Spain boss Luis Enrique revealed Andres Iniesta was the closest talent to Lionel Messi he has coached.

A record six-time Ballon d'Or winner, Messi is widely regarded as one of the best players of all-time.

Luis Enrique coached Messi and Iniesta at Barcelona, where he was at the helm from 2014-17.

In a Q&A on the Spain national team's Facebook page, Luis Enrique talked up both Iniesta, now playing for Vissel Kobe, and Messi.

"The player that impressed me most in my career, I don't know if you mean being myself as a player or as a coach or both, without doubt is Leo Messi," he said.

"Afterwards, I can say that Andres Iniesta is close to something similar to Leo Messi.

"But Messi is hugely different in respect to the others."

As elite football around the world is placed on hold due to the coronavirus outbreak, FIFA has stepped up to try and fill the void by delving into its World Cup archive.

Using its official YouTube channel, a number of famous World Cup encounters will be replayed in full for the enjoyment of the football-starved faithful.

Saturday's offering was the unforgettable group stage encounter between Spain and Netherlands at Brazil 2014, where the reigning world and European champions were obliterated 5-1 as Robin van Persie and Arjen Robben turned on the style.

We decided to take a trip down memory lane and watch along.

REPEAT OR REVENGE?

Netherlands were granted a swift World Cup reunion with Spain, opening their 2014 campaign against the nation who inflicted extra-time heartache upon them in the 2010 final.

Andres Iniesta's winning goal in Johannesburg stood as the high-watermark of a glorious era – that ultimate triumph flanked by successes at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012.

Vicente del Bosque's team entered Salvador's Fonte Nova Arena having made a strong case for being the greatest international team in history, with few giving Netherlands – under a Manchester United-bound Louis van Gaal much of a chance.

SPAIN'S ILLUSION OF CONTROL

When the reputations of historically significant teams and players are so entrenched, the mind can play tricks.

A sketchy recollection of this match suggested Spain being ahead, in control and toying with their prey until Van Persie's astonishing goal for the ages. Sure, Iniesta, David Silva, Xavi and the rest certainly had their moments, but in hindsight some of the writing was on the wall.

Van Gaal strung his men out in a 3-4-3, with the defensive and midfield blocks operating conservatively but far enough away from goal to prevent Spain's assortment of magicians from entering those pockets of space in the final third where they can do so much damage.

The Dutch also sought to stretch the pitch against a team craving command of central areas. It was a ploy that paid off and also pointed the way for how Antonio Conte's Italy would end Spain's European reign in Paris two years later.

Robben was frustrated by the offside flag a couple of times in the first half but was clearly intent on damaging a Spain backline that could not match him for pace, while Wesley Sneijder drew an excellent early save from Iker Casillas.

Still, Xabi Alonso put Spain ahead from the penalty spot and Jasper Cillessen just managed to keep out a Silva chip – on the end of an Iniesta throughball you'd ideally woo, take to dinner and settle down with  - proved the game's sliding doors moment.

OHHHH, ROBIN VAN PERSIE

If, in that metaphor, Cillessen kept the sliding doors open, Van Persie launched a gleeful swallow dive through them moments later to sensationally equalise.

The Netherlands' leveller is still a goal that looks a little disorientating. Daley Blind's assist came from barely inside the Spain half on the left flank.

The pass was raking but overhit, not that it dissuaded the hero of the hour. Van Persie, back arched, propelled himself towards the ball and somehow managed a stunned contact. Instead of flying 20 rows back into the stand, the ball gently arced over a helpless Casillas.

From that moment and throughout the Oranje's run to the semi-finals, the imaginations of Manchester United fans were collectively fired. Van Gaal and Van Persie together week in, week out. Oh my, the possibilities…

As it happened, Van Persie had signed for Fenerbahce 13 months later as Van Gaal stoically withstood Old Trafford's pleas to "Attack! Attack! Attack!".

ARJEN BEING SERIOUS?

It truly is hard to square the torpor of Van Gaal's United reign with this visceral dismantling of a beleaguered Spain.

If the first half belonged to Van Persie for his moment of ingenuity, the second was all about Robben's high-octane masterclass.

There were shades of Dennis Bergkamp when he took down a more measured Blind pass with the outside of his left boot, checked inside Gerard Pique with his right and slammed past Casillas to give the Netherlands the lead.

