Brahim Diaz provided a stunning response to the challenge of deputising for the injured Jude Bellingham by firing Real Madrid to a 1-0 Champions League victory at RB Leipzig.

Diaz’s superb 48th-minute solo effort secured a last-16 win at the Red Bull Arena to put the Spanish side in the driving seat ahead of the second leg at the Bernabeu, although he later limped off in a fresh blow for boss Carlo Ancelotti.

His intervention could hardly have been better timed with 20-goal England international Bellingham facing two to three weeks on the sidelines with a sprained ankle and the 14-time European champions misfiring for long periods in his absence.

Indeed, had Leipzig striker Benjamin Sesko made the most of the chances which came his way and Madrid goalkeeper Andriy Lunin not been in inspired form, the Spaniards might have had significantly more work to do on their own pitch.

The hosts set out their stall from the off when Sesko headed into the net after Xaver Schlager had helped the ball back into the box from Lunin’s punch as he dealt with David Raum’s second-minute corner.

However, the assistant referee’s flag went up immediately and the goal was disallowed, with replays showing Sesko was not offside but team-mate Benjamin Henrichs, who made contact with Lunin, was.

Sesko might have had a hat-trick inside the opening 10 minutes, failing to make the most of Xavi Simons’ fine pass and then firing straight at Lunin, although in the meantime, Real defender Aurelien Tchouameni saw a ninth-minute header cleared off the line, with keeper Peter Gulacsi safely claiming Eduardo Camavinga’s follow-up.

Henrichs tested Lunin from distance, but Toni Kroos responded in kind to keep Gulacsi on his toes after Vinicius Jr had made his first real contribution down the left.

Camavinga got in a vital touch to deflect Sesko’s 20th-minute attempt into the side-netting as Real continued to look vulnerable at the back, with Tchouameni having to make a vital challenge to deny Sesko before Vinicius stabbed wide after exchanging passes with Diaz in stoppage time.

But Bellingham’s replacement broke the deadlock within three minutes of the restart, and he did so in spectacular fashion.

Picking up the ball wide on the right, Diaz span away from Raum and cut inside Simons and then Schlager before curling a left-foot shot across Gulacsi and inside the far post.

Leipzig would have been level almost immediately had Lunin not produced a double save from Dani Olmo and Sesko, and the keeper had to race from his line to prevent Sesko from latching onto Olmo’s excellent through-ball as the Germans fought for a way back into the game.

At the other end, Schlager did just enough to put off Rodrygo as he ran onto Vinicius’ 64th-minute pass after Real had broken at pace, and the Brazilian saw a shot come back off a post after he and Diaz had ripped the home defence to shreds with 19 minutes remaining.

Lunin produced a string of saves to deny Simons, Sesko and Amadou Haidara as Leipzig pushed for an equaliser, but the late assault proved to no avail.

Real Madrid struck twice deep into extra time to book their place in the final of the Spanish Super Cup with a thrilling 5-3 victory over rivals Atletico Madrid in Riyadh.

Carlo Ancelotti’s side looked to be heading out of the competition after Antonio Rudiger’s 78th-minute own goal put Atletico 3-2 up but Dani Carvajal struck with five minutes remaining to send the match into extra time.

The derby seemed destined for a penalty shoot-out until Joselu’s header deflected off Atletico defender Stefan Savic and into the net before Brahim Diaz’s late breakaway goal sealed Real’s spot in the final.

Antione Griezmann had earlier become Atletico’s all-time record goalscorer by netting his 174th goal for the club to make it 2-2 after a pulsating first half which also featured strikes from Mario Hermoso, Rudiger and Ferland Mendy.

Diego Simeone’s men had the first big chance in the sixth minute as Samuel Lino’s whipped effort looked to be heading into the top corner from the edge of the box but goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga was on hand to tip over the crossbar.

The save counted for very little as Atletico hit the front from the resulting corner when Hermoso was left unmarked at the back post to nod into the net from Griezmann’s delivery.

Real swiftly equalised in similar fashion from a corner when Rudiger headed home from Luka Modric’s cross.

