Manchester City are reportedly yet to begin talks over a move for Lionel Messi, while Erling Haaland is Barcelona's ideal signing.

Messi's future continues to be a major talking point as the star's contract at Barcelona expires at the end of the season.

City have been one of the clubs most strongly linked with a move for the six-time Ballon d'Or winner, but it seems the Premier League giants are waiting.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY YET TO BEGIN MESSI TALKS

Manchester City are yet to open talks with Lionel Messi, according to ESPN.

The report says City will wait until the Argentina international has decided his Barcelona future before considering negotiations.

It comes after claims the Premier League side had already tabled an offer to Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

- Erling Haaland is wanted by numerous European giants. Mundo Deportivo reports the Borussia Dortmund star would be Barcelona's ideal signing, but the LaLiga side are considering more affordable options.

- Manchester United were seemingly keen to land Barcelona forward Ansu Fati last year. Mundo Deportivo says a £129.7million (€150m) bid from United for the 18-year-old was rejected ahead of 2020-21.

- With Tottenham slipping to ninth in the Premier League, Jose Mourinho has come under fire. ESPN reports Spurs chairman Daniel Levy will wait until the end of the season to make a decision on the head coach.

- Out of contract at the end of the season, Gianluigi Donnarumma is yet to agree to a new deal with Milan. 90min claims the 21-year-old wants to succeed Manchester United shot-stopper David de Gea as the highest paid goalkeeper in the world, although he is prepared to take reduced terms at Milan.

- Thierry Henry could be set to take over at Bournemouth. talkSPORT reports the Championship club have requested permission from CF Montreal, where Henry is currently in charge, to talk to the Arsenal great.

Atletico Madrid coach Diego Simeone believes any club signing Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland would become a "super team".

Paris Saint-Germain star Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund forward Haaland have been linked to numerous European giants.

Real Madrid have been credited with an interest in both and coach Zinedine Zidane talked up the duo's talent on Friday.

Simeone feels the pair could work together, and said they could create an incredible team.

"They are two great players who have different characteristics. They can be compatible playing together," he told a news conference.

"And the team who can afford to have them both together, they would have a super team."

Atletico are six points clear atop LaLiga and have a game in hand ahead of hosting Levante on Saturday.

Zinedine Zidane enjoyed watching Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland in Champions League action, though he refused to be drawn over his preference amid links to Real Madrid.

Mbappe lit up the start of the knockout stages of the European competition with a hat-trick for Paris Saint-Germain against Madrid's domestic rivals Barcelona on Tuesday, helping the French club record an outstanding 4-1 triumph at Camp Nou.

Just 24 hours later, Haaland continued his astonishing scoring exploits in the Champions League, becoming the fastest player to reach 10 goals for one club as he struck twice for Borussia Dortmund in a 3-2 victory away to Sevilla in the last 16.

Both young forwards have been rumoured as transfer targets for Madrid, so it was hardly surprising they were a topic of discussion for Zidane during his pre-match media conference ahead of Saturday's LaLiga trip to Real Valladolid.

Asked for his assessment of fellow Frenchman Mbappe, he replied: "I think the performance he put in earlier this week was marvellous. 

"I loved seeing what he did because we know each other from France.

"It's very good for football, I watched the game as a fan. I had a very good time watching it. He has a lot of good movement, a lot of good play."

French media has claimed Mbappe has been offered a new long-term deal to remain at PSG. The 22-year-old's current contract runs until 2022, which is the same year Haaland can leave Dortmund for €75million (£65m), according to a reported agreement with the Bundesliga club.

Madrid head coach Zidane, however, was not interested in revealing which of the duo he ranked higher.

"Like I said, what I like is just watching football. I just like watching good football, good players on the pitch," he said. 

"Two tremendous players, for now and the future. That's it. I'm not going to say who I prefer over the other. Everyone has their opinion."

