Gianluigi Donnarumma's future is dominating headlines.

Milan want to re-sign the Italy international but time is running out.

A blockbuster move to LaLiga could be on the horizon…

 

TOP STORY – DONNARUMMA TO SPAIN?

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has been offered to Barcelona by his agent Mino Raiola, according to Diario AS.

Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season and the Italy international is yet to re-sign with Milan.

He has been linked with Serie A rivals Juventus, Barca, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Donnarumma's arrival could force Barca to sell star number one Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Kylian Mbappe's proposed transfer to Real Madrid does not hinge on head coach Zinedine Zidane, who could leave at the end of the season. Former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and Madrid great Raul have emerged as the frontrunners should Zidane leave, but it will not impact Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe's future. Madrid have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Tottenham's Harry Kane.

Sergio Aguero is set to accept a contract offer from Barca until June 2023, reports Fabrizio Romano. Aguero is poised to become a free agent once his deal with Manchester City expires. Lyon captain Memphis Depay is also on the verge of moving to Camp Nou on a free transfer.

- Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul, Atalanta's Josip Ilicic and Roma attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan are potential replacements for Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu, according to Tuttosport. Calhanoglu's contract is expiring at San Siro amid links with Juve, United and clubs in Qatar.

Monza are eyeing Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Monza – owned by former Milan president Silvio Berlusconi – are currently in Serie B and missed out on promotion via the playoffs. Monza also boast Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Buffon has already revealed he will leave Juve at the end of the season.

Harry Kane looks set to be the centre of rumours and speculation this off-season after reportedly informing Tottenham he wants to leave the club.

The England international forward, who has scored 22 league goals this season, is contracted for another three years at Tottenham.

However Kane has not hidden his desire to win silverware, which has gone unfulfilled at Spurs.

 

TOP STORY – SKY BLUE PREFERENCE FOR KANE

Harry Kane has nominated Manchester City as his preferred destination and believes he has a verbal agreement with Tottenham to allow him to leave, claims The Times.

It is understood that Kane was convinced to remain with Spurs last year but as part of that he struck an agreement with chairman Daniel Levy to allow him to depart upon interest from City.

Kane will make renewed efforts to convince Levy and the Tottenham hierarchy to sell him this off-season. Spurs lost 2-1 to Aston Villa on Wednesday, and they may well miss out on Europe altogether.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United are willing to offer up Anthony Martial and Jesse Lingard as part of a move for Kane , claims Football Insider.

- The Red Devils are also ready to make a move for Southampton forward Danny Ings as they look to strength their front line reports The Telegraph.

- Another United target, Jadon Sancho , is being pursued by Chelsea , who have launched an £80m bid for the Borussia Dortmund talent according to The Sun.

- The list of suitors for United goalkeeper Dean Henderson is long according to Sky Sports, with Tottenham, Chelsea, Dortmund and Milan among those interested.

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports that veteran Chelsea forward Olivier Giroud could be set to link up with Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Milan .

- Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu has attracted interest from Qatari club Al Duhail according to Sky Sport Italia.

Robert Lewandowski may be contracted to Bayern Munich until 2023 but speculation is mounting about his future.

Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with the Poland international, particularly if the Parisians lose Kylian Mbappe.

The agent of the Bundesliga record-breaker is reportedly putting pressure on Bayern to re-negotiate his current deal, fuelling the rumours of a switch.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA MAKE LEWANDOWSKI ENQUIRY

Chelsea have reached out to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich to discuss a potential move for Robert Lewandowski, according to Sky Sport Germany.

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea would face stiff competition from Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, in the event Lewandowski decides to leave Munich, where he has been based since 2014.

Chelsea have been linked with a big-money move for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, showcasing their financial strength which could be switched to Lewandowski should they miss out on the Norwegian.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester City have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Tottenham star Harry Kane reports the Daily Mail. Kane has reportedly asked to leave Spurs amid links with City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Chelsea are also interested in signing Atalanta's Ruslan Malinovskyi, claims The Sun. Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix is also a target for the Blues, reports Sky Germany.

- The Sun says David Beckham's MLS franchise Inter Miami are pursuing Arsenal attacker Willian, who is reportedly keen on the opportunity.

Frank Lampard is on Crystal Palace's radar as they plan for Roy Hodgson's successor, according to Talksport. Hodgson will leave the Premier League club at the end of the season.  

