Samuel Eto'o believes he reached his peak as a player at Real Mallorca and is now looking to the club as a potential launch pad for his coaching career.

The former Barcelona, Inter and Chelsea striker retired from football in September following a glittering career spanning more than two decades.

He won the Champions League and LaLiga three times each after battling back from rejection at Real Madrid, who let a young Eto'o leave for Mallorca in 2000 following a successful loan spell.

Eto'o scored 54 goals in 128 games during his permanent spell with the Balearic Islands-based outfit, a period he regards as the best of his playing days.

"I reached my top level when at Mallorca," said the Cameroon great, who moved to Barca in 2004.

"We were a group of normal guys who had to compete against the great players at Real Madrid and Barcelona.

"But we did it very well, we were proud of defending our jersey and our island.

"At Barcelona it was about opening the eyes of the world, making it known that a kid coming from where I came from, when given the same opportunities as the others, could do well.

"It was tough at Mallorca but when I got to Barcelona I saw that we could not fail, we were a group of unbelievable players and we just had to win."

Further spells in England, Italy, Russia, Turkey and Qatar expanded Eto'o's horizons and list of contacts ahead of a move into management.

The 38-year-old has stated his desire to win the Champions League as a coach, but those big ambitions could have humble beginnings back at Mallorca, where his teenage son, Etienne, is on the books.

"Now I want to prepare for new challenges," Eto'o said.

"I love football, so I would like some day to be able to coach at the highest level. It could be my Mallorca or some other big team.

"I have had the fortune to win things as a player and I would like to do that again as a coach."

Mallorca, who finished as high as third in the top flight with Eto'o leading the line, won promotion back to LaLiga last season.

Vicente Moreno's men have collected two wins from eight games to sit 18th ahead of Saturday's home game against leaders Madrid.

A decision on whether next week's Clasico between Barcelona and Real Madrid can go ahead at Camp Nou is set to be made on Thursday, Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) president Luis Rubiales said.

Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona at the start of the week after nine Catalan political leaders received long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

A rally in the city has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca are due to host bitter rivals Madrid.

Barcelona's main airport was briefly closed on Tuesday due to the tension, with Spanish league officials raising concern the Clasico could be affected by protests.

One option would be to move the game to Madrid and for Barca to host the second Clasico of the season, but that was opposed by Blaugrana head coach Ernesto Valverde on Thursday.

There have also been suggestions the match should be postponed and an alternative date in the calendar found. Valverde thinks the game should go ahead as planned.

Rubiales said Barca and Madrid swiftly submitted their observations on the matter and the RFEF would be seeking to make an early decision.

"I can assure that we will work to try to have a resolution this evening, because there are people involved, supporters with booked trips, tickets, media, and that is what we have done," Rubiales said.

"Regarding the government, what I can say is that this is a matter of football, and it is the competition committee which has to decide. So the government hasn't contacted us or asked for one or another thing."

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde issued an appeal for calm as his team made an early dash to Eibar to avoid more possible protests in their home city.

Violent scenes broke out in Barcelona at the start of the week after nine Catalan political leaders were dealt long prison sentences for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent declaration of independence.

Barcelona's main airport was briefly closed on Tuesday due to the tension, with Spanish league officials later suggesting the Clasico with Real Madrid next week could be moved from Camp Nou to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Talk around that match dominated Valverde's media conference on Thursday, which had been designated to preview this Saturday's game against Eibar.

It emerged that Barca would be leaving on Thursday to make the trip to the Basque Country, rather than departing on Friday as would normally be the case.

"Tomorrow there could be things going on, protests in Barcelona," Valverde said. "There could be travel issues and we have to be there for the game. It's Saturday at 1pm and we thought this was the best option."

Valverde grew up in the Basque region and played for Athletic Bilbao for six years.

He is no stranger to tense political climates surrounding autonomy given that background, but regarding events in Catalonia he said: "I don't want to get too far into the things that are going on. They are issues that have been going on for years.

"What's happened recently is not habitual. We want people to be able to express themselves with the maximum level of freedom.

"Everyone has to respect each other and maybe that hasn’t been there the last few days."

He added: "At this time I think things need to be done in the political world so that there’s understanding. Obviously there are things you don't like to see and we hope that's a one-time thing, and that's it."

Valverde should be more comfortable once Barcelona are out of the city and he can focus on the Eibar game, an important fixture for the club given their mixed start to the campaign.

They sit second in LaLiga, two points behind Real Madrid, and have struggled at times over their opening eight games, in which they have suffered two losses.

