Barcelona great Xavi hopes Neymar returns to Camp Nou, saying he had "no doubts" over the forward's quality.

Neymar, 28, has been linked with a return to the LaLiga giants nearly three years after leaving the club for Paris Saint-Germain.

Xavi saw no reason why the Brazil international would not return, saying his former team-mate was among the world's best.

"Why not? Soccer-wise I have no doubts and I have lived with him in a locker room and he seems to me a great person," the Al-Sadd coach told DjMariiO in a YouTube interview.

"He was a professional here in Barcelona and would make a difference.

"Then there is the social, bureaucratic issue. I don't go there. But on the field he is among the five best in the world."

Another player Barcelona have been linked with a move for is star Inter forward Lautaro Martinez.

Xavi praised the Argentina international's quality, saying: "I like him. Who doesn't?

"He stands out well, he gives depth, he plays space, with few spaces. Barca does well when interested."

Harry Kane's future continues to make headlines.

Since saying he would not stay at Tottenham "for the sake of it" in his pursuit of silverware, Kane has been linked to Manchester United and Real Madrid.

Now, Spurs have reportedly named their fee for the England international.

 

TOP STORY – TOTTENHAM SET KANE PRICE

Tottenham will allow star striker Harry Kane to leave for £200million, according to the Daily Mail.

Kane has been heavily linked to Premier League rivals Manchester United and LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

Spurs are reportedly keen on some extra funds amid the coronavirus pandemic.

ROUND-UP

Lautaro Martinez to Barcelona? Not necessarily. The Sun claims Manchester City are favourites to sign the Inter forward, despite the Argentina international being tipped to move to Camp Nou.

- Fabrizio Romano says Juventus will consider moving for Lazio midfielder Sergej Milinkovic-Savic if they are unsuccessful in their pursuit of United star Paul Pogba. Brescia's Sandro Tonali and Gaetano Castrovilli of Fiorentina are also on the list.

Barca are desperate to strengthen their squad. Martinez is the priority up front for the LaLiga champions, but Mundo Deportivo says they want more. Barca are eyeing a midfielder, with Napoli star Fabian Ruiz and Tottenham's Tanguy Ndombele being considered. The Catalan giants are also looking for a central defender and have been linked to City centre-back Aymeric Laporte, Dayot Upamecano of Leipzig and Sevilla's Diego Carlos.

Inter are interested in Bayern Munich midfielder Corentin Tolisso, reports Calciomercato. The Frenchman is also being followed by United and Arsenal.

- Signing Mauro Icardi remains the main objective for Juve, according to Calciomercato. The Serie A champions are keen to sign a striker amid links to Inter's Icardi, who is on loan at Paris Saint-Germain. Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, Timo Werner of RB Leipzig, City forward Gabriel Jesus, Arkadiusz Milik of Napoli, Lyon's Moussa Dembele and Kane are also on Juve's radar.

Inter star Lautaro Martinez would be the "ideal striker" for LaLiga champions Barcelona, according to Juan Antonio Pizzi.

Martinez has reportedly emerged as Barca's top transfer target, with the Spanish giants keen to sign a long-term replacement for veteran forward Suarez.

Barca's LaLiga rivals Real Madrid are also reportedly interested, while Premier League powerhouses Manchester United and Manchester City have both been linked.

Former Barca striker Pizzi – who also spent time in charge of Chile and Saudi Arabia – backed the 22-year-old Argentina international for a transfer to Camp Nou.

"Lautaro Martinez more than Kun [Sergio] Aguero is the prototype of the new forward that would fit Barca," Argentina-born ex-Spain international Pizzi told EFE.

"He already proved what he can do with Argentina, with Racing and Inter. He seems the ideal striker for the way Barcelona play their football.

"Even in one of the toughest leagues in the world, in Italy, he has still been able to play at a very high level."

Martinez swapped Racing Club for Inter in 2018 and he has quickly established himself as one of the most sought-after forwards in European football.

He has scored 25 goals in total since joining Inter from Racing Club in Argentina.

Sebastiano Esposito and Rafael Leao could not be separated as their virtual Milan derby finished in an entertaining 2-2 draw.

With the coronavirus pandemic leading to a shutdown of the vast majority of all top-level sport, athletes and fans alike are having to satisfy their cravings in other ways, with video games proving an increasingly popular option.