The continued rise of Mbappe and Haaland as superstars has led to suggestions they can step in and become the next great pairing, taking over from the longstanding rivalry between Madrid legend Cristiano Ronaldo and Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

"They are quality players both of them, just like Messi and Cristiano," Zidane said. "Neymar, all these world class players, they're just like them.

"They're younger, they're demonstrating they are not just players for the future but players for the present."

 

Barcelona may be in a financial position to move for Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland at the end of the season, according to presidential candidate Joan Laporta.

Haaland's stock continues to rise following Wednesday's double for Dortmund in their 3-2 Champions League last-16 first-leg win over Sevilla.

That made the Norway international the quickest player to reach double figures for goals in the competition for a single club, doing so in just seven matches - three games fewer than Roy Makaay for Bayern Munich between 2003 and 2004.

He has now scored a double in three successive Champions League games, having also netted twice against Club Brugge in the group stage.

Former Salzburg star Haaland has 18 goals in 13 games in the competition overall, which is a tally only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski can match since the start of 2019-20.

That type of scoring form has seen Haaland strongly linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Juventus and Barcelona.

Despite Barca's well-known financial struggles amid the coronavirus pandemic, Laporta - who has close links to Haaland's agent Mino Raiola - is not ruling out a possible move.

"If we have to improve the football team, I have the cards and I'm ready to play them," he said in direct response to the links with the 20-year-old attacker.

"It's because of the experience and the knowledge I have of the people who could intervene in all these situations.

"I want to send a message of calm to the Barcelona fans - we will be economically sustainable again."

Laporta is one of three remaining candidates in the running to take over as Barca's next president, along with Victor Font and Toni Freixa.

The elections were originally due to take place in January but had to be pushed back to March 7 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Erling Haaland thanked Paris Saint-Germain's hat-trick hero Kylian Mbappe for inspiring the Borussia Dortmund forward to score a double in Wednesday's Champions League win against Sevilla.

Haaland cannot stop scoring in Europe's premier club competition, netting a first-half brace in Dortmund's 3-2 away victory in the opening leg of the last-16 tie, and taking his Champions League tally to 18 goals in 13 games.

The 20-year-old has scored 41 goals in 42 games since joining the German outfit from Austrian club Salzburg in 2019, and he continues to turn heads across Europe with his prolific scoring form amid links to the likes of Real Madrid and Manchester City.

After watching Mbappe decimate Barcelona during PSG's 4-1 win at Camp Nou on Tuesday, Haaland used the French star's scintillating performance as motivation to get his own scoring boots on.

"It was good to score goals. I love the Champions League and when I saw [Kylian] Mbbape score the hat-trick yesterday I got free motivation so thanks to him," Haaland said.

"I saw Mbappe yesterday and he scored some nice goals and I got a free boost from him."

In scoring his 10th Champions League goal in seven appearances for Dortmund, Haaland reached the milestone quicker than any other player in competition history, beating Roy Makaay's record of 10 goals in 10 games for Bayern Munich in 2003-04.

Haaland also becomes only the fifth player to notch a brace in three straight Champions League games, joining the company of Filippo Inzaghi, Giovane Elber, Robert Lewandowski and Cristiano Ronaldo – the latter has achieved the feat on three occasions.

No player has scored more Champions League goals than Haaland since the start of last season's competition, with Bayern forward Lewandowski equalling his 18-goal tally.

After 13 career games in the competition, Haaland has 10 more goals than the next highest scorers – Raul and Karim Benzema with eight. Lionel Messi had scored three goals after 13 games, while Ronaldo had none.

While Haaland is scoring goals and setting records, the Norway international has no intention of slowing down when Dortmund host the Spanish outfit in the second leg on March 10.

"We have three away goals and that's quite important," he added. "We have to attack the game at home against Sevilla and we have to keep going."

Borussia Dortmund interim head coach Edin Terzic hailed two-goal hero Erling Haaland, highlighting his team ethic in the 3-2 Champions League win against Sevilla.

Haaland scored a brace to fuel Dortmund to a first-leg victory in Tuesday's last-16 tie at Europa League holders Sevilla.

