Could Spain international Fabian Ruiz be set for a return to his homeland?

Former Real Betis star Fabian, who now plays for Napoli in Serie A, is a reported target for Barcelona and Real Madrid.

The Spanish rivals are trying to lure Fabian back to LaLiga.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA, MADRID DO BATTLE FOR FABIAN

Barcelona and Real Madrid are set to battle each other for the signing of Napoli star Fabian Ruiz, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Spanish midfielder Fabian has been linked with a return to LaLiga throughout the season, having left Real Betis for Napoli in 2018.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Napoli are expecting Barca and Madrid to go head-to-head for Fabian – who is contracted to the Serie A side until 2023.

 

ROUND-UP

- L'Equipe says Inter have made an offer for Arsenal forward Alexandre Lacazette. With Inter star Lautaro Martinez linked to Barca, the Nerazzurri are eyeing alternatives, however, Lacazette is not interested in swapping London for Milan.

- There could be some big changes at Madrid in 2022. AS Diario says Los Blancos want Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland to team up with Eden Hazard in a new strike force. The likes of Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Isco will be out of contract at the end of the 2021-22 season.

Juventus are ready to negotiate a deal for Santos teenager Kaio Jorge, according to Calciomercato. Santos are demanding €30million for the 18-year-old, though Juve are only prepared to pay €15m.

- The Daily Mail claims Manchester City and Newcastle United have joined Real Madrid and Atletico Madrid in the race for 18-year-old Penarol winger Facundo Pellistri.

Odion Ighalo is prepared to pass on a £75m contract with Shanghai Shenhua to stay at Manchester United, reports the Daily Star. Ighalo's loan deal is set to expire at Old Trafford.

Former Barcelona president Sandro Rosell said he would try to sign Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar as he is the second-best player in the world behind Lionel Messi.

Neymar left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222million transfer in 2017, but the Brazilian forward continues to be linked with a return to Camp Nou.

The 28-year-old failed to make his way back to LaLiga champions Barca at the start of the 2019-20 season and he is reportedly a transfer target again.

Rosell was president when Barca signed Neymar from Santos in 2013 and the 56-year-old heaped praise on the Brazil international.

"If I were the president of Barca, I would try to sign Neymar," Rosell told COPE and Radio Marca.

"He is the second-best player in the world after Messi and fits perfectly into the philosophy of the club.

"But with experience, he would sign him with two contracts, one sports and the other behavioural."

Since swapping Barca for PSG, Neymar has won three successive Ligue 1 titles, to go with Coupe de France, Coupe de la Ligue and Trophee des Champions honours.

Neymar scored 13 league goals before Ligue 1 was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and PSG were eventually declared champions.

Barca, meanwhile, have been tipped to sign Inter star Lautaro Martinez in the off-season.

However, Inter have insisted Martinez will not be sold unless his release clause – reportedly worth €111m – is met.

Rosell added: "I would not sign Lautaro for €111million but I would try to exchange two players".

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas called for the Ligue 1 season to restart in July as the French club labelled the decision to cancel the 2019-20 campaign "hasty" and "premature".

Paris Saint-Germain were declared champions after the remainder of the Ligue 1 campaign was called off due to the coronavirus pandemic, which has wreaked havoc globally.

Aulas has been vocal in his opposition to voiding the season after Lyon were left in seventh position in the table and without a spot in the 2020-21 Champions League.

The Lyon chief reiterated his desire for the season to be completed after France announced plans to ease the country's coronavirus lockdown, while the Premier League and Serie A are set to join the Bundesliga in returning next month.

Aulas tweeted on Thursday: "The Premier League will restart on June 7 [actually June 17]. @OL @Matigon @RoxaMaracineanu Madame Minister allow us to resume training from June 2 and then play behind closed doors from July, 15 days after the English and all the others."

Lyon latter released a statement, which read: "The authorisation given to professional clubs to resume training from 2 June confirms that the decision to stop the league seasons was hasty, premature and contrary to UEFA recommendations, as the club has constantly emphasised since this decision was announced on April 30.