Playing on the latest edition of Pro Evolution Soccer on DAZN, Inter youngster Esposito took charge of the Nerazzurri and Leao controlled his Milan – each player unsurprisingly putting their computerised selves in the respective teams.

Esposito's seriousness quickly became apparent, as he clattered the virtual Leao to the ground early on with Stefan de Vrij – leading to the real Leao brandishing an imaginary card.

Leao, controlling himself, put Milan in front just before half-time, slotting under Samir Handanovic after a one-two with Zlatan Ibrahimovic.

Esposito's reaction to his counterpart's shouts and gloating dance to the camera was minimal, as it was when he restored parity just after half-time – Romelu Lukaku netting off the post after being teed up by Lautaro Martinez.

Inter were then in front in the 76th minute. Lukaku cut out a goal-kick and then blocked a subsequent clearance, before charging into the box and returning the favour for Martinez – Esposito's celebration showing a hint of emotion for the first time.

But he had his head in his hands when Leao secured a share of the spoils, with Ibrahimovic collecting Ismael Bennacer's defence-splitting pass and coolly sweeping home.

Esposito could not help thinking his strikers might have done more.

He said: "Lautaro and Lukaku are the perfect partnership. The numbers show it - they showed it on PES too.

"I got the most out of them having watched them up close and personal. I thank them for scoring the goals, but they could've done even better," he concluded with a chuckle.

Lautaro Martinez's agent said he has had no discussions with Europe's biggest clubs about a transfer, though admitted the Inter star would relish the chance to play regularly with Lionel Messi.

Martinez's form for Inter has seen him linked to Barcelona, Real Madrid and Chelsea, with the Argentinian having scored 16 times in 31 appearances across all competitions.

His list of admirers includes international colleague Messi, who called the 22-year-old "spectacular", and his Barcelona team-mate Luis Suarez.

Martinez's agent, Alberto Yaque, conceded linking up with Messi on a regular basis is something any player would want.

"Who would not like to play with Messi?" Yaque told Planeta 947.

"Speaking of the games they played in the national team, he said it was a dream. Imagine, to play so young for Argentina and with Messi.

"But he doesn't say much about this. He's a very reserved boy.

"If we asked him where he wants to play, he wouldn't tell us anything.

"It would not be unreasonable for the greats to love him, but today there is nothing official."

Martinez is under contract with Inter until 2023 but Yaque is getting calls from journalists across Europe about his client's future.

"There are all these rumours that come out of the press," he added.

"They call me from Madrid, from Barcelona, from England, because they say that Real, that Barcelona, that Chelsea want him, but I would be lying to you right now if I told you there is something.

"I don't know [about] between clubs, but for us there is nothing."

Barcelona star Lionel Messi has branded speculation linking him with moves to Inter and Newell's Old Boys as "fake news".

Reports in Argentina, Spain and Italy in recent days have suggested Inter could launch an audacious bid to sign the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, with Barca said to be keen to speak with the Nerazzurri about striker Lautaro Martinez.

TNT in Messi's homeland even suggested discussions had already begun over a series of transfers that would see Martinez move to Camp Nou and Messi head to Inter along with rising Velez Sarsfield star Thiago Almada.

However, Messi has made it clear there is no truth to the rumours, publishing a screenshot of the claim on his official Instagram page and labelling it "fake news".

He described the report of the Inter deal as "lie 1" and wrote "lie 2" over a further claim that bail for former team-mate Ronaldinho, who is being held in Paraguay over allegedly entering the country with a fake passport, was paid from a Barcelona-based bank account that could have been used by Messi.

Messi added: "What they said in this same publication about Newell's a few weeks ago was also false. At least nobody believes them..."

Messi's future remains unclear as he has the option to unilaterally terminate his Barca contract at the end of the season.

The 32-year-old has been at loggerheads with some of Barca's board this term, adding to speculation he could decide to walk away.

Messi called out first-team technical secretary Eric Abidal for suggesting some players downed tools during Ernesto Valverde's final weeks in charge, while he then accused figures within the club of trying to place the players under undue public scrutiny while they negotiated a voluntary 70 per cent pay cut during the coronavirus crisis.

Manchester City are another club to have been linked with the Argentina star, who has always stressed he feels at home at Barca, where he has spent his whole senior career.

Luis Suarez views Barcelona's reported interest in fellow forwards Neymar and Lautaro Martinez as an encouraging sign.

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar continues to be linked with a return to Camp Nou having won two LaLiga titles and a Champions League playing alongside Suarez during his previous stint at the club.

