The embattled Trinidad and Tobago Football Association (TTFA) William Wallace-led executive has sought permission to reverse the withdrawal of proceedings, in the case brought against FIFA, currently before the T&T High Court.

Earlier this week, a TTFA membership meeting that was held saw its membership unofficially vote to cease the TTFA action against FIFA in the court.  Wallace and his executive reluctantly agreed, and action was taken to withdraw the suit before the court on Wednesday.  The body, however, missed the deadline to withdraw the lawsuit by two minutes and were as a result suspended by FIFA.

Originally, the TFFA had been given until September 16 to withdraw the action, but FIFA had given a further extension until the 23rd

In explaining its reasons for choosing to suspend the TTFA, FIFA on Thursday said “The suspension was prompted by the former leadership of the TTFA lodging a claim before (the TT High Court) in order to contest the decision of the FIFA Council to appoint a normalisation committee for the TTFA. This course of action was in direct breach of article 59 of the FIFA Statutes, which expressly prohibits recourse to ordinary courts unless specifically provided for in the FIFA regulations.”

According to Keith Look Loy, a former member of Wallaces' TTFA executive, the reason for returning the case to the court is in order to challenge the FIFA suspension at the CAS.

 “We filed an injunction at the CAS against the suspension. But to ensure we had legal standing to do so, we had to have a legal matter before the local courts. Had the case been withdrawn from the court, there would be no legal standing in the local high court,” Look Loy told the Trinidad and Tobago Newsday.

“There would be no legal standing because they have no case before the court, which means they have accepted FIFA’s imposition of the normalisation committee. We do not accept this and thus had to withdraw the withdrawal application to file such an injunction against FIFA.”

Frank Lampard was in no mood to play the blame game after an error from Thiago Silva on his Premier League debut and says the Brazil centre-back will become crucial for Chelsea.

Silva was at fault for the second of West Brom's three first-half goals at The Hawthorns, as the Blues had to fight back from an error-strewn opening 45 minutes to draw 3-3 thanks to Mason Mount, Callum Hudson-Odoi and Tammy Abraham.

It was the veteran defender's first action in the Premier League at the age of 36 and it was an unfortunate slip in an otherwise steady top-flight bow.

Chelsea boss Lampard said Silva is experienced enough to own up to his mistakes without the need for him to pile in too.

"Listen Thiago Silva is going to be fantastic for us, he's been incredible in his career," Lampard told a post-match news conference. 

"I will not look at him, I can talk about the mistakes - they're clear and we have to be open and honest about that, but I'll not put any blame on him. We're a team that has to react around that and to be fair the team did in the second half. 

"It's nothing on Thiago, I'm sure he'll stand up and say it was a mistake, other than that I thought he was faultless in the game.

"That's his first Premier League game done and in the bank, we'll get more from him as he gets fitter and the team gets fitter." 

Chelsea's equaliser had a hint of fortune, with Kai Havertz potentially handballing in the area in the build-up.

West Brom boss Slaven Bilic, who also felt there a was a foul prior to Hudson-Odoi bringing it back to 3-2, had no doubts the gal should have been chalked off.

"The third goal is very difficult to accept," Bilic said. "For me that is so clear that I don't even want to talk about it, it is obvious. 

"It's not maybe, it's not possibly handball, it is handball that's end of story, full stop. How someone can say that's not a handball is beyond me."

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer insisted a lack of sharpness was the reason behind Manchester United conceding goals as he ruled out adding a centre-back in the transfer window.

United secured a 3-2 win at Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday thanks to a last-gasp penalty from Bruno Fernandes, who converted from the spot in the 10th minute of additional time.

However, having conceded three times when losing their Premier League opener at home to Crystal Palace, defensive deficiencies were again a topic of conversation after the final whistle on the south coast.

Neal Maupay and Solly March both scored for Brighton, the latter in the 95th minute to make it 2-2, while the home side were denied five times by the woodwork as they had 18 attempts at goal.

