Xabi Alonso has the qualities required to succeed as a head coach in the modern game and could be a future possibility for Bayern Munich, says CEO Karl-Heinz Rummenigge.

Spain World Cup winner Alonso spent three seasons at Allianz Arena between 2014 and 2017 before the cultured midfielder called time on his distinguished playing career.

Alonso won three Bundesliga titles, a DFB-Pokal and the DFL-Supercup during his time at Bayern and is now in charge of the B team at Real Sociedad, the club with whom he rose through the youth ranks and started in the professional game.

Rummenigge remains in contact with Alonso and foresees a time when the Spaniard is back at Bayern, this time in the dugout.

"He will be a coach who may be of interest to FC Bayern at some point in the future. I can imagine that," Rummenigge told the BILD podcast 'Phrasenmaher'.

"We are still friends today, he reports regularly.

"Xabi Alonso has this empathy that you need. Especially with today's generation of players to spin such a common thread with them."

Rummenigge hopes such a scenario does not occur too soon, though, given the success enjoyed under Hansi Flick.

Former Germany assistant Flick led Bayern to a Bundesliga, Pokal and Champions League treble last term and Rummenigge is confident of a long association between club and coach.

"I hope he stays [a] long, long, long [time]. This is a coach who for the first time I trust will stay long," he added.

"Three to five years, that would be an extraordinary period."

Among the other topics discussed were who Rummenigge felt were the most important transfers of his tenure in the boardroom.

Unsurprisingly, Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and superstar striker Robert Lewandowski were highlighted as such transfers.

"Manuel Neuer and Robert Lewandowski were the most important transfers," he said.

Leeds United have completed the signing of Diego Llorente from Real Sociedad for a reported £18.7million (€20m).

Sociedad announced on Tuesday that an agreement had been reached between the clubs and two days later Leeds confirmed Llorente had passed his medical and signed a four-year contract.

The 27-year-old is looking forward to working under Marcelo Bielsa and says he is ready to play against Sheffield United at Bramall Lane on Sunday if required.

He told a news conference: "For me, this step is very important. I think that I am doing the right thing. I hope to help my team-mates and to improve my football.

"I want to learn a lot off the coach. I think we can have a great season and I will give my best.

"The coach has been an important factor to be here. I think I can learn a lot from him and improve my football, so it's an honour for me to train and learn from Marcelo.

"It was a difficult few days for me with a lot of change in a short time, but I am always ready to help the team. I'm always ready to help the coach if he wants me to play right now."

The former Real Madrid centre-back joined Sociedad in 2017 following successful loan spells at Rayo Vallecano and Malaga in LaLiga.

Spain international Llorente will likely have to compete with captain Liam Cooper and new signing Robin Koch for a starting place in the centre of defence.

Leeds have three points from their opening two Premier League games, having bounced back from losing 4-3 at Liverpool to defeat Fulham by the same scoreline.

Real Madrid have announced that no players or staff members have tested positive for coronavirus.

News emerged on Tuesday that midfielder Martin Odegaard had reportedly returned a positive test after Madrid's goalless draw with Real Sociedad.

The 21-year-old took part in training on Tuesday and was also in close contact with Sociedad's players at the weekend.

However, Madrid released a statement on their official website on Wednesday to announce no members of their squad have contracted COVID-19.

"Real Madrid communicates after the latest COVID-19 tests carried out on our first football team and their coaching staff, all the results have been negative," the statement read.

Madrid return to action on Saturday with a trip to Real Betis, who have won their opening two games to occupy second place in the division.

Leeds United moved a step closer to the signing of Diego Llorente after Real Sociedad announced the teams have reached an agreement in principle.

The move is subject to Llorente passing a medical at Leeds in a deal that reportedly could reach £18.7million (€20m).

The former Real Madrid centre-back joined Sociedad in 2017 following successful loan spells at Rayo Vallecano and Malaga in LaLiga.

A statement issued by his club read: "Real Sociedad would like to thank Diego for the professionalism and commitment shown during the three years that he has been here, at the same time wishing him the best for his personal and professional future."

Spain international Llorente will likely have to compete with captain Liam Cooper and new signing Robin Koch for a starting place in the centre of defence.

Leeds have three points from their opening two Premier League games, having bounced back from losing 4-3 at Liverpool to defeat Fulham by the same scoreline.