- Corriere dello Sport claims Gennaro Gattuso is ready to leave Napoli as Fiorentina circle and he wants club captain Lorenzo Insigne to join him.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer refused to rule out signing another striker amid links to Tottenham star Harry Kane and Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

United re-signed Edinson Cavani for another season and the veteran forward was on target in Tuesday's disappointing 1-1 Premier League draw against relegated Fulham.

Despite Cavani's renewal, Solskjaer is open to further bolstering his attack as speculation mounts over Kane, who reportedly wants to leave Tottenham in the offseason.

"Yes Edi [Cavani] signs but how many good strikers have we had at this club," Solskjaer said during his post-match news conference.

"I can't say that we're not signing a striker. Of course not, because we're building, we're working towards a better squad. We're top three two years on the bounce, but still nowhere where we want to be. 

"So hopefully we will end up with the strongest squad when we start next season and be more consistent than the ones in front of us."

Cavani's stunning 15th-minute opener was cancelled out by Joe Bryan with 14 minutes remaining as a capped crowd returned to Old Trafford amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Paris Saint-Germain's all-time leading goalscorer Cavani became only the third United player to reach 10-plus goals in a single Premier League season while aged 33 or over at the start of that campaign, after Teddy Sheringham in 2000-01 and Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2016-17.

Cavani also became the 25th different player to score 10 or more goals in a single Premier League season for the Red Devils – more than any other team in the competition's history.

"You know, we've already voted on the goal of the season, but if that was in the vote, I think it might have had a chance to win it," said Solskjaer. "It was composed.

"He had a chance like that earlier on in the season in the Champions League and he didn't score. And the way he took this chance was just amazing. So, very pleased for him very pleased for the Stretford Enders that they experienced that in their first meeting between them, between them and Edi."

United – second behind champions Manchester City – have dropped 10 points from winning positions at home this season, their highest ever such total at Old Trafford in a Premier League season.

Solskjaer's United have conceded 28 home goals in the Premier League this season – they last conceded more on home soil in a single league campaign back in 1962-63 (38).

As United prepare for the Europa League final against Villarreal on May 26 amid a three-match winless run, Solskjaer added: "We need to play better against Villarreal than what we've done in the last three games. But I think you've seen so many times this season when we've been backed into the corner, when we've lost, when we've been criticised, we've always come back stuck together.

"I think it might be a wake-up call because we tried to do the fanciest of the flicks, the extraordinary things like the things that please the fans. That's not what we're about. We should be more efficient. Have a look at Cavani. Have a look at how he plays the game. Just every single one of us just look at him. The back tackles, the runs, he scores. There is no fluff. And we cannot have fluff in a game of football."

Where will Harry Kane play in 2021-22?

The Tottenham star Kane reportedly wants out of his boyhood club.

Premier League rivals Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are ready to pounce…

 

TOP STORY – KANE SEEKING SPURS DEPARTURE

Harry Kane has told Tottenham he wants to leave the club in the off-season, according to widespread reports in England.

Frustrated at a lack of silverware in London, Spurs star Kane would reportedly prefer to remain in the Premier League amid links to champions Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Kane is believed to be open to a LaLiga switch, with Barcelona among his admirers.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Diario AS claims former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is the favourite to replace Zinedine Zidane if the Frenchman leaves Real Madrid. Club great Raul, who is currently in charge of the Castilla team, is another option. It comes as Madrid push to bring in a franchise player in the form of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, while Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Bayern Munich's David Alaba are also wanted amid links to Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga and United midfielder Paul Pogba.

- The Sun says City are considering a mega move for Barca superstar Lionel Messi, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Messi is reportedly open to reuniting with Pep Guardiola in Manchester on a one-year deal.

Barca are weighing up the futures of Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Antoine Griezmann and Sergi Roberto, reports Mundo Deportivo. Due to their financial situation, the players could be asked to take a pay cut as Lyon captain Memphis Depay prepares to arrive on a free transfer. City forward Sergio Aguero and defender Eric Garcia, Haaland and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum have also been linked.

- Lille's Jonathan Ikone is Dortmund's top priority as the Bundesliga club prepare for life without Jadon Sancho, according to France Football. Sancho has been tipped to join United or Liverpool, while Dortmund are also eyeing PSV sensation Donyell Malen, Ajax forward David Neres and Pedro Goncalves of Sporting CP.