Leandro Trossard was particularly unlucky, becoming the first player to hit the woodwork on three occasions in a Premier League match since Cristiano Ronaldo in October 2006, as Solskjaer retained faith in Victor Lindelof despite his difficult outing against Palace.

"We've got many defenders here and I put Eric (Bailly) on to bolster the defence, following the runs of Trossard and Maupay," Solskjaer said in his media conference.

"For me, we've got enough good centre-backs here at the moment.

"When you concede chances and concede goals, there are two different things you can look at - it's either the team shape, or are there any individual mistakes.

"We're not in our best shape of form, our shape isn't there, we're not sharp enough to stop crosses or follow the runs.

"We're a little bit behind, that's more structural mistakes than individual mistakes. I thought Victor did well today."

United have been linked with a new defender, media reports suggesting they are interested in Porto left-back Alex Telles.

Solskjaer promised the players he currently has in his squad will improve as they play more matches after a shortened pre-season. They play Brighton again on Wednesday, this time in the EFL Cup. 

"We've got to be honest enough to say they created the most chances. Maybe 50-50 possession but they had loads of shots, big chances and that's not what we want. We need to improve a lot in the weeks coming forward," the Norwegian boss said.

"The spirit and character of the boys I don't question at all, the spirit is there. The sharpness and fitness might not be, but it is going to come.

"We've got three or four weeks to catch up and the more games we play, the more 90 minutes we get, we'll be sharper and sharper."

Diego Simeone wants Luis Suarez to improve on the goalscoring output of Alvaro Morata and be the catalyst that makes Atletico Madrid LaLiga title challengers again following his move from Barcelona.

Suarez completed a €6million switch from Barca on Friday, signing a two-year contract with Atleti following a largely acrimonious Camp Nou departure.

The Uruguayan striker, 33, reached third in Barca's all-time goalscoring charts in his six years at the club and netted 16 in the league last term, a respectable figure given he made just 22 starts and missed a significant portion of the season through injury.

Ronald Koeman revealed in his news conference on Saturday that, while he planned to discard Suarez anyway, the decision to move the former Liverpool star on had already been made before the Dutchman arrived.

But one man's trash is another man's treasure, and Simeone is adamant Suarez's impact at the Wanda Metropolitano could be massive, challenging him to improve on the 12 LaLiga goals scored last season by Morata, who was allowed to leave for Juventus.

"The arrival of Suarez encourages us to continue growing," Simeone told reporters, having also confirmed the striker is in the squad for Atletico's season opener at home to Granada on Sunday.

"He will give us internal competition. He is a forward who has impressive offensive power and hopefully he can continue to produce the numbers that he has been doing in the past.

"These six years [at Barca] have been wonderful [for Suarez]. His colleagues have received him with enthusiasm we hope he adapts as soon as possible.

"We all know him – he's a great reference for the team. Given the option that Alvaro had of being able to leave, the best way to continue improving was to look for someone who could improve on Alvaro's scoring contribution, and when the option of Suarez appeared, what was I going to say? His numbers speak for themselves.

"We were lucky that when we had a very good [Radamel] Falcao, a very good [Diego] Costa or a very good [Antoine] Griezmann, we came close to fighting for everything. Let's hope that with Luis Suarez it will be like that and we can overcome what we did last season."

Atletico finished third in LaLiga last term, 17 points adrift of a Real Madrid side that, while certainly solid, was hardly spectacular as they clinched the title.

Six teams – including Sunday's visitors Granada – scored more than Atletico in 2019-20, but Simeone feels things will be different with Suarez having a point to prove.

"I'm going to be sincere with you, he was convinced that this was the place where he could show that he was a top-notch forward," Simeone added. "I found what I was looking for for this club – ambition and a desire to be here.

"Hopefully he will give us back the options we had when we had the best Falcao, the best Costa or the best Griezmann. That would mean getting closer to the successes that all fans want."

Zlatan Ibrahimovic must miss Milan's trip to Crotone on Sunday but his absence could be a blessing in disguise, according to coach Stefano Pioli.