The Norway sensation became the fastest player to reach 10 goals for one team in Champions League history, having reached double figures for Dortmund in just his seventh appearance.

Heavily linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United and Juventus, Terzic heaped praise on the 20-year-old forward.

"As a coach you always try to tell him [Erling Haaland] something before the game," Terzic told reporters.

"You think about how you bring your strengths onto the pitch. Today we left him with fewer defensive duties and tried to let him stay in the centre of the pitch. We knew that Sevilla would take risks and try and bring the ball out via their central defenders. And then there would be a one-on-one possible with their rest of the defence.

"We wanted to have Erling in a good position when there was a counterattack on for us. It worked very well and he got the reward of the two goals. But we are more proud of what he did for the team, how he fought, how he kept the ball.

"It's outstanding that he scored the two goals. The way he was playing for the team today was exactly what we needed. But everybody deserves the same words.

"It was a good team performance and Erling contributed to that."

For a third successive European game, Haaland managed to score a brace – he had also found the net twice in back-to-back fixtures against Club Brugge in the group stage. Only four other players have achieved the feat, with the in-demand forward joining illustrious company. 

Cristiano Ronaldo has managed it no fewer than three times, along with former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich's Giovane Elber and two-time Champions League winner Filippo Inzaghi.

Haaland now has 18 goals in 13 appearances in the competition – a tally that only Lewandowski can match since the start of the 2019-20 season.

To put his scoring exploits in perspective, Ronaldo failed to find the net in his first 13 Champions League games, while Lionel Messi managed three goals across the same number.

Erling Haaland credited Edin Terzic after he scored twice in a 3-2 comeback victory over Sevilla in the Champions League, saying he has been "talking a lot" with the interim Borussia Dortmund coach.

Terzic, who has endured a difficult spell since taking charge in December, enjoyed an improved performance from his players as they cancelled out Suso's early strike with a goal from Mahmoud Dahoud before a brace from Haaland gave his side a 3-1 lead at half-time.

Luuk de Jong's late strike ensured Sevilla retain some hope of reaching the quarter-finals as they prepare for the return leg in Dortmund, but Haaland reflected on an improved performance from his team-mates.

"I felt like, I don't know if you can say it's down to motivation or passion or whatever, but we were more online today," Haaland, whose side arrived in Seville having won just one of their previous six matches in LaLiga, told DAZN.

"It was good. It was not good to let in two goals, but it is good to score three away goals and take them with us.

"We had a good plan. Edin has been good and I've been talking a lot with him. He said today would be my game and that I would get my chances and I did, so it was an important win."

With Dortmund in action against Schalke in the Bundesliga on Saturday, Haaland added: "We have to recover quickly now. We've got a big game ahead this weekend.

"We have to take this positive mindset into that game because we have to win that one as well, but it was really nice to win tonight in Spain."

Sevilla head coach Julen Lopetegui felt his side deserved more from the game, which saw them defeated for the first time in 11 matches in all competitions.

Dahoud's strike was the first goal Sevilla had conceded in nine matches, and Lopetegui felt Haaland gave the visitors the edge.

"The result is not good," he told Canal Sur. "But there is one game left and we hold on to that possibility.

"We have not deserved to lose, but in the end they have one of the best players in the world who has made a difference in three situations that we could have avoided.

"It is a very harsh punishment. We deserved the draw."

Erling Haaland became the fastest player to reach 10 goals for one team in Champions League history as he played a leading role for Borussia Dortmund against Sevilla on Wednesday.  

The Norwegian was on target twice in the opening half as Dortmund impressively recovered after falling behind in the first leg of the last-16 tie.  

Suso's seventh-minute opener put Sevilla on top, only for Mahmoud Dahoud to equalise with a long-range attempt.  

Haaland bravely converted Jadon Sancho's throughball to put the visitors ahead at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, then added another before the break as he clinically finished off a flowing counter-attacking move, placing in a shot from Marco Reus' pass.  