"The Prime Minister having confirmed once again that the decision to stop had been made by the League, Olympique Lyonnais is concerned about this disastrous decision for French professional football.

"This authorisation nevertheless meets the requests and needs of the three clubs involved in the competitions that the organisers have decided to  since the start of the pandemic: the Women's and Men's Champions League for UEFA, the Women's and Men's Coupes de France for the FFF, the Coupe de la Ligue for the LFP.

"Indeed, Saint Etienne, PSG and Olympique Lyonnais will be able to prepare for these Cup matches in better conditions than those had been initially 'imposed'. PSG and OL will be a little less disadvantaged than their European opponents who will have resumed their league seasons in May or June (May 16 for the Germans, June 11 for the Spanish, June 17 for the English and finally June 20 for the Italians), France being the only one of the five big European countries to have taken a decision which has penalised its clubs.

"Olympique Lyonnais is now awaiting confirmation that friendly matches may be organised from June 22 as had been announced this evening. The club also hopes that the league which has had its hand in this decision will reconsider and, in the interest of all the French clubs of which some wish, and not only Olympique Lyonnais, that the season can be finished on sporting merit, with playoffs possibly as suggested by UEFA on 23 April to its member professional leagues and associations

"Finally, Olympique Lyonnais are delighted with the possibility that supporters can once again return to the stadiums, even in limited numbers at first, and that broadcasters can resume broadcasts as they have done for other European championships."

If Lautaro Martinez heads to Barcelona, Inter may land Timo Werner as his replacement as Liverpool withdraw from the race for the RB Leipzig star.

Martinez and Werner are two forwards linked with moves during the close season after impressive campaigns at Inter and RB Leipzig respectively.

And Werner could reportedly fill Martinez's boots at San Siro if the Argentina international makes the switch.

 

TOP STORY – WERNER COULD REPLACE BARCELONA TARGET LAUTARO

RB Leipzig star Werner is the leading candidate to replace Martinez if the Inter forward joins Barcelona, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Werner has been heavily linked with a transfer to Liverpool, but the Mirror reports the Premier League leaders have withdrawn from talks as they are unwilling to meet his £49.4million (€55m) release clause.

Meanwhile, AS reports Philippe Coutinho could be part of Barca's bid to land Martinez, even as Inter say the only way the 22-year-old will leave is by his reported €111m clause being paid.

ROUND-UP

- Will Barcelona and Juventus get an exchange deal done? Sport reports Juve are pushing to land Arthur, but the midfielder wants to stay with the LaLiga giants. Miralem Pjanic has been linked with a move to Camp Nou.

- Staying at Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reports the club are willing to let Ousmane Dembele leave if a good offer arrives. The attacker has been linked with a switch to Paris Saint-Germain, with Neymar reportedly a target for Barcelona.

- David Luiz's future appears uncertain. Sky Sports News reports the defender's stay at Arsenal could be coming to an end after one season as his contract expires next month and no talks are planned over a new deal.

- It seems Tiemoue Bakayoko could be set for another transfer. Le 10 Sport says the midfielder, on loan at Monaco from Chelsea, is being targeted by Milan and West Ham, with PSG's interest having eased.

- With Kepa Arrizabalaga out of favour, Chelsea are said to be looking for a new goalkeeper. The Sun says the Premier League side are lining up a £15m (€16.7m) move for Borussia Dortmund shot-stopper Roman Burki.

- Staying at Stamford Bridge and Chelsea are also reportedly eyeing a left-back. The Mirror reports they are keeping an eye on developments around Ajax full-back Nicolas Tagliafico, who could be available for around £22m (€24.5m).

Former Barcelona president Joan Gaspart claimed LaLiga would have been cancelled if Real Madrid were top of the table when the season was suspended.

The LaLiga campaign is set to get back underway next month, with Barcelona holding a two-point lead over Madrid with 11 games left to play.