Sidelined after testing positive for COVID-19, the Swedish striker whose arrival at the start of the year triggered an upturn in Milan's fortunes must stay away from his Rossoneri team-mates for now.

Pioli has challenged the rest of his squad to show they can achieve positive results without the 38-year-old talisman.

And if they succeed, Pioli believes Ibrahimovic's current unavailability may show Milan in a new light, as a group who are not excessively reliant on the former Inter, Juventus and Barcelona frontman.

"I've spoken to Zlatan. He's fit and firing," Pioli said in a news conference on Saturday.

"He's training at home. He's very motivated. He's in touch with his team-mates.

"Clearly his absence will be significant and we will feel it, but we need to make sure this is an opportunity to show our progress.

"We need to show that we can still get results, so when Zlatan comes back he can rediscover an even stronger side than the one he left behind."

Crotone, promoted from Serie B, will be Milan's opponents. They are coached by a former Milan player in Giovanni Stroppa.

The newcomers were thumped 4-1 by Genoa on their return to the top flight last weekend, but will hope to fare better this time out at their Stadio Ezio Scida home.

Pioli saw his Milan side - without Ibrahimovic - given a stiff test by Bodo/Glimt in Europa League qualifying on Thursday, eventually securing a 3-2 win on the back of Hakan Calhanoglu's double.

Ante Rebic could take up a central striking role this weekend rather than occupying a station on the left, with Pioli predicting he could do "a good job" in the position usually occupied by Ibrahimovic.

Now unbeaten in 16 games, talk is turning to whether Milan are possible title contenders, but Pioli is cautious on that front.

He said: "We need to keep improving, we need to keep progressing, because we've proven we have a lot of quality and ability but we've highlighted some areas where we've made some mistakes.

"There are still some areas where we are less clear-minded than we need to be when it comes to decision-making.

"We need to be more compact, more focused and more aggressive, so there are a whole host of different situations we can improve upon.

"That is part of the developmental process. When you get to the highest level you can always try and do something more, go that extra mile."

Neymar will be back in action for Paris Saint-Germain at Reims on Sunday, much to the delight of coach Thomas Tuchel.

The Brazil forward returns after a two-game suspension following his dismissal in a controversial clash with Marseille earlier this month, when five players saw red.

PSG have won both Ligue 1 games in his absence, with fellow forward Kylian Mbappe having made a goalscoring comeback in the 3-0 win over Nice last Sunday after completing his period of isolation following a positive test for coronavirus.

Tuchel said having the duo available would transform the way his side can play.

"Yes, when Kylian and Neymar play it changes everything for us," he said.

"If both play for us, it's harder [for the opposition] to defend and easier for us to attack.

"We found solutions without both. We started the last Champions League, the group stage, with matches without them.

"It [missing Mbappe and Neymar] is not the best thing. They are there to make the difference. They will start together, that's for sure."

Leandro Paredes, sent off in the same game as Neymar, is also back in the frame along with Abdou Diallo, who got his marching orders in the win over Metz.

But one player still missing is Angel Di Maria, who is serving a four-match ban for spitting at Alvaro Gonzalez in that contentious Classique contest.

While Tuchel accepts Di Maria's sanction was deserved, he vented his frustration at the fact PSG have seemingly suffered significantly greater suspensions than Marseille in the aftermath of that game.

"I can understand the sanction of Di Maria," Tuchel said. "He had a reaction that we don't like.

"[But] we have suspensions that equate to 14 matches, the other team [Marseille] has four matches. There is a big difference in the number of suspensions.

"I do not accept it but I have to and I do not understand. We have the impression that we are the only ones responsible for this situation."

Ronald Koeman insisted he was not "the bad guy" in Luis Suarez's transfer away from Barcelona, although he could understand Lionel Messi's anger at the move.

Suarez, third on the list of all-time Barcelona goal scorers, left Camp Nou this week for Atletico Madrid.

It was reported Suarez was one of a number of senior stars informed by new coach Koeman they would have to leave the club following an underwhelming 2019-20 season.

But Koeman suggested some portrayals of this conversation were not entirely accurate, saying Suarez could have stayed but would have had a reduced role.