Zinedine Zidane insists he does not have any issue with Luka Jovic despite deciding not to turn to the striker in Real Madrid's goalless draw at Real Sociedad.

Jovic has struggled at the Santiago Bernabeu since his arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt last year, scoring just twice in LaLiga last season.

The 22-year-old has been linked with a transfer in recent months but was named in the champions' matchday squad for their league opener at Sociedad.

However, even as Madrid struggled to break down their stubborn hosts, Zidane did not look to Jovic, instead handing debuts to Marvin Park and Sergio Arribas.

Zidane explained: "I have many players. Today I have chosen like this.

"I have nothing against Jovic, nor against any player. I did not want to change the picture and that's why I changed the wingers."

One young player who is now getting his chance under Zidane is Martin Odegaard, who was recalled after a season on loan with Sociedad.

Odegaard made his full league debut for Madrid in an advanced midfield role and Zidane saw cause for optimism.

"I'm happy with his debut," Zidane said. "He has no knee discomfort, which is the important thing.

"It is the first game and we have only had three weeks [of pre-season]. Little by little we will improve with Odegaard.

"We have to be calm with everyone. We missed the goal, but we have to be calm."

It was also a big day for experienced centre-back Raphael Varane, with Madrid in competitive action for the first time since his dismal display at Manchester City saw them eliminated from the Champions League in early August.

"What happened in Manchester can happen," Zidane said. "We know the players we have, and all the defenders today have done very well.

"We have only conceded one shot on target. This is the work of all the players, who defend very well. Now we are going to think about doing things better in attack."

Thibaut Courtois is confident Real Madrid are not short of goals despite struggling to a goalless draw at Real Sociedad on Sunday.

LaLiga's reigning champions began the new campaign with a frustrating stalemate in which Courtois had to make a brilliant one-on-one stop from Alexander Isak to preserve a point.

That was the clearest opening of the match, although Karim Benzema miscued when he looked set to strike moments before Isak ran through at the other end.

Benzema was supported by Martin Odegaard in an advanced midfield role, but Madrid - still missing Eden Hazard and having moved on Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez - could not forge a breakthrough despite mustering 16 shots in total.

Courtois told Movistar: "Of course we've got goals. You see it in training, you see it in the last pre-season friendly we had against Getafe [a 6-0 win].

"But sometimes the ball just doesn't want to go in. I don't have any doubt there are plenty of goals in this team."

The goalkeeper was encouraged by his team-mates' work to subdue Sociedad, who had just 32 per cent of the possession and were restricted to six attempts.

"If we don't concede too many goals and we can order ourselves and be difficult to score against, we have at the other end of the pitch Karim Benzema, who always plays at a very high level and didn't have any luck tonight," Courtois said.

"It's always important for us to keep a clean sheet. That's the way it went after lockdown. It ended up that many of our games were without conceding."

Despite his failure to inspire victory, it was a big night for Odegaard, making his full league debut for Madrid against the side he played for on loan last season.

The 21-year-old had one blocked shot and contributed two key passes.

"It was a very special game for me. I was playing against friends, good people. Very special," Odegaard said. "I felt good, but obviously the victory was missing."

Stand-in Sociedad captain Mikel Oyarzabal said of his former team-mate: "Martin knows he's much loved here, but today we didn't want things to go too well for him.

"I'm sure he'll soon show his quality for Real Madrid."

Real Madrid's LaLiga title defence got off to an underwhelming start on Sunday as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Real Sociedad at the Reale Arena.

Zinedine Zidane's men were belatedly returning to domestic action after their unsuccessful Champions League exploits at the end of last season and had Martin Odegaard in their starting line-up.

The 21-year-old was recalled by Madrid after spending the 2019-20 campaign on loan at Sociedad, yet his former side gave as good as they got in terms of genuine chances.

Although veteran David Silva – signed to replace Odegaard - made his Sociedad debut from the bench after recovering from coronavirus, there was no breakthrough before the final whistle.

Madrid had their hosts under pressure from the outset but did not threaten to capitalise on their dominance until late in the first half.

Alex Remiro was scarcely troubled before the 38th minute, yet Karim Benzema's harrying prompted a rushed pass from the goalkeeper straight to Vinicius Junior, who quickly fed Madrid's number nine. Benzema rounded Remiro and looked certain to score but skewed an off-balance effort across the face of goal.