Looking ahead to the Eibar trip, Valverde said: "These games are important because we're not at top of the table and we need three points.

"We did have a bit of a tough stretch and we reacted well to it. Sometimes you don't play well but you win anyway and you expect the team to react and that's what we've done in recent years.

"We would like to be in first place but we're not because we tripped up in a few games."

Barcelona boss Ernesto Valverde says the first Clasico of the season against Real Madrid should go ahead as planned at Camp Nou on October 26.

LaLiga has proposed moving the match to the Santiago Bernabeu amid the political unrest in Catalonia, and a reported alternative would be to set the fixture back to December.

Nine Catalan political leaders were given prison sentences ranging from nine to 13 years on Monday for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

The ruling sparked a huge backlash and clashes between police and protestors, with Barcelona's main airport briefly closed the following day due to the tension.

A city rally has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca are due to host their bitter rivals at Camp Nou.

There are concerns the match could be hijacked by protesters for political purposes, but Valverde was adamant Barca want it to be played on its intended date, at their home stadium.

He said in a news conference on Thursday: "There has been a lot of chatter about that game. There was the possibility of changing the order of matches and playing the game at Madrid first, but we don't see that.

"We have an away game this weekend, then [we would have another] next weekend, and then we have to go travel again. And not just because of that, but it's about respecting the calendar and the fans, and the normal thing is to play at our pitch, but we'll see what happens.

"People are getting a bit ahead of themselves with regard to this game. This has been a strange week in Barcelona, everyone knows that, but there's time still and we trust the game will be played in our stadium, which is what we want.

"There are nine days left before we play. We also played at the Wanda Metropolitano against Atletico Madrid [in 2017, after the Catalan independence referendum] and everyone said there would be drama and there was our fans, their fans – everyone has a right to express an opinion in the ground and we think the same thing will happen here.

"Everybody's thinking about whether the game's going to be moved, and it's an opportunity to show there is respect for your opponents that it can be played, and it's an important match for people to see.

"It should be played under normal circumstances. People can express their opinions in the stadium in a natural way."

Amid a suggestion a decision on the fixture could be taken as early as this Thursday by league officials, Valverde was asked whether a postponement might most help Barca or Madrid.

"I don't know, we're going to wait and see," he said. "We'd be coming off a Wednesday [game] and they off a Tuesday [game]. It could seem we benefit more by not having to play, but those things are not very important.

"These games are so highly anticipated that I think the players are ready to play them whenever they are played."

Lionel Messi admits he needs to be "more careful than before" to get the best from his body in the twilight years of his career.

A calf problem and thigh muscle issue have hindered the Barcelona superstar this season, limiting his involvement and his impact on Ernesto Valverde's team.

At the age of 32, Messi knows he cannot constantly push himself physically to the same extent as he might have done a decade ago.

Conserving energy and strength is something Messi is determined to embrace, knowing it behoves him to produce his best as often as possible, but not at the expense of risking injury or fatigue.

"It is difficult because your mind is fine; you think that you are 25 years old and that you can continue doing the same things [as before] at the time," Messi told Marca.

"But the body rules and there are circumstances in which you have to be more careful than before. Adapting to it requires a process and preparing differently for training and matches."

He added: "You realise yourself how long you can continue. I'll find out over time. I'll be the first to say, 'I've come this far and I can't do it anymore', or that I feel good to carry on."

The Argentina captain is closing in on 700 career goals, the mark his fellow modern-day great Cristiano Ronaldo recently achieved.

In that sense, Messi is streets ahead of any player who ever represented Barcelona, with a goals haul of 604 that is unlikely ever to be matched, so limiting his attacking remit in any way would seem a negative move.

Messi was asked whether he could eventually move back from the forward line and into a midfield role.

He largely has licence to roam with his number 10 status at Barcelona, from which he finished as top scorer in LaLiga last term to earn a sixth European Golden shoe prize.

Messi said of the prospect of a deeper starting position: "I don't know, it depends on how it goes.

"Now I usually drop myself deeper to receive and be in contact with the ball and the midfield. I don't know what will happen in the future."

It appears increasingly likely Messi will play for Barca for the entirety of his career, barring a possible swan song with his boyhood club, Newell's Old Boys.

Unlike Ronaldo, who went from Sporting CP to Manchester United and on to Real Madrid and latterly Juventus, Messi has given little indication he would want to play for another European club.

Ronaldo has espoused the merits of seeking new challenges in different leagues, but Messi sees no reason to walk away from Camp Nou.