"It seemed that I had been the bad guy in this movie, but it is not like that," Koeman said ahead of the Blaugrana's LaLiga opener against Villarreal.

"Since the call [regarding Suarez's future], I have shown respect for him and I have always told him that it can be difficult to play but, if he stayed, he would be one of the squad.

"Before I signed the contract, the club was thinking about things, and I have tried to support those things. They are not just decisions of the coach.

"Luis and I respect each other and we have spoken clearly about his future. He had the opportunity to go to Atletico and I wish all the luck in the world."

Suarez's exit prompted a furious Instagram post from captain Messi, whose own attempted departure was blocked by the club.

Messi said Suarez did not deserve "to get kicked out like [he] did", adding he was not surprised by Barca's actions.

Koeman responded: "It is normal for him to be upset that a friend has left, but I have no doubt about Messi. I have seen him train."

The former Netherlands coach, who would not rule out moves for Lautaro Martinez or Memphis Depay, is not concerned by the tumultuous nature of his early Barca reign.

"If you ask the coaches who have been at Barca, they will surely tell you that they have never had a quiet day," he said.

"I knew that when I had to face changes I would have people in favour and others against. I knew it.

"No problem, it is part of being in the best club in the world, although I hope there is a little more peace of mind."

Alvaro Morata was not the third-choice signing as he was always a priority for Juventus, insists head coach Andrea Pirlo. 

Spain striker Morata sealed his return to Turin on an initial season-long deal from Atletico Madrid, with Juve retaining an option to make the deal permanent for €45million or pay an additional €10m to loan him for a further campaign. 

Juve had been tipped to sign Luis Suarez from Barcelona before the deal broke down and he joined Atleti, while Edin Dzeko was also linked with a move from Roma. 

But Morata arrived instead to fill a void left by Gonzalo Higuain's departure to Inter Miami, with the 27-year-old having left to re-join Real Madrid in 2016 and subsequently spending time at Chelsea and Atleti. 

Pirlo, who started his coaching career with a convincing 3-0 win over Sampdoria last week, said the fact he previously played alongside Morata was a big draw. 

"We were waiting for a striker and he arrived," he told a news conference ahead of the Serie A clash against Roma on Sunday. 

"Alvaro Morata knows us well and I was fortunate enough to have played with him.  

"He was not a third choice but one of our priorities, from a technical and tactical aspect he's what we were looking for."

Dzeko is set to come up against Juve at Stadio Olimpico and Pirlo acknowledged the threat he poses.

"He could have been a Juve striker, but he remains a great player," Pirlo added. "We respect him, but unfortunately he will be an opponent tomorrow."

Pirlo has a couple of selection posers to ponder against Roma with midfielder Arthur – a close-season arrival from Barca – in contention having been an unused substitute against Sampdoria, while forward Paulo Dybala returned to training this week after a muscular issue.  

"We've worked with Paulo Dybala, who has gradually returned with the group," Pirlo said. "Let's see how he feels today and whether he can travel to Rome. 

"Also, Arthur is coming from a period of inactivity but has worked very well. He's settling in, from a tactical and physical point of view. 

"He hasn't played much at Barcelona either. He needs a period of acclimatisation, he's available tomorrow and we'll see whether to let him play or not." 

Hansi Flick will not accept tiredness as an excuse for a poor performance as Bayern Munich cope with a hectic schedule at the start of the new season.

The Bundesliga club secured a fourth trophy under Flick on Thursday when they defeated Sevilla 2-1 after extra time in the Super Cup, with that game taking place in Budapest.

However, there was little chance for Bayern to celebrate their latest success considering they are back on league duty on Sunday, travelling to take on Hoffenheim.

Flick understands that playing again less than 72 hours after facing Sevilla is tough, yet expects his players to maintain their usual high standards despite the lack of recovery time.

"We have to see how everyone is together [in training on Saturday]," Flick said. "After that, we will set up the team that can play 100 per cent against Hoffenheim. 

"It is of no use if we always say how broken we are – that's not my mentality. Even when you are tired, you can perform well. 