Ancelotti’s side turned the game on its head just before the half-hour mark as Carvajal’s pass into the area was cleverly flicked home by Mendy to make it 2-1.

But Atletico responded just seven minutes later when Griezmann slammed into the bottom-left corner from outside the area to seal his place in the club’s history.

Real had a golden opportunity to retake the lead as Rodrygo picked up the ball inside the area and pulled off a clever fake shot to open up the space for him to shoot at goal but Jan Oblak brilliantly dived in front of the effort to somehow keep the scores level.

Atletico came closest to the opening goal of the second period when Lino capitalised on some sloppy play from Real Madrid and burst forward to strike just wide of the far post.

But they did take the lead with 12 minutes left as Kepa failed to deal with a ball into the box which bounced off Rudiger and into the net.

Real were not to be denied though as Carvajal hit back with five minutes to go. Vinicius Jr’s initial effort was kept out by Oblak but the ball fell to Jude Bellingham whose drilled shot was cleared off the line before Carvajal slammed into the top corner.

As spot-kicks loomed on the horizon Real found the killer blow.

Joselu’s flicked header was bundled into his own net by Savic and Ancelotti’s side added the icing on the cake when Diaz won a foot race with Oblak and slotted into an empty net to book Real’s place in the final against either Barcelona or Osasuna.

Second-half goals from Joselu, Brahim Diaz and Rodrygo saw Real Madrid into the last 16 of the Copa del Rey with a 3-1 win over fourth-tier Arandina.

Although the final score looked comfortable, Madrid had to be patient against their lowly opponents, who were able to celebrate getting on the scoresheet with a late own goal from Nacho.

Unsurprisingly, Madrid dominated in every department but they had to wait for a 54th-minute penalty from Joselu to break the deadlock, with Diaz adding another just a minute later as Arandina’s resistance finally cracked.

Rodrygo then added a third in the first minute of stoppage time, but Madrid then blotted their copy book with the own goal allowing the hosts to celebrate before the end.

It was pretty much one-way traffic at El Montecillo throughout the night as Madrid enjoyed 78 per cent possession and had 15 attempts on goal to Arandina’s two.

But the hosts should still take credit for how difficult they made it for their illustrious opponents to score as they defended in numbers and made a series of blocks.

Arda Guler had already been the first to draw a save from Adrian Alvarez before then hitting a post with a free-kick in the 18th minute, but more often than not it was the Arandina defenders who got a foot in before Madrid’s attempts could find their way to goal.

But things changed eight minutes into the second half when Zazu fouled Diaz in the box, giving Joselu an opportunity from the spot that he did not pass up.

Arandina barely had time to gather their thoughts before Diaz doubled the lead, but it did not signal the opening of the floodgates.

A string of substitutions interrupted the flow of the game and allowed Arandina to regroup.

Madrid did have chances to add to their lead, but young Vinicius Tobias had a shot saved before Alvaro Rodriguez headed over from close range.

Having won the penalty and scored the second, Diaz then added an assist to his night’s achievements as he set up Rodrygo’s stoppage-time strike.

Arandina responded by going close through Kevin Manzano before Nacho put through his own net at the death.

Leaders Real Madrid and second-placed Girona remain level on points at the top of LaLiga after both securing victory via late goals on Wednesday.

Real won 1-0 at home against Mallorca, with Antonio Rudiger heading in the only goal in the 78th minute.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men had survived a scare with the visitors hitting the woodwork twice, via Antonio Sanchez and Samu Costa, then did so themselves, with Brahim Diaz heading against a post when looking certain to score, before Rudiger showed greater accuracy.

Girona then kept pace as they emerged triumphant from a thriller, beating Atletico Madrid 4-3 at home thanks to a stoppage-time finish from Ivan Martin.

After Valery’s opener for the home side had been cancelled out by Alvaro Morata, an eventful first half continued with them adding further goals via Savio and Daley Blind.

Morata subsequently made it 3-2 in the 44th minute and completed his hat-trick to draw things level nine minutes into the second half, but Martin then had the final say with a finish into the top corner a minute into time added on at the end.

