Manchester United's goalkeeper situation remains unclear beyond this season.

David de Gea has been linked with the Old Trafford exit door while Dean Henderson is yet to fully convince some observers he is a worthy number one.

Thus speculation is mounting about a Red Devils move for a new shot-stopper.

 

TOP STORY - UNITED CIRCLE FOR OBLAK

Atletico Madrid goalkeeper Jan Oblak is reportedly wanted by Manchester United who are said to have a long-standing interest in the Slovenian.

Oblak has spent almost seven years in the Spanish capital but is ready to move to England, according to 90min.

The report claims United have doubts about Henderson as number one and subsequently are exploring their options with 28-year-old Oblak.

ROUND-UP

- Juventus and Paulo Dybala will enter negotiations on a new deal in May, reports Tuttosport.

- 90min reports that Liverpool want to utilise their option to sign Ozan Kabak permanently, having acquired the defender on loan from Schalke in February.

- Calciomercato claims that Barcelona are plotting a move for Juventus defender Cristian Romero who is currently on loan at Atalanta.

- Galatasaray have offered Crystal Palace defender Patrick van Aanholt a three-year deal, according to Sky Sports.

- Tottenham are top in the race to sign West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone, claims ESPN.

Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane says he hopes Lionel Messi stays with Barcelona amid speculation about his playing future beyond this season.

Messi has been linked with a move away from Barcelona, including a reunion with former mentor Pep Guardiola at Manchester City this off-season.

The 33-year-old Argentinian has spent his entire professional career with Barcelona, whom he joined as a junior in 2000.

"Hopefully he stays at Barcelona," Zidane said, speaking ahead of Saturday's Clasico which may be Messi's last.

"He's good there and it's also good for the Spanish league."

Another player who has been linked with an off-season move is Real Madrid defender Sergio Ramos, who is coming off contract.

Ramos will miss Saturday's match with Barcelona due to a muscle injury.

"Hopefully it won't be his last Clasico," Zidane added. "He won't play tomorrow, it is a shame. But, I hope he stays here."

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman reiterated that sentiment, saying he hopes Ramos remains with Madrid beyond this season.

"The best for our league is to keep the best players until their last minute of professional football, like Leo Messi," Koeman said.

"You cannot compare with Sergio Ramos because one is a defender and the other is a striker. But both players have been very important for their clubs.

"Hopefully, Sergio Ramos will stay at Real Madrid and Leo will stay with us."

Radu Dragusin resolved to show he can be a future cornerstone of the Juventus defence after signing a new long-term contract.

The 19-year-old Romanian central defender had been linked with a host of clubs, including Borussia Dortmund and Newcastle United, but has committed to Juventus until the end of the 2024-25 season.

Dragusin, who is 6ft 3in tall, has been compared in his style of play to Liverpool's Virgil van Dijk and has previously highlighted the Dutchman as a player he admires.

Juventus acquired him from Romanian club Regal Sport in 2018, and this season saw Dragusin make his first-team debut in December against Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League.

His new deal was announced on the Juventus website on Friday, with the club stating: "Dragusin's journey continues with Juve. Congratulations, Radu! See you on the pitch!"

The teenager, who has also made Serie A and Coppa Italia appearances this season, posted on Instagram: "I couldn't wait to sign the new contract with the team that have always believed in me.

"I want to thank first of all my family who have always been close to me and all the people who have helped me improve every day.

"Now is the time to demonstrate and put into play the trust that the club have given me. Come on Juve."

Jose Mourinho and Gary Lineker led tributes from the football world to Prince Philip, the Duke of Edinburgh, after his death at the age of 99 was announced.

Tottenham boss Mourinho broke off from answering football questions in a pre-match news conference, saying the loss of the husband of Queen Elizabeth II would be felt far beyond British shores.

The Portuguese head coach said: "I’m sorry, I will answer your question. I just read some sad news about Prince Philip. I would like to express my condolences to the Royal Family and to be very honest, and say I have deep, deep, deep, the utmost respect for the Royal Family.