But Gaspart, who was Barca president from 2000 to 2003, said it would have been different if Madrid were leading the league when it was suspended in March due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"If Madrid had finished as leader before the confinement, LaLiga would have ended," he told Tertulia del 10 del Barca, via AS, on Wednesday.

While Barcelona will aim to clinch the LaLiga title, they continue to be linked with former star Neymar, who could return to the club from Paris Saint-Germain.

Gaspart hopes the Brazil international ends up back at Camp Nou, where he left in 2017 for a world-record €222million.

"I would love to see Neymar at Barca. I understand that he can still contribute," he said.

"What I don't know is the fine print. I forgive what it takes to get him back. I would like him to play for Barca."

Cristiano Ronaldo's anger in defeat provided a lesson for Bruno Guimaraes, even if the Lyon midfielder missed the opportunity to swap shirts with his idol.

Guimaraes has played just five times for Lyon since his €20million January move from Athletico Paranaense, but the 22-year-old has already made his Champions League bow against Juventus.

The clash gave the Brazilian the chance to face Ronaldo, a five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Guimaraes came out on top, too, playing the full 90 minutes as Lyon claimed a 1-0 first-leg lead in the last 16, with the return match yet to be played due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Ronaldo is "a guy I used to play with on video games", Guimaraes explained to UOL as he recalled an educational experience.

"We talked in the game in Portuguese," the Lyon man said. "He said it was not a foul, and I said it was a foul.

"I was going to ask him to swap shirts with him, but he was kind of angry. He's a guy who doesn't like to lose. This is what we have to take as an example; a guy who has won everything [but] hates to lose.

"I want more and more to have this in my mind, being able to get the good things from these football legends, which is super important."

Discussing his nerves ahead of the match, Guimaraes said: "I was very nervous and slept badly at night because it was my first Champions League game, as a starter and in the last 16.

"But I thought to myself: 'If I want to be a great player, this has to be normal in my life. I have to play well against these guys.'

"I was very focused and I felt like I was playing on the street. Obviously, you are nervous to go on the field and when you are out there you get butterflies.

"But when the ball rolls, everything is normal. It's 11 against 11."

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has warned of "a real problem" looming for many French clubs if the decision to cancel the 2019-20 season is not overturned.

Aulas has been vocal in his opposition to voiding the remainder of the Ligue 1 campaign, which left Lyon in seventh place in the table and without a spot in next season's Champions League.

Having seen the Bundesliga resume the 2019-20 season and with the Premier League, LaLiga, and Serie A potentially following suit, Aulas said French football could find itself being left behind.

Defending his decision to appeal against the cancellation of the season by writing to the French prime minister and sports minister, Aulas told Franceinfo: "We see an abnormal difference in competitiveness between European countries.

"[There will be] between 800 and 900 million euro losses as of June 30 for French football.

"As we were unable to show our good faith as we would have wanted, or show that it made economic sense and the best thing for Europe to finish all our games, so unfortunately we've had to seek an alternative in the interest of those immediately concerned and in the general interest."

Lyon finished third in 2018-19 and were still in the Champions League and the Coupe de la Ligue when football in France was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Aulas indicated the financial impact of the season's termination would not cause Lyon serious problems, but he said French clubs would lose out in the transfer market.

"Obviously, transfers will be put on hold. It's looking like we will have to stop the championship so players will not be seen," he said.

"Clubs which can eventually invest, well clubs abroad have had their season put back and they will finish it later. This is all going to cause a real problem for French clubs – a loss of several hundred million euros.

"Transfers agreed a few years ago also may not be honoured, so it's going to cause problems. Many French clubs will be in financial difficulties."

France coach Didier Deschamps has backed the decision to end the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season amid the coronavirus pandemic, insisting others are only resuming due to financial reasons.

Following guidance from the government, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) made the decision to prematurely end the Ligue 1 campaign and decide the final standings by virtue of points per game at the end of April.

