Andres Iniesta believes Lionel Messi is the best in the world and feels Barcelona should have won more Champions League crowns with the superstar captain.

Messi has established himself as one of the all-time greats in football – becoming Barca's leading scorer in their history and claiming a record six Ballons d'Or.

The 32-year-old's standing is often compared to Juventus foe and former Real Madrid star Cristiano Ronaldo.

But Barca great Iniesta – now playing for Japanese side Vissel Kobe – ranks former team-mate Messi as the number one.

"He makes the difference in every way," Spanish veteran Iniesta, 36, told Ole.

"He is as capable of scoring a hat-trick as he is providing a hat-trick of assists, if it looks good watching from the stands, it looks even better when you're close up.

"For me, he is number one because of that, he can make the difference at any moment, although he can't be the whole team."

Since emerging at Barca in 2004, Messi has helped deliver four Champions League titles, to go with 10 LaLiga trophies and other silverware.

Iniesta said Barca should have been able to celebrate more Champions League success with Messi at the forefront.

"With the team at Barcelona and with Leo there, Barcelona surely should have been able to win some more Champions Leagues," Iniesta added.

"Football is like this though; you play tough opponents who also have talent.

"It's important that when you do win things, you savour them."

Real Madrid's baby-faced breakthrough goalkeeping star at the turn of this century, Iker Casillas turned 39 on Wednesday.

During 16 decorated seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, Casillas won five La Liga titles, two Copas del Rey, four Supercopas de Espana, three Champions League, two UEFA Super Cups and three Club World Cups.

A career swansong followed at Porto, where he plied his trade for a further four seasons from 2014-15 – winning the Primeira Liga in 2017-18.

Of course, Casillas is arguably best remembered for serving as the impeccable last line of defence as Spain claimed glory at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

Those were the fruits of a 1,048-game professional career. Here, we delve a little deeper into the remarkable numbers amassed by one of football's modern greats.


725 – Casillas is second on Real Madrid's all-time appearance roster, behind former team-mate Raul (741).

510 – His 510 LaLiga outings are the seventh most in the history of the competition.

334 – Only Lionel Messi (354) has won more matches in Spain's top flight.      

177 – Casillas has the third most clean sheets in LaLiga, behind Andoni Zubizarreta (235) and Paco Buyo (213). Zubizarreta and Buyo also lead the way in terms of games started by goalkeepers (622 and 542 to Casillas' 508) and minutes played (55,746 and 48,717 to 45,684).


177 – Casillas' number of Champions League appearances – coincidentally the same amount as his LaLiga clean sheets record – are the most in the competition.

101 – Cristiano Ronaldo is eight appearances behind Casillas on the all-time list and, with 106 wins, he is the only player to have tasted victory more often.

1 – His solitary substitute appearance in the Champions League came during the 2002 final, as a replacement for the injured Cesar Sanchez to help Madrid close out a 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen at Hampden Park.

57 – Casillas' number of clean sheets lead the way in Europe's top competition, with Gianluigi Buffon (51) and Edwin van der Sar (50) the only others to have chalked up half a century.

3 – He is alongside Juan Alonso and Keylor Navas as a three-time winner while playing in goal for Real Madrid.


167 – Casillas' cap record for Spain was recently passed by Sergio Ramos (170). Both share a joint-record of 17 appearances in World Cup finals.

0 – He did not concede a single goal in the final three matches of the triumphant Euro 2008, 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 campaigns, completing a hat-tricks of quarter-final, semi-final and final clean sheets.

2 – The two goals he allowed in South Africa are the joint fewest let in by a World Cup-winning goalkeeper alongside Buffon in 2006 and Fabian Barthez in 1998. His five clean sheets matched the efforts of Buffon, Barthez and Brazil's triumphant 1994 goalkeeper Taffarel.

433 – Casillas' run of minutes without conceding a goal at the 2010 World Cup is a Spanish best.

2 – Republic of Ireland's Ian Harte in 2002 and Paraguay's Oscar Cardozo in 2010 had penalties saved by Casillas. Excluding shoot-outs, only Poland's Jan Tomaszewski and the United States' Brad Friedel have saved two penalties at World Cups.