With number five, the Bayern Munich winger brought the house down. Sneijder steered a pass from deep in Dutch territory into his direction and it was a case of run Robben, run as the crowd roared, baying for more blood.

After charging beyond the Spain defence, Robben sat Casillas down and then delayed his shot – seemingly for the satisfaction of making the goalkeeping great scramble around on the floor a little more.

Recalling Robben at the peak of his powers is a reminder of how he is one of a small group of players who must sometimes rue existing at the same time as Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. At his best he was one of the very, very best.

LOCALS GUFFAW AT COSTA STRUGGLES

Glorious as Spain's whirring, frictionless football was to behold at times, they were a side who sometimes lacked cutting edge. Fernando Torres' powers had waned and they started all of the knockout games at Euro 2012 without a recognised striker.

Diego Costa's muscular forward play inspired Atletico Madrid to a phenomenal 2013-14 LaLiga success and his decision to switch allegiance to Spain from his native Brazil appeared to solve something approaching a problem.

Not that the locals saw it this way, as Costa's every contribution against the Netherlands received howling boos, including his easy tumble over Stefan de Vrij to win the penalty Alonso dispatched.

That was as good as it got for a man still struggling for fitness after limping out of Atleti's Champions League final loss to Real Madrid. One early attempt to capitalise on a Silva pass had an air of Frankenstein's monster.

For those playing retrospective Diego Costa Bingo, he was fortunate the officials missed an attempted headbutt on Bruno Martins Indi before making way to mass mirth. A stop-start international career that stands at 24 appearances and 10 goals has never fully shaken this humiliation.

EVERYONE REMEMBERS THE SPANISH CAPITULATION

No dynasty, even one built upon majestic deeds, can survive an ordeal such as that wrought by Robben, Van Persie and the rest.

Casillas found himself caught out under the ball when De Vrij bundled in Sneijder's free-kick for the Dutch's third and another error presented Van Persie, who also rattled the crossbar, with his second.

A personal recovery from Spain's all-time record appearance-maker prevented further punishments, with a stupendous double save thwarting substitute Georginio Wijnaldum and Robben on the volley as the game ended in waves of Dutch attacks and oles from their supporters.

Del Bosque's man staggered punch into another evisceration at the hands of Marcelo Bielsa's Chile and their World Cup defence was over in two matches.

Alonso, Xavi and David Villa all bade farewell to international football after the tournament. The latter briefly returned, while Spain have shed Casillas, Pique, Silva, Iniesta and other members of their golden generation since.

Limp exits at Euro 2016 and the 2018 World Cup suggest scars of Salvador are yet to leave their collective consciousness.

Sergio Reguilon left his Real Madrid future in doubt by indicating that he may seek to extend his loan at Sevilla, saying he feels "very loved" at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan.

The 23-year-old left-back joined Julen Lopetegui's side in July 2019 on loan to the end of the season but Sevilla do not have the option to purchase Reguilon as part of the deal.

After enjoying an impressive run of form shortly before LaLiga was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic, Reguilon said he is happy in Andalusia.

"I have no complaints about anything, about the city, the club, my colleagues," the Spain international told Muchodeporte.

"I feel very loved. Who knows what will happen in the future."

Reguilon made 14 LaLiga appearances for Madrid in 2018-19, providing cover for Marcelo when Los Blancos' regular left-back was injured.

He has found first-team football easier to come by at Sevilla, making 22 league appearances and scoring once, and he said he hopes to help Lopetegui's third-placed side challenge for a Champions League place when play is allowed to resume.

"I started well," said Reguilon, reflecting on his season at Sevilla. "When you start high they always demand that level, logically.

"All players have good and bad moments. I went through games of not being successful, but in the last three games I made a mental note of saying 'damn, you're good'.

"It is important to enter the Champions League, but for us the objective that we set ourselves is to enter Europe. If we enter the Champions League, great. Sevilla must aspire to that competition. We have the quality and ability to get in there perfectly."

PSV teenager Mohamed Ihattaren has received his first Netherlands senior call-up as part of Ronald Koeman's provisional squad for the scheduled friendlies against the United States and Spain later this month.

Ihattaren, 18, has enjoyed a breakout season in the Eredivisie this term.

