Thibaut Courtois has been left out of Real Madrid's squad to face Granada a few hours after the club denied he has an anxiety problem.

Goalkeeper Courtois was substituted at half-time in Madrid's Champions League draw with Club Brugge in midweek, with head coach Zinedine Zidane saying the player "wasn't well and couldn't continue".

It was subsequently claimed in media reports that the former Chelsea man was affected by anxiety, yet a club statement denied this on Friday, instead revealing he is suffering with gastroenteritis.

As such, Courtois was not named in the Madrid squad to face LaLiga surprise package Granada when Zidane announced his 19-man squad later the same day.

Alphonse Areola, who replaced Courtois against Brugge, will be joined by Castilla goalkeepers Javier Belman and Diego Altube in the group.

Lucas Vazquez and Vinicius Junior both featured in the European clash but were left out of this selection, with James Rodriguez, Gareth Bale and Rodrygo Goes returning.

Zidane had already confirmed Madrid were considering starting Eder Militao at left-back due to a number of defensive injuries, with Marcelo, Ferland Mendy and Nacho all out. Alvaro Odriozola is another option.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane is facing a full-back shortage after the club confirmed that left-sided defender Marcelo has been sidelined by a hamstring strain.

The Brazil international played the second half of Madrid's 2-2 draw with Club Brugge in the Champions League on Tuesday, coming on as a substitute for Nacho.

After the game, Nacho was taken to hospital for tests on his left knee, which revealed ligament damage and he is expected to be ruled out until Christmas while he recovers.

Zidane is unable to call upon France international Ferland Mendy to provide cover at left-back for Madrid's clash with Granada on Saturday as he is in recovery from a thigh injury.

Los Blancos' boss was even asked in his pre-match news conference whether Gareth Bale could deputise given his experience of playing in deeper roles over the years.

"The truth is that I have not thought of that at all," said Zidane, before pointing to right-footed Brazilian defender Eder Militao as a possible solution to the problem.

"We have other possibilities before that. [Militao] may be an alternative. He is a defender, he has played in this position, it is a possibility."

Zidane faced questions about goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who was jeered by Madrid supporters before being replaced at half-time against Brugge by Alphonse Areola.

The club put out a statement to say that Courtois was ill during the match, to counter reports that he was replaced due to poor performance and anxiety.

Zidane offered words of support for Courtois, who kept three consecutive clean sheets prior to the Brugge game, but stopped short of confirming who would start in goal against Granada. 

"He was bad, yes," Zidane said of Courtois. "He was disturbed. It can happen, but a player can play in spite of that. But at the break, he was no longer able to play.

"Whistles, whether unfair or not, are like that. He is strong mentally. We know, internally, that the fault is collective in the first period against Brugge.

"I have 25 players, I count on each one of them. Thibaut Courtois is one of them. People can talk, have their opinion, about what happened on Tuesday. But the three games before, it was Courtois in goal and we did not concede any goals.

"No one is indisputable, neither Courtois nor anyone. [Areola] is a great keeper, like Thibaut. He is very good, and that's it. We have two good goalkeepers who play and that's it."

Real Madrid have denied Thibaut Courtois has an anxiety problem after the goalkeeper's surprising substitution against Club Brugge this week.

Courtois conceded twice in the first half at Santiago Bernabeu as Madrid struggled against the Belgian side in the Champions League.

The Belgium international did not emerge for the second half, with Alphonse Areola sent on in his place, and Madrid came back to draw 2-2.

Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane said Courtois "wasn't well and couldn't continue" in the aftermath of Tuesday's Group A game.

But after local media reported Courtois has been affected by anxiety, Madrid hit back on Friday with a strong rebuttal in an official statement.

The club said: "In relation to certain information about our player Thibaut Courtois, Real Madrid wants to state the following:

"1. That our player has never been diagnosed with an alleged anxiety problem and therefore, that information is absolutely false.

"2. That Thibaut Courtois has been diagnosed and treated for acute gastroenteritis with dehydration and electrolyte imbalance, which made it impossible to complete last Tuesday's game against Bruges.

"3. The player currently responds favourably to the treatment."

Madrid face LaLiga surprise package Granada at home on Saturday and it is unclear whether Courtois will be available.

Thibaut Courtois was substituted at half-time of Real Madrid's Champions League clash with Club Brugge, with the home side losing 2-0 at the Santiago Bernabeu.

It was not immediately clear whether his withdrawal was tactical or due to an injury, although there are reports he was feeling unwell.