May 20 stands as a momentous day in Barcelona's history.

It was on this date that Barca won the European Cup for the first time, making it a watershed moment for one of the most iconic sports teams on the planet.

Speaking of which, this was also a day on which their bitter rivals Real Madrid enjoyed continental success.

And while a Juventus legend waved farewell in 2012, a fellow Italian made his mark in a historic FA Cup final for Chelsea.


1992 – Barcelona seal European Cup glory

Barca were crowned champions of Europe on this day in 1992, with Ronald Koeman the hero after scoring a stunning extra-time free-kick.

After losing in their two previous final outings, Barca nervily got over the line against Sampdoria at Wembley in what was the final edition of the European Cup before the Champions League rebranding.

The Catalan giants have now won the competition five times, although they did have to wait another 14 years for their second.

1998 – Real Madrid end Champions League drought

In another close-run affair, Real Madrid edged out Juventus in the 1998 Champions League final.

Predrag Mijatovic's second-half strike settled matters in Amsterdam, sealing Madrid's first title in the tournament for 32 years.

The top scorer in that year's Champions League was Juve's Alessandro Del Piero, who is the focus of another memorable May 20 event.

2012 – Del Piero's Juve farewell

Club legend Del Piero played his final game for Juve in 2012.

Sadly, it was not a fitting ending to his glorious career, with Napoli inflicting a 2-0 defeat in the Coppa Italia final.

Del Piero hung up his boots after making more than 700 appearances for the Turin club, with whom he won six Serie A titles and one Champions League crown.

2000 – Di Matteo strike vital in last Wembley FA Cup final 

The 2000 FA Cup final was the last one at the old Wembley stadium and Chelsea claimed the honours.

Future Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo's 73rd-minute goal broke Aston Villa's hearts as Gianluca Vialli led the Blues to victory.

It was the Di Matteo's second FA Cup final goal, as he also scored in a 2-0 win over Middlesbrough in 1997.

Manchester City's appeal against their two-year ban from UEFA competitions will be heard by the Court of Arbitration for Sport between June 8-10.

The reigning Premier League champions were hit with the punishment in February after they were found to have committed "serious breaches" of UEFA's club licensing and financial fair play (FFP) regulations.

UEFA's independent Adjudicatory Chamber of its Club Financial Control Body (CFCB) also fined City €30million (£27.2m) after finding they had overstated sponsorship revenues in accounts submitted to European football's governing body between 2012 and 2016.

City have persistently denied wrongdoing in relation to the matter, which stemmed from a series of articles published by Der Spiegel in November 2018, drawing on information purportedly obtained by the whistleblower Football Leaks.

"The club has always anticipated the ultimate need to seek out an independent body and process to impartially consider the comprehensive body of irrefutable evidence in support of its position," read a statement at the time from City, who UEFA said had "failed to cooperate" with the investigation.

Whether or not City are able to have their ban cut or quashed is likely to have a huge impact on their future planning.

Manager Pep Guardiola is out of contract in June 2021, although the former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss reiterated his commitment in the aftermath of UEFA announcing their punishment.

"Unless they sack me, which can happen, I will not leave," he said. "Why should I? I love this club, I like to be here, and after we have seen the sentence [appeal] we will focus on what we have to do.

"I want to stay to continue to help the club and maintain this level as long as possible. That's not just because I have a contract, we want to fight to the end for the people who support this club."

In an interview with HLN this month, star midfielder Kevin De Bruyne suggested he might be happy to stay at City in the event of a reduction to a one-year ban, although a two-year Champions League absence would force him to consider his options.

"I'm just waiting," he said "The club told us they are going to appeal, and they are almost 100 hundred per cent sure they are right. That's why I’m waiting to see what will happen. I trust my team.

"Once the decision is made, I will review everything. Two years would be long, but in the case of one year I might see."

Despite winning six of the past seven domestic trophies on offer in England, Champions League success has proved elusive for City and a pause in trying to tackle that final frontier would be a considerable blow in financial and sporting terms.