Europe's top five leagues all conclude this week and there are still plenty of matters to be resolved – not least who will be crowned champions in Spain and France.

Every division has something riding on the final days of the season, whether it be top spot, European qualification, or relegation.

Ahead of what is set to be a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga campaigns, we look at the state of play in each league.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title with three games to spare, making them the first team in the competition's history to win the title despite being as low as eighth on Christmas Day.

All three relegation places were also decided with three games remaining – a Premier League record – with Fulham joining Sheffield United and West Brom in dropping down a division.

That leaves just the European spots to fight for, and it is shaping up to be an entertaining end to the English top-flight season in that regard. Manchester United are guaranteed a top-four finish, but five other teams – Leicester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham – are in the mix for the two other Champions League berths with two rounds of games to go.

There is also the small matter of the Europa League places for the teams finishing in fifth and sixth, as well as a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League, which goes to the team in seventh, meaning everyone from 10th-placed Leeds United to Leicester in third have something to play for. That includes Arsenal, who have not missed out on European football of some sort in 25 years.

LALIGA 

The Spanish title race appeared to take a dramatic twist on Sunday as Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid at the summit for around 20 minutes. However, Atleti scored two late goals to beat Osasuna, meaning they are two points ahead of their city rivals heading into the final round of games.

Atleti, who have led the way at the top for 29 matchdays, now need to match Madrid's result against Villarreal when they travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on the final day of the season. It is worth noting that Los Blancos have the superior head-to-head record, so a draw would not be enough for Atleti if Madrid win.

Barcelona are officially out of the title race, meanwhile, but they are assured of a top-four finish along with Sevilla. Real Sociedad and Real Betis occupy the Europa League spots, while Villarreal are in a Europa Conference League berth, though just one point separates the three teams so that could all yet change.

To complicate matters, Villarreal could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Manchester United.

At the bottom end of the division, Eibar are already relegated and they will be joined by two of Valladolid, Elche or Huesca. Valladolid must beat Atletico in their final game to have a chance of staying up, while the onus is on Elche to better Huesca's result as they are level on points but have an inferior head-to-head record.

LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 title battle is also going right down to the wire in a three-way dogfight. After a thrilling race that has lasted the course of the season, underdogs Lille lead heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain by one point with one matchday left.

Monaco have won seven of their previous eight games and are three points off leaders Lille, though they require both Les Dogues and PSG to slip up on the final day, as well as beating Lens. Should it come down to goal difference, PSG hold a big lead over their two title rivals.

Incredibly, PSG are still not yet technically assured of a Champions League place as Lyon in fourth are only three points worse off, although it would take a defeat for the reigning champions and victory for Lyon, plus a goal swing of 16, for them to miss out.

Monaco's opponents Lens, incidentally, also have plenty to play for at the weekend as they are sixth – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but can still be caught by Rennes in seventh, while they could yet overtake Marseille in fifth if results go their way.

At the opposite end of the table, there may only be one spot left to be settled in the bottom three – Dijon and Nimes are both already down – but six teams are still very much in danger of the drop. Nantes occupy the relegation play-off spot, with Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg just a point better off, and Bordeaux and Reims only two points clear.

SERIE A

With Inter being crowned Scudetto winners for the first time in 11 years at the start of the month, the biggest storyline in Serie A regards Juventus' top-four fate. The dethroned champions, who had finished top nine years running before this season, are currently down in fifth.

Juve are one point behind Napoli and Milan in the two spots directly above them, while Atalanta are three points better off in second and have the better head-to-head record against the Bianconeri.

Andrea Pirlo's side are therefore in need of favours on the final day in what is poised to be a nail-biting finale in terms of those Champions League places. Lazio will finish sixth, so they are assured of Europa League football next term, while Roma hold a two-point advantage over Sassuolo in the Europa Conference League position.

Parma and Crotone are both down already and one of Benevento or Torino will join them, the latter currently three points outside of the relegation zone and with a game in hand to play on Benevento.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig provided Bayern Munich with some stern competition for a while, but the Bavarian giants' quality eventually told and they are Bundesliga champions for a ninth year running.

It's not only the title race that's done and dusted in Germany, in fact, as RB Leipzig are certain of second place, and both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League next season.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will finish in fifth and sixth respectively regardless of events later this week.

However, Union Berlin have work to do if they are to finish seventh for a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs as Borussia Monchengladbach are a point further back, while Stuttgart and Freiburg are two behind with a game to go.