"I believe that it is not just this country that is going to be sharing these feelings, because I'm not English and I know that many like myself will have the utmost respect."

Mourinho, who has spent much of his coaching career in England, added: "I feel sad for the departure of Prince Philip on a personal basis, because I have only positive feelings for the meaning of the family. I feel very sorry. But unfortunately his life ends and we have to keep going."

Former England striker Lineker, now a renowned broadcaster, wrote on Twitter: "Sorry to hear that Prince Philip has passed away. Served this country over many, many decades. Sincerest condolences to Her Majesty, The Queen and The Royal Family. RIP Prince Philip."

The Premier League said it was "deeply saddened" by the news, adding: "As a mark of respect, players will wear black armbands and there will be a minute's silence before kick-off at all Premier League matches played tonight and across the weekend."

The Football Association, which the duke served as president from 1955 to 1957, said it felt "Immense sadness".

The FA asked royal and government authorities whether football should be allowed to continue this weekend and was given the green light.

"Following the sad passing of His Royal Highness The Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, the FA has sought guidance from the Royal Household and Her Majesty's Government," the FA said. "We can confirm all football fixtures this evening and over the weekend (10-11 April) can continue at the discretion of competition organisers.

"The FA will be recommending that black armbands are worn and a minute's silence is observed before matches are played, including tonight's England women's international fixture in France. As a mark of respect, all flags at Wembley Stadium and St George's Park will fly at half-mast and the Wembley arch will also be lit."

Organisers of Saturday's Grand National said the race would go ahead at Aintree, preceded by a two-minute silence on the course, with "jockeys invited to wear black armbands".

Wimbledon, London's tennis grand slam, said it wished to "convey our deepest sympathy to Her Majesty The Queen and The Royal Family".

Imran Khan, the prime minister of Pakistan and former captain of his country's cricket team, wrote on Twitter: "My condolences on the demise of HRH Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh. Britain has lost a wise elder who was imbued with a unique spirit of public service. His role in promoting Pakistan-UK relations will always be remembered."

Prince Philip was a two-time former president of the MCC and a noted cricket enthusiast, playing what was described as an "instrumental" role in introducing trophies for winners of the County Championship.

Ian Watmore, chair of the England and Wales Cricket Board, said: "I'm sure I speak for the entire cricket family when I say how sad I am to hear of the passing of the Duke of Edinburgh.

"His passion for the game we all love was well known and the trophies presented to the men's and women's county champions are a tribute to his dedication to our sport. We owe him a great debt for his support and passion over many decades."

Eight host countries have confirmed plans to allow fans to attend matches at Euro 2020.

Venues in Amsterdam, Baku, Bucharest, Budapest, Copenhagen, Glasgow, London and St Petersburg will allow spectators at games at different capacity levels.

Wembley Stadium, which will host three group games, a round-of-16 match and the semi-finals and final, will permit a minimum of 25 per cent stadium capacity for the early rounds and hopes for a higher number for the final three games.

Games in Amsterdam, Bucharest, Copenhagen and Glasgow have confirmed capacities of 25 per cent to 33 per cent. The first three of those cities hope to increase numbers depending on their mass testing programmes and the general state of the coronavirus pandemic.

Matches in Baku can be attended by 50 per cent of the stadium's capacity, although fans travelling into Azerbaijan will need to provide a negative COVID-19 test to enter the country.

St Petersburg also hopes for a 50 per cent capacity with the prospect of an increase, while Budapest aims for full crowds provided that strict stadium entry requirements are met.

The four remaining cities – Munich, Rome, Bilbao and Dublin – have until April 19 to provide additional information on plans for spectators.

"UEFA is pleased to announce that there will be a return of spectators to the Euro 2020 venues and wishes to express its appreciation to its member associations and the national and local authorities who are collaborating closely in ensuring the safe return of spectators to the stadium," UEFA said in a statement.