The Belgium international conceded two goals to Emmanuel Bonaventure Dennis during a dismal first-half display from Zinedine Zidane's men.

The home fans made their feelings clear as the half-time whistle sounded, with Courtois among those targeted with jeers as he made his way down the tunnel.

Zidane took swift action to try to address the scoreline, with Courtois and Nacho Fernandez replaced by Alphonse Areola and Marcelo.

Courtois has missed only one Madrid match this season, sitting out the 2-0 LaLiga win over Osasuna on September 25.

It was Zidane's decision to make the former Chelsea man his number one that led to Areola's arrival on loan from Paris Saint-Germain, with Keylor Navas heading to the French capital on a permanent deal.

Alphonse Areola apologised to Real Madrid supporters after a photograph of him smiling with Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting surfaced in the aftermath of his side's 3-0 Champions League defeat.

Areola, who is on loan at Madrid from Ligue 1 champions PSG this season, said comments on the photo that appeared on social networks upset him and the goalkeeper underlined his commitment to Zinedine Zidane's team following Wednesday's defeat.

In an Instagram post on Thursday, Areola explained: "Dear Real Madrid fans, I feel very sad for some comments on a photo that circulated on social networks.

"I want all Madrid fans to know that my heart has been white since I signed for this club and I can't stand the slightest doubt about my motivation, my loyalty and my involvement with Real Madrid, our Madrid.

"Yesterday's defeat has affected me as well as everyone who forms this great family.

"After the game I had a reunion with my former team-mates and friends, who had not given me time to say goodbye. 

"Therefore, I reiterate my apologies to the Madrid fans who have felt offended, it was not my wish and I hope that together we can achieve many successes."

Areola was on the bench for the game as Thibaut Courtois started midweek, while Keylor Navas – who moved in the opposite direction – kept a clean sheet for PSG.

Alphonse Areola refused to reveal if he has spoken with Kylian Mbappe about joining him at Real Madrid, while confirming he has also had no such conversation with Paul Pogba.

Madrid signed Areola on loan from Paris Saint-Germain late in the transfer window, with Keylor Navas moving to the Ligue 1 champions from the Santiago Bernabeu.

Mbappe, Areola's team-mate at PSG for the past two seasons, has long been linked with a switch to Los Blancos, while Manchester United star Pogba is also a reported target.

Both Mbappe and Pogba missed France's recent Euro 2020 qualifiers against Albania and Andorra through injury, though that did not stop the press quizzing Areola on the future of his compatriots.

"The thing I've spoken to Kylian about is his injury, he has to get back as quickly as possible from that and we'll see what happens in the future," Areola told a news conference.

"I can't go into detail if we've spoken about Madrid or not. I'm here and I want to be part of the history of this club.

"He's at Paris at the moment, he needs to recover from his injury, get his level back. Everyone has their own way forward, their own story and we'll see what happens at the end of the season.

"I have not spoken to Paul. He was injured in the last time we met with the national team, but I know him well. He's a great person, a great player with great quality.

"But everyone has their own way and their own road, so we'll see what happens."

Mbappe's injury means he is set to miss PSG's Champions League meeting with Madrid on September 18, a fixture Areola is relishing.

"It's great coincidence that we play PSG, I'm going to go back to the club very quickly," Areola said.

"[Madrid's players] haven't spoken about that yet, about how they're going to play.

"For me it's about getting involved in the squad and being comfortable here, I am very happy to have trained now we've got a game, it's an important one against Levante and we have to prove that we're ready."

Alphonse Areola is intent on making the most of his opportunity at Real Madrid as he looks to emulate his goalkeeping idol Iker Casillas.

France international Areola is on a season-long loan deal from Paris Saint-Germain to Madrid, with Keylor Navas heading in the opposite direction.

The 26-year-old is likely to back up Thibaut Courtois, who has started in Madrid's opening three LaLiga outings.

Areola acknowledged it will be a tough task to oust the Belgian as number one yet revealed the chance to join Madrid was too good to turn down, citing Los Blancos' iconic former goalkeeper Casillas as an influence on his decision.

"I have spoken to my friends and family about what it means to be number one in this side," Areola told a news conference when asked about following in Casillas' footsteps.

"Casillas was one of my idols when I was young in France, he made me want to play in goal. In fact, I've got a shirt of his from when I was young. 

"I think it's good to try and take on this responsibility to be number one and try and prove I can be number one.

"It's true, I only have one year on loan here, but I've seen the stadium, the history here and I'm going to do as much as I possibly can. 