Seven-time German champions Schalke will be competing in the second tier of German football next season, but Cologne and Werder Bremen are hanging on in there, sitting two and one point behind Arminia Bielefeld respectively in 15th place.

Where will Pau Torres play next season?

The Villarreal defender is reportedly wanted by Premier League giants Manchester United, who are set to face the LaLiga outfit in the Europa League final.

But Napoli are also eyeing the Spain international.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED FACE FIGHT FOR VILLARREAL DEFENDER

Manchester United could face a battle from Napoli to sign Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

United are looking to bolster their defence amid links to Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, as well as Sevilla's Jules Kounde.

Torres has emerged as a serious option, though Napoli are also reportedly interested, with star Kalidou Koulibaly's future uncertain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Lautaro Martinez and Inter have opened dialogue over a contract renewal, says the front page of Monday's Gazzetta dello Sport. Martinez has previously been tipped to join Barcelona, while Madrid have reportedly emerged as suitors.

- L'Equipe claims Lyon captain Memphis Depay will complete his move to Barca in June. It comes as Barca look to seal other free-transfer details for Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum. Barca have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and City's soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero.

Roma have no interest in signing Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The Italy great will leave Turin at the end of the season, but it will not be for the Italian capital, reports Calciomercato.

- According to Calciomercato, Mauro Icardi has been tipped to swap Paris Saint-Germain for Juventus. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala linked with Juve exits, former Inter captain Icardi could return to Italy.

Atalanta are set to trigger their option to sign Cristian Romero from Juve, claims Fabrizio Romano. The defender has been scouted by United.

Jude Bellingham said it was "fantastic" for Borussia Dortmund to seal their place in next season's Champions League as team-mate Jadon Sancho achieved a feat last accomplished by David Beckham.

At the age of 17, Bellingham has found himself thrust into Bundesliga action at the heart of Dortmund's midfield, and the former Birmingham City youngster could be heading for Euro 2020 duty with England at season's end.

A challenging campaign for a talented Dortmund squad is ending on a high, with their 4-1 DFB-Pokal final win over RB Leipzig on Thursday followed by Sunday's 3-1 Bundesliga victory at Mainz.

That result means Dortmund, who sit third with one round of games remaining, are certain to finish in the top four. Bellingham piled praise on interim head coach Edin Terzic, who replaced the sacked Lucien Favre in December, for getting the team to tick over the closing weeks of the campaign, having looked doubtful at one stage to earn a Champions League spot.

"I'm very happy," said Bellingham. "I knew what the club's expectations were. We fell a bit short throughout the season, especially in the league.

"We were in the quarter-finals of the Champions League and won the cup. Today we've qualified for the Champions League again after being in a difficult position. That's fantastic, I'm very happy."

Bellingham added, quoted on Dortmund's official website: "Edin has a brilliant personality. He got the best out of us players, wanted to make everyone better. He's done a great job with his team. We are very happy to have him."

Goals from Raphael Guerreiro and Marco Reus in the first half at Mainz were both teed up by Sancho, helping Dortmund on their way to a seventh successive win.

In the process, winger Sancho became the first Englishman from any of Europe's top five championships to reach 10 assists in three consecutive league campaigns since Beckham, who strung together four such seasons from 1997-98 to 2000-01 with Manchester United.

Sancho missed a chunk of this season due to a muscle injury and has made just 25 Bundesliga appearances in 2020-21, but the 21-year-old has still managed 11 assists and eight goals.

Last season he managed 16 assists and 17 goals, while in 2018-19 the teenage Sancho totted up 14 assists and 12 goals.

Sancho – a rumoured Manchester United and Liverpool target – has enjoyed a remarkable week, becoming the first Englishman to score in the DFB-Pokal final as he netted twice in the thumping win over Leipzig.

He tweeted on Sunday that it was "objective complete" for Dortmund as they followed up the silverware with a place at Europe's top table next term, a result that may make it easier for the club to keep the likes of Sancho and Erling Haaland, two of Europe's most coveted young players.

Erling Haaland will remain a Borussia Dortmund player next season, the German club's sporting director Michael Zorc has claimed.

The likes of Real Madrid, Barcelona and Champions League finalists Manchester City have been strongly linked with a move for the 20-year-old Norwegian striker.

