Ansu Fati could be named in Spain's squad for Euro 2020, says coach Robert Moreno.

The 16-year-old forward has burst on to the scene this season, becoming Barcelona's youngest LaLiga goalscorer when he struck against Osasuna.

Born in Guinea-Bissau, Fati also had the option to represent Portugal at international level but he chose to play for La Roja and this week he was granted Spanish citizenship.

Fati was then added to the Spain Under-21 squad to face Montenegro after Barcelona team-mate Carles Perez withdrew through injury.

Moreno indicated Fati is already in his thinking as Spain work towards Euro 2020, with qualification in sight after six wins from six in Group F.

"Of course I would like Ansu to be here," he said ahead of Saturday's trip to Norway. "We had him in the pre-list.

"He has broken the system of the age groups. We believe it is important to have players who have a goal.

"If he starts scoring goals and breaking out we will not give up having such a player with us.

"All good guys are welcome. Ansu has shown many things.

"Of course it would be feasible for him to be at the Euros."

Moreno's contract expires after Euro 2020, the coach having taken charge on an initial temporary basis after Luis Enrique had to step away for personal reasons.

Although he is yet to open talks with the Royal Spanish Football Federation over a renewal, Moreno is not concerned about the situation.

"I had not thought about it. They have neither spoken to me nor do I want them to talk to me," he added.

"We are focused on getting 30 points. It does not give me any value to be told about it.

"This is a lot of fun and every week something new appears to entertain you. I am happy with how things are going. I have not seen them yet in losing.

"Hopefully we can secure qualification, I would like to do it by winning all the matches."

Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Kai Havertz insists he will have the final say on his next career move after being linked with Real Madrid and Barcelona.

The 20-year-old enjoyed a breakthrough campaign in 2018-19, scoring 17 Bundesliga goals as he helped Leverkusen qualify for the Champions League.

Havertz scored his first international goal for Germany in Wednesday's 2-2 draw with Argentina and reports in Spain suggest LaLiga heavyweights Madrid and Barcelona are interested in the player.

While open to advice on his future, including from national boss Joachim Low, Havertz - who is under contract at BayArena until 2022 - will make a choice that is right for him.

Speaking at a Germany news conference on Friday, he said: "I listen to many people but in the end it will be my decision. 

"I will embrace any advice Low will give me because he has a lot experience - it wouldn't be smart to not listen to him."

Bayer Leverkusen sporting director Rudi Voller confirmed in August that Bayern Munich have previously showed an interest in Havertz, who is in line to feature for his country in the Euro 2020 qualifier against Estonia on Sunday.

Ansu Fati has been called into the Spain Under-21 squad, just 24 hours after being granted clearance to play for his adopted country.

Fati was added to the party to face Montenegro on Tuesday after Barcelona team-mate Carles Perez was forced to withdraw through injury.

It continues a remarkable rise to prominence for the 16-year-old, who became Barca's youngest LaLiga goalscorer when he found the net against Osasuna in August.

Born in Guinea-Bissau, Fati also had the option to represent Portugal at international level, but was granted Spanish citizenship and chose to play for La Roja.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation confirmed on Thursday that FIFA had granted Fati permission to represent Spain at international level.

Spain's youth team sporting director Francisco Hernandez suggested Fati could be fast-tracked into the senior squad after opting to leave him out of the squad for the Under-17 World Cup in Brazil.

"We have taken the decision not to include him in this [World Cup] squad," Hernandez said.

"This was following a wider sporting review in that we consider him in a better position to play with an older category and for that to be the case, he cannot come to the Under-17 World Cup.

"We want him to star for the senior team as soon as possible."

Spain senior coach Robert Moreno said Fati was on his preliminary list for the current international break.

"We thought he could do well," he said. "He was on the preliminary list, we value him, there were a number of events that have been going on, bureaucratic issues after he was injured and we could not summon him.

"Allow me for this exception when talking about someone who is not on the list, but he was a special case that had to be treated in an honest way."

Ansu Fati has received clearance to play for Spain but has not been included in their squad for the Under-17 World Cup.

