never play football again," he told reporters.

"I was in a wheelchair for a while and spent six or seven months in hospital for rehab.

"Now I'm at Real Madrid. It's incredible."

Mendy's arrival has sparked speculation over the future of Madrid full-back Marcelo, but the new recruit is looking forward to learning from the Brazil international as he adapts to life in LaLiga.

He also revealed compatriot Raphael Varane had offered to support him through his transition away from Ligue 1.

"I've spoken to Varane and he told me it was the greatest club in the world," said Mendy.

"He said he would help me to integrate well in the dressing room. That's going to be easier for me as I play with him for France.

"I'm very happy to be a part of Real Madrid. I know the quality of Marcelo. He's had a great career and I'm going to learn a lot from him."

Asked whether France team-mates Paul Pogba and Kylian Mbappe could be the next stars to arrive in Madrid, Mendy replied: "Why not?

"They're high quality players but we haven't spoken about Real Madrid. The only person I spoke about Real Madrid with is Varane."

Neymar's expected exit from Paris Saint-Germain seems to be gathering speed.

Neymar, 27, is set to leave the Ligue 1 champions, with a return to LaLiga – either with former club Barcelona or Real Madrid – appearing likely.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said he no longer wanted "superstar behaviour" and Neymar looks set to depart the Parc des Princes.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR SET FOR LALIGA RETURN

A return to Barcelona, where he spent four seasons before joining PSG, seems the most likely for Neymar.

According to television channel Gol, the Brazilian is already looking for a house in Barcelona, and he wants the same home he occupied during his first stint at the club.

However, the star forward has long been linked with a move to Real Madrid. Marca report PSG may want Casemiro in a possible deal for Neymar.

Mundo Deportivo report Neymar recently told Al-Khelaifi: "I don't want to play anymore at PSG. I want to go back to my house [Barcelona], where I should never have left."

ROUND-UP

- Paul Pogba may want a "new challenge" away from Manchester United, but he is set to get a nice bonus beforehand. The Sun report Pogba is due to receive a £3.78million loyalty bonus from United at the start of July. While the midfielder is linked with Real Madrid, Gianluca Di Marzio reports there are still talks for Pogba to return to Juventus.

- Real Madrid still seem keen to land Tottenham star Christian Eriksen. The Daily Mail report Madrid are set to offer Spurs £45m plus midfielder Dani Ceballos for the Denmark playmaker.

- Matthijs de Ligt appears to be getting closer to a decision over his future. The Ajax captain has told Barcelona he will not be joining them, according to Cadena SER.

- Manchester United's hopes of keeping David de Gea have received a boost. The Sun report PSG, long linked with the goalkeeper, have instead turned their attentions to AC Milan shot-stopper Gianluigi Donnarumma.

- Staying at Old Trafford, Romelu Lukaku will not force a Manchester United exit despite being linked with a move, according to the Mirror. There has been plenty of talk around United, with The Sun reporting the club offered Phil Jones in a deal to sign West Ham defender Issa Diop, but the Hammers want Anthony Martial. Meanwhile, Gianluca Di Marzio reports United are also showing an interest in Napoli right-back Elseid Hysaj.

- Manchester City appear set to strengthen with the signing of Atletico Madrid midfielder Rodri. Goal report Rodri has decided to leave Atletico and join City, who are set to pay his €70m buy-out clause.

Former Brazil international Ze Roberto believes Rodrygo Goes has got what it takes to emulate Vinicius Junior at Real Madrid.

Rodrygo was presented as a Los Blancos player at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, a year after the club paid a reported €45million to Santos for him.

Vinicius joined the LaLiga giants at the start of the 2018-19 campaign, becoming a fixture in the first team after the turn of the year before he suffered an ankle injury in March.

Ze Roberto – who had a brief spell with Madrid in 1997 – believes Rodrygo has already shown the attributes needed to be a success in Spain and has backed him to follow Vinicius' lead.

"Vinicius started his career very well in European football," he told AS.

"He has a lot of personality and I believe that, when he gains more experience, he will become a significant player in the continent. 

"Rodrygo has everything to follow these steps. He also started very well at Santos and he seems to have a good head, like Vinicius."

When asked if the pair could become two of the world's best players, Ze Roberto responded: "It is impossible to predict that today. It is better to wait."

Gareth Bale is "very unlikely" to join Manchester United and will not leave Real Madrid in a loan deal, according to his agent.

Bale joined Madrid in 2013 after emerging as one of the Premier League's best players at Tottenham, commanding what was then a world-record transfer fee of €100million.

His first three seasons were a success, as he scored 47 LaLiga goals in 81 appearances and helped Madrid to two Champions League titles.

However, from an individual perspective, the following three campaigns have been rather more difficult, as Bale has been troubled by fitness problems and struggled to hold down a place in the starting XI.

Madrid are reportedly willing to let him leave and United – who are said to have wanted him when he was at Southampton and Spurs – have been tentatively linked, but a move seems improbable.

"He could fit in there," Bale's agent Jonathan Barnett told Sky Sports News when asked about a potential move to Old Trafford.

"I think he could do very well - he is still one of the best players in the world, but it is very unlikely."

Given Madrid's valuation of Bale and his huge wages, media reports had suggested a loan move away from the Santiago Bernabeu might be more realistic than an outright sale, with Bayern Munich said to be interested.

But Barnett dismissed such a scenario out of hand, adamant only a remarkable offer – and not a loan – would persuade Bale to leave Spain.

"A loan move is not going to happen, there's more chance of me winning Ascot," Barnett added. "I don't think he wants to go out on loan.