The two-goal salvo lifted him to double figures for Dortmund in the Champions League in just his seventh appearance. Roy Makaay was previously the quickest to do so for one club, managing it in 10 games for Bayern Munich.

For a third successive European game, Haaland managed to score a brace. He had also found the net twice in back-to-back fixtures against Club Brugge in the group stage. Only four other players have achieved the feat, with the 20-year-old joining illustrious company. 

Cristiano Ronaldo has managed it no fewer than three times, along with former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, Bayern legend Giovane Elber and two-time Champions League winner Filippo Inzaghi.

Haaland now has 18 goals in 13 appearances in the competition – a tally that only Lewandowski can match since the start of the 2019-20 season.

To put his scoring exploits in perspective, Ronaldo failed to find the net in his first 13 Champions League games, while Lionel Messi managed three goals across the same number.

Erling Haaland extended his record of scoring against every side he has faced in the Champions League as he struck twice to help Borussia Dortmund come from behind and win 3-2 at Sevilla. 

The visitors fell behind to an early Suso strike in the first leg of the last-16 tie but then laid siege to the Sevilla goal, scoring three times in 24 minutes. 

Haaland assisted Mahmoud Dahoud to score his first Champions League goal before the Norway striker then netted a brace to take his Dortmund tally to 10 in the competition, though Sevilla had the last word with a late Luuk de Jong strike in reply. 

No player has reached double figures in the Champions League for a club in fewer games than Haaland's seven, and while the form guide may have made Sevilla favourites, he showed his match-winning qualities on Europe's biggest stage.

Suso opened the scoring after seven minutes when his attempt made it beyond Marwin Hitz via a wicked deflection off Mats Hummels' foot. 

Sevilla then invited pressure, allowing Haaland to skip through midfield and pick out Dahoud, whose powerful drive hit the top right corner of the net. 

Haaland stormed through Sevilla's half again eight minutes later, only pausing to play a one-two with Jadon Sancho before sliding in to convert from close range. 

The 20-year-old finished a sweeping Dortmund move on the cusp of half-time to extend the lead, applying a first-time left-footed finish to Marco Reus' pass. 

Sergio Escudero rolled a shot narrowly wide from 10 yards as Sevilla sought to claw their way back in during the second half, while substitute Oscar Rodriguez sent a curling free-kick crashing onto the post. 

De Jong did volley a Rodriguez pass into the far corner of the net from close range with six minutes left on the clock to narrow the deficit - a goal that could prove crucial if Sevilla can get a result in the return fixture. 
 

What does it mean? Sevilla's dream hanging by a thread 

With a place in LaLiga's top four looking well within reach this season, Sevilla had their sights set on making it to the Champions League quarter-finals for only the second time. 

Head coach Julen Lopetegui will have to summon a drastic improvement from his players if they are to overturn the deficit in Dortmund, where they will need at least two goals to have a chance of progressing. 

Haaland fast becoming Europe's best 

Haaland has scored 18 Champions League goals since the beginning of the 2019-20 season, putting him level with Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski as the competition's top scorer in that period. 

Sevilla forwards fall flat 

Despite lining up with a front three, Sevilla mustered just two shots on target in the first half and the same number again after the interval – a tally that does not bode well for the second leg, despite the late strike from De Jong reducing the deficit. 

What's next? 

Dortmund travel to Schalke for a game against the Bundesliga's bottom club on Saturday, while Sevilla are not in action again until they face Osasuna in LaLiga on Monday. 

Kylian Mbappe is "further away from Real Madrid than ever before" despite slaying Barcelona, according to former Santiago Bernabeu sporting director Jorge Valdano.

Mbappe netted a stunning hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed an overmatched Barca 4-1 in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on Tuesday.

Such a performance will undoubtedly further endear the France forward to the Madrid faithful and he has been frequently linked with a move to the Spanish capital.

The 22-year-old's contract at PSG expires at the end of next season, however Valdano believes his Camp Nou heroics have given him leverage to demand the sort of wage only the Ligue 1 giants are in a position to afford.