"Of course, there's a hierarchy already but as soon as I get the chance I'm going to try and show the level I've got. 

"It was a good opportunity to come to the biggest club in the world and take advantage of that, to improve as a player and discover a new opportunity. It's a great opportunity for me."

Areola added another deciding factor in his transfer was Zinedine Zidane, with the goalkeeper honoured to be playing under a France legend.

"It is true I am coming to a club that is coached by a legend," he said. "It is an honour for me to be here with Zidane, to play under him, and I am going to do the best I can for him.

"He's given me a great welcome. My objective is to give everything I can every day in training, be ready for every game. When I have a chance to show my level, show how good I can be, I have to be strong and show what I am worth."

Areola is set to be in Zidane's squad for Saturday's meeting with Levante, before Madrid travel to Paris for a Champions League clash with his former club.

Mauro Icardi's Inter saga could be at an end after Paris Saint-Germain made the headline-grabbing move of transfer deadline day.

Frozen out by Nerazzurri boss Antonio Conte, Argentina striker Icardi was facing a bleak few months until PSG came in and managed to complete an initial loan move.

PSG reportedly have an option to buy the 26-year-old for €70million, while the Ligue 1 champions also signed three-times Champions League winner Keylor Navas from Real Madrid in a deal that saw another goalkeeper, Alphonse Areola, move in the other direction on loan.

Serie A was a hive of activity on Monday, while plenty of Premier League players took the opportunity to move elsewhere – the window for incomings having closed in England's top flight last month.

Roman holiday for Mkhitaryan as Fiorentina aim for renaissance

Roma completed loan moves for Arsenal playmaker Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Atletico Madrid striker Nikola Kalinic, but there was a youthful edge to Fiorentina's late spree.

Wantaway Liverpool teenager Bobby Duncan will now ply his trade at the Stadio Artemio Franchi alongside Algeria winger Rachid Ghezzal – a loan signing from Leicester City.

The Viola also paid Fluminense in the region of €14m for Pedro, another player to replenish Vincenzo Montella's squad after Giovanni Simeone joined Cagliari on loan with an obligation to buy over the weekend.

Simone Verdi has joined Torino in similar fashion, ending an unhappy spell at Napoli – where free transfer Fernando Llorente bolsters Carlo Ancelotti's options at centre forward.

Napoli are joined in the Champions League by Atalanta this season and Simon Kjaer will be on hand to bolster their defence following a loan from Sevilla, although Martin Skrtel's swiftly terminated contract preceded him leaving Bergamo for a one-year deal with Istanbul Basaksehir.

Matteo Darmian was the latest member of Manchester United's defensive surplus to switch to Serie A, the Italy international joining Parma on a four-year deal after Chris Smalling was loaned to Roma. Cameron Borthwick-Jackson made the considerably shorter trip to League One side Tranmere Rovers.

The road from Watford to Udinese is incredibly well travelled and striker Stefano Okaka is back after a loan at the Stadio Friuli last season.

 

Italian flavour to Bundesliga business

AC Milan secured Croatia winger Ante Rebic on a two-year loan from Eintracht Frankfurt, for whom Andre Silva will seek to reignite his career and serve as a suitable replacement for Luka Jovic over the same period.

Bundesliga pacesetters RB Leipzig also have a talented attacker seeking a kickstart after Patrik Schick joined on an initial loan from Roma.

Vincenzo Grifo returned to Freiburg on a four-year deal from Hoffenheim, who also loaned Leonardo Bittencourt to Werder Bremen.

Marius Wolf left Borussia Dortmund for Hertha Berlin on a season-long loan and BVB's rivals Schalke sold Ukraine winger Yevhen Konoplyanka to Shakhtar Donetsk.

Rafinha on the move again as Hernandez and Bono conclude Sevilla's transfer frenzy

Had events panned out differently, this might have been the day Barcelona triumphantly welcomed Neymar back to Camp Nou.

As it was, a Brazilian left – Rafinha moving to Celta Vigo on loan after signing a contract extension with his parent club.

Barca have also agreed to sign 16-year-old midfielder Pedri from Las Palmas, who welcome back club stalwart Jonathan Viera on loan from Beijing Guoan for their Segunda promotion push.

Mexico striker Javier Hernandez and Morocco goalkeeper Bono were arrivals 12 and 13 of the window at Sevilla.

Maxime Gonalons was a loanee at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan last season and has joined Granada on a temporary basis from Roma.

Almeria were another hive of activity, with Nottingham Forest's Arvin Appiah and Joan Munoz concluding their incomings.