Haaland joined Dortmund from Salzburg midway through the 2019-20 season and has scored a flood of goals for the Bundesliga side.

His double helped Dortmund beat RB Leipzig 4-1 in the DFB-Pokal final in Berlin on Thursday, and BVB chief Zorc has stressed he will be going nowhere in the near future.

Haaland is reported to have a clause allowing him to leave for a set price in the region of €75million at the end of next season, while his contract runs until 2024.

"We are still planning with him. He will play for us next season," Zorc told Sky Sport in Germany before Saturday's Bundesliga match at Mainz.

Haaland was not among the goals in a 3-1 Dortmund win, but did tee up Julian Brandt for BVB's final goal.

Lionel Messi has spent his entire career with Barcelona. 

That bond will not sway Barca's off-season plans, though.

The Spanish giants have reportedly turned their eyes to a younger option. 

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA PREFER HAALAND TO MESSI STAY

Barcelona are so desperate to lure Erling Haaland to Camp Nou that they would be willing to let superstar captain Lionel Messi walk away if they can sign the Borussia Dortmund star, according to The Sun.

Barca's financial situation would make it difficult to pay both players, and the report claims Messi might see his wages cut in half if he stays with the LaLiga powerhouse amid links to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City

Numerous clubs are circling for Haaland, including City, Manchester United, Real Madrid, Chelsea, PSG, Liverpool, Bayern Munich and Juventus.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Raul is favourite to take over as Madrid head coach next season if Zinedine Zidane leaves. Madrid great Raul is chasing promotion with the club's Castilla side.

Barca are set to complete the double free transfers of City star Sergio Aguero and Lyon captain Memphis Depay, according to Sport.

Arsenal and Martin Odegaard have a mutual interest in extending the Norway international's loan stay at the Premier League, according to Football London. He has two goals in 18 appearances in all competitions since arriving on loan from Madrid.

- Diario AS reports PSG are set to swoop in for Sergio Ramos by offering the Madrid captain and soon-to-be free agent a two-year contract. Ramos has also been linked to United.

- Though Juventus may be facing an exodus if they miss out on Champions League football next season, the Bianconeri are interested in Milan midfielder Hakan Calhanoglu, says Calciomercato. 

United may shore up their midfield with a bid for Getafe's Mauro Arambarri, Diario AS reports. The 25-year-old is under contract through 2023. The Mirror, meanwhile, says United remain keen on Atletico Madrid star Marcos Llorente.

Atletico are interested in Liverpool midfielder Naby Keita, claims the Daily Star. Keita has struggled for form and fitness since moving to Anfield from RB Leipzig in 2018.

The long-term futures of Jesse Lingard and Jadon Sancho are set to become clearer soon.

Lingard has impressed on loan from Manchester United at West Ham, reviving his career as David Moyes' side push to secure European football for next season.

England international Sancho, meanwhile, has dazzled since moving to Germany - but is he now ready to return home?

 

TOP STORY - LINGARD AND SANCHO TO SWAP PLACES

The Sun reports that Manchester United will offer Jesse Lingard to Borussia Dortmund as part of a swap deal for Jadon Sancho.

United chased Sancho last year but were unable to land the winger due to Dortmund's asking price.

It is understood the value held by the Bundesliga club is around £100million (€116m), so Lingard's inclusion may help drive that down and seal a deal.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Times claims that Manchester City have formalised the top four players on their off-season shopping list in forwards Erling Haaland, Harry Kane, Lautaro Martinez and Andre Silva.

- Manchester United are preparing a bid for Atletico Madrid midfielder Marcos Llorente worth £68m (€79m), reports the Mirror.

- Off-contract Southampton full-back Ryan Bertrand is attracting interest from Leicester City, claims the Leicester Mercury.

- Per Marca, Barcelona have an agreement in place to sign Memphis Depay, who is soon to be out of contract at Lyon. The Dutch forward is set to be reunited with Ronald Koeman at Camp Nou.

Borussia Dortmund managing director Hans-Joachim Watzke insists there is no economic need to sell Erling Haaland amid speculation he will remain in Germany until next year.

Haaland netted a double as Dortmund won the DFB-Pokal final 4-1 over RB Leipzig, with Jadon Sancho also chipping in with a brace.

The title is a major boost for Dortmund's hopes of retaining Haaland, who has been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City and Chelsea this off-season.

Dortmund's uplift in Bundesliga form, which has seen them move into the Champions League spots, has also aided their cause to convince the Norwegian to stay.