Remiro's opposite number Thibaut Courtois was far more impressive as Alexander Isak bore down on goal amid a rare Sociedad foray, his effort turned away by the toe of the former Chelsea man.

Courtois was beaten within two minutes of the restart, but Ander Barrenetxea's cushioned volley bounced agonisingly beyond the bottom-right corner.

Ferland Mendy was fortunate to escape a second booking for a rugged challenge on Portu, before Remiro made a meal of Dani Carvajal's 25-yard blast despite convincing stops to keep Benzema and Toni Kroos at bay.

A series of substitutions for the either side - including the arrival of Silva for the hosts and a Madrid debut for Marvin Park - could not prompt the opener.


What does it mean? Dropped Casemiro still key

Madrid are defending champions and have not completed a single signing, so it came as some surprise that Zidane made a big selection call, dropping Casemiro to the bench for the returning Odegaard.

Los Blancos won just one of the three league games Casemiro missed last season, while he was absent for their Copa del Rey exit to Sunday's opponents – a match in which Odegaard netted.

The incoming 21-year-old was key to Zidane's game plan. Odegaard's average position was almost in line with Benzema's as he led the press and contributed two key passes, but the result did not follow and Madrid turned to Casemiro 20 minutes from time.

Merino makes his mark

While it was a mixed night for Odegaard, Mikel Merino - his former midfield partner - shone for La Real. The silky Spain international proved he can do both sides of the game, making two tackles, four clearances, an interception and three blocks, as well as attempting more passes in the opposition half (32), having more touches (65) and competing in more duels (18) than any other team-mate.

Rodrygo the right man?

Madrid have moved on Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez in the transfer window, but the identity of their regular right winger appears no clearer. Rodrygo started in that role but struggled to make an impact, completing neither of his two crosses and a team-low 64 per cent of his overall passes, although he did draw four fouls.

What's next?

It does not get much easier for Madrid as they go to Real Betis on Saturday. The Seville side have six points from two games. Sociedad are at Elche on the same day.

Zinedine Zidane does not know when Eden Hazard will be fit to play for Real Madrid as the Belgium star's struggles in the Spanish capital continue.

Although Madrid successfully wrested control of LaLiga from Barcelona last season, it was a campaign of personal frustration for Hazard following his initial €100million switch from Chelsea.

He managed a solitary goal and struggled to regain top condition after undergoing surgery on a broken right foot.

Hazard signed off his season with a lacklustre showing in Madrid's Champions League last-16 loss to Manchester City.

The 29-year-old went on international duty during the recent break for Nations League matches against Denmark and Iceland but did not play a single minute and reports from Madrid suggested he returned to pre-season training overweight.

Before the start of his team's title defence at Real Sociedad on Sunday, Zidane confirmed Hazard would not feature in San Sebastian.

"I can't tell you when he'll be able to return, just that he's better," he said.

"The important thing is how the player feels. We have time to prepare for the season.

"The only thing he has to do is be at 100 per cent and we'll get to work."

One creative talent ready to play a part is Martin Odegaard, who is back in the Madrid ranks after impressing on loan at Real Sociedad last season – to the extent that Los Blancos opted to recall the 21-year-old Norway international instead of allowing him to spend another campaign at the Anoeta.

"He's our player and he can contribute to the team," Zidane said of Odegaard, who also spent time on loan with Heerenveen and Vitesse after joining Madrid as a 16-year-old in January 2015.

"Players that come to Real Madrid are the best. We have another player and he's a player that can be very important in this squad. I know I have the best players here.

"The important thing for the players is to be prepared and I think Martin, like the others, is prepared.

"Martin has changed because his trajectory has been phenomenal and he's improved each year. He's a more complete player now."

Real Sociedad's new signing David Silva has tested positive for COVID-19.

The 34-year-old, who joined the LaLiga side this month after leaving Manchester City, is asymptomatic and has already begun a period of self-isolation. 

News the midfielder has contracted coronavirus came just hours after he was presented to the media at Sociedad's Reale Arena on Monday.

The club tweeted: "Sociedad informs that @21LVA has tested positive for COVID-19 in the test carried out at Policlínica Gipuzkoa.

"The player is asymptomatic and is self-isolating."