Barcelona forward Fati became the club's youngest LaLiga goalscorer when he found the net against Osasuna in August at the age of 16.

Fati was left out of Spain's most recent senior and Under-21 squads, with the latter's coach Luis de la Fuente confirming he was not yet eligible.

Born in Guinea-Bissau, Fati also had the option to represent Portugal at international level, but has been granted Spanish citizenship and chosen to play for La Roja.

And the Royal Spanish Football Federation confirmed on Thursday that FIFA has now granted Fati permission to represent Spain at international level.

Spain's youth team sporting director Francisco Hernandez suggested Fati could be fast-tracked into the senior squad.

"We have taken the decision not to include him in this [World Cup] squad," he said.

"This was following a wider sporting review in that we consider him in a better position to play with an older category and for that to be the case, he cannot come to the Under-17 World Cup.

"We want him to star for the senior team as soon as possible."

Spain senior squad coach Robert Moreno said Fati was on his preliminary list for the current international break.

"We thought he could do well," he said. "He was on the preliminary list, we value him, there were a number of events that have been going on, bureaucratic issues after he was injured and we could not summon him.

"Allow me for this exception when talking about someone who is not on the list, but he was a special case that had to be treated in an honest way."

Paris Saint-Germain full-back Juan Bernat was surprised Neymar remained with the Ligue 1 giants this season despite strong interest from Barcelona.

Brazil star Neymar was a constant subject of speculation in the previous transfer window, with the forward doing little to hush the rumours of a potential return to Camp Nou.

Barca were said to have offered PSG cash and up to three players – reportedly Ivan Rakitic, Jean-Clair Todibo and Ousmane Dembele – but the deal did not go through, despite the Catalan club reportedly being confident of getting it over the line.

The strained relationship between the two clubs from when Neymar left Barca for PSG for €222million two years earlier was said to have impacted discussions, though Bernat acknowledged he felt the former Santos talent was more likely to leave than stay.

"Yes, it's true that I saw him more [likely] out of the club than in it for everything that was said in the press," Bernat told Marca.

"Until the transfer window closed, anything could've happened.

"It was the best outcome for us [PSG]. He makes a difference with [Kylian] Mbappe. In the first game, as soon as he returned, he scored a goal.

"Then against Lyon he was also decisive. They [Neymar and Mbappe] are a different level.

"They are very skilled players. They carry the ball and make you suffer. Luckily we have them in our team."

Similarly, Mbappe was also linked with a move away from the Parc des Princes, with Real Madrid said to be eager to sign him.

Bernat is not surprised Mbappe attracts such interest, having seen first-hand in training that the 20-year-old is "practically impossible" to stop.

He said: "In a race Mbappe is unstoppable. If he starts [running], you're lost. When he has space, it is very complicated to slow him down.

"With the power he has it is practically impossible. Either you anticipate or there's nothing you can do. He competes very well, and that's what's going to make him very big.

"It [Madrid's interest] is normal, but he is ours and I hope he will always stay with us. He is in a big club."

Another day, another rumour about Christian Eriksen.

The soon-to-be free agent Eriksen wants a new challenge after flagging his intent during the previous transfer window.

A move to LaLiga appeals and a Spanish giant from the capital are reportedly ready to pounce.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID EYE ERIKSEN 

AS and Marca claim Real Madrid are ready to make a move for Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen in January.

Eriksen is a free agent at the end of the season, and the Spurs star has been linked to the likes of Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Juventus, Manchester United and Inter.

However, Madrid are reportedly unwilling to wait until season's end as they look to strengthen their midfield.

ROUND-UP

Inter are eyeing Manchester United midfielder Nemanja Matic, says FC Inter News. Matic has found himself out of favour under United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and a switch to Serie A could be on the cards for the Serbia international, whose contract expires at the end of the season.

- According to Calciomercato, Serie A champions Juventus are looking to sign Chelsea full-back Emerson Palmieri. The Italy international worked with Maurizio Sarri during the former Chelsea boss' time at Stamford Bridge.

Massimiliano Allegri has handed United a "deadline" for him to be given the job at Old Trafford, says La Gazzetta dello Sport. Solskjaer is under growing pressure, with the Red Devils enduring a difficult season and former Juventus boss Allegri has emerged as a possible replacement.

- Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil fears he has played his last game for the Gunners, according to the Mirror. Ozil has struggled to establish himself since Unai Emery's arrival and the former Germany international has been linked to MLS outfit DC United and Turkish giants Fenerbahce.

- Le10Sport claims former Chile, Sevilla and Argentina coach Jorge Sampaoli is on the shortlist to fill the Lyon vacancy following Sylvinho's sacking. Sampaoli is in charge of Brazilian side Santos.

- Gianluca Di Marzio reports Claudio Ranieri is in the mix to take over at Sampdoria, who sacked Eusebio Di Francesco prior to the international break. Ranieri – who sensationally led Leicester City to Premier League glory in 2015-16 – last oversaw Roma on a temporary basis last term. Ex-AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso reportedly turned down the job.

- Manchester United are among the admirers of rising Mexico star Sebastian Cordova, reports Record. The 22-year-old America playmaker made his international debut for El Tri last week. The attacking third and midfield are areas of concern for United, who have also been linked to Barcelona's Ivan Rakitic and Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic.

Lionel Messi admitted he wanted to leave Barcelona in order to get out of Spain after authorities investigated him for tax fraud.

The Argentina star and his father were found guilty of evading tax on income from image rights by a Catalonian court in 2016 and were sentenced to 21 months in prison, although this was changed to a fine a year later.

Messi has now revealed he felt so "mistreated" during the investigation that he considered quitting Barcelona so he could get out of the country, but he thinks other clubs were put off making official offers as they knew he was at heart a one-club man.

"In the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, I had a tough time," Messi told RAC1. "Yes, for the issue with the Hacienda [Spain's state tax agency]. It was really difficult for me and my family because people didn't really know what was happening. They heard things and they opined. A part of the press did the same, too.

"I think I was the first [footballer to be investigated by the Hacienda] and for that reason it was all so hard. My kids were little.

"At that time, I honestly thought about leaving. Not because I wanted to leave Barca, but to leave Spain because I felt mistreated and I didn't want to be here. I had many doors open but never anything official because everyone knew my desire was to continue but it was something which went beyond my feelings towards Barca."

Question marks over Messi's future appeared again this September when he told Sport that, although he did not want to leave Camp Nou, he was eager to be part of a "winning team".

It was suggested the 32-year-old was referring to recent Champions League frustrations, with Barca's last triumph coming in 2015 and their past two campaigns ending in humiliating defeats to Roma and Liverpool.

However, Messi has made it clear he wants to end his career with Barcelona and may even pass on his dream of playing for boyhood club Newell's Old Boys in Argentina before he retires as he does not want to uproot his family.

"It's true we struggled to get started this season, but we have a good squad with great players to be able to win everything," Messi said.

"We are here to win and to win titles. In recent years we have been close. In the last two years, it was our fault for the way we got knocked out. It wasn't the project or the coach. We have a great squad to be able to win everything.

"And obviously, if they want me, I'm delighted [to stay]. I will repeat: my idea is always to stay here. My idea and my family's idea is to end my career here."

He added that he has "always dreamed" of playing for Newell's.

"But sometimes you have to think more about the family than what you want," Messi said. "The family is the most important thing."

Messi also hopes to see former team-mate Xavi return to Barca as a coach, even if that happens after he has retired. Xavi is currently coaching Qatari side Al Sadd.

"He's in training and at some point he'll come back here," Messi added. "I have a feeling he'll be similar to [Pep] Guardiola. I don't know if I'll experience it as a player, of course."

Ousmane Dembele will miss the first Clasico of the season after being handed a two-match ban by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

The Barcelona winger was sent off in the closing minutes of the 4-0 LaLiga win over Sevilla last Sunday after confronting referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz, who had just given debutant Ronald Araujo a red card for a foul on Javier Hernandez.

According to the referee's match report, Dembele said to him, "Very bad, you are very bad", as Barca players surrounded him to argue against Araujo's dismissal.

Barca appealed against Dembele's red card but the RFEF has dismissed their case and given the France international a two-game ban.