Although he has represented the Dutch international side at every age group from Under-15 upwards, he is also eligible to represent Morocco.

Uncapped duo Teun Koopmeiners and Owen Wijndal have also been selected, taking the AZ contingent in Koeman's 30-man party up to five.

Defenders Matthijs de Ligt, Stefan de Vrij and Hans Hateboer, midfielder Marten de Roon and forward Justin Kluivert all feature despite playing their club football in Italy, a country which has recently introduced lockdown measures in an attempt to curtail the spread of coronavirus.

Feyenoord midfielder Leroy Fer is back in the international reckoning for the first time since 2014.

Provisional Netherlands squad to face the United States and Spain:

Jasper Cillessen (Valencia), Jeroen Zoet (FC Utrecht), Tim Krul (Norwich City), Marco Bizot (AZ); Patrick van Aanholt (Crystal Palace), Nathan Ake (Bournemouth), Daley Blind (Ajax), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Denzel Dumfries (PSV), Hans Hateboer (Atalanta), Matthijs de Ligt (Juventus), Stefan de Vrij (Internazionale), Owen Wijndal (AZ); Donny van de Beek (Ajax), Leroy Fer (Feyenoord), Mohamed Ihattaren (PSV), Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona), Teun Koopmeiners (AZ), Davy Propper (Brighton & Hove Albion), Marten de Roon (Atalanta), Kevin Strootman (Olympique Marseille), Georginio Wijnaldum (Liverpool); Ryan Babel (Ajax), Steven Berghuis (Feyenoord), Myron Boadu (AZ), Luuk de Jong (Sevilla), Justin Kluivert (AS Roma), Quincy Promes (Ajax), Calvin Stengs (AZ) and Wout Weghorst (Wolfsburg).

UEFA has not received a single request to postpone Euro 2020 amid concerns about coronavirus, despite claims to the contrary.

COVID-19 is starting to cause widespread disruption to sport across Europe, particularly in Italy, Germany, France and Spain.

Italy is the most-affected European nation, with 9,172 cases of infection reported as of Tuesday, and that has led to all sporting activities being postponed until April 3.

In Spain, fans have been prohibited from attending games at all levels over the next two matchdays, though that could change after the Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) requested all action be postponed instead.

Euro 2020, which will be played across 12 European nations, is set to begin in Rome on June 12 – though reports on Tuesday suggested some federations have asked for the tournament be delayed until 2021.

UEFA insists no such requests have been received, however.

A spokesperson told Stats Perform: "We did not receive a single request from national associations to postpone the tournament."

Along with Italy, Euro 2020 is scheduled to be hosted in Azerbaijan, Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, Netherlands, Republic of Ireland, Romania, Russia, Scotland and Spain.

As the coronavirus crisis deepens, European football is continuing to deal with its consequences.

We take a look at how COVID-19 has affected the top five leagues, as well as associated players and teams.

 

Italy

Serie A, Serie B, Coppa Italia – POSTPONED

Following a government decree issued on Monday, all public gathering are prohibited until April 3, with the whole country put on lockdown.

This directly impacts domestic football, which has been postponed. The Italian Football Federation (FIGC) is exploring alternatives if the Serie A season – which is constrained by international deadlines relating to Euro 2020 – cannot run its course.

The three suggestions the FIGC has put forward are: to end the season early and crown the leader at that point as champions; halt the 2019-20 campaign without any team winning the title; or have play-offs for the Scudetto and relegation spots.

Germany

Bundesliga, 2.Bundesliga – ACTIVE

The situation in Germany is being dealt with on a case-by-case basis in local regions and is yet to cause widespread disruption to the two highest divisions, however COVID-19 is spreading rapidly.

Bavaria's government has prohibited events with more than 1,000 people until April 19, in a move that will impact Bayern Munich and Augsburg from the Bundesliga.

Die Roten's Champions League meeting with Chelsea next Wednesday will take place in an empty Allianz Arena, though their away match against Union Berlin this weekend is set to go ahead as normal.

Next Wednesday's Rhine derby between Borussia Monchengladbach and Cologne has already been confirmed as the first Bundesliga game to be played with no fans.

Germany's Euro 2020 warm-up friendly against Italy on March 31 will also be behind closed doors.