"Several of the host countries had already incorporated Euro 2020 in the rollout of their national recovery strategy.  In addition, in planning the Euro 2020 final tournament, UEFA has worked closely with the World Health Organisation to adapt the WHO COVID-19 risk assessment tool for Euro 2020."

The tournament, which was postponed last year due to the pandemic, is set to begin on June 11 with the game between Italy and Turkey in Rome.

Mauricio Pochettino promised Paris Saint-Germain will fight to keep Kylian Mbappe amid the latest round of reports linking the France striker to Real Madrid.

There were claims from various Spanish media on Thursday that Mbappe has told PSG he wants a close-season switch to Madrid, the club that have been long-time admirers of the World Cup winner.

Mbappe has a contract that runs only until the end of next season, meaning there is an urgency about getting his situation resolved.

The 22-year-old's importance to PSG was reflected in his two-goal showing against Bayern Munich in the Champions League this week, with Mbappe firmly established among the world's most coveted forwards.

With his stature comes the guarantee that other clubs will be casting admiring glances his way, and the possibility that Mbappe will be tempted to leave the Parc des Princes.

Asked about the reports, PSG head coach Pochettino said: "This is something we are used to. When we talk about top clubs and top players such as Kylian Mbappe, who is world class, rumours will always be there.

"The most important thing is that Kylian Mbappe stays calm and focused on helping the team achieve its targets.

"He is very mature despite his young age. As I have already said, the club and the player are focused on trying to reach an agreement so that Kylian can stay with us for a long time.

"That is the club's wish and we are working on everything. Something that happens on the outside is something we cannot control, but will it affect the team in terms of performance or the atmosphere here? No, not at all."

Mbappe has 32 goals and nine assists across all competitions this season, with only Robert Lewandowski (42) and Erling Haaland (33) ahead of him on the goals front among players from Europe's 'top five' leagues. Those goals from Mbappe have come at an average of one every 91.78 minutes.

Pochettino says the "mood is positive" in the PSG camp after their 3-2 win at Bayern, which puts them in the driving seat ahead of Tuesday's home leg of the quarter-final.

Saturday sees his team face Strasbourg in Ligue 1, and it remains to be seen what team Pochettino fields, given PSG have ground to make up on leaders Lille.

At the same time they would not want to risk key players being injured ahead of the Bayern return game, and Pochettino said in his Friday news conference there are "a lot of players that will be unavailable".

PSG have won just one of their last six away games against Strasbourg in Ligue 1 (L2 D3), after winning five of their previous six (D1).

Their form after Champions League games is also a cause for concern, having lost after each of their last three European matches.

There is little room for another such slip-up this weekend, with PSG having already suffered eight defeats after 31 games in their domestic league campaign.

That is their highest tally of losses at this stage of a season since 2009-10, when they were beaten 12 times and finished 13th in the French top flight.

At least PSG have strong recent away form in Ligue 1, having won on each of their last four trips.

Pochettino spoke about the challenge of balancing domestic and Champions League commitments, which make for a busy schedule at this stage of the season.

Pochettino went through similar when he led Tottenham to the 2019 Champions League final, and he said the task "is not easy for the players".

But there is a distinct difference this season, as Pochettino pointed out.

"At Tottenham there was no pandemic we are experiencing now and that makes things more complicated," he said. "The COVID-19 factor cannot be managed. It is something that affects every team in a completely different way.

"I think that is something we will find out more about over time in terms of how it affected the players, but we have to adapt as well as we can to be competitive."

Bayern Munich face mounting injury problems ahead of Saturday's showdown with Union Berlin, as Hansi Flick fears Niklas Sule could miss the second leg with Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

Sule, Leon Goretzka, Lucas Hernandez and Marc Roca will all be absent when Bayern return to Bundesliga action at the weekend.

Defender Sule and midfielder Goretzka were both injured in the 3-2 quarter-final first-leg loss to PSG, with the former a major doubt for the return match.

