Dani Ceballos knows only too well why Martin Odegaard has become frustrated at Real Madrid, insisting ambitious young players "need to play regularly" to further their development.

Odegaard impressed last season during a loan spell at LaLiga rivals Real Sociedad, yet he has struggled for minutes this term having returned to Madrid.

The Norway international has started just five games in all competitions and clocked up a mere 233 league minutes, leading to reports in Spain that he wants to leave in the January transfer window.

Ceballos himself is spending a second season on loan at Arsenal, a decision taken to make sure he had a greater opportunity for first-team action.

"I don't know exactly what happens with Martin, but it is obvious that any player who wants to succeed at Madrid is going to grab the opportunity he has," Ceballos said in an interview with Efe.

"I don't know what Martin thinks, but I know I think that when you're young and you have goals and objectives, what you need is to play regularly.

"If you don't, it's like something is missing. I guess that's what's happening to Martin."

Odegaard has failed to score or assist in his nine appearances for Madrid this season, having contributed seven goals and nine assists in 2019-20 while away on loan.

The 22-year-old has been linked with a return to Sociedad, potentially in a loan deal that includes an option to buy.

Ceballos, meanwhile, has not given up hope of forcing his way in at Madrid, though will need assurances over his future role if he is to remain in the Spanish capital next season.

"They don't have to tell me anything," the midfielder - who has won 11 caps for Spain - said of his own future. 

"It would be to have a talk with the coach and the coaching staff that is in at that moment and know that I will have equal opportunities with him.

"From there, you have to earn it on the field."

Ceballos has played in 24 games for Arsenal this term under Mikel Arteta, his most recent start coming in the 0-0 home draw with Crystal Palace on January 14.

Nacho Fernandez was ruled out of Real Madrid's Copa del Rey game at Alcoyano due to COVID-19 protocols.

Madrid defender Nacho was deemed a close contact of someone who tested positive for coronavirus and was subsequently cut from Zinedine Zidane's 20-man group for the game in Alicante.

The 31-year-old has reportedly tested negative himself but was unable to travel as he awaited the result of a second PCR test.

With Raphael Varane rested and Sergio Ramos absent due to injury, Eder Militao and Victor Chust of Castilla are the only centre-backs left in Zidane's squad.

Madrid did not clarify when Nacho will be able to return to action.

Following their clash with Alcoyano, LaLiga's champions are scheduled to face Deportivo Alaves and Levante in the next 10 days.

Could Harry Kane land in Paris?

With Kylian Mbappe tipped to join Real Madrid, Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly eyeing replacements.

Mauricio Pochettino has a familiar face in mind…

 

TOP STORY – POCH WANTS KANE IF MBAPPE LEAVES

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino wants to sign Tottenham striker Harry Kane, according to El Chiringuito de Jugones.

That is if PSG star Kylian Mbappe leaves the Ligue 1 champions for LaLiga holders Real Madrid.

Pochettino coached Kane for five years at Tottenham before he was sacked by Spurs in November 2019.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sky Sport Germany claims Bayern Munich star David Alaba will not decide on his future until he has spoken to Barcelona. Marca reported that Madrid had struck a deal to sign Alaba on a free transfer at the end of the season. However, Alaba is reportedly holding out for Barca as the likes of Liverpool, Manchester United and PSG try to lure the Austria international.

Martin Odegaard has asked to leave Madrid on loan due to his lack of game time, reports Marca and Diario AS.

Romelu Lukaku has no intention of leaving Inter for City, says Express Sport. Lukaku spent two years at United before moving to Italy in 2019. Pep Guardiola's City have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland amid doubts over Sergio Aguero's future.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Manchester City defender Eric Garcia could join Barca this month or at the end of the season.

Milan are eyeing Barca's Junior Firpo on loan, while Serie A rivals Napoli are also interested, according to Calciomercato.

- Eurosport reports Tottenham are looking to prise Danny Ings away from Southampton. Ings is reportedly stalling on a new contract as he eyes a Champions League club.