In this season's competition, which was halted along with the rest of elite European football due to the coronavirus pandemic, goals from Gabriel Jesus and De Bruyne gave them a 2-1 win at Real Madrid in the first leg of a last-16 encounter.

Atletico Madrid star Joao Felix says his 16-year-old brother Hugo is capable of doing things he was unable to do at the same age.

Hugo is in the youth ranks at Benfica, who Joao Felix won the 2018-19 Primeira Liga with before leaving for Atletico in a €126million move last July.

The 20-year-old Portugal international believes his younger sibling has what it takes to break into the first team and forge a successful career in football.

"If he listens to those who want to help him, he is going to be successful," Joao Felix told BTV.

"He does things I couldn't do at his age. He has everything to do well and reach the first team. For his age he works a lot.

"We both like to score. He takes better free-kicks than me, I am better at penalties, but we both play more or less in the same positions.

"In football you have to play simple, but we like to do something different, something that excites the crowd, and we have some similarities.

"Since we were little we saw each other playing and tried to do the same things."

Joao Felix also got his hands on some silverware at international level with Portugal at the Nations League Finals last year.

With Atleti having booked their place in the quarter-finals of the Champions League with a dramatic extra-time victory over Liverpool in their last match before the coronavirus pandemic led to the suspension of most major sport across the globe, he is hoping for more.

"You need a bit of luck to win the Champions League," said Joao Felix.

"But we hope to [win] it and if I won the Champions League, it would be something very good in my life and my career.

"[It would be] one of the happiest days [of my life] - the dream I've always had since I've been playing football."

Marcus Rashford has revealed how Romelu Lukaku's selfless gesture enabled him to fire home the winning penalty in Manchester United's memorable Champions League turnaround at Paris Saint-Germain. 

Having lost the first leg of last season's last-16 tie 2-0 at Old Trafford, United made the trip to Paris with several first-team players missing through injury. 

Despite the odds being against the Red Devils, Lukaku's double – which was split by Juan Bernat's leveller – set the scene for a dramatic finale, during which Presnel Kimpembe was judged to have handled in the penalty area deep into second-half stoppage time. 

Lukaku, who has since moved to Inter, could have opted to take the spot-kick himself and try and complete his hat-trick.

Instead he offered the ball to Rashford, who duly smashed his effort home. 

Speaking to tennis star Andy Murray during a live video, Rashford explained: "The penalty was between me and Rom I think.  

"But you know Rom is one of those guys who if, well, in that particular game he'd scored two goals already, he could have taken it and got a hat-trick.  

"But he's the kind of guy that when you play in a strike partnership with him, he wants you both to do well and he just threw the ball to me and said you take it. 

"Which of course I was willing to let him take it because it's an opportunity for a hat-trick you know which is obviously a very good achievement. 

"But he just said he wanted me to take it so that was when you just sort of prepare yourself for the moment and just try and relax.  

"You know you think about the times that you've practiced, and you want your head to be focused." 

Rashford also opened up on how the attention he received off the pitch after bursting onto the scene as a teenager was initially a struggle. 

"I can't say I've ever really enjoyed the attention off the pitch," he added. "That's one thing growing up as a footballer that you never think about. 

"You always think about playing in the first team and scoring goals for United or at Old Trafford or any stadium. But you forget how your life can change overnight. 

"Things that you can do with your friends, things that you can do with your family, the places you can go, it all changes. 

"And I probably wasn't as prepared for that bit as I was the actual going on the pitch and playing. 

"For me that bit was the easier bit. It obviously took a lot of hard work to get there but when the opportunity came up I felt ready to step up." 

Rashford scored twice on debut against Midtjylland in a Europa League tie in February 2016 before marking his Premier League bow against Arsenal with another brace three days later. 

"I remember a couple of months before my debut I was on the bench and at that moment I didn't feel ready. I didn't feel like I belonged in the first team," said Rashford, who credited ex-boss Louis van Gaal for thrusting him into action at the right time. 

"You know that's why timing is so important. I wasn't ready to play that game so I think the manager knew what he was doing at the time. 

"Van Gaal is very experienced with young players and he wanted to wait for the right time. 