Real Sociedad signed Monaco's Spain Under-17 international Robert Navarro and loaned Kevin Rodriguez to Leganes.

Chelsea duo Baba Rahman and Kenedy were loaned to Real Mallorca and Getafe respectively.

Galatasaray's deadline-day delight

Radamel Falcao followed a rapturous reception following his arrival in Istanbul by signing a three-year contract with Galatasaray, who also secured Southampton midfielder Mario Lemina and Brighton and Hove Albion forward Florin Andone on loan.

Gala's rivals Fenerbahce were not to be outdone entirely as they brought in Brazilian midfielder Luiz Gustavo from Marseille on a four-year deal.

Sporting CP were already buoyed by keeping hold of the highly rated Bruno Fernandes, who will look to supply an attack reinforced by the loan arrivals of Jese from PSG and Yannick Bolasie from Everton.

Royal Antwerp snapped up Steven Defour after the playmaker's release by Burnley and also added Wesley Hoedt on a season-long loan from Southampton.

In Scotland, Celtic signed Kilmarnock left-back Greg Taylor, Manchester City teenager Jeremie Frimpong and Manchester United youngster Lee O'Connor – all on four-year deals. Rivals Rangers bought Ryan Kent from Liverpool for a fee that could reportedly rise to £7.5m.

Fellow Europa League contestants Qarabag secured former Chelsea goalkeeper Asmir Begovic on loan from Bournemouth.

Zinedine Zidane has hinted Real Madrid could still make some late additions, but has insisted he is happy with the squad he has at his disposal.

Madrid face Villarreal on Sunday, having won their opening LaLiga fixture before drawing at home to Real Valladolid last time out.

Los Blancos have brought in five players in this window, including Eden Hazard, Luka Jovic and highly rated full-back Ferland Mendy.

Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez have been heavily linked with moves away from Santiago Bernabeu throughout the window, though the duo - the latter of which is injured - appear set to stay in Madrid.

When asked if Madrid would be in the market for any last-minute transfer "bombs", Zidane hinted anything is possible, though the Frenchman has no concerns over the quality of his squad.

"Everything can happen, one bomb or two bombs. I don't know. We will see but the most important is tomorrow's game," Zidane told a news conference on Saturday.

"These are the players I have at my disposal and I am very proud to be working with these footballers. I think they are the best.

"When you start, you look at making a few changes, but as soon as the season started I was happy, but it is true that things could still change up until the deadline.

"There's nothing negative to say about my current squad, every single manager wants to be a manager of Real Madrid. I am happy."

One player who could be heading out of the door is Keylor Navas, with the goalkeeper reportedly on the verge of a move to Paris Saint-Germain, which may involve Alphonse Areola heading to Madrid in return.

But Zidane confirmed Navas would be part of the squad for Sunday, regardless of any potential transfer.

"Keylor is going to be with us [against Villarreal]. We will have to wait and see, up until September 2 anything is possible," Zidane said.

"But he will be with us for an important game. I just focus on that. Nothing else. It's possible for Keylor to leave, but the important thing is to have him tomorrow when he can help us win the game.

"What needs to happen will happen. We'll have to wait and see."

Maybe, just maybe, the Neymar transfer saga is coming to an end.

The Brazilian's future has dominated the headlines over recent weeks as Barcelona try to re-sign the wantaway Paris Saint-Germain superstar.

With the September 2 deadline looming, Barca may have struck a deal…

 

TOP STORY – BARCA AND PSG REACH NEYMAR AGREEMENT

According to BBC Sport, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have agreed terms on the value of Neymar.

The two clubs have reportedly settled on a figure of €200million for a player who left Camp Nou in a world-record €222m deal in 2017.

The LaLiga champions are also willing to offer Jean-Clair Todibo, Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele on a season-long loan, though all three players still have to agree terms.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Gianluca di Marzio, Atletico Madrid have made an enquiry for Inter outcast Mauro Icardi. However, the race seems to be between Napoli and Monaco, who are both reportedly prepared to pay €65million for the former Inter captain.

- A swap deal involving Keylor Navas and Alphonse Areola is close to completion. RMC says Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Areola has reached an agreement with Real Madrid. Marca, meanwhile, says Navas will sign a three-year deal with PSG.

Parma are confident of signing Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian, says Alfredo Pedulla. Former Torino defender Darmian has been virtually non-existent at Old Trafford in recent months.

- Radio Marte reporter Dario Sarnataro claims Chelsea have offered Michy Batshuayi to Napoli. The 25-year-old striker has recently spent time on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace.

- Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is on the verge of moving to Roma on loan, according to widespread reports in Italy and England.

- Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny is set to join Besiktas on a season-long loan, says Goal.com. The Egypt international only made 17 appearances last season. Il Messaggero, meanwhile, claims the Gunners and Tottenham are both monitoring Roma star Cengiz Under.

The clock continues to wind down on the transfer window and Barcelona are no closer to reaching an agreement for Neymar.

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain and Barca want to re-sign the world's most expensive player.

But meeting PSG's needs prior to Monday's deadline is proving difficult for the LaLiga champions.

 

TOP STORY – PSG SAY NO TO BARCA… AGAIN

Paris Saint-Germain have rejected Barcelona's latest offer for wantaway superstar Neymar, according to RMC.

Barca reportedly offered PSG €150million in instalments plus Ousmane Dembele and Ivan Rakitic.

However, PSG turned down the proposal and only want cash, not an exchange.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are holding off on signing a striker as they eye Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, reports the Evening Standard. With Alexis Sanchez set to join Romelu Lukaku at Inter, free agent Fernando Llorente has emerged as a possible solution to improve United's forward options. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is believed to be holding out for Sancho.

- AS claims Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are negotiating a swap deal involving Keylor Navas and Alphonse Areola. Navas wants to leave the Santiago Bernabeu and the Costa Rica goalkeeper has reportedly agreed terms with Ligue 1 champions PSG.

Napoli are putting their move for Llorente on ice as they wait on Inter outcast Mauro Icardi. Llorente has been linked to Napoli, however, Sky Sport Italia and Sportitalia report Carlo Ancelotti's side will hold on until Friday for Icardi to accept an exit from Inter.

- Goal.com says Mario Mandzukic has turned down the chance to join Paris Saint-Germain from Juventus. The Croatia international, who was linked to Manchester United, wants to fight it out in Turin until January.

Angel Correa's proposed move to AC Milan is stalling over a transfer fee, according to Marca. The Atletico Madrid attacker is valued at €40m but Milan have only offered €25m.

- According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Serie A side Sassuolo are interested in signing Chelsea's Kenedy, who spent last season on loan at Newcastle United.

- Valencia have asked for Napoli full-back Elseid Hysaj on loan with the option to buy, reports Gianluca Di Marzio. It comes after Cristiano Piccini suffered a knee injury.

- Monaco striker Radamel Falcao is close to joining Turkish giants Galatasaray on a three-year deal, says L'Equipe.

Inter prevailed 6-5 on penalties against Paris Saint-Germain after forcing a shoot-out with the last kick of an absorbing friendly in Macau.

The Serie A side appeared set to pay for their profligacy until Samuele Longo struck in the 94th minute to cancel out Thilo Kehrer's first-half header.

PSG, having led for close to an hour in energy-sapping conditions, then stumbled to a first pre-season defeat as Samir Handanovic denied teenagers Arthur Zagre and Adil Aouchiche from 12 yards.

Thomas Tuchel's men had needed Alphonse Areola to make a string of superb stops during regulation time before substitute Longo's shot squeezed beneath his body in the dying seconds of normal time.

 | 94' - GOOAAAALL!!#Longo nicks it with the last kick of the game!! #PSGInter 1-1#ForzaInter #InterOnTour  pic.twitter.com/z4OO3gAZyi

— Inter (@Inter_en) July 27, 2019

France international Areola, who shared the gloves with Gianluigi Buffon last season, made three fine saves throughout the early exchanges, including one from Layvin Kurzawa's misdirected defensive header.

The Ligue 1 team's nerves were settled when defender Kehrer escaped Milan Skriniar's attention and headed in Pablo Sarabia's free-kick in the 41st minute.

PSG's disjointed defence appeared no more secure after the goal as a Danilo D'Ambrosio pass sliced them apart within seconds of the restart, only for the impressive Areola to thwart Ivan Perisic.

The 26-year-old then produced another important block to deny Nicolo Barella an equaliser.

Julian Draxler, Sarabia and Kylian Mbappe returned fire on the hour, prompting Antonio Conte to introduce former Atletico Madrid centre-back Diego Godin for his Nerazzurri debut.

The game's second goal eventually arrived at the other end as Longo's shot squirmed under Areola, setting the stage for Handanovic's heroics.

The Slovenian spared team-mate Antonio Candreva the indignity of fluffing a chance to score the winner - the attacker hitting the crossbar with a Panenka - with his twin saves helping head coach Conte to a second pre-season victory.

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