France

Ligue 1, Ligue 2 – BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

After a previous government decision had announced matches could only be played in front of a maximum of 1,000 fans, authorities have since demanded all games go ahead with no spectators until April 15.

Paris Saint-Germain have already had their meeting with Strasbourg – initially set for last weekend – postponed due to coronavirus, while their upcoming Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund will be played without fans.

LaLiga

LaLiga, La Segunda – BEHIND CLOSED DOORS

It was confirmed on Tuesday that all sporting events in Spain will be played behind closed doors over the next two weeks.

However, following the request of Segunda side Real Zaragoza to postpone all matches instead, the Association of Spanish Footballers (AFE) added weight to such a call, insisting Spain should be following the lead of countries like Italy and Switzerland.

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) is set to make a decision on Friday regarding the friendly with Germany at the Wanda Metropolitano, Madrid on March 26.

England

Premier League, the Football League – ACTIVE

As of March 10, English football is yet to be directly impacted by COVID-19.

However, Championship side Nottingham Forest confirmed on Tuesday their owner Evangelos Marinakis had tested positive for the virus.

It is unclear how that will impact on Forest and the division as a whole.

France and Croatia will play out a repeat of their World Cup final having been drawn in the same group in the 2020-21 Nations League with defending champions Portugal, while Germany and Spain will go head-to-head.

Fernando Santos' side won the inaugural competition last year, beating Netherlands 1-0 in the final thanks to Goncalo Guedes, though Group 3 looks set to significantly test their mettle this time around – Sweden also joining them with Croatia and France.

The format of the competition changes slightly this time around, with the groups containing four teams rather than three, but as before the top team from each of the four groups in League A will meet in the Nations League finals.

Italy will fancy their chances of reaching the final stages having been drawn with Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Netherlands, the latter likely their biggest challengers.

In Group 4, Germany and Spain will be the favourites ahead of Ukraine and Switzerland, while England and Belgium are in Group 2 with Iceland and Denmark.

The competition will commence in early September, with the Finals set for June 2021.

League A

Group 1: Poland, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Italy, Netherlands

Group 2: Iceland, Denmark, Belgium, England

Group 3: Croatia, Sweden, France, Portugal

Group 4: Germany, Ukraine, Spain, Switzerland

LEAGUE B

Group 1: Austria, Norway, Northern Ireland, Romania

Group 2: Czech Republic, Scotland, Slovakia, Israel

Group 3: Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Hungary

Group 4: Wales, Finland, Republic of Ireland, Bulgaria

 

LEAGUE C

Group 1: Azerbaijan, Luxembourg, Cyprus, Montenegro

Group 2: Armenia, Estonia, Macedonia, Georgia

Group 3: Moldova, Slovenia, Kosovo, Greece

Group 4: Kazakhstan, Lithuania, Belarus, Albania

 

LEAGUE D

Group 1: Malta, Andorra, Latvia, Faroe Islands

Group 2: San Marino, Liechtenstein, Gibraltar

Spain, Real Madrid and Porto great Iker Casillas is set to retire after announcing his bid for the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) presidency, according to the Portuguese club's president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa.

Casillas suffered a heart attack in training with Porto last May and, although he has not played since, the 38-year-old never announced his retirement despite being added to the team's backroom staff in July.

He was then included in Porto's squad for the 2019-20 season, but Monday's announcement of his leadership bid in Spain led to strong suggestions retirement confirmation was imminent.

Although the goalkeeper has not spoken publicly on the matter himself, Pinto da Costa claims Casillas told him his playing days are over, as he looks set to rival incumbent RFEF chief Luis Rubiales.

"I was very happy. Casillas had an attitude that touched me a lot, because before announcing the candidacy he made a point of coming to Porto to have lunch with me to communicate that he would make that decision and end his career," Pinto da Costa told reporters on Tuesday.

"He has a great career, in which he has only been in two clubs and we know he has both at heart."

Casillas made 167 appearances for Spain and captained his country to success at the 2010 World Cup and the European Championships of 2008 and 2012.

He is also regarded as an all-time great of Madrid, his boyhood club whom he solely represented before joining Porto in 2015.

A date for the latest RFEF election, which would appear to see Casillas take on Rubiales, is yet to be confirmed.