Eintracht Frankfurt head coach Adi Hutter hailed the "greatness" of Luka Jovic following his stunning start to life back in the Bundesliga.

Jovic scored two goals in his return for Eintracht last week after re-joining the German club on loan until the end of the season, having endured a difficult period at LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

The Serbia international only scored twice in 32 appearances under Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane in the Spanish capital, where he arrived for €60million in 2019.

But Jovic came off the bench and scored twice in 28 minutes as Eintracht defeated Schalke 3-1 in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Jovic matched his Madrid tally in the stunning cameo for Eintracht, where the 23-year-old netted 27 goals in 2018-19 before making the move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

Previewing Wednesday's showdown with Freiburg, Hutter discussed Jovic and his partnership with Eintracht star Andre Silva.

"Strikers are always a bit egotistical, but when it is about the team or Eintracht Frankfurt, everyone puts their ego aside," Hutter told reporters.

"Luka [Jovic] does that sovereignly. When you bring back someone who had his best time here and scored 27 goals in a year, then gets loaned out and scores two goals in 32 games, and then comes back and scores two goals in about 25 minutes, it's logical that the attention is more on that than on Andre Silva's 12th goal of the season.

"But when you hear Luka's statements that it is an honour for him to play in a team with Andre, it shows the greatness and character of Luka and it shows the respect he has for Andre Silva. I have spoken to Andre before and he said that competition is very important for him and that quality in the team is important. That doesn't bother him at all.

"I also can't imagine that Andre Silva, who has previously played for Milan and Sevilla, can't handle competition. I think he has also seen that Luka is another striker with whom he can harmonise.

"As always, I'm keeping a low profile. He [Luka Jovic] has shown in this short season that he is an absolute world-class striker with a high calibre. We'll leave it open as to whether he'll play from the start [against Freiburg]."

Silva's goal to open the scoring against Schalke was his 12th of the season, taking him level with Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland – only Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski (21) has more in 2020-21.

Eintracht – eighth in the standings – are the only team to win all three of their Bundesliga games in 2021 and have now won four on the bounce in the league for the first time since early 2019.

Hansi Flick insists he has heard nothing from David Alaba about a transfer to Real Madrid amid reports the defender has agreed to join the LaLiga champions.

Alaba will be out of contract at Bayern at the end of the season and Spanish sports newspaper Marca claimed on Monday that agreement on a four-year deal at the Santiago Bernabeu had been reached.

However, Alaba's father and advisor denied that is the case while Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane refused to discuss the issue in his media conference on Tuesday.

Despite the reports, Flick appears to still be hopeful Alaba could remain with Bayern, though he accepts matters appear to be trending in a different direction.

Bayern head coach Flick told a news conference ahead of Wednesday's clash with Augsburg: "Those are things that are always possible when there is a transfer window and contracts are expiring.

"At the moment I have to admit that I have not heard anything from him regarding this topic. Hope dies last.

"However, I know that things are moving towards a direction which means change for the team.

"David Alaba showed a good performance against Freiburg and it is important for him to stay focused. That is how I experience him, as does the whole team.

"We have to continue. We know things like this are possible in football and that there are always changes at the end of a season.

"Change also has the potential to develop the team. We'll have to wait and see what happens. There's nothing more we can do at the moment."

Flick indicated that if Alaba does depart at the end of the season, Bayern will move quickly to find a replacement for the Austria international.

"Obviously, David Alaba is a player who is not only valuable for the team on the pitch, but also in the locker room and elsewhere," Flick added.

"But these kind of things [transfers] happen. Where the road takes him, we don't know. We have to wait and see what happens. I'm not having any thoughts around that at the moment.

"It is clear though that if a player of his calibre leaves the club, the club has to react and get another player. The future will tell what happens.

"Currently, this is not a topic for me because we will have this squad until the end of the season, so the focus is on this team and all the players we have available.

"What happens after that is a new chapter for the club and the team, and one has to make the best of it then."

Martin Odegaard has been left out of the Real Madrid squad to face Alcoyano in the Copa del Rey, while Luka Modric and Raphael Varane are rested and Sergio Ramos misses out through injury.