He will therefore sit out the trip to Eibar on October 19 and then the visit of Real Madrid to Camp Nou on October 26.

Araujo has been banned for one game, as has Gerard Pique, who has collected five bookings this season. Both will be available to face Madrid.

Dembele has made three LaLiga appearances this season and scored his first goal of 2019-20 in the defeat of Sevilla.

Barca are two points behind league leaders Real Madrid after eight matches.

Ivan Rakitic has suggested he could look to leave Barcelona if he does not regain his first-team place, insisting he is not prepared to "just enjoy walks around the city and the beach".

The midfielder was heavily linked with a move away from Camp Nou in the previous transfer window as the Catalans sought to build up funds for a possible bid for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

Rakitic was reportedly offered to PSG as part of a proposed Neymar deal, while Juventus are also said to have been interested, with Cristiano Ronaldo rumoured to have tried to convince the Croatia international to move to Turin.

Rakitic maintained he had no desire to leave Barca, but he has become a peripheral figure under Ernesto Valverde this season, playing just 186 minutes in all competitions.

"I don't know what will come now," Rakitic said, according to 24sata. "It's tough because I want to play and not just be part of the team.

"I will do everything possible to change my situation. I have two years left on my deal and there's no better place to play than Barcelona, the best club in the world, but I need to play and not just enjoy walks around the city and the beach."

Rakitic says he has spoken with decision-makers at Barca over his future, with the club aware he had received offers from elsewhere and decided to turn them down.

He was given a rousing reception by fans when he came on in the 4-0 LaLiga win over former club Sevilla on Sunday, but he says even the backing of the supporters does not make up for being out of the starting line-up.

"I spoke with people at the club. Everyone knew I had other options. I want to fight so that the team see me ready to deliver on the pitch," he said.

"I want to thank the fans for the affection they showed me this weekend, but if nothing changed, we will have to sit down and talk about my situation again."

Lionel Messi has dismissed suggestions he did not want Barcelona to sign Antoine Griezmann as a "lie".

Griezmann joined the LaLiga champions in a long-anticipated €120million transfer ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Barca were also heavily linked with trying to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou but Messi insists a desire to be reunited with his former team-mate did not mean he was cold on the Griezmann deal.

"Obviously it is a lie that I did not want Griezmann," he told RAC 1.

"Last year I said he was one of the best and the best are always welcome. I also wanted Neymar to come for the same reason, because he is different - one of the best, and to have him here would have been important for our goals.

"But with Ney we had to look beyond sports, many parties did not want him to come [due to] everything that had happened."

Griezmann has scored three times in seven LaLiga appearances but struggled to hit the heights that made him one of the most sought-after players in the world while at Atletico Madrid.

He completed 90 minutes and failed to score in the three games in which Barca have dropped points in LaLiga this season, while he is without a Champions League goal and was an unused substitute for last weekend's 4-0 win over Sevilla.

The France international said Messi's early season calf injury and the fact neither player talks too much had made it "difficult" for them to establish a relationship.

Messi maintains there are no issues and knows adapting to Barcelona and the current interpretation of their famed style takes time.

"For any player who does not know the Barca method, coming from outside is very difficult," he added.

"Griezmann is an intelligent player, of great quality, and he will end up adapting."

Neymar signing for Real Madrid was a prospect Lionel Messi feared was about to become a reality.

The Brazil superstar featured in a lethal front three alongside Messi and Luis Suarez at Camp Nou before joining Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222m move two years ago.

Reports of Neymar wishing to return to LaLiga have been frequent since then and an 'MSN' reunion was mooted during the close season.

But with Barcelona unable to put together a package to make the deal happen, Messi worried his old team-mate would end up pulling on the famous white shirt of their sworn rivals.

"I honestly thought that in this market, if he did not come here, he would go to Madrid, because I really thought he wanted to leave," five-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi told RAC1.

"He said it, he wanted to change, to leave Paris. I thought that Florentino [Perez, Real Madrid president] and Madrid would do something to take him away."

Barcelona still boast a plethora of elite forward options.