"When I made my debut it just felt natural, it just felt like I was playing with my normal team-mates."

It is 60 years to the day since Real Madrid hammered Eintracht Frankfurt 7-3 to win the European Cup and there was a high five for Michael Jordan on May 18, 1998.

Alfredo Di Stefano and Ferenc Puskas were the heroes as Madrid tore Eintracht apart at Hampden Park to lift the famous trophy for the fifth consecutive season.

The legendary Jordan won his fifth and final NBA MVP award 22 years ago.

Milan fans and pitcher Randy Johnson can also reflect on this day with fond memories.


1960 - Madrid maul Eintracht 

Di Stefano and Puskas put on a show as Madrid put Eintracht to the sword in Glasgow.

A packed crowd of 127,000 were treated to one of the great performances, with the Spanish giants remaining kings of Europe after going behind to a goal from Richard Kress.

Di Stefano put Madrid in front with a quickfire first-half double and Eintracht were torn to pieces in devastating fashion after the break.

Hungary great Puskas struck three times in the space of 15 minutes and the magnificent Di Stefano completed his treble to put Madrid 7-1 up before Erwin Stein bagged a brace for the shocked German side.


1998 - High five for Jordan 

Jordan was rewarded for yet another outstanding season when he was named the best player in the NBA yet again in 1998.

The superstar led the way as the Chicago Bulls won a third consecutive title and a sixth in an eight-year period, beating the Utah Jazz to retain their crown.

Jordan was aged 35 when he landed his fifth and final NBA MVP gong and went on to be named Finals MVP.

He scored an average of 28.7 points per game, with an average of 5.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists, stepping up time and again with inspirational performances and a huge on-court presence


1994 - Ruthless Milan batter Barca

Milan retained their Champions League title in emphatic fashion at the Olympic Stadium in Athens 26 years ago to the day.

Barca were unable to live with Fabio Capello's side, who were in a class of their own despite being without some key men.

Marco van Basten and Gianluigi Lentini - the world's most expensive player at the time - were ruled out due to injury, while captain Franco Baresi and Alessandro Costacurta missed out due to suspension.

That mattered not for masterful Milan, Daniele Massaro scoring a first-half brace and Dejan Savicevic on target with an exquisite lob before Marcel Desailly added insult to injury with a fine finish.


2004 - Age no barrier for 'Big Unit' Johnson

Randy Johnson made history when he became the oldest player to pitch a perfect game in the MLB 16 years ago.

Johnson was 40 when he achieved the magnificent feat in the Arizona Diamondbacks' victory over the Atlanta Braves.

The veteran's second career no-hitter came at Turner Field, breaking a record that Cy Young set when he was aged 37.

Johnson's perfect game was the 17th in baseball history.

UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin expects the 2019-20 season to be concluded by August, including the Champions League and Europa League campaigns.

The majority of domestic leagues in Europe ground to a halt in March due to the outbreak of COVID-19, while UEFA's club competitions were also impacted.

Four ties are still active in the last 16 of the Champions League, while all eight in the Europa League at the same stage have yet to reach a conclusion. 

The Bundesliga became the first of the major domestic top flights in Europe to resume on Saturday, while the Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga have all signalled their intent to return behind closed doors.

Leagues in France, the Netherlands and Belgium have all cancelled the remainder of their respective campaigns, but Ceferin told beIN SPORTS he expects 80 per cent to reach a conclusion.

"We have an idea but we have to wait for the executive committee of UEFA to confirm the dates. I can say that the European season will be finished, if everything is as it is now, in August," Ceferin said.

"As things look now, I'm sure that we can finish the European season and this means UEFA competition.

"I think the majority of leagues will finish the season. The ones who will not, it's their decision. But they will still have to play qualifiers if they want to participate in the European UEFA competition."

The matter is further complicated by the fact Ligue 1 still has representation in the Champions League in the form of Paris Saint-Germain and Lyon.

With the French government having put a ban on professional sports until September it leaves both clubs facing a dilemma about where to host matches.

Ceferin added: "If you cannot play in your country, then you have to organise it at a neutral ground. 