While Michel’s side join Real on 48 points, Diego Simeone’s Atletico are now 10 points back in third.

There was also a last-gasp winner for Celta Vigo as they came from behind to beat Real Betis 2-1 at home, courtesy of Williot Swedberg’s last-gasp effort.

That moved Celta out of the relegation zone at the expense of Cadiz, who were beaten 2-0 at second-bottom Granada, their first win under Alexander Medina.

Myrto Uzuni and Bryan Zaragoza scored for the hosts either side of Ruben Sobrino being sent off for the visitors as the gap between them reduced to one point.

Real Madrid returned to the top of the LaLiga table with a 2-0 win against struggling Granada.

Rodrygo continued his impressive scoring streak with his seventh goal in his last five Real appearances to seal victory at the Bernabeu following Brahim Diaz’s first-half opener.

It means Real are now tied on 38 points with Girona at the top after Cristhian Stuani’s late brace saw the latter beat Valencia 2-1.

Hugo Duro gave Valencia the lead and they looked set to see out the win, but Stuani levelled in the 82nd minute before completing the comeback by scoring the winner six minutes later.

Osasuna and Real Sociedad settled for a 1-1 draw, while Athletic Bilbao moved into fifth in the table after beating Rayo Vallecano 4-0.

Gorka Guruzeta put them ahead in the first half and they extended their lead after half-time when Alfonso Espino turned the ball into his own net before brothers Inaki Williams and Nico Williams struck in quick succession.

In Serie A, Luka Jovic scored his first AC Milan goal as they beat Frosinone 3-1 at San Siro.

Christian Pulisic scored a superb individual effort and Fikayo Tomori wrapped up the win before Marco Brescianini scored a late consolation for the visitors.

Pedro handed Lazio a 1-0 win against Cagliari, who were reduced to 10 men in the 27th minute when Antoine Makoumbou was sent off.

Matteo Cancellieri earned a point for Empoli as they drew 1-1 with Genoa, who had led through Ruslan Malinovskyi.

Stuttgart closed the gap at the top of the Bundesliga with a 2-0 win against Werder Bremen.

Deniz Undav and Sehrou Guirassy were both on target for Stuttgart, who remain third in the table but are now two points away from second-placed Bayern Munich whose game against Union Berlin was cancelled due to snow.

RB Leipzig sit just behind Stuttgart in fourth following a 2-1 win over Heidenheim, going ahead through Lois Openda and Yussuf Poulsen before Benedikt Gimber pulled one back.

Nathan Ngoumou scored the winner as Borussia Monchengladbach beat Hoffenheim 2-1, while Bochum earned their first home league win of the season with a 3-1 victory against Wolfsburg.

In Ligue 1, Florent Mollet’s goal was the difference for Nantes to beat Nice 1-0, while Lens bounced back from their midweek Champions League thrashing to Arsenal with a 3-2 win against struggling Lyon.

Jake O’Brien gave Lyon the lead, but Wesley Said levelled before Przemyslaw Frankowski’s spot-kick put Lens ahead.

O’Brien equalised in the 72nd minute but Frankowski restored the lead four minutes later and despite going down to 10 in the 90th minute when Florian Sotoca was sent off, Lens held on to heap more misery on bottom-of-the table Lyon.

Rodrygo continued his red-hot form as Real Madrid returned to the top of LaLiga following a routine 2-0 win over struggling Granada.

The Brazil forward rifled home his seventh goal in his last five Real appearances to seal victory at Santiago Bernabeu following Brahim Diaz’s first-half opener.

Carlo Ancelotti’s men kicked off on Saturday evening having slipped to second in the table due to Girona’s 2-1 success over Valencia earlier in the day.

Yet they swiftly regained first place, above the Catalan club on head-to-head-results, following a straightforward success over the division’s second-bottom side.

England midfielder Jude Bellingham once again impressed but was unable to add to his 15 goals this season and picked up a first-half yellow card for dissent.

Victory for the hosts stretched their unbeaten streak in all competitions to 13 matches, dating back to the 3-1 derby defeat at Atletico Madrid in September.