Sociedad's LaLiga campaign kicks off with a trip to Real Valladolid on September 13.

David Silva says his sights are firmly set on winning silverware with Real Sociedad following his switch from Manchester City. 

The 34-year-old, who won four Premier League titles, the EFL Cup five times and the FA Cup twice during his time with City, agreed terms on a two-year deal with the Basque club earlier this month. 

Sociedad finished sixth in LaLiga in the 2019-20 campaign, though they won just two of their 11 fixtures following the restart.

Silva, though, has seen enough to suggest his new side could challenge Barcelona and Real Madrid for honours in the coming seasons 

"I'm really excited to get started here and meet my new team-mates and the club staff," he told a media conference.

"The team is playing some great football and I hope to add to that here and have some great years at the club.

"I have high expectations in terms of the football we'll be playing and I think we can compete for silverware.

"I'll be an important part of the team and in this case, because of my experience, I'll help the younger players as well.

"I've been lucky enough to win a lot of things in my career, I'm very competitive and I'm going to try and do the same here because that's why I've been brought in."

Silva, who has played for Valencia, Eibar and Celta Vigo in his home country, acknowledged Sociedad's place in next season's Europa League was a motivating factor in his decision to join the club.

"Of course, after so many years playing in Europe, you want to continue doing that," he explained.

"I also came because I like the style of football the team plays. I also came for the relaxed way of life here which I was already familiar with having lived in the Basque Country years ago."

Real Sociedad winger Mikel Oyarzabal has withdrawn from the Spain squad after testing positive for coronavirus.

The 23-year-old confirmed on Sunday that he will be required to isolate at home and will miss La Roja's upcoming Nations League matches.

Spain face Germany in Stuttgart on September 3 before hosting Ukraine three days later.

"I want to communicate that I've had a positive result from my last test," Oyarzabal, who has seven caps, said via his official Instagram page.

"I have to be at home for a few days and I won't be able to go to the national team."

It is not yet clear whether Luis Enrique will call up a replacement, with Rodrigo Moreno, Adama Traore, Marco Asensio, Ansu Fati and Ferran Torres his other attacking options in the squad.

Oyarzabal played in all but one of Sociedad's 38 LaLiga matches last season, scoring 10 goals and providing 11 assists, a tally bettered only by Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

Manchester City appear favourites to sign Lionel Messi, should he leave Barcelona.

Messi has sensationally handed in a transfer request at Camp Nou.

City are reportedly stepping up their chase as Pep Guardiola looks to reunite with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

TOP STORY – CITY PREPARE MEGA OFFER FOR MESSI

Manchester City are ready to offer £89million (€100m) plus Bernardo Silva, Gabriel Jesus and Eric Garcia for Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to Sport.

Messi wants to end his association with embattled LaLiga giants Barca amid links to City, Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

The Guardian also claims City are convinced they have a chance of signing the superstar captain.

ROUND-UP

- Goal says Barca forward Luis Suarez has been offered to Juventus as the Serie A champions consider a move. Suarez has reportedly been told he is not part of Ronald Koeman's plans.

Barca offered Antoine Griezmann to former club Atletico Madrid in exchange for Joao Felix, reports Marca.

- Gianluca Di Marzio says Milan have made a new bid to sign Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali. The Italy midfielder has been linked to Inter, though the Nerazzurri are yet to reach any agreement with Brescia as they eye Barca's Arturo Vidal.

Inter, meanwhile, have opened talks with Roma to sign veteran full-back Aleksandar Kolarov, according to Fabrizio Romano. Chelsea's Emerson Palmieri has also been targeted but Inter are refusing to meet their demands.

- The Mirror claims Tottenham are weighing up a move for Atletico striker Diego Costa. Jose Mourinho worked with Costa during the pair's time together at Chelsea. Sky Sport Italia also reports Spurs have had a request for Nicolo Zaniolo rejected by Roma.

City remain in talks to sign Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly, says Romano. Negotiations are taking place indirectly following the fallout from Jorginho's switch to Chelsea in 2018, having been set for City.

- Bayern Munich veteran Javi Martinez has turned down a move to Fiorentina as he is close to joining David Silva at Real Sociedad, says La Razon.

- Liverpool star Sadio Mane has been offered to Barca amid uncertainty over Messi's future, according to Tuttomercatoweb.