Some clubs have threatened to take legal action, while Lyon and their president Jean-Michel Aulas have been particularly vocal in their displeasure, urging the decision to be overturned following the resumption of the Bundesliga and confirmation that LaLiga can continue next month.

Serie A and the Premier League could also recommence in June, meaning Ligue 1 will be the only one of Europe's top five leagues to not be concluded on the pitch.

But Deschamps believes the French authorities have made the correct decision, highlighting inconsistencies with certain protocols in Germany and suggesting monetary concerns are behind LaLiga and the Premier League returning.

"I don't want to judge, to condemn, to blame," he told Le Parisien. "The containment conditions are not the same for everyone.

"I have watched the Bundesliga since the resumption of matches in Germany. It certainly looks like soccer. I'm not going to talk about the pace or intensity of the meetings, but some images seem so incoherent to me.

"I see players playing a game with all the elements specific to football: namely contact and tackles. And then, we see in the stands masked substitutes two metres away from each other.

"Honestly, I don't understand. They are in the same enclosure, likely to come into play at any time. In the stands, is the risk increased? What an inconsistency. I do not like it.

"Life resumes with a lot of restrictions in all areas. In football, the resumption of certain championships obviously responds, first of all, to an economic problem.

"Look at the decisions made in Spain and England. These two major football countries are planning the resumption of LaLiga and the Premier League, but they have decided not to resume the women's championships, which generate much less revenue. That says everything."

Deschamps, who is contracted to be France coach until the end of the 2022 World Cup, is also concerned players in the leagues that have resumed are not prepared enough, and the risk of injury will be increased.

"It worries me. Whether you are a coach or president of a club, we all have interests specific to our function," he continued. "The physical integrity of my players is my main concern.

"Some abroad will resume competition without having carried out full preparation. No matter how much you say, such a stop requires six weeks of refresher training with at least five friendly matches. That's far from being the case.

"They will chain matches every three days in summer, with high temperatures. The risk of injury is increased. I was already denouncing very busy calendars. It will not work out and it looks even more sensitive with very few breaks."

Edinson Cavani would make a fearsome partnership with Romelu Lukaku at Inter but would "enjoy some more glorious years" if he moved to Atletico Madrid, says his former Napoli team-mate Andrea Dossena.

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading goalscorer Cavani will be out of contract at the end of June and has been heavily linked with Inter and Atletico Madrid, the latter of whom he had been widely tipped to join in January.

The 33-year-old spent three seasons at Napoli between 2010 and 2013, winning the 2011-12 Coppa Italia alongside Dossena.

Former Italy international Dossena does not believe it is time for Cavani to hang up his boots and feels he would be a success at Inter or Atletico.

Dossena told Stats Perform News: "I remember his unbelievable work ethic, his hunger for success. Just a few players can boast it. He had this will to beat record after record that was unique.

"For sure he shouldn't think about retiring, at all. I read he has got two options: Atletico Madrid and Inter.

"He would work either way with two exceptional managers who can get 1,000 per cent from each player. Either way he would find a great destination.

"I wish he could go back to Italy, working with Antonio Conte as a manager and Lukaku as a forward partner.

"This would be a very interesting pair, but should he join Atleti. He would work with [Diego] Simeone and enjoy some more glorious years."

Manchester United star Paul Pogba returning to Juventus is apparently shaping as impossible.

Pogba, 27, has been linked with a move away from Old Trafford, with Juventus and Real Madrid reportedly interested in landing the midfielder.

But it seems the Serie A giants will find such a deal impossible.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA RETURNING TO JUVENTUS IS IMPOSSIBLE

Pogba leaving Manchester United to return to Juventus is looking impossible, according to Sport and Corriere dello Sport.

Sport says the Bianconeri cannot afford the €100million (£89m) United would want for the France international.

Pogba left Juve to join United for £89m (€105m) in 2016.