Real were back in domestic action after maintaining their 100 per cent Champions League record with Wednesday’s 4-2 success over Serie A champions Napoli.

Their early dominance was rewarded with a 26th-minute lead.

Toni Kroos split the visitors’ defence with a fine first-time pass, allowing former Manchester City man Diaz to claim his third goal of the season by calmly lifting the ball over Granada’s substitute goalkeeper Andre Ferreira.

Bellingham wanted a penalty in the final minute of the half when he went down under a robust lunging challenge from Ignasi Miquel but his animated appeals were waved away by the referee.

Real initially looked content with their slender advantage during a fairly subdued start to the second period.

However, their slow, patient play was rewarded with a second goal in the 57th minute.

Bellingham looked certain to score following a cut back from the lively Diaz but Ferreira, who replaced the injured Raul Fernandez after 10 minutes, pulled off an impressive save, only to see the in-form Rodrygo emphatically lash home the rebound.

Granada’s sole success this season came at home to Mallorca back in August.

The away side never looked likely to set up a grandstand finish and did not manage an attempt on target as the hosts continued to monopolise the ball.

Federico Valverde went close to adding to Real’s advantage but he was denied by a superb one-handed save from Ferreira following a delightful pass from Bellingham.

Real Madrid cruised into the knockout stages of the Champions League with a 3-0 win over Braga.

After overcoming an early scare when Alvaro Djalo missed a penalty for the visitors, the 14-time European champions took the lead through Brahim Diaz in the 27th minute and then seized control early in the second half as Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo added to the score line.

A fourth win out of four in Group C, and ninth straight game at home without defeat in the Champions League, saw Real book their place in the last-16 with two games to spare.

With the hosts needing only a point to be sure of progression, Carlo Ancelotti took the opportunity to rest a number of regulars.

Jude Bellingham was on the bench after suffering a blow to the shoulder at the weekend, while David Alaba and Dani Carvajal were also among the substitutes.

It was a dramatic start to the match as Braga were awarded a penalty just four minutes in, with Lucas Vazquez pulling Cristian Borja back by the shirt and earning a yellow card for his troubles.

But Real avoided further punishment with goalkeeper Andriy Lunin equal to a weak spot-kick from Djalo.

The home side wanted a penalty of their own moments later when Rodrygo went down under a challenge from Sikou Niakate but the referee waved play on.

Diaz, who replaced Bellingham in the side, thought he had scored in the 12th minute following a mistake from Niakate, sweeping home Rodrygo’s pass, but the Brazilian was deemed guilty of a foul in the build-up.

Braga were appealing for another penalty in the 20th minute when Vazquez barged into Bruma, but the winger had already lost control of the ball as he tried to punish a wayward header from the defender.

The hosts went straight to the other end where Federico Valverde blazed over but the goal was coming and arrived in the 27th minute when Rodrygo pulled the ball back for Diaz to lift into the roof of the net.

Rodrygo had a chance to double the lead before half-time but shot straight at Matheus from the left.

Diaz was close to a second 10 minutes into the second half after Vinicius cut the ball back, but his first effort was stopped by the goalkeeper and his follow-up shot blocked by Jose Fonte.

Real were turning up the heat, and the second goal came in the 58th minute as Vinicius finished off a neat move, cutting past Fonte and finding the bottom corner.

And they killed the game off three minutes later, hitting Braga on the break as Rodrygo exchanged passes with Vinicius before lifting the ball over the goalkeeper.

Braga dropped back in numbers to ensure there was no fourth on the night and almost got a goal of their own in stoppage time through Abel Ruiz’s header, which was well saved by Lunin.

Goals in either half from Brahim Diaz and Joselu ensured Real Madrid returned to winning ways with a 2-0 victory over Las Palmas at the Bernabeu.

Las Palmas goalkeeper Alvaro Valles pulled off a series of magnificent saves to keep the favourites at bay until Diaz’s strike in first-half stoppage time gave Carlo Ancelotti’s side a lead they did not relinquish.