"After this, Mbappe is further from Real Madrid than ever before," the ex-Argentina international told Onda Cero.

"He can ask for a €30million salary, the same as Neymar, and only PSG can offer that amount."

Another factor in Mbappe's favour, Valdano suggested, was that a forlorn Lionel Messi - who opened the scoring from the penalty spot - might now hold less appeal when his Barca deal expires in June and PSG consider how they might fill their ample budget.

"I don’t see PSG very interested right now in swapping Mbappe for Messi," he said. "Mbappe changed the scale of values ​."

Valdano feels Madrid should turn their attention to Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland, whose prolific exploits remind him of Argentina's 1978 World Cup hero.

"Mbappe is more complete than Haaland, but I think Madrid needs a scorer like the Norwegian," he added.

"Haaland is the Mario Kempes of the 21st century."

Real Madrid are reportedly planning a €90million move for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland ahead of next season.

Haaland, 20, is being targeted by Europe's biggest clubs after starring for the Bundesliga outfit.

Madrid are ready to make a move for Haaland ahead of 2021-22.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID PLAN €90M HAALAND MOVE

Real Madrid are plotting a €90m move for Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to ABC.

The report says the LaLiga giants will attempt to get Luka Jovic, who is on loan at Eintracht Frankfurt, or Mariano Diaz to be part of the deal.

Haaland has scored 23 goals in as many games for Dortmund this season.

ROUND-UP

- After landing Dayot Upamecano, Bayern Munich have other targets in mind. Bild reports the Bundesliga giants are also interested in Norwich City full-back Max Aarons, Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Florian Neuhaus, Rennes' Eduardo Camavinga and Lucien Agoume, who is on loan at Spezia from Inter. The Daily Mail also says Bayern are stepping up their pursuit of Aarons.

- David Luiz looks set to extend his Arsenal stay. The Independent claims the Premier League side are set to offer the defender another extension, with his deal expiring at season's end.

- Staying at Arsenal and Alexandre Lacazette's future at the club seems uncertain. The Daily Express reports Arsenal have been told they can sign Celtic striker Odsonne Edouard for just £15m.

- Without a club since leaving Trabzonspor in March last year, Daniel Sturridge has been offered to Newcastle United, according to 90min. West Brom and Sheffield United are also reportedly interested in Sturridge.

Thomas Tuchel insists Chelsea will conduct business behind closed doors after refusing to comment on the club's reported interest in Erling Haaland and Dayot Upamecano.

The German head coach was hired to replace Frank Lampard less than a week before the January transfer window closed and the Blues did not make any mid-season signings.

The 47-year-old will need to wait until the off-season before adding his own recruits and Borussia Dortmund's prolific striker Haaland and highly rated RB Leipzig defender Upamecano are two of the players the Blues are rumoured to be monitoring.

When asked about the reports, Tuchel said he is focused on developing his own centre-backs and forwards before discussing any new players arriving at Stamford Bridge.

"I can understand your interest in the question and the interest of every fan and supporter to talk about these subjects," said Tuchel.

"I am always a fan and am interested in what's going on. But now it is February and there is a long way to go.

"As you get to know me, you will know I will not talk about other players publicly when they are under contract. This is the type of respect we show to them but also to our own players.

"We think about our central defenders and strikers first and push them to the limits. Everything else will be decided behind closed doors. I'm sorry."

After signing an 18-month contract with the west London club, Tuchel has led the Blues to three wins and a draw from his four Premier League games in charge.

Chelsea travel to face Championship club Barnsley in the FA Cup fifth round at Oakwell on Thursday, before returning to league action against Newcastle United on Monday.

Chelsea are not giving up in their pursuit of Bayern Munich star David Alaba.

Alaba, 28, is linked with numerous European giants, with Real Madrid reportedly leading the race to sign the defender.

But it seems Chelsea are unwilling to give up.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA STILL EYEING MADRID TARGET ALABA

Chelsea will attempt to hijack Real Madrid's move for Bayern Munich defender Alaba, according to The Guardian.