"Leon Goretzka, Niklas Sule, Lucas Hernandez and Marc Roca will all be unavailable," said head coach Flick.

"Niklas Sule and Leon Goretzka have muscular problems. Leon's problems aren't quite as bad as Niklas'.

"So Niklas will probably miss the second leg versus PSG as well. We need to wait and see how things develop.

"Marc got injured against Leipzig. He started training again but had to stop. Lucas suffered a knock, this is nothing to do with his abdominal muscle injury, but it's painful.

"We're hoping Leon and Lucas will be available in Paris."

Despite Bayern's midweek setback in defence of their Champions League title, Flick's men sit seven points clear at the Bundesliga summit ahead of the visit of seventh-placed Union Berlin.

Union held the German champions to a 1-1 draw in December and Flick expects another tough test from Urs Fischer's side.

"We want to beat Union, but it will be difficult," he said. "We will also be taking workload into consideration however, but three points are our priority.

"I like their mentality and the way they play football. They run a lot and are very dynamic. The coach is doing an outstanding job and I'm looking forward to seeing him again."

Ronald Koeman needs his whole Barcelona squad playing at their top level alongside Lionel Messi in Saturday's crucial Clasico, while he welcomed the return of Gerard Pique to his squad.

A patchy run of form from Atletico Madrid, in which the leaders in LaLiga have won only four of their past 10 top-flight matches, means Barca are only a point off top spot with Madrid just three back.

Saturday's contest, at Madrid's Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano, could now have a huge bearing on the outcome of the title race in Spain this season.

Messi is the top scorer in El Clasico for all competitions (26) and in LaLiga (18) but has not scored in his previous six encounters against Madrid, matching his longest run without a goal in the fixture.

"Hopefully Messi will be decisive for us tomorrow," Koeman told a pre-match news conference.

"We need the best Messi, but above all we need the best Barca. And obviously we need Leo to have a good game, a good attack."

Barca's squad for the trip to Madrid has been boosted by the return of veteran centre-back Pique, who has been sidelined for just over a month since spraining his knee in the 3-0 win over Sevilla that secured a comeback 3-2 aggregate win in their Copa del Rey semi-final.

The versatile Sergi Roberto is also included in the squad having been out since February with a thigh issue.

"They are two important players due to their quality and personality," Koeman added.

"They lack rhythm but they are physically well, very excited to help the team, and it is important to have almost all the players available.

"For me, every player has to be in good physical and mental condition, so they all have a chance to play. 

"Every player has to prove this, and my role will be to pick the 11 best players to start the match."

Barca have been on a sensational run in LaLiga, going unbeaten in 19 matches and winning 13 out of the past 14.

The last time these sides met, Madrid ran out 3-1 winners at Camp Nou and Los Blancos are aiming for a third straight win in this match for the first time since 1978 and a first LaLiga double since the 2007-08 campaign.

But Koeman insists the outcome of this game will not be decisive in determining the end-of-season outcome at the top of LaLiga.

"The result in principle is not decisive because there are still many games to go and it will be difficult to win every game," Koeman said.

"But it is true that the team that wins will see their morale increased.

"El Clasico is a different game from the others, there is always a lot of emotion. Barca are having a great season, with many points achieved that allows us to fight for La Liga, but Madrid is still Madrid and we have to respect them and be at our best.

"We have improved a lot from the last Clasico. Although in the last Clasico, we played well, in my opinion. 

"We were better in the first half, but we lost in the second half with the intervention of the VAR. But we have improved in effectiveness."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is happy to leave Kylian Mbappe to make his own decision on his future amid talk of a possible move to Spain.

The Paris Saint-Germain star scored twice in a 3-2 win away to Bayern Munich in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final this week.

Following that performance, reports in Spain suggested Mbappe has now informed PSG he will not be signing a new contract and is determined to become a Madrid player before next season.

The France international, who is said to be keen to work under compatriot Zidane, has scored 32 goals and provided nine assists this season and is behind only Harry Kane (45) and Robert Lewandowski (50) for direct goal involvements for players in Europe's top-five leagues this season.