He said: "Everyone looks for their targets and their experiences. I never had the need to leave the best club in the world, that Barcelona are."

On October 16, 2004, Lionel Messi got his first taste of competitive senior football for Barcelona, coming on as a substitute for Deco against city rivals Espanyol.

Few watching at the time could have imagined quite what was to come from the Argentinian maestro, who has gone on to become arguably the greatest player of all time.

Messi's influence at Barca has become unrivalled, scoring 604 times to become their all-time leading scorer.

Fittingly, the 15th anniversary of his Barca debut comes on the same day he was presented with the European Golden Shoe for last season, and we have looked back at 10 of his very best goals in action for Barcelona.

Albacete (H): May 1, 2005

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

Getafe (H): April 18, 2007

In the 14 years since Messi first got on the scoresheet, one strike stands out as the best: his Diego Maradona-esque solo goal against Getafe. Messi picked up the ball in his own half and danced around two players before turning on the pace, beating two more defenders and going around the goalkeeper, capping it with a right-footed finish.

Real Zaragoza (A): March 21, 2010

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

Athletic Bilbao (A): April 27, 2013

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

Cordoba (H): December 20, 2014

Messi rounded off a 5-0 procession at Camp Nou with a frankly absurd piece of technique. Cordoba defender Jose Angel Crespo made glancing headed contact with Jordi Alba's searching cross from the left that might ordinarily have averted danger. But Barca's star man pulled the ball down with his left foot, swivelled 180 degrees and crashed right footed past Juan Carlos at the goalkeeper's near post.

Bayern Munich (H): May 6, 2015

Having already opened the scoring three minutes earlier to give Barca a 1-0 advantage over Bayern Munich in the Champions League semi-final, Messi doubled his tally with a sumptuous effort. Ivan Rakitic's pass sent Messi on his way, before the little maestro's trickery put Jerome Boateng on his backside and allowed the Argentine to casually lift the ball over the onrushing Manuel Neuer.

Athletic Bilbao (N): May 30, 2015

The second part of a treble-winning season for Barca came in the form of the Copa del Rey against Athletic Bilbao. With 20 minutes gone and the score deadlocked, Messi set off on a marauding run down the right wing and soon found himself trapped among three defenders. Naturally, Messi was able to float past the trio as if they were not there, before cutting into the box and beating Iago Herrerin at his near post.

Real Madrid (A): April 23, 2017

El Clasico rarely disappoints for football fans around the globe, and this edition was no different. Anything but a win would essentially hand Real Madrid the title and it looked to be headed for a 2-2 draw until Sergi Roberto's swashbuckling run in the 92nd minute gave Jordi Alba the chance to square it to Messi, who finished with aplomb from the edge of the area for his 500th Barcelona goal.

Real Sociedad (A): January 18, 2018

Over the past few years, Messi has really mastered the art of free-kick taking, with the skill being one of few to elude him in his younger days. This strike in a 4-2 LaLiga triumph at La Real last January showed just how far he has come, as he lined up a set-piece about 35 yards from goal and coolly curled it into the top-left corner, wrapping up victory for Barca, who had fallen 2-0 behind. 

Real Betis – March 17, 2019

We have become so accustomed to Messi's brilliance that he makes the extraordinary seem normal, but his hat-trick clincher in March's 4-1 win at Real Betis was pure genius. After receiving a cut-back from Ivan Rakitic, he caressed a first-time chipped effort over Pau Lopez and in off the crossbar from about 18 yards when shooting through a crowded penalty area looked an impossibility.

Lionel Messi has been presented with the European Golden Shoe for the sixth time, extending his own record as another incredible LaLiga campaign was recognised on Wednesday.

Messi earned the award, which is given to the player who scores the most league goals across Europe's top divisions, by finding the net 36 times in 34 LaLiga appearances in 2018-19.

His efforts helped Barca to successfully defend the LaLiga title as he claimed the Golden Shoe for the third successive season. 

The Argentina superstar was presented with the Golden Shoe at a ceremony in Barcelona, where his sons Thiago and Mateo handed him the latest trophy in a career laden with them.

"It is the most important competition. If you are not good in this tournament, it will cost you the Champions League," Messi said on stage of LaLiga.

"Thank you all. My family, managers, colleagues, all who have helped me to be here today."

With six Golden Shoes to his name, Messi has two more than Cristiano Ronaldo, who has won the award four times, last doing so in 2014-15.