"You always have fears in my job," Watzke said after Thursday's DFB-Pokal victory.

"We definitely want to keep Erling with us next season. You can see his value, you saw how committed he is last Saturday against Leipzig, with joy.

"Besides we still have it in our own hands, we just have to win twice more now. We have managed the club solidly for so many years, when we go into the second or third year of the coronavirus, then we have to take out a few loans at some point we will pay them back.

"But there is absolutely no economic need to sell him, regardless of whether it is a Europa League or Champions League."

Watzke also casually revealed that interim head coach Edin Terzic had extended his deal with the club to presumably work as an assistant under Marco Rose.

"Edin Terzic did a great job," he said. "He took over the team in December, it was half dead, and he brought it to life. That is a huge achievement at his first coaching station.

"He's holding the keys in his hand. He extended a long-term contract a few weeks ago.

"He's a Dortmund boy, he lives and breathes the club. If Edin wants to do something different, then we have to work with him. But we won't do that now."

Terzic was delighted with the DFB-Pokal success but remained focused on the bigger picture, with Dortmund determined to confirm a top four league spot with two games to play.

"That was definitely not our best game, but we found the key to success," he said.

"Now we all deserve to enjoy this evening tonight but the season is not over for us yet."

Outgoing Leipzig head coach Julian Nagelsmann, who will finish his time at the club without a trophy, said it was a "painful" loss.

"You can imagine that I'm not doing well but it's not about me, it's about the club," he said.

"It's painful. I know what the headlines are like now… We still have two Bundesliga games that are not that pleasant. I'm not thinking about my move [to Bayern Munich] now.

"I'm proud of the boys. "We weren't the worse team, we just scored fewer goals. Dortmund makes a lot out of a little."

Jadon Sancho signed for Borussia Dortmund three months after they last won the DFB-Pokal in May 2017.

Back then, it was Ousmane Dembele and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang who scored to see off Eintracht Frankfurt 2-1 in Berlin. Major transfers followed for both: Dembele was quickly on his way to Barcelona, a €105million replacement for Neymar, while Aubameyang left for Arsenal for a reported €60m the following January.

This year, Dortmund returned to the Olympiastadion for their first Pokal final since, with envious eyes from across the continent casting longing looks again at their best attacking talent: Sancho and Erling Haaland. Inevitably, it was they who settled the contest with RB Leipzig, and before the half-time whistle had even blown.

At least, it feels inevitable with these two. Haaland, who scored the second in a 4-1 win after shunting the imposing frame of Bayern Munich-bound Dayot Upamecano to the ground, has hit 55 goals in 57 games in just under 18 months at the club. Sancho has been directly involved in 105 goals (50 scored, 55 assisted) in 135 Dortmund games. These are breathtaking returns for two players who weren't even teenagers when Dortmund last won the Bundesliga in 2012.

Haaland has always seemed an outlier in the expected development of a young footballer; a striker of such prodigious physical and technical gifts that it seems entirely plausible he was grown in a number nine laboratory. Dortmund are convinced they will keep him for another year and they probably will unless a European giant is capable of throwing a pandemic-defying nine-figure transfer bid their way.

Sancho's rise feels different. He is the product of calculated gambles as well as divine gifts. He is the 17-year-old boy who uprooted from Manchester City to speculate on game time in Germany, who made himself undroppable for one of the country's greatest clubs and was in the team of the season before his 20th birthday.

On Thursday, he was the best player on the pitch as Dortmund ruined Julian Nagelsmann's Leipzig farewell tour, as he became the youngest player to score twice in a DFB-Pokal final – at least until Haaland surpassed him. The transformation from brave kid to matchwinning bravura was complete. This was the dawning of a superstar.

His first goal, a curling effort from the kind of area Thierry Henry spent a career exploiting, was a thumping reminder of his finishing skills. His second was impudent footwork, as he collected Marco Reus' cut-back, danced inside the covering defender, and waited for Peter Gulacsi's despairing dive before putting the ball in the net.

Alongside Reus and Haaland, Sancho was a roving, controlled menace. He drifted into space to the side of the Leipzig back three but timed forward runs to perfection. His performance trod that fine line of spontaneity and foresight: unpredictable for defenders, while his team-mates knew where he'd be. Such a display can only come when talent meets application, and lessons are learned. For a 21-year-old to do it is remarkable. He even managed to make a total mess of overplaying a one-on-one chance before another counter-attack saw him set up Haaland for the fourth late on. He's still learning.