Joselu’s strike nine minutes into the second half made sure of Real’s sixth win from their opening seven games in LaLiga as they bounced back from Sunday’s 3-1 derby defeat to neighbours Atletico.

Real Madrid fashioned the first opportunity of the match in the sixth minute when Rodrygo latched on to a through ball from Diaz, but the Brazilian’s effort was met by the legs of Valles.

The home side struggled to click into gear early on but came close to an opener 20 minutes in when Antonio Rudiger whipped a ball into Joselu, but the Spaniard’s powerful strike was once again saved by Valles.

It seemed only a matter of time before Real Madrid got their goal but Valles was doing all he could to keep it level, this time denying Nacho at the far post.

The hosts may have been wondering if it was not their day after Federico Valverde set Joselu free on goal but his one-on-one effort was denied by Valles once again.

But Real finally broke the deadlock in first-half stoppage time when Lucas Vazquez’s pass found Diaz inside the area and he lashed into the top corner to give the home side a half-time lead.

Las Palmas were up against it in the first period but started brightly after the break, working the first opportunity of the half when Munir El Haddadi’s goalbound curling effort was well blocked.

Real doubled their advantage 54 minutes in after Rodrygo’s curling cross was expertly glanced home by Joselu.

Vinicius Junior came off the bench for his first appearance in a month after recovering from a hamstring injury and had a small glimpse of goal but saw his half-chance blocked.

Real seemed content with their two-goal advantage and Las Palmas had another shot on target but Kirian Rodriguez’s long range effort was comfortably saved by Kepa Arrizabalaga as the hosts claimed all three points.

The race for Jude Bellingham's signature continues, with Liverpool having pulled out last week.

Numerous top clubs are keen on the 19-year-old England international who is contracted with Borussia Dortmund until 2025.

Bellingham signed his initial deal with Dortmund in 2020 but is set for a major pay rise if he moves or pens fresh terms.

TOP STORY – MADRID TO USE DIAZ IN BELLINGHAM DEAL

Real Madrid are plotting a potential player swap-plus-cash deal to land Jude Bellingham in the off-season, according to Cadena SER.

Los Blancos are investigating potentially using Brahim Diaz, currently on loan at Milan, in a deal to help reduce Dortmund's reported €150 million asking price.

Madrid are currently in the process of extending the stays of veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City are preparing a new contract offer for Erling Haaland to ward off rivals interest from top clubs such as Real Madrid, claims The Athletic.

- Rafael Leao wants to stay with Milan following interest from Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain, according to Manchester Evening News.

- Newcastle United have established contact with Ousmane Dembele's representatives to discuss a move for the Barcelona winger, claims 90min.

- Arsenal and Newcastle United are both interested in Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, per Le10Sport.

- The Telegraph reports Chelsea have opted against pursing Luis Enrique as their new manager, instead turning their attention to former Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino. The Guardian claims Julian Nagelsmann remains Chelsea's top candidate.

- Tottenham will swoop on Chelsea's decision and look to appoint Enrique as Antonio Conte's replacement, according to The Express.

Rafael Leao scored two brilliant goals as Milan stunned Serie A leaders Napoli with a crushing 4-0 victory at the Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Sunday.

Leao netted either side of a close-range strike from Brahim Diaz, opening the scoring with a lobbed one-on-one finish before doubling up with a powerful effort on the break.

With Serie A's leading marksman Victor Osimhen out injured, Napoli applied plenty of pressure but lacked cutting edge, and Alexis Saelemaekers added some gloss with a fine solo goal for the Scudetto holders.

The result saw Milan take advantage of Inter's loss to Fiorentina by going third in the table, and Stefano Pioli will hope it represents a sign of things to come ahead of the teams' upcoming Champions League quarter-final tie.

Giovanni Simeone – starting in place of Osimhen – missed the first clear chance when he fired over from 12 yards out, but it was Milan who struck first after 17 minutes.

Leao raced onto Diaz's throughball before dinking an impudent finish over Alex Meret, silencing the home crowd and ending his 11-game goal drought at club level. 