Aside from Karim Benzema, who has 24 goals and six assists this term, few Madrid players have offered persistent goal threats, with none of Benzema's team-mates having scored more than six times in 2020-21.

Interest in Mbappe therefore comes as little surprise, but Zidane, speaking ahead of Saturday's LaLiga showdown with Barcelona, was not prepared to discuss a possible deal in detail.

"I know him and we know him well. That's it. He's not my player and I can't speak about anything," Zidane said.

"Kylian is a great player and we'll see what he wants to do in the future, but it's not my concern."

With Eden Hazard still out injured and the Mbappe rumours continuing, much of the focus on Saturday will be on Madrid forward Vinicius Junior.

The Brazilian produced arguably his best performance for the club on Tuesday, scoring twice in the 3-1 Champions League quarter-final first-leg win over Liverpool.

Zidane is confident in the 20-year-old as he aims for a victory that will lift Madrid above Barca and onto the coattails of league leaders Atletico Madrid.

"He's really well, working, he's very young and we have to keep calm with him. It's making me happy because there's a lot of noise but he is focused on what he has to do," Zidane said.

"We have Eden who, at the moment, is not available but we have Vini and we're happy with him.

"We've had a lot of complications this year with injuries and the truth is we've not liked it, but it's a very big squad where the players are always committed and want to play and that's the most important thing.

"Atletico have the advantage because they're first. You say who is going to win and it's a very competitive league, a very good league and all the teams can win, so until the end, we don't know who will do it. I don't know how many points are left, but there are many.

"I'm not thinking [if we lose, we can't win the league]. We'll see at the end of the game, but we're going to give everything and we're positive and we want to play a great game of football."

Referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz has been ruled out of Saturday's clash between Real Madrid and Barcelona, and his replacement could raise a few eyebrows.

Experienced whistler Lahoz had been assigned El Clasico but on Friday it was revealed he is suffering with a muscle injury, with Jesus Gil Manzano named to take on the job instead.

The 44-year-old Lahoz officiated in Wednesday's Champions League clash between Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain.

The Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) announced: "The refereeing committee for professional competition (CACP) has changed, due to a muscle injury, the appointment of referee Antonio Mateu Lahoz, the referee initially appointed to direct the match between Real Madrid and Barcelona on matchday 30 of the Primera Division. His replacement will be Jesus Gil Manzano."

Manzano is the referee who showed Barcelona captain Lionel Messi the first red card of his club career in January's Supercopa de Espana final defeat to Athletic Bilbao.

Messi swung an arm at Asier Villalibre in the final moments of extra time, and the Argentinian was dismissed following a VAR review.

Barcelona boss Ronald Koeman refused to discuss the referee after that match, saying: "It's better if I don't talk."

Manzano also previously red-carded former Barcelona superstars Luis Suarez and Neymar during their Camp Nou careers.

After being at loggerheads over wages for the past few weeks, the Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) and the Reggae Boyz have reached a contractual agreement that now allows the focus to return to the coming CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers and the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Brisbane Roar ended an eight-match winless run in the A-League as they beat Macarthur 2-1 at Campbelltown Stadium.

The hosts had won their past three league matches on home soil but succumbed to goals in each half from Dylan Wenzel-Halls and Riku Danzaki, with Lachlan Rose netting a late reply.

It represents a measure of revenge for Brisbane, who suffered a 2-0 reverse to the Bulls in February, which proved to be the starting point of their long victory drought.

Macarthur stay third, with the Roar climbing to seventh, six points behind their hosts but with two games in hand.

Wenzel-Halls put Warren Moon's men ahead after 12 minutes, arrowing a fine strike beyond Adam Federici from the edge of the box.

Danzaki's close-range finish put the game beyond Macarthur's reach just before the hour mark, ensuring Rose's first A-League goal was a mere consolation. 