Norway international Odegaard has featured just twice for Madrid in all competitions since the start of December, and Wednesday's clash with third-tier Alcoyano appeared to represent a chance for him to receive some rare minutes.

However, the 22-year-old was not included on the 20-man list for the match at El Collao.

Varane and Modric, who have missed just one game each this season, were granted a rest by Zidane, with Castilla duo Victor Chust and Antonio Blanco called up instead.

Ramos played through discomfort experienced in the warm-up during the Supercopa de Espana defeat to Athletic Bilbao last week and did not train with his team-mates on Tuesday.

Rodrygo and Dani Carvajal are also unavailable due to injury.

Zinedine Zidane has responded to reports linking Real Madrid with moves for Bayern Munich's David Alaba and Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain.

Alaba will be out of contract at Bayern at the end of the season and on Monday Spanish sports newspaper Marca claimed an agreement on a four-year deal at the Santiago Bernabeu had been reached.

The versatile defender's father, who also acts as an advisor, has since denied anything has been signed with LaLiga champions Madrid.

Asked about the rumours on Tuesday during a news conference to preview a Copa del Rey clash with Alcoyano, Zidane was unwilling to get into specifics.

"I understand you want to ask this question on a player that isn't part of our club, but I'm here to focus on Wednesday's game," he said.

"I understand there are topics worth discussing but I'm not going to comment now on outside events. My staff and I are focusing on the game."

The Madrid boss offered a similar response when asked if he would like to have Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe at the club.

He said: "I'm sorry, I already said the same with Alaba. I'm sorry. We're focused on tomorrow's game."

France international Mbappe will be out of contract at PSG at the end of next season and has never hidden his admiration of his fellow World Cup winner and compatriot Zidane.

Asked if the best players in the world ultimate choose where they want to play, Zidane responded: "In the end, yes. But everyone has a contract and it's not good to get involved in the things of players who are not yours."

Since his debut for PSG on August 4, 2017, Mbappe has had a hand in 101 goals in Ligue 1 (76 scored and 25 assisted).

Across the top five European Leagues, only Mohamed Salah (117 – 86 and 31), Ciro Immobile (118 – 92 and 26), Robert Lewandowski (124 – 106 and 18) and Lionel Messi (154 – 106 and 48) have had a hand in more during the same time frame.

He has averaged two key passes per 90 minutes, fewer only than Messi (2.7) and Neymar (3.0) among players to have scored at least 50 goals.

Tottenham will have an easy decision to send Gareth Bale back to Real Madrid at the end of the season unless the forward improves, according to Dimitar Berbatov.

Bale returned to Spurs on a season-long loan deal in September amid huge fanfare, but he has failed to live up to the hype thus far.

The 31-year-old has only made one Premier League start and is yet to play a full 90 minutes in any competition amid issues with injuries, fitness and form.

After reports suggested Spurs had already decided not to extend his loan for a second season, manager Jose Mourinho insisted last week there has not been "one second of discussion" over the issue.

But former Spurs star Berbatov believes the outcome is clear unless the Wales international embarks on a rapid turnaround in the second half of the season. 

Berbatov told Stats Perform News: "I was expecting a lot of him coming to Spurs, to shake things up and for him, Son and Kane to make it a trio up front that can rival the Liverpool attacking trio, for example.

"For the moment it is 100 per cent not working.

"There are still games until the end of the season, enough for him to show what he can do, in the [EFL Cup] final they play as well.

"So hopefully he can get back to 100 per cent and start playing. If not, in the end it is an easy decision – he can go back to Madrid."

Bale was an unused substitute in the 3-1 win at Sheffield United on Sunday.

Berbatov added: "In a way, it is disappointing that he is not being given more time to play. 

"But if you are not given more time to play, there are two reasons for that. Either are you injured and not in good shape to play or you are not performing well in training.

"Whatever the reason [for his lack of games] Gareth Bale is injury free now is because he's on the bench for the team.