Messi has endured an injury-affected start to the 2019-20 campaign and has scored only once so far this term.

LaLiga has proposed moving the Clasico between Real Madrid and Barcelona on October 26 from Camp Nou to the Santiago Bernabeu amid the political unrest in Catalonia.

Nine Catalan political leaders were given prison sentences ranging from nine to 13 years on Monday for their roles in the region's 2017 referendum and subsequent unilateral declaration of independence.

The ruling has sparked a huge backlash and clashes between police and protestors, with Barcelona's main airport briefly closed the following day due to the tension.

A city rally has been called by pro-independence politicians for October 26, the day Barca are due to host their bitter rivals at Camp Nou.

Omnisport understands LaLiga has asked the Competition Committee of the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) to switch the match to Madrid for security reasons and to avoid disruption.

The committee is due to decide in the coming days.

London is still something of a home for Jose Mourinho and another job in the English capital could be on the horizon for the ex-Chelsea manager.

With Tottenham struggling for form and reports of discontent in the dressing room, Mauricio Pochettino's position is far from certain.

Mourinho has been out of a job since he was sacked by Manchester United in December and the Portuguese is reportedly waiting in the wings.

 

TOP STORY – SPURS SOUND OUT MOURINHO

Tottenham have made contact with Jose Mourinho amid uncertainty over manager Mauricio Pochettino, reports SoccerLink.

Pochettino's future in London is up in the air following Tottenham's poor start to the season, highlighted by a humiliating 7-2 Champions League loss to Bayern Munich.

While Pochettino is not facing the sack, Spurs have sounded out Mourinho about whether the former Chelsea and Manchester United boss would be interested.

 

ROUND-UP

- While Spurs target Mourinho, Manchester United appear to be closing in on Massimiliano Allegri. With Ole Gunnar Solskjaer struggling at Old Trafford, the Daily Mail reports ex-Juventus boss Allegri is preparing for the job and wants Patrice Evra to join him in Manchester.

Real Madrid will play the waiting game for Kylian Mbappe as Marca claims the Spanish giants have set a 2021 target date of trying to sign the Paris Saint-Germain star.

- According to Le10Sport, Atletico Madrid will look to sign Paris Saint-Germain veteran Edinson Cavani to a pre-contract agreement in January. Cavani's deal runs out at season's end and the Uruguay striker has been linked to Juventus and incoming MLS franchise Inter Miami.

- ESPN FC says Manchester United are ready to spend during the January transfer window following their poor start to the campaign. United are languishing in 12th after the departures of Romelu Lukaku, Alexis Sanchez and Ander Herrera.

Bayern Munich are tracking Freiburg star Luca Waldschmidt, claims Calciomercato. The 23-year-old forward made his debut for Germany this month.

- According to Tuttosport, AC Milan want €20million-rated Turkey international Mehmet Zeki Celik from Lille. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports the Rossoneri are also interested in a January move for Arsenal's Mohamed Elneny, who is on loan at Besiktas.

With Edinson Cavani's contract set to expire, a move away from the French capital has been mooted.

The Paris Saint-Germain veteran has been linked to David Beckham's incoming MLS expansion franchise Inter Miami.

However, Cavani reportedly wants a return to Serie A and the titleholders stand out.

 

TOP STORY – CAVANI EYES JUVE SWITCH

Paris Saint-Germain forward Edinson Cavani wants to join Serie A champions Juventus, according to Calciomercato.

Cavani – who has become PSG's all-time leading goalscorer since arriving from Napoli in 2013 – is out of contract at season's end.

With limited progress on a renewal, the 32-year-old's representatives have reportedly reached out to Juve over a return to Italy.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Sky Sport in Germany, Bayern Munich defender Jerome Boateng is eyeing a move to Serie A or LaLiga. The 31-year-old was linked with PSG during the last transfer window.

- Former France and PSG head coach Laurent Blanc is keen on a job in the Premier League, reports in France say. Blanc was linked to the Lyon vacancy but the Ligue 1 strugglers have opted for ex-Marseille boss Rudi Garcia.

- Passione Inter claims Crystal Palace are looking to sign Gabriel 'Gabigol' Barbosa. The 23-year-old Brazilian is starring on loan at Flamengo, having struggled to establish himself with Inter.

Inter and AC Milan are both interested in Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil, Calciomercato says.

- Calciomercato reports Manchester United are competing with Milan for Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic.

Where will Fabian Ruiz be playing by the end of January?

Napoli will be hoping Fabian remains at Stadio San Paolo.

However, LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona are determined to bring the former Real Betis midfielder back to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID SURPASS BARCA IN BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Madrid have moved ahead of Barca in the race for Napoli star Fabian and want to sign the midfielder in January, according to Marca.

Fabian has attracted plenty of interest since swapping Betis for Serie A side Napoli, where the Spaniard has starred since his €30milion arrival in 2018.

Barca have been keeping tabs on the 23-year-old, but rivals Madrid have reportedly jumped to the front of the queue.

 

ROUND-UP

- While Fabian is of interest, Tuttosport says Barca are eyeing Inter star Lautaro Martinez, who has a €111m release clause.

- There is plenty happening at Camp Nou. Mundo Deportivo reports Barca are willing to let Ivan Rakitic and Carles Alena leave in January. Barca are also reportedly not interested in signing a new centre-back as they trust Jean-Clair Todibo or Ronald Araujo, with Marca saying right-back is an area they are looking to strengthen.

- According to Corriere dello Sport, Fiorentina are targeting in-demand Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali. The 19-year-old has been linked to Juventus and Manchester United.

- AS claims Madrid are considering a move for Tottenham's Christian Eriksen in January, before his contract expires at the end of the season.

Hakan Calhanoglu's time at AC Milan could be coming to an end, with Calciomercato reporting the struggling Serie A side may sell the 25-year-old. Calhanoglu has struggled for consistency since joining from Bayer Leverkusen in 2017.

Barca are lining up an approach for PSV sensation Donyell Malen, according to Sport. It comes as AS reports Ernesto Valverde's side are set to hand contract extensions to Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Nelson Semedo.

Neymar does not have to leave Paris Saint-Germain to fulfil his goal of becoming the world's best player, according to Brazil team-mate Alisson.

The forward was strongly linked with a return to Barcelona during the transfer window, but no move to Camp Nou came to fruition.

Neymar has instead remained in the French capital, scoring four goals in five Ligue 1 games since recovering from a foot injury.

The 27-year-old did not finish in the top 10 for the 2018 Ballon d'Or but, asked if Neymar could become the best player in the world by joining Barcelona, Alisson told Mundo Deportivo: "I think that Neymar can be the best in the world on any team.

"Neymar is a high-level player and would be fundamental in any team in the world. If he returns to Barcelona or not... I wish him good luck and to play with his usual joy and energy, wherever he is."

Five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi was reportedly pushing for Neymar to be signed by Barca, but he told RAC1 this month he was surprised his former team-mate did not join Real Madrid after it became clear he wanted to leave PSG.

Messi and Alisson met in the Champions League for the second season in a row last term, with the former Roma goalkeeper again coming out on top with a stunning second-leg comeback.

The Argentina captain had struck twice in the first leg to seemingly give Liverpool a mountain to climb but they won 4-0 at Anfield to overturn their deficit, going on to win the tournament by defeating fellow Premier League side Tottenham in the final.

Alisson also got the better of Messi at this year's Copa America, where Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in the semi-finals before going on to lift the trophy on home soil with a win over Peru.

"The truth is that Messi played very well in the first leg in Barcelona and achieved two goals, but in the return I managed to stop him in some important moments," Alisson added.

"Messi is one of the best players in football history, but I don't think only of duels with him. Both Barcelona and Argentina are two very good teams that have high quality players.

"Luckily, in the last three matches I have been able to overcome him, but the merits are of the whole team: Rome, Liverpool and Brazil."

 

Either through injuries or dips in form, Luis Suarez has started to show signs of regression at Barcelona and they are planning for a future without him.

The Uruguayan striker has been a remarkable player for Barca, but at 32 he is approaching the twilight of his career and the Blaugrana have been considering who they might want to replace him with when the time comes.

Meanwhile, one player recently heavily linked with Barca could be signing a new contract with his current employers.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA DRAW UP STRIKERS SHORTLIST

Barca have significantly strengthened several areas of their team in recent transfer windows, with Antoine Griezmann, Junior Firpo, Frenkie de Jong and Neto bolstering their options.

They are now beginning to turn their attentions to the central striker role, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The publication reports Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is the ideal target, though Barca are said to be hopeful of getting him on a cut-price deal in 2021 after he has entered the final year of his contract, assuming he does not sign an extension in the meantime.

England and Tottenham striker Harry Kane is also said to be high up their list, despite their being acknowledgement that his wages would be more of an issue than the transfer fee.

The other two reportedly being considered are Marcus Rashford of Manchester United and Inter's Lautaro Martinez.