"I don't see the reason why French authorities would not allow them to organise a match without spectators, but let's see. It's out of my power."

Another issue UEFA is facing is the hosting of matches for the rescheduled Euro 2020 next year, which is due to take place across 12 different locations.

Ceferin said nine cities have plans set in stone but issues remain with a further three.

"We've had conversations with nine cities and everything is set," he said. 

"With three cities, we have some issues. So we will discuss further. In principle, we will do it in 12 cities but if not, we are ready to do it in 10, nine or eight."

Turkish football fans could be allowed back into stadiums by July, the country's football federation chief has revealed.

Nihat Ozdemir is optimistic the Super Lig campaign will be able to resume on June 12, when games will initially take place behind closed doors.

There are eight rounds of games still to be played in the Turkish top flight, and Istanbul is then due to stage the Champions League final, which reportedly could happen on August 29.

Players are already returning to training, with a view to completing the 2019-20 campaign.

Speaking to CNN Turk, Turkish Football Federation (TFF) president Ozdemir said the June 12 start date remained an objective but 10 alterative scenarios exist that could see the league start up as late as mid-July, with a final midweek run of August 12-14 games planned.

He said it would be crucial to monitor the progress of COVID-19 in Turkey, saying: "Thank goodness it's going very well."

Turkey has suffered over 4,000 deaths and reported more than 148,000 coronavirus cases, according to World Health Organization figures.

Ozdemir says the situation "is getting better every day", adding: "There is almost a month between today and June 12. We have alternatives. Therefore, we do not have a time jam.

"The COVID-19 incident is also going very well. I always say this and pray to Allah Almighty, maybe we will play our matches in July, maybe with spectators."

Ozdemir said it would come down to looking at seating arrangements, and the entrances and exits to stadiums, to ensure guidance on public health is closely followed.

With an eye on the return to action, he added: "We never compromise on health. I believe the health of an athlete and a manager is more important than this league."

Ozdemir wants the league to be decided on the pitch, given the close title battle involving Trabzonspor, Istanbul Basaksehir, Galatasaray and Sivasspor and a relegation squabble involving a host of teams.

He said: "In a breathless league, we can only make the decision to complete the leagues by playing. Otherwise there would be a lot of controversy. Let's make sacrifices, complete these leagues by playing, and find whoever deserves to be the champion. If it wasn't for COVID-19 today, this week was the week the leagues would have ended.

"Maybe we were going to give the championship trophy this week."

May 17 is a momentous sporting date that Arsenal fans will not remember fondly.

Fourteen years ago on this day, the Gunners lost the Champions League final against Barcelona in Paris.

This date also represents the 30-year anniversary of a famous day in the history of Manchester United, who won the first trophy of Alex Ferguson's era as manager.

Here we look back at some of the top moments to occur on May 17 in the world of sport.

2006 - Arsenal rue Barcelona comeback

Arsenal were within 15 minutes of winning their first Champions League on this day in 2006, when they ultimately suffered a painful defeat to Barcelona at the Stade de France.

Remarkably, despite having goalkeeper Jens Lehmann sent off after only 18 minutes, a Sol Campbell header put the Gunners ahead, a lead they still held entering the 76th minute as their fans dreamed of glory.

A star-studded Barca team which included Samuel Eto'o, Ronaldinho and Deco had not found a way through, but it was substitute Henrik Larsson who turned the game.

Man of the match Eto'o scored the equaliser and the inspirational Larsson set up an unlikely scorer for the winner 10 minutes from time, full-back Juliano Belletti. 

Thierry Henry had missed a chance to put the Gunners two goals up and a year later he would end up joining Barca, going on to help them to win the 2009 Champions League along with Eto’o and Lionel Messi.

Arsenal have not made it back to the final since – they crashed out in the Champions League knockout stages for 11 consecutive seasons after this loss, their best effort being a run to the 2009 semi-finals.

They have spent the past three seasons in the Europa League, while Barca built on their 2009 success with further victories in 2011 and 2015, moving them on to five overall.