Messi is back to fitness after a calf problem delayed his start to the 2019-20 season, while Suarez came through a period of criticism to score four times in the space of eight days before the international break.

Big-money arrival Antoine Griezmann is still bedding in, although his fellow France international Ousmane Dembele must serve a suspension having been sent off for dissent during the 4-0 victory against Sevilla last time out.

In his report, referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz said Dembele told him he was "very bad, you're very bad" in response to Barca youngster Ronald Araujo being red-carded.

Like coach Ernesto Valverde, Messi was perplexed by the incident – mainly due to Dembele's lack of aptitude with the Spanish language – that means the winger is set to miss El Clasico at Camp Nou later this month.

"It is very difficult for him to be able to say that because it is difficult for him to put together sentences and speak well enough to speak clearly," Messi said.

"The coach supported him at a press conference. The truth is we were surprised that [the referee] understood it so clearly because Ousmane has a hard time speaking Spanish – although he makes himself understood and understands everything.

"It's difficult [to accept the referee] understood it so clearly. That's just the way it is."

Antoine Griezmann is having to adapt to a different style of play at Barcelona but is certainly not unhappy at the club, according to team-mate Clement Lenglet.

Griezmann, a €120million signing from Atletico Madrid in the transfer window, has struggled to find top form since moving to Camp Nou.

The 28-year-old has scored three goals in seven LaLiga appearances but has generally found it difficult to influence games from the left of Ernesto Valverde's attack.

He was dropped to the bench for compatriot Ousmane Dembele for Barca's latest game, a 4-0 league win over Sevilla on Sunday, in which Dembele scored.

There have also been concerns Griezmann is not suited to playing alongside club captain Lionel Messi, largely after the France forward admitted in a news conference that the pair do not often speak.

However, Lenglet insists there is no cause for concern around Griezmann's place at the club.

When asked if Griezmann is happier in the France squad than with Barca, Lenglet replied: "No. I am with him every day and I can tell you that he is very happy in Barcelona.

"He's a positive person who always has a smile on his face. When he arrives in the French team that fact doesn't change. He loves to make jokes, you know him. He hasn't changed, whether it's in Barcelona or in the France squad.

"He's someone who has just arrived and Barcelona is a different club from the other clubs, which plays a different game - a different game from Atletico.

"He has scored three goals, I think he's the club's second-best scorer, even though it's only the beginning of the season. It's still something quite positive.

"He works a lot for the team. He used to play as second striker at Atletico and now he plays on one side. He helps us a lot with his talent and his defensive efforts in every game. He's sacrificing himself for the team. I don't think there is an 'Antoine Griezmann case' as you can try to make me say."

Messi scored his first goal of the season from a free-kick against Sevilla, having been sidelined for much of the early part of the season with a calf problem.

Lenglet says the Argentina star has still been teaching him a few lessons in training, however, where he gives his defensive team-mates a torrid time.

"He is an extraordinary player. We are very happy to have him in Barcelona. He makes a lot of difference," said Lenglet.

"When we are in training, we set the pace. Leo often plays as a joker. He is very clever in his placement, in his way of protecting the ball. It's hard to steal it. You have to anticipate well in advance. We suffer daily but we are happy to have him with us every weekend. That's the main thing."

One of the big positives of Barca's season has been the breakthrough of Ansu Fati, the 16-year-old who has scored twice in five league appearances and captured the attention of Spain with his performances.

"Ansu is very talented," said Lenglet. "He's in a dressing room with a lot of international players and very good players in his position. He took advantage of some absences to have playing time. He was very good when he played.

"He has some minor problems given his age to follow the rhythm of matches and training, but he is very well cared for. He is very professional. It's a very pleasant surprise. I think he's a good player for the future but also for the present because he has many qualities."

Uruguay head coach Oscar Tabarez said it is premature to think Luis Suarez's time with the national team is over.

Suarez – who has earned 111 Uruguay caps – will miss international friendlies against South American rivals Peru on October 11 and 15 to undergo medical treatment in Barcelona.

The 32-year-old forward was named in the preliminary squad but withdrew ahead of the games in Montevideo and Lima, instead remaining in Barcelona with the LaLiga champions.