LaLiga has found "no evidence" that Cadiz's Juan Cala racially abused Valencia's Mouctar Diakhaby.

Play was halted during the first half of Sunday's clash between the sides following an altercation involving Cala and Diakhaby, after which the Valencia player and his team-mates left the pitch.

Diakhaby did not return for the remainder of the game, which resumed after a 20-minute delay, while Cala was substituted at half-time.

In a video posted on Twitter, Diakhaby said Cala called him "negro de mierda" which translates as "black s***".

Cala maintained his innocence at a subsequent news conference, insisting he had simply told Diakhaby to "leave me in peace".

The Spanish top-flight's governing body released a statement on Friday after concluding its investigation into the incident, which included the use of lip reading experts.

"After the analysis of the material, it is concluded that no evidence has been found... that the player Juan Torres Ruiz (Juan Cala) insulted Mouctar Diakhaby in the terms denounced," it read.

"Specifically, the audiovisual and digital files available have been examined, the audio of the meeting, the images broadcast and what was disseminated on the different social networks have been analysed.

"In order to complement the report, a specialised company has been hired, which has carried out a lip reading analysis of the conversations and a study of the behaviour of the players Juan Torres Ruiz and Mouctar Diakhaby.

"LaLiga has shared these reports with the clubs involved and the relevant authorities, so that they form part of those ongoing investigations.

"LaLiga reiterates its condemnation against racism in all its forms and maintains its commitment to permanently fight against any type of demonstration in this regard, which has materialised in the presentation of numerous complaints of hate crimes, including as a private accusation, in previous proceedings."

The Spanish Football Federation is also looking into the matter.

Luka Jovic will return to Real Madrid at the end of his Eintracht Frankfurt loan before considering his long-term future.

Los Blancos forked out a reported €60million fee in June 2019 to bring the Serbian striker to the Santiago Bernabeu from Frankfurt, who had only exercised an optional fee on Jovic's loan move from Benfica a couple of months earlier.

But the switch to the Spanish capital did not bring much success for Jovic, who started just 11 times, scoring twice and assisting two more across all competitions.

That gave Jovic a ratio of 0.18 goals per 90 minutes, while he averaged 0.62 shots on target before being shipped out on loan back to Frankfurt in January.

Jovic has shown glimpses of form back in the Bundesliga, scoring three goals from 12 appearances in all competitions – of which only four have been as part of the starting XI.

Asked by Bild about his long-term plans, Jovic replied: "Eintracht is a special club for me in every aspect but everybody knows that officially I am a Real Madrid player. 

"And that's where I will return to at the end of the season. 

"It's logical that I will only be able to talk about the next steps of my career in a few months' time."

Prior to his move to Madrid, Jovic scored 36 goals in 75 games during his first spell at Frankfurt, providing eight assists.

That measures at 0.73 goals per 90, while he also averaged 1.68 shots on target.

Bayern Munich CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge has urged the European champions to show unity amid reports of renewed tensions between head coach Hansi Flick and sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic.

No secret has been made of the fact the pair have had their differences, with Flick insisting after last month's Champions League win over Lazio that they "wanted to leave these things behind us".

However, following Wednesday's 3-2 first-leg loss to Paris Saint-Germain in the quarter-finals of a competition they won last year, speculation was rife that the duo were at loggerheads once again.

It is an issue that Rummenigge wants to lay to rest, insisting such talk was "superfluous" as he called on all parties to find harmony.

"We all have to pull together, have to work together harmoniously, loyally and professionally," he told Bild.

"That is my clear requirement for the sporting leadership. That has always distinguished FC Bayern.

"This topic has to come to an end. It is superfluous that we have to constantly comment, especially since we are in the last quarter of the season, are first in the Bundesliga with a seven-point lead, and despite our 3-2 loss against Paris, we still have a chance to advance in the Champions League.

"We need calm and a focus on the essentials."

The defeat to PSG ended Bayern's 19-match unbeaten run in Europe's elite competition.

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