He is not the only striker reportedly on Barca's radar, though, with Inter's Martinez another attacker thought to be considered an intriguing prospect to the Blaugrana hierarchy.

Rather than see such speculation as a threat to his place in the team, Suarez has given his approval to those pursuits.

"It is difficult to talk about players today," he told Mundo Deportivo. 

"As is the situation in the world today, talking about who can come because of how everything is complicated. But I can speak about what these players are like and they are huge players. 

"Obviously, Ney, everyone knows him and we know the appreciation that we have for him in the dressing room, which as a player is indisputable because he still has a lot to give and in the dressing room he would always be welcome because of the affection he has. 

"Lautaro is a player who has been growing a lot in Italy, he is a 'nine' who has movements that are spectacular and that reflects how great a striker he is. 

"It is not that you feel compatible but that you feel happy that the club wants to incorporate players who come to help and fulfil the same objective of everyone - that of wanting to win everything. 

"Then when it comes to healthy competition in the team, which there will always, we will always be on the same side. 

"So players who come to fight for a place and help the team will always be welcome, it will always be better and it will strengthen the group."

The futures of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe continue to make headlines.

Both Paris Saint-Germain players have been linked with big moves to LaLiga.

But coronavirus could scupper their plans.

 

TOP STORY – CORONAVIRUS TO STOP NEYMAR & MBAPPE EXITS

Paris Saint-Germain expect star pair Neymar and Kylian Mbappe to stay at the Ligue 1 champions due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to L'Equipe.

Neymar has been tipped to re-join Barcelona, while Real Madrid hold a strong interest in Mbappe.

But COVID-19 is wreaking havoc globally and the financial implications, which are expected to prompt a fall in transfer fees, could see the pair remain in Paris.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo says Inter have turned down an exchange deal for Lautaro Martinez from Barca. LaLiga champions Barca offered Junior Firpo and Nelson Semedo as part of a deal to bring Martinez to Camp Nou, however, they were rebuffed.

Matthijs de Ligt wants to leave Juventus and his agent Mino Raiola is determined to take the Dutch defender to Madrid, reports ABC. De Ligt has also been linked to Premier League giants Manchester United. The 20-year-old only moved to Turin last year.

Milan are "dreaming" of signing Inter's Mauro Icardi, claims Corriere dello Sport. Icardi – not wanted by Inter – is on loan at PSG but the Argentina international reportedly wants to return to Serie A. The report comes amid speculation ex-Inter head coach Luciano Spalletti could be appointed by Milan for the 2020-21 season. Icardi has also been heavily linked to Juve.

- Calciomercato says Harry Kane to Juventus could be a possibility in the coming months, however, a deal with Tottenham is almost impossible amid the coronavirus pandemic.

- Milan captain and defender Alessio Romagnoli has emerged as a target for Barca, according to Sport. If Romagnoli leaves San Siro, Thiago Silva could return. Tuttosport says the 35-year-old PSG defender, who is out of contract at season's end, is thinking about returning to Milan.

Napoli are in the hunt for a replacement for Arkadiusz Milik, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Milik is contracted until 2021 but the Polish striker is no closer to a new deal amid links to Milan. If he does leave, Napoli's list of targets includes Inter's Genoa Andrea Pinamonti, Madrid forward Luka Jovic and Mainz attacker Jean-Philippe Mateta.

- Calciomercato says Juve have decided to sell midfielder Miralem Pjanic to free up space in the squad and raise funds. Meanwhile, Gianluca Di Marzio claims Federico Bernardeschi will leave Juve following the arrival of Dejan Kulusevski.

Europe's major leagues have been shut down due to coronavirus, but Cristiano Ronaldo is still making headlines.

Ronaldo was in the midst of his second season with Juventus before the 2019-20 campaign was postponed last month.

But there are ongoing doubts over Ronaldo's future in Turin.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO LINKED TO MADRID RETURN

Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo misses Real Madrid and a reunion with his former club is not just a suggestion, according to Calciomercato.

Ronaldo is reportedly unhappy at Serie A champions Juve amid links to Paris Saint-Germain and another former team, Manchester United.

However, Calciomercato's report claims Ronaldo has eyes on Madrid but it will take a significant sum to prise the 35-year-old from Juve.