Asked about Suarez, who has scored four goals in his past three games for Barca, and his future, Tabarez told reporters: "Every player wears out during his career. In the 60's I read an article about Pele, I don't need to introduce him, written by doctors saying that Pele had the body of someone 20 years older than him.

"So, how long has Suarez been on the national team? He's here from 2007. How many games he played? How many goals he scored? How many times did he play injured? How many times he had surprising recoveries? For how quick they were or how they scaped normal things like the necessary recovery time and he overcame that, so I think it's rushed and it's not knowing the player [Suarez] saying he's over. Not at all. Time will tell who's right. We have a lot of confidence on him being fit.

"It's very hard to guess the future of a player. I didn't guess what Luis Suarez has achieved in football. In 2006, when he first came here to train I saw things on him that weren't normal, but there was no way I could imagine, from there, all the career he had. I don't take credit on that either. The credit is his. He did all that. He had ups and downs, he made mistakes, but every time he came, he brought something new.

"He was the top scorer in Groningen, he went to Ajax, he became Ajax's captain with just 21 years old, then moving to Liverpool, all the goals he scored, he keeps breaking records... With a huge wear out that has given him some problems but he always keeps his head up. That's the kind of player that sets an era in a national team, and in a given time those players were youngsters. So you have to pay attention to them sometime and if you see something, you help them out.

"What Luis Suarez has given to Uruguayan football is huge. Never mind the chance that he can give something little from now on. I hope he can still give us something. I'm not 100 per cent sure, he can have some problem. But we can't worry just for one injury or missing one game."

Suarez – Uruguay's all-time leading scorer with 58 goals since debuting in 2007 – has netted six goals for Barca across all competitions this term.

Barcelona have confirmed the sacking of the club's under-19 coach Victor Valdes.

Former goalkeeper Valdes was appointed to the role in July but lasted only three months in charge of the Juvenil A team.

Valdes reportedly clashed with former Barcelona striker Patrick Kluivert, who is now in charge of La Masia, prior to his departure.

Although Barca's U-19s are sitting in second place behind Real Zaragoza in the league, they lost their opening two UEFA Youth League fixtures to Borussia Dortmund and Inter under Valdes' leadership.

"Barcelona have informed Víctor Valdes on Monday that he is no longer U19A coach and no longer employed by the club," said a brief club statement. 

The 37-year-old won the 2010 World Cup with Spain and a raft of honours at Barca, including six LaLiga titles and a trio of Champions Leagues.

Franc Artiga, who has been part of the youth set up at La Masia since 2010, will take over the post.

 

 

Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde was left pondering Ousmane Dembele's red card at the end of his side's rout of Sevilla, claiming the Frenchman's grasp of Spanish would have restricted the words that led to his dismissal.

Dembele was sent off two minutes from time for protesting the red card shown to Barcelona debutant Ronald Araujo in Sunday's 4-0 LaLiga victory, and Valverde said the late disciplinary flurry did not reflect the manner of the game.

Barca cruised to their fourth consecutive win in all competitions, scoring three goals in eight first-half minutes before captain Lionel Messi added a fourth with a second-half free-kick.

Valverde praised his side's incisive forward play after the champions moved within two points of top spot thanks to goals from Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal, Dembele and Messi.

"We have had more punch than them, there is the key," Valverde told reporters afterwards.

"The result is substantial, but we don't have to be forgiving to our rivals.

"The red cards? It's the referee's decision. Everyone has their opinion. I've seen a pretty clean game.

"It didn't seem like Araujo's fault, but I always see everything in favour of my team.

"I don't know what Dembele may have said to the referee but I don't think it's a long sentence because it's hard to hear him speak Spanish."

Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui hailed his side's bright start, in which Luuk de Jong squandered three good opportunities to put the visitors ahead.

But Barcelona's dominance thereafter leaves Sevilla with three defeats from their last four LaLiga matches and Lopetegui felt the result at Camp Nou was harsh on his players.

"The first 30 to 35 minutes were ours," said Lopetegui. "We had very clear chances and we didn't score. And in such a scenario when you don't take advantage, the laws of football take effect."

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