It was reported Alaba, who is out of contract at the end of the season, had agreed to a four-year deal with Madrid.

Chelsea have been linked with numerous centre-backs.

Goal reports the Premier League club's signing plans are linked to Bayern Munich's transfer plans as the Bundesliga giants are favourites to sign RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano.

Upamecano and Niklas Sule, another Bayern defender, are also said to be targets for Chelsea.

 

ROUND-UP

- Can Manchester City land Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland? The Daily Star reports City bosses believe winning the Premier League will help them beat Chelsea to Haaland in a £100million (€114m) deal.

- Tottenham have won just two of their past 10 Premier League matches, leading to talk about Jose Mourinho's future. The Telegraph reports the Spurs head coach is under pressure but not in imminent danger of being sacked.

- Manchester United are targeting a deal for Norwich City right-back Max Aarons as they seek competition for Aaron Wan-Bissaka, according to the Daily Express.

- Following Andre Villas-Boas' exit, Marseille are looking for a new coach. Le 10 Sport reports Atletico Mineiro boss Jorge Sampaoli is the favourite to take charge of the Ligue 1 club.

Is Erling Haaland's future becoming clearer?

Haaland's exploits for Borussia Dortmund have attracted interest from far and wide.

But Manchester City appear to be the frontrunners for his signature…

 

TOP STORY – CITY LINING UP BIG HAALAND BID

Manchester City are confident of landing Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland in a £100million (€114m) deal, according to the front page of Friday's Mirror.

Haaland is one of the most sought-after players in Europe, having been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, Liverpool, Barcelona, Manchester United and Juventus.

But City believe winning this season's Premier League will help them sign Haaland at the end of the campaign.

 

ROUND-UP

- Goal claims Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi will wait until season's end before deciding his future. Messi has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain and City on a free transfer.

Sergio Aguero is tempted by a move to Barca if Messi remains at Camp Nou, reports Cadena Ser. Like Messi, City forward Aguero is out of contract at the end of the 2020-21.

- Defensa Central says Chelsea are interested in re-signing Eden Hazard, but at a huge discount. Hazard has struggled for form and fitness since leaving Chelsea for Madrid in a big-money move in 2019.

Milan will miss out on signing Ajax teenager Brian Brobbey as he is set to join RB Leipzig, according to Calciomercato and widespread reports in Italy. But Milan are close to signing Marseille's soon-to-be free agent Florian Thauvin.

- Calciomercato claims Madrid have put veteran full-back Marcelo up for sale amid links to Juventus.

Achraf Hakimi only moved to Inter from Real Madrid at the start of the 2020-21 season.

But the future of the Morocco international is already making headlines.

Will Hakimi still be an Inter player at the end of the campaign?

 

TOP STORY – HAKIMI WANTED IN ENGLAND

Manchester City are interested in signing Inter star Achraf Hakimi, according to Calciomercato.

Hakimi has established himself as a key player for Antonio Conte's Inter after arriving from Real Madrid.

But Inter – in the spotlight amid reported financial difficulties caused by the coronavirus pandemic – are facing a battle to keep Hakimi, with Chelsea and Arsenal also chasing the Morocco international.

 

ROUND-UP

- Calciomercato says Napoli want to bring back former head coach Maurizio Sarri. Gennaro Gattuso is under pressure and Sky Sport Italia claims the two parties will part in June. Sarri left Napoli for Chelsea in 2018. Former boss Rafael Benitez has also been linked.

Lionel Messi could help bitter rivals Madrid. According to El Chiringuito, Messi's proposed switch from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain could aid Madrid in their quest to prise Kylian Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu. Mbappe has also been linked to Liverpool.

- Fabrizio Romano says Liverpool, City, Chelsea, Madrid, Barcelona and Juventus are interested in Erling Haaland, but Borussia Dortmund have no intention of losing both the Norwegian and Manchester United target Jadon Sancho at the end of the season.

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