We may be in the final weeks of seeing Sancho as a Dortmund player. You can bet Manchester United's interest will only strengthen once Ole Gunnar Solskjaer watches back the highlights of this game, and they won't be alone. With a "gentleman's agreement" in place with Dortmund over his future, this could well be the transfer window where they elect to cash in.

They will do so in the knowledge that Sancho's journey to stardom is complete.

Jadon Sancho and Erling Haaland both scored twice as Borussia Dortmund ruthlessly defeated RB Leipzig 4-1 in Thursday's DFB-Pokal final to win the competition for a fifth time.

England winger Sancho netted at the beginning and end of a sensational first 45 minutes for BVB, who added to their advantage through Haaland between those strikes.

This was an impressive display of strength from a Dortmund side with work still to do to secure Champions League qualification, with Haaland's second late on making sure in Berlin after a superb Dani Olmo hit.

The result means Julian Nagelsmann departs Leipzig for Bayern Munich still without the first major trophy of his career and no doubt keen to forget this missed opportunity.

The moves for the first two Dortmund goals started in the same fashion with Leipzig sloppily gifting possession to Marco Reus near halfway.

After five minutes, he took the ball from Kevin Kampl and set in motion a swift attack that passed through Haaland and Mahmoud Dahoud to reach Sancho, who shaped a gorgeous finish into the bottom-right corner.

There was then little by way of goalmouth action until Reus seized on a loose pass on 28 minutes and again fed Haaland to this time go alone, powering beyond Dayot Upamecano and contorting his body to shoot left-footed past Peter Gulacsi.

And an astonishing first half for Reus and Dortmund was complete when he raced clear on the stroke of half-time and squared for Sancho to calmly score again, the goal awarded after a VAR review overturned an incorrect offside call.

The second period was similarly frantic, albeit now with chances at either end. Christopher Nkunku hit the crossbar 19 seconds after his half-time introduction, while fellow substitute Thorgan Hazard toed agonisingly wide from another Reus pass.

Moments after Leipzig struck the woodwork for the second time, with Emil Forsberg somehow stabbing against the post, Olmo rattled in from outside the area.

Sancho should have had a memorable hat-trick but dallied after rounding Gulacsi and allowed the goalkeeper to recover. He picked out Haaland instead the next time Dortmund broke and a fortuitous finish wrongfooted Gulacsi for number four.

What does the future hold for Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez?

The pair helped Inter to their first Scudetto since 2009-10.

But both could depart San Siro as Inter look to cut costs.

 

TOP STORY – LUKAKU AND LAUTARO TO LEAVE INTER?

Inter could be forced to sell star forwards Romelu Lukaku and Lautaro Martinez, according to Corriere dello Sport.

Antonio Conte's Inter have been crowned Serie A champions this season, but the Nerazzurri have financial problems as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lukaku has been linked with former club Chelsea, Barcelona and Real Madrid, while team-mate Martinez has long been tipped to join Barca.

Alessandro Bastoni is also listed in the report amid links to Manchester City and Liverpool, while star full-back Achraf Hakimi is said to be of interest to Arsenal and Bayern Munich.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Thursday's Mundo Deportivo reports Barca look at the idea of signing City's Sergio Aguero favourably. Aguero is out of contract at season's end and he has been linked with Inter, Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Tottenham. But the Argentina star reportedly wants to play alongside countryman Lionel Messi. A move for Aguero would not prevent Barca from signing fellow free agent and Lyon captain Memphis Depay. Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland is also a target for the LaLiga giants. It comes amid doubts over the future of head coach Ronald Koeman.

Manchester United and Arsenal are battling to sign Sparta Prague sensation Abdallah Sima, claims the Mirror. Sima is reportedly valued at £25million (€29m).

- Sky Sports says United are interested in Juventus defender Cristian Romero, who could cost £34m (€40m). The 23-year-old Argentinian joined Atalanta on a two-year loan deal from Juve and the Serie A side have an option to buy Romero. United have also been linked with Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Lille defender Sven Botman, Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres and Real Madrid duo Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane.

- Former Chelsea boss Frank Lampard could replace Roy Hodgson at Crystal Palace after emerging as a leading contender, according to the Daily Telegraph.

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