Porto goalkeeper Iker Casillas has announced his intention to run for the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) presidency.

Casillas made 167 appearances for Spain and captained his country to success at the 2010 World Cup and the European Championships of 2008 and 2012.

The 38-year-old has been at Porto since leaving boyhood club Real Madrid in 2015, but he suffered a heart attack in a training session in May 2019.

Casillas has not featured for the club since and was added to the team's backroom staff in July, yet he was also included in their squad for the ongoing season and has not formally retired.

He did not announce an end to his playing career on Monday, but he thanked Porto president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa for allowing him to pursue the RFEF opportunity.

He wrote: "Yes, I will stand for the presidency of the RFEF when the elections are called. Together we will put our federation at the height of the best football in the world: that of Spain.

"I have informed the president of my club, FC Porto, of this decision, to whom I can only express my deepest gratitude.

"We are working with the utmost respect in our candidacy. More than 23,000 voters await us in fair and transparent elections. 139 assembly members will decide.

"Thank you all for all the love I have continually received. Your support and your strength encourage me. Let's go for it! #IkerCasillas2020"

Luis Rubiales has been RFEF president since May 2018, although his tenure got off to a rocky start as Julen Lopetegui was sacked on the eve of the World Cup after agreeing to take the Real Madrid job following the finals.

Spain's coaching difficulties have since continued under Rubiales, with Luis Enrique appointed before stepping away as his daughter, Xana, battled bone cancer. She died in August.

Assistant Robert Moreno stepped up to the senior role but was later replaced by the returning Luis Enrique, with the pair - long-time colleagues and friends - falling out.

Rubiales has insisted the RFEF did not mishandle Luis Enrique's reappointment.

A date for the latest RFEF election, which would appear to see Casillas take on Rubiales, is yet to be confirmed.

Lionel Messi and Liverpool are among the front-runners for prizes at the prestigious Laureus World Sports Awards in Berlin on Monday.

Liverpool are up for two gongs after a wonderful year, as they won the 2018-19 Champions League and took a massive leap towards a first top-flight title in 30 years.

Jurgen Klopp's side look set to break a host of records this season, as they have dropped points in just one of their 25 matches and hold a remarkable 22-point lead over defending champions Manchester City in second.

The Reds are in the running for two prizes in the Laureus Sports Awards' 20th anniversary gala – World Team of the Year and Comeback of the Year, the latter on account of their astonishing Champions League semi-final turnaround at the expense of Barcelona.

Among those challenging Liverpool for the former are the United States' Women's football team and the Toronto Raptors, who became the first Canadian franchise win an NBA championship.

A selection of sporting superstars are up for the Sportsman of the Year award, with Barcelona and Argentina icon Lionel Messi among them following his record-breaking sixth Ballon d'Or.

Also in the running is Eliud Kipchoge after the Kenyan became the first athlete to run a marathon in under two hours last October, covering the 26.2 miles in one hour, 59 minutes and 40.2 seconds in Vienna.

Ballon d'Or Feminin winner Megan Rapinoe is among those in the hunt for the Sportswoman of the Year gong, although gymnast Simone Biles also has a compelling case.

The 22-year-old last year won five gold medals at the World Championships to become the most decorated gymnast in the event's history, and has won this award twice before, in 2019 and 2017.

The event will take place at the Verti Music Hall in Berlin on Monday. Below is a complete list of the awards up for grabs and the athletes nominated.

Sportsman of the Year

Eliud Kipchoge – Athletics
Lewis Hamilton – Formula One
Lionel Messi – Football
Marc Marquez – MotoGP
Rafael Nadal – Tennis
Tiger Woods – Golf

Sportswoman of the Year

Allyson Felix – Athletics
Megan Rapinoe – Football
Mikaela Shiffrin – Skiing
Naomi Osaka – Tennis
Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce – Athletics
Simone Biles – Gymnastics

 

Team of the Year

Liverpool – Football
Mercedes-AMG – Formula One
South Africa – Rugby Union
Spain – Basketball
Toronto Raptors – Basketball
United States Women – Football

Breakthrough of the Year

Andy Ruiz – Boxing
Bianca Andreescu – Tennis
Coco Gauff – Tennis
Egan Bernal – Cycling
Japan – Rugby Union
Regan Smith – Swimming

 