 

ROUND-UP

Barcelona have set their asking price for out-of-favour attacker Philippe Coutinho, who is on loan at Bayern Munich. The LaLiga champions want at least €80million (£70m) for the Brazilian. The likes of Chelsea, United, Arsenal and Tottenham have been linked.

- Diario AS says Borussia Dortmund are concerned about mounting speculation surrounding Madrid's interest in Erling Haaland. The Norwegian sensation only joined Dortmund in January.

Madrid are chasing Lille's midfield star Boubakary Soumare, according to Le10Sport. United and Liverpool have also been linked to the 21-year-old.

Juve are looking to complete a deal for Mauro Icardi, says Calciomercato. Icardi is on loan at PSG from Inter but the Argentina international wants to return to Italy.

Manchester City face an uphill battle trying to sign Raphael Varane. Defensa Central says Madrid are ready to turn down any bids for the Frenchman. According to Tuttosport, City have set their sights on three Inter players – Lautaro Martinez, Milan Skriniar and Alessandro Bastoni. Martinez has been tipped to join Barca.

- Diario AS claims Barca are keeping tabs on Juve midfielder Rodrigo Bentancur. It comes as Marca says Atletico Madrid are leading the race to sign Ivan Rakitic from Barca.

Milan are eyeing three candidates should star goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma leave the club, reports Calciomercato. Donnarumma has been linked to Chelsea, Madrid and PSG and Napoli's Alex Meret, Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso and Sporting CP's Luis Maximiano are being considered.

Barcelona should prioritise re-signing Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain over bringing Lautaro Martinez to Camp Nou, insisted former star Rivaldo.

LaLiga champions Barca tried to lure Neymar back to the club following his world-record €222million move to PSG in 2017, however, a deal did not materialise at the start of the season.

Barca are also reportedly determined to sign Inter's star forward Martinez as they eye a long-term replacement for veteran Luis Suarez.

Rivaldo – who won a pair of LaLiga titles during his time with the Catalan giants – believes Neymar is ready to lead Barca alongside six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi.

"The rumours are growing about Barcelona's intention to sign Neymar and Lautaro Martinez in the next transfer window," Rivaldo wrote in his column for Betfair.

"Although the young Argentinian is a good player, I think that only Neymar is a certain bet to claim a place in the starting XI side by side with Messi.

"Looking at the last few years we have seen many valuable players who didn't manage to play alongside Messi - failing to perform under the expectations.

"But Neymar - like Luis Suarez - is one of the few players in the world that doesn't feel pressure on the pitch, always playing with plenty of personality.

"He never gets frightened and it would be a safe option for the club while Martinez is a young, talented forward that perhaps in two or three years may become a good signing.

"For now I think the club should prioritise Neymar. I'm a fan of his qualities and personality and I know that sometimes I'm liable to criticism as some Barcelona fans didn't like the way Neymar decided to leave the club.

"But the truth is that he is a different player now who should be a nice help to Messi and co. in trying to win another Champions League."

Lautaro Martinez is an "asset" for Inter and is happy at the Serie A club despite transfer links, according to their vice-president Javier Zanetti.

Martinez, 22, is reportedly being targeted by the likes of Barcelona and Real Madrid after impressing at Inter.

The Argentina international has scored 16 goals in 31 games in all competitions this season.

Zanetti said Martinez was happy at San Siro, where he arrived from Racing Club for a reported €22.7million in 2018.

"I'm happy to talk about [Lautaro] because when we signed him we had been following him for some time," he told Sky Sport on Thursday.

"He was one of the most promising players in Argentine football and [Diego] Milito thought he'd have a big future.

"Now he's an asset for us and he's grown a lot. I see him training every week. He's happy with us and I hope he stays for a long time."

Martinez had helped Inter sit third, nine points behind leaders Juventus, in Serie A when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Zanetti hopes normal life can resume soon in Italy, which has been hit hard by coronavirus, with more than 13,900 deaths.

"Thinking about recovery is very difficult today. Until April 13 it is right to stay home to allow the epidemiological curve to go down, then we will return to normal life gradually," he said.

"We are in a dramatic situation all over the world. The coronavirus is affecting many populations and should not be underestimated."

Neymar, Lautaro Martinez or both? Barcelona may have a decision to make this close season.

Neymar has been linked with a return to Camp Nou, while the LaLiga giants are also reportedly interested in Inter star Martinez.