"Fortunately, on Sunday we have the opportunity to make five substitutions again, so we will use that."

Javi Martinez was the hero against Sevilla, scoring the winner just five minutes after his introduction from the bench in extra time.

The Spaniard's long-term future at Bayern remains unclear – his current deal expires in 2021 – but Flick is happy to lean on a player whose time in Germany has been blighted by injuries. 

"There is no new information," he said. "As long as he is here I will continue to plan with him.

"Javi has done a lot for the club. When he was fit, you could always look up left him. He showed that again against Sevilla. That's how he is known."

Having missed both the European game and the Bundesliga opener against Schalke, which Bayern won 8-0, Kingsley Coman could be involved this weekend.

The winger underwent a second coronavirus test on Friday after a period of self-isolation, leaving Bayern waiting on the result to determine his availability.

"He did 14 days of cyber training, but if he could play for 20 minutes it would of course help," Flick said of the Frenchman. "He would be a good option, but we have to wait and see."

Marcelo will miss Real Madrid's trip to Real Betis after a back injury stopped him from travelling for Saturday's LaLiga fixture.

The Brazil international was initially named in Zinedine Zidane's 22-man squad for the game but was forced to withdraw at the last minute.

In a short statement on the club's website, Madrid revealed Marcelo would not be involved after "feeling discomfort in his back", meaning he has remained in the Spanish capital.

The 32-year-old defender was an unused substitute for the reigning champions' opening outing of the new campaign, watching on from the bench as Zidane's side drew 0-0 at Real Sociedad.

Having played the full game at the Reale Arena last weekend, Ferland Mendy seems set to continue on the left side of Madrid's defence against Betis.

As well as Marcelo, Madrid are also missing Marco Asensio and Eden Hazard. However, Isco and Lucas Vazquez could feature in Seville after recovering from injuries.

Arsenal are not close to matching Houssem Aouar's valuation, according to Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas. 

French outlet Telefoot reported on Friday that Aouar has agreed personal terms with Arsenal and the clubs were set for discussions about a transfer fee. 

The Gunners are reportedly willing to pay €40million for the midfielder, though Lyon are understood to be hoping for a deal in the region of €60m. 

Aulas confirmed there is a significant disparity between what Arsenal are offering and what Lyon want. 

"There will be very few departures. For Houssem, Arsenal are way too far from his value," Aulas posted on Twitter alongside a link to L'Equipe's story on the Telefoot report. 

"We are counting on him to play a great match against Lorient and lead OL in the Champions League next year." 

Lyon were victorious in their opening match of the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season, beating Dijon 4-1 on August 28, but travel to Lorient on Sunday on the back of a three-game winless run. 

The club finished seventh in the league last season and lost the Coupe de la Ligue final to Paris Saint-Germain, consequently failing to secure European qualification.

Memphis Depay remains Barcelona's preferred transfer option, while Manchester United want Jadon Sancho and Alex Telles in this window.

LaLiga giants Barca have been linked with numerous attackers as they rebuild under Ronald Koeman.

Depay has seemingly been the favourite to join, and it appears nothing has changed.

 

TOP STORY – DEPAY THE FAVOURITE TO JOIN BARCELONA

Depay is in pole position to join Barcelona from Lyon, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The report says Depay, 26, fits the profile and salary expectations at Barca.

Depay and Koeman worked together while the latter was in charge of the Netherlands between 2018 and 2020.

ROUND-UP

- United are still hoping for two signings this transfer window. The Sun says the Red Devils are looking to land Borussia Dortmund star Sancho and Porto left-back Telles .

- Arsenal could be close to strengthening by signing Houssem Aouar . Telefoot says the attacker has agreed to join the club, with Lyon and Arsenal set for talks over a fee.

- As they continue their search for a defender, Manchester City may be close to making a decision. Goal reports the Premier League club are in talks with Benfica over Ruben Dias , in a deal that could see Nicolas Otamendi  go the other way. Meanwhile, ESPN says Sevilla are expecting an improved bid from City for Jules Kounde after an initial £50.2million (€55m) offer was rejected.