Comeback of the Year

Andy Murray – Tennis
Christian Lealiifano – Rugby Union
Kawhi Leonard – Basketball
Liverpool – Football
Nathan Adrian – Swimming
Sophia Florsch – Formula Three

Sportsperson of the Year with a Disability

Alice Tai – Swimming
Diede de Groot – Wheelchair Tennis
Jetze Plat – Triathlon
Manuela Schar – Wheelchair Racing
Oksana Masters – Cross Country Skiing
Omara Durand – Athletics

 

Action Sportsperson of the year

Carissa Moore – Surfing
Chloe Kim – Snowboarding
Italo Ferreira – Surfing
Mark McMorris – Snowboarding
Nyjah Huston – Skateboarding
Rayssa Leal – Skateboarding

Santi Cazorla admits he is excited by the prospect of an unforeseen shot at tournament glory with Spain as he targets a third European Championship triumph.

The days of Cazorla patrolling midfield with the national team looked to have ended when his Arsenal career stuttered to a sorry and injury-hit end.

Serious Achilles and ankle trouble led to gangrene and worries that Cazorla might even need a foot amputation, and he left Arsenal at the end of the 2017-18 season with doubts over what would be left of his playing days.

Cazorla snatched the chance to train with Villarreal and has not looked back, impressing last season before stepping up a level this term, scoring 12 goals from midfield already.

And Spain have come calling again, unable to resist the revitalised playmaker who has got Villarreal ticking after almost four years in the international wilderness.

After helping Spain to their Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 victories, Cazorla incredibly has another chance of silverware, and of adding to his 81 caps.

The 35-year-old is philosophical, though, about his chances and said he would not be disappointed to miss out on the tournament if Luis Enrique struggles to accommodate him.

"Not disappointing because I know my age and I know the players that are there. But yes, it's true that I've got excited about being there," Cazorla said.

"It was something that I'd written off when I returned to football; even the day that they called me up again I knew it was a reward and without too many expectations of staying in the squad.

"But I've kept playing at Villarreal and the national coaches have confidence in me and this has excited me."

Cazorla sees Spain as contenders for Euro 2020, although the days of their dominance have passed. The halcyon era of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and co belongs in Spain's history, yet Cazorla remains very much in the team's present.

He sees no need to pitch teams from one era against those from another.

"We always have to compare in this country and that's a mistake because any national team is losing [in that debate]," Cazorla told Marca.

"We have to leave people alone because players are coming through with promising futures. I think that this summer, there are options to compete to win the Euros because it's very even between various teams and Spain are there."

Cazorla said leaving Arsenal in the way he did, without being able to sign off in style on the pitch, stuck in his craw, describing that as "a big regret that I don't know if I will get over".

He is relieved to be playing again, but wary his body has limits, saying he has yet to consider his club future beyond this season with his contract up for renewal.

"Right now, I'm happy," he said, "but I notice my age; the injury is there and it's getting more difficult. I'm not planning anything right now, but it's clear that playing in Europe is a plus for any player. I will decide in the summer."

Spain boss Luis Enrique will consider Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista for selection if he becomes available to the national team.

Brazilian-born centre-back Gabriel is in the process of gaining Spanish nationality and last year expressed an interest in representing Spain once he is eligible.

Speaking to Movistar+, Luis Enrique confirmed it was a situation he was monitoring.

"I am aware of every player who could be called up," he said.

"Paulista is going through a process that could make him eligible."

Should Gabriel make the cut for Euro 2020, it would evoke memories of Diego Costa making a switch to play for Spain as opposed to his native Brazil ahead of the 2014 World Cup.

Costa struggled as the defending champions were dumped out in the group stage and, although he eventually improved to 10 goals from 26 caps, the Atletico Madrid striker has not featured at international level since the penalty shoot-out defeat to hosts Russia at the 2018 World Cup.

Spain will face Sweden, Poland and a play-off qualifier in Group E at Euro 2020. 

Dani Olmo claims a formal offer has been received from Barcelona ahead of a prospective transfer from Dinamo Zagreb.

Catalan forward Olmo spent six years in the youth ranks at Barca's famed La Masia before making the surprise switch to Croatia in 2014.

The 21-year-old was named man of the match after he scored the winner in Spain Under-21s' European Championship final victory over Germany in 2019.