ROUND-UP

- James Rodriguez is pushing for a stay in the Spanish capital. Mundo Deportivo reports the Real Madrid playmaker is determined to sign for Atletico Madrid.

- Real Madrid may be looking for a back-up in his position, but Casemiro is seemingly going nowhere. Marca claims the midfielder recently extended his contract until 2023.

- Odion Ighalo is set for a return to China. The Mirror reports the striker is expecting to go back to Shanghai Shenhua from his loan spell at Manchester United after just eight appearances for the Premier League club, with the Chinese Super League side demanding he returns. Goal says United will focus on RB Leipzig forward Timo Werner and Lyon's Moussa Dembele with Ighalo leaving.

- Forget trying to land Ansu Fati this close season. According to Sport, Barcelona will keep the 17-year-old, who is reportedly wanted by Borussia Dortmund and Premier League clubs.

- Newcastle United are looking at signing Liverpool midfielder Xherdan Shaqiri if they are taken over, according to the Daily Mail.

- It seems Adam Lallana is set to leave Liverpool when his contract expires at the end of the season. The Mirror reports Burnley have joined the fight for the midfielder, who is also said to be a target for Leicester City, Arsenal, Tottenham and West Ham.

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe would like to win the Ballon d'Or, but it is not something he is obsessing over.

Mbappe, 21, is widely regarded as one of the world's best players and a future winner of the prestigious individual honour.

But the Ballon d'Or has been dominated by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, who have won it 11 times between them since 2008.

Mbappe said it was a prize he would like, but he is in no rush to claim the honour.

"It would be nice to win, but it is not something that keeps me awake at night," the France international told the Mirror.

"I don't think I have to win it next season or the season after. There is no time limit I have put on it.

"Always I will put PSG and the national team as my priority, then if personal honours come from my performances then it is a bonus."

At just 21, Mbappe is already a four-time Ligue 1 winner and a World Cup champion to go with numerous other honours.

But he is yet to win the Champions League and it is a trophy he wants to deliver for PSG.

"To keep on being successful with the national team – next season we have the European Championship and that will be our ambition to be victorious there," Mbappe said.

"It is a big ambition of mine to win the European Cup and to be a part of PSG winning their first European Cup would be very special."

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe hailed Liverpool, labelling the Premier League leaders a "machine".

Jurgen Klopp's men are on track to win the club's first league title since 1990, sitting 25 points clear at the top when the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mbappe has been linked with a move to Liverpool and the France star is impressed by what Klopp's side have achieved this season.

"This season, Liverpool have been a machine in the Premier League," the 21-year-old told the Mirror.

"They have made winning look easy but the truth is that it is never easy. Performances like they have been having don't just happen.

"To be as ruthless as they have been would come from lots of hard work in training and from having a very good manager."

Liverpool had won 27 of 29 Premier League games this season before the campaign was stopped.

Manchester City look set to have to fill a void in their squad.

Germany international Leroy Sane is tipped to swap City for Bayern Munich.

And Leon Bailey has reportedly emerged as a target for City.

 

TOP STORY – SANE OUT, BAILEY IN AT CITY?

Manchester City are targeting Bayer Leverkusen's Leon Bailey as a replacement for Leroy Sane, according to the Daily Mail.

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are hoping to sign City star Sane in the off-season.

Should Sane complete his return to Germany, Bailey has been identified by Pep Guardiola's City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuttosport claims Juventus have warned Paul Pogba he will have to accept a drastic cut to his salary if the Manchester United star is to return to the Serie A champions. Pogba has been linked with former club Juve and LaLiga giants Real Madrid. The Red Devils have reportedly re-opened the door to Juve over a possible deal.

Luka Jovic wants to stay at the Santiago Bernabeu and turn things around with Madrid, reports Marca. The Serbia forward, who has struggled since arriving from Eintracht Frankfurt, has emerged as a target for Milan.

- Napoli striker Arkadiusz Milik is pushing for a move to Juve, says Calciomercato. The Poland international is a free agent in 2021 and is valued at €40million by Napoli, though he is hoping to lower the club's demands.