"But he's not playing from the from the first minute so it means that obviously he's not producing the right level of football Jose Mourinho wants from him, which is a shame because I like him a lot."

With the EFL Cup final against Manchester City coming up in April, Berbatov feels Bale – along with Mourinho and captain Hugo Lloris – can play a huge role. 

Spurs were unable to win a trophy despite five and a half otherwise productive years under Mauricio Pochettino.

Berbatov – who won the League Cup with Spurs in 2008 – underlined the importance of lifting silverware.

"Jose Mourinho has led them to the final but let's not celebrate now because you need to make one more step," said Berbatov.

"I remember the game before we qualified for the final. We played against Arsenal and we beat them 5-1, everybody was celebrating like we won the final. And I'm like, 'People we are not there yet'. 

"We need to wait, we have one more step to make and then we can celebrate."

Berbatov continued: "The person who brought them there is Jose Mourinho. I think this is the reason they brought him into the club – to win trophies.

"It doesn't matter how [they get there] – the Premier League title, the cup, something – they need one so they can get that winning mentality going. 

"Although they have a world champion in their team, the goalkeeper, he should know how things are won – especially [having lifted] the World Cup. 

"So him, Jose Mourinho, Gareth Bale – who is coming from winning mentality – will run with it. Those three are very important, they can teach them in a way how to win things and then get that winning feeling.

"And after get that feeling, trust me, you don't want to let it go."

Bayern Munich defender David Alaba has not signed any agreement with Real Madrid, according to his father and advisor.

Spanish publication Marca, which is known for its links to Madrid, claimed on Monday that a deal had been agreed between the club and player for a move at the end of the season.

Alaba's contract expires in June and is therefore free to discuss terms with other clubs, Bayern having seemingly exhausted all chances of a renewal.

The Austria international's future has been a source of speculation for much of the last year, but Bayern insisted throughout that they would not be held to ransom and a departure now looks the likeliest option.

But Alaba's father, who also acts as an advisor, has given hope to other interested parties, adamant nothing has been signed with the defending Spanish champions.

"A decision has not yet been made, and David has not yet signed with Madrid," George Alaba told Sport1.

"Besides Madrid, there are other clubs that are interested in him. What matters for him is still that he wants to concentrate fully on Bayern and his achievements."

Alaba has been at Bayern since joining from Austria Vienna in 2008 and gone on to establish himself as a club great in the modern era.

His 264 Bundesliga appearances for Bayern see him rank 18th in the club's all-time list, though he would expect to climb past a few more by the end of the season.

Remarkably, 200 of those 264 games have been victories, which is the 12th highest of all players to have represented Bayern in the Bundesliga.

Alaba has won every trophy possible during his time at Bayern, including nine Bundesliga titles and two Champions League crowns, the latest of which was claimed last year.

In the past couple of years he has been successfully remoulded as a centre-back and looks set to be a shrewd free signing for whichever club manages to prise him away from Bayern. 

While Madrid appear well-positioned, Barcelona, Liverpool and Manchester United have also been linked as suitors.

Real Madrid have reportedly agreed a deal with Bayern Munich defender David Alaba.

With his contract expiring at the end of the season, Alaba, 28, has been linked with Europe's biggest clubs.

And the Austria international looks set for the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – ALABA AGREES FOUR-YEAR DEAL WITH MADRID

Alaba has agreed a four-year deal with Real Madrid, according to Marca.

The Bayern defender will make the move to the LaLiga giants ahead of 2021-22, the report says.

Alaba was also linked to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Real Madrid and the news is not so good when it comes to Lucas Vazquez. AS reports the midfielder has rejected the club's first contract offer, with his current deal expiring at the end of the season.

- Dele Alli is wanted by Paris Saint-Germain. The Sun reports the Tottenham midfielder is confident of getting a loan move to the Ligue 1 giants in January.

- Jesse Lingard's future at Manchester United is uncertain. ESPN reports the midfielder wants regular game time but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is eager to keep him at the Premier League club. Lingard has made just three appearances in all competitions this season.