Things got even better for the Rossoneri eight minutes later, with Diaz sitting Mario Rui down after controlling Ismael Bennacer's left-wing cross before finishing high into the roof of the net.

Mike Maignan made strong saves to thwart Piotr Zielinski and Rui as Napoli looked to hit back, while Olivier Giroud went close to finding the bottom-right corner after the interval.

Despite Napoli dominating possession, Milan went further ahead when Leao capped a lightning break by tricking his way past Amir Rrahmani and lashing into the top-right corner.

With Napoli all at sea defensively, Saelemaekers added a memorable strike of his own, dancing through several Partenopei challenges before prodding beyond Meret after 67 minutes.

Thomas Tuchel has been out of a job since being sacked by Chelsea in September but could be on the brink of a return to action. 

The German has previously led top European clubs Borussia Dortmund, Paris Saint-Germain and the Blues, whom he took to the 2020-21 Champions League title.

The 49-year-old has been linked with numerous vacant posts in recent months but reportedly turned down two Premier League offers.

TOP STORY – PSG WILLING TO ADMIT TUCHEL ERROR

PSG have grown frustrated with head coach Christophe Galtier and are ready to move to re-appoint Thomas Tuchel, claims the Evening Standard.

The club sacked Tuchel in December 2020 after two and a half years in charge with the best win percentage in Ligue 1 history.

But PSG are reportedly willing to admit their mistake in letting him go as they try to convince Tuchel to return following their recent run of three straight defeats, which was ended by Sunday's 4-3 win over Lille.

The report claims Tuchel would need assurances from the club, but it is the type of role he has been waiting for, joining a top side competing for major trophies.

 

ROUND-UP

– Real Madrid winger Marco Asensio is being monitored by Tottenham, according to Football Insider. Spurs will need to compete with Arsenal and Manchester United for the 27-year-old, who is out of contract at the end of this season.

Arsenal, Chelsea and Manchester United are all circling for Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram, reports Talksport. The Athletic claims Thuram will exit Gladbach in the off-season as a free agent, with Bayern Munich also interested.

– Relevo reports Bayern are weighing up a move for Real Madrid midfielder Dani Ceballos, with head coach Julian Nagelsmann an admirer, although no contact has been made yet.

– ESPN claims Manchester United and teenage sensation Alejandro Garnacho have agreed in principle to a new five-year contract, warding off interest.

Manchester United will need to fork out €80million (£71m) to land Tammy Abraham from Roma, reports Calciomercatoweb.

Juventus will move for Real Madrid winger Brahim Diaz after this season, claims Calciomercatoweb. Diaz is currently on loan at Milan, but the Rossoneri will not trigger their option to buy him.

Brahim Diaz's first goal since October gave Milan a 1-0 victory over Tottenham in the first leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie.

Diaz had gone 12 games without a goal for the Serie A champions but stunned Spurs with an early header on Tuesday.

Tottenham saw plenty of the ball but were unable to come up with an equaliser on former Inter boss Antonio Conte's return to San Siro.

Milan had been without a win in seven matches before beating Torino last Friday, but Diaz gave them back-to-back victories and a slender advantage to take into the second leg at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on March 8.

San Siro erupted when Diaz opened the scoring in the seventh minute, diving to nod in on the goal-line after Fraser Forster produced a brilliant double save to deny the Spaniard and Theo Hernandez.

Spurs responded well to that early blow, though did not create a clear-cut opportunity until Harry Kane rattled the crossbar just before the break, but an offside flag against Son Heung-Min meant the striker's effort would not have counted if it had found the back of the net.

There was concern for Milan when goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu appeared to go over on his ankle before Eric Dier was shown a yellow card that will rule him out of the second leg.

Conte introduced Richarlison with 20 minutes to go before Charles De Ketelaere and Malick Thiaw wasted glorious chances to extend Milan's lead with headers from close range.

Tottenham applied some late pressure, but lacked the quality to salvage a draw and have work to do next month.

Lionel Messi has been linked with a blockbuster move to MLS club Inter Miami.

The Times report that the US franchise, co-owned by David Beckham, are ready to make Messi the highest-paid player in MLS history.