He brought that form into this season with a string of impressive displays during Dinamo's Champions League campaign, earning a first senior Spain cap in November – another occasion Olmo marked with a goal against Malta

Dinamo reportedly want €40million for Olmo, who hopes to arrive at Camp Nou in January rather than the end of the season if an agreement is reached.

"It makes me happy the rumours have become a formal proposal and Barca are planning my return," Olmo told L'Esportiu. "I spent six years at La Masia and they taught me values for a lifetime.

"I do not know if Barca wants me now or at the end of the season, it's something my representatives control.

"If there is an agreement between the clubs, it seems to me it is best to leave Zagreb now."

Olmo believes joining Barca in January would aid his development and boost his chances of securing a spot in Luis Enrique's Spain squad for Euro 2020.

"My goal is to go to the European Championship and it will be difficult for me in the next few months if I only play in a minor competition," he said.

"Not only for going to the European Championship, also for continuing to improve. I am prepared to take a step forward in my career."

Wolves winger Adama Traore would have no problem forgetting his ties to Barcelona if a move to Real Madrid presented itself, though a return to Camp Nou appeals more.

Traore, 23, spent most of his formative years in Barca's academy and had been considered one of La Masia's crown jewels for a long time.

The rapid forward even made his first-team debut in LaLiga as a 17-year-old in November 2013, playing seven minutes in a 4-0 win over Granada.

Barca allowed him to leave for Aston Villa in 2015, with Traore revealing the following year he had become frustrated with a lack of development at the Catalan club, as they kept him in the second team instead of helping him push on.

Concerns over his footballing mindset and end product became apparent at Villa and persisted after moves to Middlesbrough and Wolves, but this season he has taken on a key role at Molineux, even earning a Spain call-up.

As such, talk of a move to a bigger club has surfaced in recent times, and he would not close the door on a potential switch to Madrid, even though it is not a priority.

"If I do not have the option of Barca and I have to go to Real Madrid, I do not close any doors," he said on La Sexta show Jugones, before hinting at a previous issue with La Blaugrana.

"There was a misunderstanding with Barca. Something happened that I didn't like, but I prefer to keep it for myself."

And while Traore is open to returning to Spain, he has a goal to achieve in the Premier League first.

"Yes, why not [return to Spain]," he said. "But I made a promise to become one of the best in England."

Robert Moreno wants to put his departure as Spain boss and subsequent fallout with Luis Enrique behind him after being unveiled as the new head coach of Ligue 1 side Monaco.

The 42-year-old served as an assistant for La Roja until Luis Enrique stepped down in June to care for his young daughter Xana, who died in August following a battle with bone cancer.

Moreno took charge permanently at that point and oversaw Spain's qualification for Euro 2020, but Luis Enrique returned in November and did not appoint his former deputy to his staff due to an apparent disagreement.

The former Barcelona boss accused Moreno of being "disloyal" last month, claims the latter described as "ugly and unfair".

Speaking two days on from being appointed as Leonardo Jardim's successor at Monaco, Moreno - who previously worked with Luis Enrique at Roma, Celta Vigo and Barcelona - was keen to draw a line under the matter.

"I spent nine wonderful years at his side," he said at Monday's unveiling news conference. "I only have thanks. What happened a few weeks ago is already in the past.

"I have been a coach for 28 years. Since I was 14, I have been training and now the important thing is this presentation. The past is there, but you have to leave it behind."

Moreno has never previously managed a professional club but insists he is aware of what it requires to be successful.

"I have always been involved in the whole training process," he said. "I used to do all that before, so my processes will not change.

"I will give the talks, analyse the opposition, talk to my players. I am used to this.

"We all want to win and to achieve the best for the club. Our main objective here must be to improve every day. If we do that we will be able to reach our main aims."

Moreno's first game in charge is a Coupe de France clash with Reims on Saturday, before returning to Ligue 1 action with a trip to Paris Saint-Germain the following weekend.

Monaco have been tipped to bolster their squad ahead in the January transfer window, but the new coach was unwilling to discuss any specific targets.

"I will not make it public - that would be disrespectful to my players," he said. "Monaco have a large squad but we have to be attentive to the market to find good players.

"But I am not going to highlight particular positions [to strengthen] in public."

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