- After leaving the club in 2017, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar looks set to return to Schalke. SPORT1 reports the Ajax striker has undergone a medical ahead of a return to Schalke, who are bidding to avoid relegation from the Bundesliga.

Real Madrid star Sergio Ramos' future appears no closer to being sorted.

Ramos, 34, is out of contract at the end of the season and reportedly turned down a one-year deal from Madrid.

And the Spain international's future remains uncertain.

 

TOP STORY – RAMOS, REAL MADRID NEGOTIATIONS AT A STANDSTILL

Negotiations between Real Madrid and Sergio Ramos are at a standstill, according to Le 10 Sport.

Amid the uncertainty over his future, Ramos has been linked with numerous European giants.

But Telefoot reported there had been no contact between Ramos and Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Starting to find form again for Borussia Dortmund, Jadon Sancho is set to be the subject of transfer speculation ahead of 2021-22. But Sky Sports reports talks about a move for the reported Manchester United target are unlikely in January, with an off-season switch possible.

- PSG seem keen to land Dele Alli in January. Fabrizio Romano claims the midfielder is pushing to join the Ligue 1 giants on loan and Mauricio Pochettino's PSG will not give up on a deal.

- Milan appear set to add depth to their squad. The Serie A leaders have agreed a deal with former Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic, according to CalcioMercato.

- Staying at Milan and they are also reportedly set to land Fikayo Tomori from Chelsea. Romano says Tomori is set to join on loan with an option to buy for €30million (£26.7m).

Luka Jovic revelled in his two-goal return for Eintracht Frankfurt after struggling at LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

Jovic re-joined Eintracht on loan until the end of the season, having endured a difficult start to his Madrid career – the Serbia international only scored twice in 32 appearances under Zinedine Zidane in the Spanish capital, where he arrived for €60million in 2019.

But a return to Frankfurt appears to be the perfect tonic for Jovic, who came off the bench and scored twice in 28 minutes as Eintracht defeated Schalke 3-1 in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Jovic matched his Madrid tally in the stunning cameo for Eintracht, where the 23-year-old netted 27 goals in 2018-19 before making the move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Amazing feeling! Victory, two goals. Couldn't have imagined a better comeback," Jovic wrote via Instagram post-match.

"I hope this is only the beginning and that the best is yet to come. Thank you all for your support.

"I want to dedicate my first goal to a great professional, an amazing leader, a true friend, a great man that I've been honoured to share the field with, our captain @davidabraham1986 [who retired].

"The second goal I dedicate to a great Eintracht fan that has recently passed away and left his loving wife and three kids. Rest In Peace."

Jovic played a key role in Eintracht's remarkable 2018-19 campaign as the German club reached the Europa League semi-finals, after initially being shipped to Deutsche Bank Park in 2017 on a two-year loan deal from Portuguese powerhouse Benfica.

After scoring nine goals in his first season with Eintracht as the team celebrated DFB-Pokal glory, the Bundesliga club's sporting director Fredi Bobic eventually triggered a purchase option reportedly worth €6m in 2019 to sign Jovic before making a significant profit on that investment.

Eintracht head coach Adi Hutter added: "It was incredibly important for Luka to return to where he had his best period and feels happy. You can tell that's been the case from day one.

"For him to score two such lovely goals speaks volumes about his quality. That sort of thing isn't always easy to explain."

It was as if he had never been away.

Luka Jovic has endured a dismal start to his Real Madrid career but was quickly back among the goals at Eintracht Frankfurt.

Having failed to impress in a season and a half in LaLiga following a €60million transfer from Eintracht to Madrid, Jovic headed back to Frankfurt on loan this week.

And a second debut swiftly followed, with Jovic called from the bench after 62 minutes at home to Schalke.

The game was all square at 1-1 at the time, with Andre Silva's first-half opener immediately cancelled out by Matthew Hoppe, the teenager whose hat-trick last week had secured Schalke's first win in 31 Bundesliga matches.

There was to be no second straight success for the strugglers, however, as Jovic required only 10 minutes to restore Eintracht's lead, hammering Filip Kostic's cutback into the roof of the net.