1990 - First of many United trophies for Ferguson

In a magnificent era of success, Ferguson led Manchester United to 28 major trophies, including 13 Premier League titles prior to his retirement in 2013.

The opening years of his tenure were less glorious, though, and the club's first trophy was a crucial moment to launch a spectacular run of silverware lasting over two decades.

It was the FA Cup in 1990 where Ferguson earned his first triumph.

A dramatic extra-time equaliser from Mark Hughes earned United a 3-3 draw against Crystal Palace in the first match at Wembley, and in those days that meant a reply rather than a penalty shoot-out.

The return game five days later, which came on May 17, was less exciting, but Lee Martin's goal in the 59th minute was enough to give Ferguson's men a 1-0 victory.

After that first trophy in four years, a win in the European Cup Winners' Cup followed the next season, and United never looked back.


2019 - Koepka makes major history at the US PGA

Brooks Koepka was already a sensation at golf majors before his magnificent performance at the US PGA Championship on this day a year ago.

He already had three major titles and nine finishes inside the top 10 over a five-year span before he took things to a whole new level at the notoriously difficult Bethpage Black course in New York.

While golfing legend Tiger Woods was missing the cut, Koepka stormed into a seven-shot lead after the first two rounds.

His rounds of 63 and 65 gave him the lowest 36-hole total score in the 159-year history of professional major championship play.

Koepka slowed in his following rounds, with efforts of 70 and 74, but he was still crowned champion by two shots over Dustin Johnson thanks to his extraordinary scoring across the opening two days.

Real Madrid made an offer to Liverpool star Mohamed Salah in the months leading up to their 2018 Champions League final clash, according to a former member of coaching staff for the Egypt national team.

Salah enjoyed a stellar 2017-18 campaign, scoring 32 Premier League goals and supplying 10 assists.

However, his bid for European glory with the Reds ended in heartbreak, after a tussle with Sergio Ramos saw him depart the final in Kiev with an injured shoulder.

Jurgen Klopp's men went on to lose 3-1 and Salah embarked on a race against time to be fit for Egypt's World Cup campaign in Russia.

The ex-Roma forward scored twice but the Pharaohs lost every game as they bowed out limply at the group stage.

According to former Egypt international Hany Ramzy, Salah discussed an approach from Madrid with then national team boss Hector Cuper during a March 2018 training camp in Switzerland.

Ramzy told Egyptian television channel OnTimes Sports that he was present and also party to the conversation, even though he only joined the coaching staff under Cuper's successor Javier Aguirre.

"I was talking to Salah and he told me that Real Madrid sent him an offer," he said.

"The offer was really good, but Salah discussed it with me and Mr. Cuper, and he decided to stay with Liverpool because he was comfortable there."

Ramzy left the Egypt setup along with all of Aguirre's staff when they were dismissed in the aftermath of a last-16 exit from the African Cup of Nations on home soil last year.

Nevertheless, Salah retains huge ambitions in the continental tournament.

"Salah is ambitious. He told us that he wanted to win AFCON three times in a row, as Egypt did in 2006, 2008, 2010," Ramzy added.

UEFA has clarified it is not planning to make changes to its club competitions access list for next season.

Earlier this week, UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin told beIN SPORT he thought the decision to cancel the remainder of the season in Ligue 1 and 2 was "premature".

It was suggested that clubs from leagues who have taken the decision to end the remainder of the 2019-20 campaign due to the coronavirus pandemic, with the Eredivisie and Belgian Pro League having also taken such a step, would have to take part in preliminary qualifying rounds for UEFA competitions next term.

But Europe's governing body has moved to clear up the confusion, insisting only teams who have finished in positions whereby they enter at that stage will need to do so.

A UEFA statement on Twitter read: "With regard to the way some quotes in an interview with beIN have been reported, UEFA wishes to make clear that President Ceferin said that clubs from leagues which were abandoned in this season would still need to be ready to play qualification rounds for next season according to the current access list. 

"He did not mention or hint at any change to the UEFA club competitions access list."

Speaking this week, Ceferin said he felt more time should have been taken before ending leagues.

"For us, the important thing is that we know who is the champion, who is second, who is third, and fourth," he said.