- Chelsea may not be done spending just yet. The Mirror reports they want to make another move for West Ham midfielder Declan Rice , and it could lead to Jorginho joining Arsenal .

- Sergino Dest is expected to join Barcelona and Guillem Balague claims the Ajax right-back should officially join them next week. Barcelona sold Nelson Semedo to Wolves this week.

- Could there be late movement in the transfer window for Tottenham ? The Sun reports Spurs are in talks to sign Inter defender Milan Skriniar and are prepared to pay between £25m (€27.4m) and £30m (€32.9m), which is well below Inter's valuation.

He might not have buried the hatchet, but Lionel Messi has promised Barcelona he will give his all in the coming season.

His attempt to leave the club, played out in public long before he spoke openly about his plans, ended with him accepting he will spend at least one more year at Camp Nou.

Messi is still angry with president Josep Maria Bartomeu, still upset with the way the team has declined since 2015's treble, but he was smiling again when he played in the 3-1 friendly win over Gimnastic, a grin that gladdened the hearts of Barca fans across the world.

So, with exit talks on ice, the focus is once more on how Messi can carry this team to domestic and European success while the impact of that 8-2 battering by Bayern Munich last month still lingers.

He managed 31 goals and 25 assists last season, the latter number his highest such tally in five years, the former the lowest. He completed more dribbles per game than ever (5.91) but recorded his lowest shots-per-game tally in at least five years (4.57).

The freescoring sensation of his earlier years is past; he is now creator-in-chief, a deeper-lying attacking menace, on whom the pressure is arguably greater than ever after years of mismanagement of the playing squad from those above.

So, what can we expect from 2020-21, the season that may come to be known as Lionel Messi's "Last Dance"?

 

THE RECORDS HE HOLDS

This is just a handful, of course.

Messi is the all-time leading goalscorer in LaLiga with 444. In Europe's top-five leagues, only long-time adversary Cristiano Ronaldo has more (447).

In all competitions for Barca, Messi has scored 634 goals and provided 254 assists in 731 appearances. That puts him on 888 goal involvements for the club - a tally nobody even comes close to matching.

Messi has scored at least 30 goals in each of the last 12 seasons and is the only player to score at least 10 in 14 consecutive LaLiga campaigns. He holds the record for the most in a single season, too: he scored 50 in 2011-12.

And, of course, he is the only man to win the Ballon d'Or six times.

 

THE RECORDS THAT BECKON

If Messi features in 31 of Barca's 38 LaLiga matches, he will eclipse Xavi's record of 505 appearances for the club in Spain's top flight. He will also surpass Xavi for games in all competitions for the Catalans (767) if he plays 37 times overall.

Messi will close on the LaLiga record held by Manolo Sanchis for the most appearances at a single club in the division, but he will need more than one season for that - Messi is on 485, while ex-Real Madrid man Sanchis played 523 times.

Of course, Messi will be desperate for trophies this season after a barren 2019-20, and winning two will see him draw level with Ryan Giggs when it comes to titles won with the same club. Giggs won 36 with Manchester United.

But how about this for a feat: if Messi gets 10 goals this season - and let's face it, there's a good chance - he will set a new record for goals scored for the same club in official competitions. The current best is 643, set by a former Santos forward known as Pele.

 

THE PROBLEMS HE FACES

After the friendly win over Gimnastic, Koeman made it clear he plans to deviate from Barca's traditional 4-3-3 to a 4-2-3-1 that will, hopefully, get the best out of their midfielders. Such a system would presumably see Messi stationed as the number 10, behind a central striker.

Perhaps that's no bad thing: Messi, as a false nine under Pep Guardiola, played the most games (219) and scored the most goals (211) of his career in all competitions. His role under successor Tito Vilanova was similar and yielded 60 goals in 50 games, giving him a career-best average of 1.2 goals per game.

His most prolific season - 2011-12, the last under Guardiola - saw Messi record an astonishing 73 goals and 29 assists, leading to his calendar-year record of 79 goals in 2012. Again, that was from a central position in the attack, albeit one in a team filled with exceptional players. A shift back to the middle could suit him.