The loanee then made the points safe in stoppage time as he moved inside past Ozak Kabak to again finish right-footed and clinch a 3-1 win.

"You can tell that the air here is good for him," sporting director Fredi Bobic told Sky Sport afterwards. "The goals were top class, the whole process. That is a great art.

"I always get annoyed that I always have to sell the best players. Now he's back for a short time. That's what I'm most happy about."

With just two LaLiga goals to his name, the brace meant Jovic had netted as many times in 28 minutes back in the Bundesliga as in 32 matches for Madrid in all competitions.

The strikes came from Jovic's only two shots on Sunday, while he also completed 17 of his 18 passes in a lively display.

Will a Juventus-Paul Pogba reunion become a reality?

The future of Manchester United star continues to dominate headlines.

A move back to Turin could be on the cards for Pogba.

 

TOP STORY – JUVE TO MAKE POGBA OFFER

Serie A champions Juventus will try to prise Paul Pogba from Manchester United at the end of the season, according to the Calciomercato.

Pogba appears set to leave United following the 2020-21 campaign after his agent Mino Raiola claimed the French midfielder was unhappy in Manchester.

Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain have been linked but Juve, who signed Pogba from United in 2012 before losing him to the Red Devils four years later, want to bring the World Cup winner back to Turin.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Telegraph reports Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola will be given £200million to spend on new players in the next transfer window. Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland and Inter forward Romelu Lukaku are on the list of potential targets, as well as Benfica's Darwin Nunez amid doubts over Sergio Aguero 's future. Haaland has also been linked with neighbours United , Madrid , Barca , Liverpool and Juve .

Bayern Munich are interested in Madrid defender Eder Militao , claims Mundo Deportivo. It comes as Bayern look to replace David Alaba , who is set to leave the Bundesliga champions on a free transfer. Alaba has been tipped to join Madrid .

Milan  are close to re-signing star pair Gianluigi Donnarumma and Hakan Calhanoglu , says Tuttosport. Corriere dello Sport reports Milan are also nearing a deal to sign veteran forward Mario Mandzukic .

- The Athletic claims Mesut Ozil is poised to leave Arsenal for Turkish giants Fenerbahce after reaching an agreement in principle to terminate his Gunners contract.

- The Transfer Window Podcast claims Madrid are considering the possibility of using Eden Hazard in a deal to lure Kylian Mbappe from PSG.

Memphis Depay has been strongly tipped to move to Barca , however, Ok Diario reports the Lyon captain could join Madrid following Luka Jovic's loan return to Eintracht Frankfurt.

Manchester United and Chelsea are set to do battle for the signing of West Ham star Declan Rice.

Rice, 22, is being touted for a move in the close season, with Chelsea having reportedly led the race for the midfielder's signature.

But United could be ready to fight for the England international.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD TO CHALLENGE CHELSEA FOR RICE

Manchester United are prepared to challenge Chelsea to sign Rice ahead of 2021-22, according to ESPN.

The report says United are eyeing a forward, centre-back and defensive midfielder as priorities at the end of the season.

Rice is contracted at West Ham, where he arrived as a youth player from Chelsea in 2014, until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

- Eric Garcia looks set to finish the season with Manchester City. Marca reports Barcelona cannot afford a transfer fee for the defender and the delay of the LaLiga club's presidential elections, now scheduled for March 7, mean Garcia will have to wait for a move.

- Also at Barcelona and backup goalkeeper Neto has asked for a January move, according to Sport. It comes as he struggles for game time behind Marc-Andre ter Stegen and amid links to Arsenal.

- Eder Militao is facing an uncertain future at Real Madrid. Goal reports Bayern Munich have joined the list of clubs who have asked about the defender, with Juventus, Tottenham and Borussia Dortmund also reportedly interested in Militao, who has played just three times this season.

- Milan want Chelsea's Fikayo Tomori. The Daily Mail reports the Serie A leaders have discussed a loan with the option to make the move permanent for €30.4million (£27m) at season's end.

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