"My personal opinion is that you cancel a season super early, it's not an ideal thing because things can improve a lot and everybody can play except a few leagues.

"But if it's the decision of the government, what can the clubs do? Or the league? They cannot do anything. But for me the decision was premature. But it doesn't affect UEFA, so it's their decision."

The outbreak of COVID-19 has wreaked havoc with the calendar in European football.

This weekend, the Bundesliga will be the first of the major UEFA leagues to return to action.

Tottenham need to significantly improve their performances when the Premier League returns from its coronavirus stoppage, says Davinson Sanchez.

Spurs were on a six-game winless streak when the majority of football across the globe was suspended in March due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

That run included Champions League elimination at the hands of RB Leipzig in the last 16 and an FA Cup fifth-round penalty shoot-out defeat to Norwich City.

Spurs have lacked consistency since Jose Mourinho replaced Mauricio Pochettino in November and sit eighth in the Premier League, seven points off the top four with nine games remaining.

According to Colombia international Sanchez, the squad are aware they must kick on when the Premier League returns, which could happen behind closed doors from June 1.

"I think everyone knows as a team we expect to do better," Sanchez told Sky Sports News.

"The Premier League is always hard but we need to improve, that's why we put so much work in every day, we'll see what's going to happen but looking back we can't play like we were doing before.

"We have to do better if we are going to finish in the position that we want."

The season's hiatus has enabled Harry Kane to recover from a hamstring injury that required surgery in January.

Sanchez was impressed by what he saw from Kane during individual training sessions on Friday and claimed the England captain plans to challenge for the Premier League Golden Boot, despite his haul of 11 goals being eight fewer than leading scorer Jamie Vardy.

"Harry has been doing everything to return, even before the lockdown he was working hard, everyone knows that," Sanchez said.

"For us, of course, he's key a player we need there all the time. I think about my position, if I have him in front, it's like 'Okay, watch out it's Harry there.' He's fighting for the Golden Boot.

"I was training with him yesterday and he's doing very well."

Although Spurs have only won 11 of their 26 matches in all competitions since Mourinho took over, Sanchez considers the atmosphere to be positive.

Asked about working under Mourinho, he said: "It's special. Everyone wants to learn from him and improve, even the more experienced players like Hugo [Lloris], who is a World Cup winner.

"We know the gaffer is a very good person, always there asking about your family and everything. We, as a team, are very, very excited to keep improving under him."

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar is preparing for a return, saying he was training even harder than he would at the Ligue 1 club.

While PSG were crowned Ligue 1 champions as the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, they are also in the Champions League quarter-finals and Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue deciders.

Neymar, 28, has been at home in Brazil for two months amid the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed more than 308,000 people worldwide.

But the Brazil international is working hard, guided by his physical trainer, Ricardo Rosa.

"I'm here, training hard, on the same rhythm and frequency that I would in the club. Training even harder actually, with more activities to compensate for the lack of games," Neymar said, via his website.

"The intention is to be ready for when they signal the return of club activities, so I can be in the best possible condition.

"Of course that I miss the competition, but Rica made a planning that I have been following on the line."

Neymar has scored 18 goals in 22 games for PSG this season, but has been linked with a return to Barcelona.

Giorgio Chiellini praised Cristiano Ronaldo and said the Juventus star went to another level when it came to the Champions League.

Chasing a first Champions League title since 1996, Juve were in the last 16 – having lost the first leg away to Lyon 1-0 – when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ronaldo, 35, became the first player to win the Champions League five times when he helped Real Madrid claim the title in 2018.

Chiellini said the Portugal international raised his level when it came to Europe's elite club competition.

"Cristiano is doing well even though he had that knee problem that slowed him down for a month and a half," he told Christian Vieri during an Instagram Live chat on Friday.

"He changed the way he played compared to when he was younger. He is enhanced with the big games.

"Maybe against the small teams he makes a performance that seems subdued. With the big ones, he is incredible.

"In the Champions League, he turns. He feels it coming and he turns the engine up."

Ronaldo has scored 25 goals in 32 games for Juventus this season, including two in seven in the Champions League.

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