"He's got a lovely life and home in Spain. I think it would take something exceptional for him to leave and loans are not on the menu. Obviously, Gareth's situation at Real hasn't improved."

Rodrygo Goes was reportedly wanted by Barcelona, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain, but it took Real Madrid just 20 minutes to wrap up his signature.

Madrid paid out a reported €45million to seal a move for Rodrygo in June 2018, but the teenager remained at Santos for another year.

The 18-year-old was presented as a Los Blancos player at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, with club president Florentino Perez branding him "one of the great prodigies".

Asked if a report that Madrid managed to seal the transfer in under half an hour, Rodrygo told a news conference: "I always said I preferred Real Madrid and when they came I didn't even have to ask questions, so 20 minutes and it was all done.

"I think everyone who knows me since I was a child knows I've always been a Real Madrid fan. I always told my dad I'd play for Real Madrid and when they came I didn't have any doubts at all."

Rodrygo, who reiterated his willingness to play for Castilla if required, compared his style of play to Robinho and Neymar but would not be drawn on the possibility of playing alongside the PSG star in Madrid.

"I'm a fast striker, I score and dribble. I'm Brazilian and we're like that. I identify a little with Robinho and Neymar," said Rodrygo.

"Neymar is a great player, but he's on another team and I cannot talk about him."

On whether he would like to be the Neymar of Madrid, he said: "No, I would like to be the Rodrygo of Real Madrid. There is only one Neymar, there won't be another."

Real Madrid have signed "one of the great prodigies" in Rodrygo Goes, according to club president Florentino Perez.

Brazilian 18-year-old Rodrygo was presented as a new Madrid player at the Santiago Bernabeu on Tuesday, a year after the club shelled out a reported €45million to sign him from Santos.

The teenager made 80 appearances in all competitions after making his Santos debut in November 2017 and Perez is excited to see him in action for Madrid.

"Our strategy is always about finding emerging talent, incorporating young players who want to mark an era in Real Madrid. Today we have a prodigious talent joining us," said Perez.

"This footballer already provokes admiration for his game in a country [Brazil] where admiration for football is a way of life. One of the great prodigies comes to our club, who already stands out for his quality and attitude.

"He has dreamed of this moment, he has wanted to hear these words that are coming true today, and we welcome Rodrygo Goes as a new player of Real Madrid.

"You come from Brazil, a country where football is a great passion and where the best players in history have come from.

"You played for a legendary club like Santos, you managed to do some incredible things in such a demanding place.

"You arrive at 18 but you've played many games with Santos already and you've become one of the big emerging stars of Brazilian football, standing out in all the youth categories for the national team.

"You've grown since your debut and scored many goals, but now you've chosen a challenge here. The club is going to support you as much as we can for you to be a happy player here. You'll have to work hard, the fans will be beside you, but you must know about the maximum demands here."

In a short initial speech, Rodrygo expressed a desire to repay the faith shown in him by Perez and Madrid as a whole.

"I want to thank firstly God for everything he's done for me and my family. All my family have fought with me. Thanks to the president and all the fans. I hope to give a lot of happiness to you. Hala Madrid," said Rodrygo.

The race for Paul Pogba appears well and truly on, but Manchester United will not let the midfielder go easily.

The France international said on Sunday he would be interested in a "new challenge", casting fresh doubt over his future at Old Trafford.

Real Madrid have continually been linked with Pogba, but it seems Paris Saint-Germain, and perhaps former club Juventus, could also be interested.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA INTEREST INTENSIFIES

Real Madrid indicated they are willing to pay £90million for Pogba despite United valuing the midfielder at £150m, according to The Sun.

United are ready to do their all to keep Pogba, with the Daily Mail reporting they are set to offer him a bumper new contract worth close to £500,000 per week.

This saga appears likely to take time to play out with Ligue 1 champions PSG also expressing an interest in Pogba, according to The Independent.

ROUND-UP

- Neymar appears more and more likely to leave PSG in the close season. Globo Esporte says talks are already underway for the Brazil international to return to Barcelona, who may pay €100m and send players, with Ivan Rakitic, Ousmane Dembele and Samuel Umtiti mentioned.

- It seems Benfica sensation Joao Felix has decided where he will be next season. According to Record, the 19-year-old Portugal international was in Spain to sign with Atletico Madrid in a €120m move, a report Benfica denied. El Chiringuito later claimed to have spotted the attacker and agent Jorge Mendes leaving a Madrid restaurant.

- Real Madrid look like they want to see Gareth Bale make an exit before next season. ABC says the LaLiga giants have lowered their asking price for the Wales international from €100m to €85m.

- With Neymar and Antoine Griezmann potentially arriving, Philippe Coutinho's Barcelona future seems clouded. AS reports PSG have made contact with the player's camp, while he may return to the Premier League. However, Sky Sports News reports Coutinho is unwilling to join Manchester United out of respect to former club Liverpool, but The Sun says he would head to Chelsea, although the club's transfer ban is standing in the way of that move.

- Now that Juventus have appointed Maurizio Sarri, the Serie A champions could make numerous additions. Tuttosport reported Juve vice-president Pavel Nedved met with agent Mino Raiola regarding Ajax captain Matthijs de Ligt – who is expected to join PSG – and Pogba.

- A dream Chelsea return for Frank Lampard could be on the cards. The Sun reports the club great and Derby County manager is set for talks with owner Roman Abramovich over the position left vacant at Stamford Bridge by Sarri's departure. The same paper also reports Chelsea have rejected £35m bids from Barcelona and Atletico Madrid for Willian, with the Mirror saying Lampard wants the Brazil international to stay.

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