David Silva has been "left surprised" by Lazio sporting director Igli Tare's outburst after finalising a move to Real Sociedad, according to the midfielder's father Fernando Jimenez.

The 34-year-old looked certain to join Lazio on a free transfer following this week's exit from Manchester City, only to sign a two-year deal with LaLiga club Sociedad on Monday.

The move provoked an angry response from Tare on the club's official website, with media reports claiming a medical had been arranged with Lazio and a deal all but agreed. 

"I learn about David Silva's transfer to Real Sociedad. I have great respect for the player, but not for the man," Tare said on Tuesday.

However, Silva's father has insisted an agreement was never in place and has hit back at the Biancocelesti chief.

"There were conversations with Lazio, just like there were with Real Sociedad or other teams," he told Radio Marca. "There was nothing finalised. 

"David has been left surprised by their reaction. People can say what they like, but Lazio spoke with his agent and not with David. So, I don't understand [the personal attacks]."

Silva's 10-year stay at City ended with Saturday's surprise Champions League quarter-final defeat to Lyon.

The former Spain international has previously played for Valencia, Eibar and Celta Vigo in his home country.

Lazio sporting director Igli Tare has taken the extraordinary step of issuing a brief statement just to announce he has no respect for David Silva "the man" after he joined Real Sociedad instead of the Italians.

Silva, 34, officially left Manchester City on Monday after 10 years at the club, a period that marked him out as arguably their greatest player.

The playmaker had confirmed last year that he planned to depart in 2020 at the end of his contract, though there had generally been little speculation as to where he might end up next.

That was until the past few weeks, however, as Lazio looked certain to be Silva's new home, with media reports claiming everything was agreed and a medical had been scheduled.

But La Real caused something of a shock on Monday when, just a few hours after City announced plans to immortalise Silva with a statue, the Basque club confirmed the former Spain international was their new player.

The news was said to have infuriated and stunned Lazio, and Tare's decision to release a brief – albeit withering – statement seemed to confirm the club's position.

Accompanied by no other comment from the wider institution, Tare's analysis of the situation was posted to Lazio's website on Tuesday, the director saying: "I learn about David Silva's transfer to Real Sociedad. I have great respect for the player, but not for the man."

Silva signed a two-year deal with La Real, with whom he shall feature in LaLiga for the first time since leaving Valencia in 2010.

They will be Silva's second Basque club, having spent a season on loan at Eibar at the start of his career.

David Silva has moved back to LaLiga following his departure from Manchester City, signing for Real Sociedad on a free transfer.

With his 10-year stay at City coming to an end with the Champions League defeat to Lyon on Saturday, Silva appeared set to join Serie A side Lazio.

However, it is Sociedad who have secured his signature, with Silva - who left Valencia in 2010 to continue his career in England - opting to return to his homeland. 

The 34-year-old, who won four Premier League titles, the EFL Cup fives times and the FA Cup twice during his time with City, has agreed terms on a two-year deal with the Basque club. 

Sociedad, who have handed Silva the number 21 shirt, finished sixth in LaLiga in the 2019-20 campaign, though they won just two of their 11 fixtures following the restart.

They progressed to the Copa del Rey final in March, though the match has been indefinitely suspended at the request of both Sociedad and their Basque rivals Athletic Bilbao, neither club wishing to play until it is safe for fans to attend following the coronavirus pandemic. 

On Monday, City revealed they have commissioned a statue of Silva which will eventually be located at the Etihad Stadium.

Silva will also have a bespoke mosaic dedicated to him at the City Football Academy, reflecting his contribution to the 6-1 defeat of Manchester United in 2011.

In a post on his official Twitter account, he wrote: "The time has arrived. Ten years and 13 titles later, it's time for me to say goodbye to the club that has left an incredible mark on my life and career.

"City and I have grown together. In 10 years, I have developed personally and professionally. I have celebrated many victories and titles and lived through epic moments.

"It has been a real pleasure wearing the sky blue shirt and the captain's armband of our club, sharing the dressing room with the best players and coaches in the world, and working closely with the finest club representatives and board members the game has to offer.

"I hope that City will achieve even bigger triumphs in the future. I am going to support the team from a distance. I am so happy to have shared these unforgettable moments with the City family."

Silva made 27 Premier League appearances in 2019-20, scoring six goals and providing 10 assists.

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