Juve are desperately trying to convince Arthur to leave Barcelona for Turin, according to Mundo Deportivo. Juve want Arthur to replace Miralem Pjanic, who is reportedly close to swapping clubs.

- Onda Cero says Barca could recall Philippe Coutinho from his loan spell at Bayern. With Bayern opting not to exercise their option to purchase Coutinho, the Brazilian could find himself back at Camp Nou ahead of LaLiga's proposed resumption.

Inter have been in contact with Edinson Cavani's entourage over a move to San Siro, says Calciomercato. Paris Saint-Germain forward Cavani is coming out of contract and could replace Inter star Lautaro Martinez, who is wanted by Barca.

- The Daily Mail claims Barca will listen to loan offers for Ousmane Dembele. The injury-prone Frenchman has previously been linked to PSG, Juve, Arsenal, United and Liverpool.

Pirelli chief executive Marco Tronchetti wants Inter to sign RB Leipzig star Timo Werner and Paris Saint-Germain's Edinson Cavani amid doubts over Lautaro Martinez.

Inter forward Martinez has been heavily linked to LaLiga champions Barcelona, who have reportedly identified the Argentina international as a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

According to reports, Antonio Conte's Inter have put together a list of potential replacements, including Liverpool target Werner and soon-to-be free agent Cavani.

Tronchetti – CEO of Pirelli who are Inter's shirt sponsor – advised the Nerazzurri to chase Werner and Cavani.

"For example, we left Inter with a 'regista' who was supposed to change the team in [Christian] Eriksen," Tronchetti told Gr Parlamento.

"Cavani's been able to do extraordinary things and I hope he can repeat them in Nerazzurro.  In Serie A there are other expert players, above all Cristiano Ronaldo, who are proving to be great champions. Age is not a limit, he [Cavani] can be a good choice.

"It's clear that selling Lautaro would hurt, but with Cavani and Werner we could be stronger than with Lautaro and [Mauro] Icardi, especially if Eriksen returns to his Tottenham form."

Martinez had scored 16 goals in 31 matches across all competitions before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Werner bagged a hat-trick for Leipzig in their 5-0 rout of Mainz in the Bundesliga on Sunday, taking his tally for the season to 30 goals in 38 appearances.

Cavani – who has been linked to LaLiga's Atletico Madrid and clubs in MLS – had netted four Ligue 1 goals in 14 games before PSG were declared champions after the season was cut short.

The 33-year-old forward scored seven goals in all competitions for PSG in 2019-20.

Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas has written to the French prime minister and sports minister calling for the "hasty decision" to cancel the Ligue 1 season to be reversed.

The campaign was brought to a premature end last month after prime minister Edouard Philippe announced that no sporting events would be permitted until September due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Lyon missed out of a Europa League place when the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) confirmed the final standings had been calculated on a points-per-game basis.

Aulas has refused to accept the decision to wrap up the campaign, though, saying play-offs could be arranged in August while questioning the integrity of the LFP executive committee and warning of an "economic disaster" in the French game.

With the Bundesliga season back up and running, while Spanish, Italian and English clubs prepare for a potential return, Aulas wants an about-turn in France.

Lyon on Monday published an open letter from their president sent to the government eight days before they are expected to announce the easing lockdown of restrictions in the country.

It was sent "so that June 2 [when measures could be eased in France] becomes synonymous with hope for all of French football."

After reiterating why he felt more time should have been taken before deciding whether the campaign could be ended, Aulas stated that he believes the action can get going again in July.

He concluded: "Can we also conceive as well that June 2 is a great opportunity to rectify the error concerning French football and allow, with the health protocols being used everywhere, to set a starting point for a gradual resumption of training [in June].

"And, why not, a resumption of the 2019-2020 league seasons in the months of July or August as UEFA specifically suggested on April 21 and as has since been confirmed by Aleksander Ceferin [UEFA president] on May 14?"

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