Barcelona could be forced to choose between the two in the next transfer window.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR, MARTINEZ OR BOTH? BARCELONA'S BIG DECISION

Barcelona want both Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar and Inter's Martinez but know it will be difficult to land the duo, according to Sport.

It reports landing Martinez is shaping to be easier as Inter are willing to accept players as part of a deal.

Martinez has scored 16 goals in 31 games for Inter this season, while Neymar has netted 18 times in 22 appearances for PSG.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United could be turning to an old target. ESPN reports the Premier League club are prepared to make a bid for Juventus defender Matthijs de Ligt if the Serie A giants are open to a sale this close season.

- Harry Kane's future at Tottenham seemingly remains unclear. But The Daily Mail says Spurs are confident of keeping the forward, who said on Monday he would not stay at the club just "for the sake of it".

- It looks like Jadon Sancho to Liverpool will not be happening. The Mirror claims the Premier League leaders are not targeting the Borussia Dortmund star, leaving United and Chelsea as the English clubs still in the chase.

- Where will Philippe Coutinho end up next season? Sport reports Leicester City are interested in a loan deal for the playmaker, who is on loan at Bayern Munich from Barcelona. Staying at Camp Nou and Sport says Barcelona are considering a move for Layvin Kurzawa, who is out of contract at PSG at season's end, as a back-up to Jordi Alba.

- Edinson Cavani is also out of contract at the end of the season at PSG, but CalcioMercato reports the Uruguayan striker will not be joining Atletico Madrid, the club he has been linked to.

- With Alexis Sanchez set to return to Manchester United from his loan spell at Inter, The Sun reports the club will be forced to pay the attacker a £1.1million loyalty payment.

Diego Godin compared in-demand Inter team-mate Lautaro Martinez to Luis Suarez and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero amid links to Barcelona.

Martinez has reportedly emerged as Barca's top transfer target, with the LaLiga champions keen to sign a long-term replacement for veteran forward Suarez.

Barca's LaLiga rivals Madrid are also reportedly interested, while Premier League giants Manchester United and Manchester City have both been linked.

Inter defender Godin heaped praise on 22-year-old Argentina international Martinez, who had scored 16 goals across all competitions before Serie A was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"Lautaro is similar to Luis and Sergio Aguero," the Uruguayan centre-back told ESPN.

"He's learning to play using his whole body, with his back to the ball. He's a football player.

"His confidence has a high ceiling and he's maturing with every match. You can spot things in him that tell you he'll be around for 10 or 15 years."

Martinez swapped Racing Club for Inter in 2018 and he has quickly established himself as one of the most sought-after forwards in European football.

He has scored 25 goals in total since joining Inter from Racing Club in Argentina.

Jadon Sancho is the name on everyone's lips.

The Borussia Dortmund teenager has taken Europe by storm and clubs are queuing up.

But Manchester United are reportedly at the front of the line.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED IN TOUCH WITH SANCHO AGENT

Manchester United have contacted Jadon Sancho's agent as they look to sign the Borussia Dortmund sensation, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Sancho tops the list of United's transfer targets following his exploits for the Bundesliga side, with Liverpool and Chelsea also reportedly interested.

But Dortmund – who will not stand in Sancho's way of a departure – are unwilling to budge on their €110million (£98m) valuation.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport reports Chelsea are preparing a huge contract offer for Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma. It comes as the Blues reportedly look to sell Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Juventus are interested in Achraf Hakimi, says Calciomercato. Achraf is set to return to Real Madrid following a two-year loan spell at Dortmund. Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked to the Moroccan full-back.

Inter have named their price for Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez, Calciomercato reports. With a release clause of €111m, Inter want at least €80m in cash.

- Birmingham City's 16-year-old star Jude Bellingham is set to reject a transfer to United in favour of Dortmund, says Bild.

Tottenham and Arsenal, along with Crystal Palace and West Ham, are eyeing Liverpool defender Dejan Lovren, according to Team Talk.

- Calciomercato claims Inter have not given up on signing Napoli forward Dries Mertens on a free transfer. The Belgian star is out of contract at the end of 2019-20.

Madrid is the preferred option for Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga, says Marca. Liverpool, Dortmund and PSG have also emerged as possible suitors for the 17-year-old.

- Corriere dello Sport says Valencia are eyeing Inter centre-back Diego Godin, who has been linked to United and Tottenham.

Roma are lining up a move for Atletico Madrid striker Diego Costa, says Diario AS. Clubs in Brazil and Qatar are also reportedly circling.

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