Messi is out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season and has also been linked with a move to his former club Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY - MESSI AND BUSQUETS COULD BE BOUND FOR MIAMI

Barcelona midfielder Sergio Busquets is set to join ex-team-mate Lionel Messi at MLS club Inter Miami, according to Cope.

The 34-year-old Spain captain is out of contract at the end of this season and has been weighing up his future at Camp Nou.

Messi and Busquets spent more than a decade together at the Blaugrana and could re-unite in Florida, where the Argentina great regularly vacations at a house he owns.

ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports Manchester United are exploring a January loan move for Chelsea's Christian Pulisic. Newcastle United and Arsenal have also been linked with the United States international by the Mail.

- Chelsea have been keeping a close watch on Bayer Leverkusen's Ecuadora centre-back Piero Hincapie during the World Cup, reports the Mirror.

- Fichajes claims that Real Madrid's German midfielder Toni Kroos has rejected the chance to move to Manchester City.

- Newcastle will move for 18-year-old Vasco da Gama midfielder Andrey Santos in January, according to the Northern Echo.

- Milan are eager to discuss lowering the €22m purchase option fee for on-loan midfielder Brahim Diaz with parent club Real Madrid, reports La Gazzetta dello Sport. The Spaniard's two-year loan deal is due to expire at the end of the season.

Brahim Diaz, Divock Origi and Rafael Leao fired Milan to a 4-1 win over Serie A new boys Monza – the club run by Silvio Berlusconi and Adriano Galliani.

The off-field power-brokers at Milan for over 30 years, owner Berlusconi and CEO Galliani have succeeded in taking Monza into the Italian top flight, but this was a reminder of how far they still have to come.

Diaz scored twice in the first half to put Scudetto holders Milan in charge at the break, and former Liverpool striker Divock Origi opened his account for the club to extend their lead.

Filippo Ranocchia reduced the deficit with a spectacular strike, but Leao had the final say, with Monza unable to reprise the level of performance that earned them a shock win over Juventus last month.

Diaz waltzed through the Monza defence in the 16th minute to open the scoring, surging from halfway before skilfully directing the ball past Michele Di Gregorio when coming under a last-ditch challenge.

Monza's Dany Mota should have levelled in the 28th minute but sent his close-range flying header straight at Milan goalkeeper Ciprian Tatarusanu.

Diaz doubled Milan's lead in the 41st minute when he collected a pass from Origi, stepped past defender Luca Caldirola and lashed a fierce right-footed strike across Di Gregorio and inside the left post.

Suffering with an apparent hamstring problem, Diaz was substituted early in the second half and was replaced by Charles de Ketelaere. Origi rifled the third goal in fine style in the 65th minute, lashing into the top-right corner from the edge of the penalty area.

Ranocchia pulled one back with a 30-yard free-kick in the 65th minute that Tatarusanu reached but could not keep out, before Leao swept home Milan's fourth from 15 yards in the 84th minute.

Brahim Diaz has no idea if he will return to Real Madrid at the end of the season as he tries to force his way into Spain's World Cup squad by starring for Milan.

Diaz is in his third season on loan at San Siro and scored his second goal of the campaign in a 2-0 win over Juventus on Saturday.

The Serie A champions would reportedly have to pay €22million to sign the midfielder on a permanent basis.

Diaz is unsure where he will be playing beyond this season and the 23-year-old is not thinking about his future as he strives to win more trophies for the Rossoneri. 

He said: "Now I am focused on Milan. What happens later, that has to happen. The future will be seen, we don't know what can happen tomorrow, I'm at Milan and I want to perform and give 100 per cent.

"The fans love me a lot. I'm at a great club and I'm focused on the next game and focused on Milan."

Diaz scored in his only senior appearance for his country in a 4-0 thrashing of Lithuania last year and has not given up hope of playing in the upcoming World Cup in Qatar.

He added: "I have no plans in November. I am very much looking forward to it.

"Going with the national team is a pride and it is one of the objectives. It would be amazing to go to Qatar.”

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