The trouble is that Messi is increasingly having to do all this himself. The supporting cast has dwindled in quality since 2015 and his most productive relationships are behind him.

Luis Suarez (47) has the most assists for Messi at Barca and completed his switch to Atletico Madrid this week. To continue a recent theme, his great friend expressed displeasure with the board over the matter. The top five Messi assisters after Suarez have all long left the club: Dani Alves (42), Andres Iniesta (37), Xavi (31), Pedro (25) and Neymar (22). The next on the list is Jordi Alba (21), whose own spot in Koeman's team is not entirely certain.

He has never looked entirely compatible with Antoine Griezmann, Ansu Fati is still a raw talent in many respects, and the squad will take time to adjust to any new formation, not to mention new arrivals in Miralem Pjanic and, perhaps, Memphis Depay. What's more, the embarrassment of last season's final few weeks will be fresh in the players' minds and the unrest from the boardroom downwards will never be far from the headlines.

When it comes to carrying this team, Messi has rarely looked so alone.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane believes Barcelona have a squad that is capable of "fighting for everything".

After a trophy-less 2019-20 season, Ronald Koeman is rebuilding the Blaugrana, who have seen the likes of Luis Suarez, Arturo Vidal, Ivan Rakitic, Arthur and Nelson Semedo leave.

Philippe Coutinho has returned from his loan spell at Bayern Munich and Miralem Pjanic joined from Juventus, while Lionel Messi ended up staying after requesting a move.

Zidane, whose Madrid visit Real Betis on Saturday, said Barca were strong enough to again be challenging for titles.

"I will be respectful. Besides, I don't know what's going on inside, that's why I don't want to get involved," the Madrid coach told a news conference.

"I think each club has their own issues and difficulties. I think Barcelona, in terms of the team and the squad, is a club who will be fighting for everything.

"I don't have any doubt."

Madrid have also seen some changes to their squad, most notably the departures of Gareth Bale (on loan to Tottenham) and James Rodriguez (Everton).

Bale's relationship with Zidane reportedly deteriorated in recent months, although the Welshman told Sky Sports on Friday he had "no regrets".

Asked if he had anything to say about Bale, Zidane said: "I'm not going to speak about what Gareth said.

"Against, what I will say is that we wish him the best for the future and we are focused on ourselves now. That's all."

Ivan Perisic has returned to Inter with desire and enthusiasm, coach Antonio Conte said amid transfer talk about the attacker.

Perisic is back with the Serie A giants after spending 2019-20 on loan at Bayern Munich, where he won the Champions League, Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal.

The Croatia international, who arrived at Inter from Wolfsburg in 2015, has again been linked with a move amid reported interest from Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain.

But, ahead of Inter's Serie A opener against Fiorentina on Saturday, Conte said Perisic had returned with a renewed determination.

"I am happy for Ivan, because in the end he had an incredible experience with Bayern Munich, a winning one, in which he won three trophies," he told a news conference.

"Now he's back, with great determination to play for Inter and help us out, to put himself at the service of the team, and I am happy that he's got this desire.

"Also, because when you've got this kind of determination, this enthusiasm, this desire, in the end everything gets easier for the coach."

Inter finished second in Serie A last season, but have added the likes of Achraf Hakimi, Arturo Vidal and Aleksandar Kolarov to their squad.

The arrival of Vidal from Barcelona was confirmed this week as the midfielder reunites with Conte after the pair worked together at Juventus.

"Arturo Vidal is in good shape, he arrived in good physical condition," Conte said.

"Tactically, he is a player that has already played with me, but at the same time we're doing new stuff now compared to the past, when he was one of my players.

"Therefore, he is integrating well, he's a smart player, tactically, physically, he's got a great mindset.

"In our midfield, he can do everything. He can be one of the two central midfielders, he can play as an offensive one, he can play together with a low playmaker should we decide to do that. He can play in any role and we are happy to have him with us."

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