 

ROUND-UP

Barca missed out on securing the return of Neymar in the most recent transfer window and, according to Gazzetta dello Sport, PSG are now planning to offer the Brazilian a new bumper contract.

- The LaLiga champions are also looking at midfield reinforcements with potential. Napoli's Fabian RuizEduardo Camavinga of Rennes and Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz are all being considered, though Mundo Deportivo say Real Madrid are also tracking the trio with intent.

Christian Eriksen's future has been a hot topic for the last few months, with the Tottenham midfielder's contract ending next year. Sport1 in Germany claim Bayern Munich have already been in touch with him.

Liverpool are hoping to sign Brighton and Hove Albion-owned centre-back Ben White, 21, according to the Sun. The defender is impressing on loan at Leeds United and the Reds see him as a replacement for Dejan Lovren, who is said to be eager for a move to get first-team football.

- Despite languishing 12th in the Premier League after a wretched start to the season, the Daily Mail say Manchester United will not be splashing the cash in the January transfer window.

- But the Daily Express report United have reached a "verbal agreement" with Mario Mandzukic of Juventus, who are said to be demanding £10million for the Croatian forward.

Manuel Neuer dismissed suggestions of a rift between himself and Germany goalkeeping colleague Marc-Andre ter Stegen and also denied claims he is contemplating retirement next year.

Germany coach Joachim Low's selections between the posts have been a major talking point in recent months, with Neuer seemingly still first-choice despite Ter Stegen's form for Barcelona.

Ter Stegen has emerged as one of the world's most consistent and dependable goalkeepers, while Neuer – who is now 33 – has shown signs of regression.

Barca star Ter Stegen was criticised by Neuer last month for "inappropriate" comments about being disappointed at losing his place in the starting XI, while Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness also took aim at the 27-year-old.

But Neuer insists there is no lack of harmony among Die Mannschaft's goalkeepers.

"I hope you have watched us closely, it's a great relationship with us," Neuer told reporters ahead of Sunday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia.

"[Ter Stegen] played well against Argentina. We have the right team [of goalkeepers], with Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp as well. There is nothing to report, there was no deep conversation."

Ter Stegen should not expect an easy run at the starting role anytime soon either, as Neuer denied reports he is considering retirement after Euro 2020.

"There's absolutely nothing to announce," he said. "I'm feeling well, I'm feeling fit and I'm performing well. I'm not thinking about ending my career."

Some have tipped Schalke's Alexander Nubel – not Ter Stegen – to eventually take over from Neuer in the Germany goal, and they Bayern man sees that as a possibility.

"He could be," Neuer said when asked if Nubel may be his successor. "He has made good progress. He is a regular goalkeeper for Schalke and played a very good Under-21 European Championship.

"He is currently performing very well. Of course, he needs some experience as well, but the signs for German football are good, even in the goalkeeping department."

Antoine Griezmann's integration at Barcelona has been "difficult" but the Frenchman will justify his signing if given time, according to team-mate Arturo Vidal.

Griezmann joined Barca from Atletico Madrid in pre-season, costing the Blaugrana €120million after a protracted transfer saga.

Barca had reportedly been chasing the France international for well over a year, and although they eventually got their man after being rebuffed in 2018, the start of their union has been unspectacular.

Griezmann's largely ineffective performances have been widely criticised, with many expecting more from him than the three goals and two assists in seven LaLiga outings.

Vidal accepts Griezmann's adaptation could have gone better, though he remains confident in the forward.

"It's been difficult [for Griezmann] to integrate and adapt," Vidal told Sport. "He arrived at the best team in the world with the best players.

"He comes from a side that plays very differently, but he's got a lot of quality. We all know that Griezmann is one of the best in the world.

"What we need to do is wait a little, give him some time. When he knows the best way to play and understands what the coach needs from him, I'm sure he will help us a lot."

While Barca's injury problems in attack have arguably contributed to Griezmann's struggles, they have also given 16-year-old Ansu Fati the chance to step up.

The winger has caught the eye several times with his direct style and ability on the ball, even forcing himself into contention for a call-up to Spain's senior side, which is seemingly just around the corner.

Vidal is an admirer of the teenager but urged caution and stressed the need for the club to shield him.

"He's got a glorious future ahead of him," Vidal added. "He's a very young player but he's already shown so much quality.

"But we must be calm with him, help him and most importantly protect him. He needs to prepare himself properly to be one of the best around.

"You can see he has the necessary quality to be with us."

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