Carlo Ancelotti has challenged his Real Madrid side to maintain their intensity ahead of the Champions League final with Liverpool on May 28.

Los Blancos, who were crowned LaLiga champions a fortnight ago, condemned Levante to relegation on Thursday following a 6-0 thumping at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Vinicius Junior scored his first hat-trick for the club in his 168th appearance, with Ferland Mendy, Karim Benzema and Rodrygo also finding the back of the net.

Benzema's header saw him move level with Raul as Madrid's second-highest all-time top goalscorer on 323 goals.

The emphatic win followed Sunday's El Derbi defeat to Atletico Madrid, and Ancelotti said he expects his players to give 100 per cent in their remaining two league games before the showdown with Jurgen Klopp's side.

"We are playing well and our self-esteem has grown a lot," he told a media conference.

"We have this challenge of playing in the final after winning the league. We know that there is a lack of time and that we have to have intensity.

"The team are showing very good signs. We work very well in the field. We have done well, with rhythm and intensity. It's what we wanted, high intensity for team dynamics."

Asked what his side's formation will be for the game against Liverpool, Ancelotti revealed he will not deviate from his trusted 4-3-3.

"It will be the 4-3-3," he said. "That sometimes can be a 4-4-2. I think there is no defined system. Sometimes to put pressure on the pivot, as we did against Manchester City, you go from 4-3-3 to 4-4-1-1. 

"The idea does not change much, just a little the way of defending the rival, of putting pressure on him."

Ancelotti has received plaudits from across Europe in recent weeks after masterminding Madrid's dramatic run to the Champions League final, yet the Italian would not be drawn on whether he is the best on the continent.

"It is difficult to answer that," he said. "I don't like to give myself votes, others give them to me. 

"I like to live a happy moment. I hope I can continue like this for a long time. We have a very big goal, we are going to give everything."

Madrid face Cadiz and Real Betis before doing battle with the Reds in Paris at the end of the month.

Karim Benzema moved level with Raul as Real Madrid's second-highest all-time top goalscorer and Vinicius Junior scored a hat-trick as the LaLiga champions relegated Levante with a 6-0 hammering.

Ferland Mendy got Carlo Ancelotti's side, who were crowned champions a fortnight ago, on their way early on, before Benzema joined Madrid icon Raul on 323 goals soon after.

Rodrygo and Vinicius added further goals before the interval, with the latter completing his treble in the second half at the Santiago Bernabeu on Thursday.

While the rout restored Madrid's 12-point advantage over Barcelona at the summit, it condemned Levante drop with two games to play.

Any hopes Levante had of causing an upset were dispelled in the 13th minute when Mendy powered into the penalty area and slotted past Daniel Cardenas.

Federico Valverde then steered a volley against the post, before Benzema doubled his side's advantage with a close-range header from Vinicius' cross after 19 minutes.

Rodrygo slid home Luka Modric's cross to make it three in the 34th minute, while Cardenas twice pushed Valverde drives onto the crossbar as Madrid dominated.

They made it four in the 45th minute, when Vinicius collected Modric's pass and curled past Cardenas from a tight angle.

Cardenas pawed away Modric's whipped effort and Vinicius saw an effort ruled out for offside after the interval. 

The Brazil international was not to be denied in the 68th minute, though, tapping into an empty net after Benzema had rounded Cardenas.

He had his hat-trick seven minutes from full-time courtesy of a cool finish from 10 yards out after breaking through Levante's dispirited backline. 

Erling Haaland is a "great player" who is joining a "great club" in Manchester City, but Carlo Ancelotti suggested he is not overly upset at missing out on the much-coveted striker.

City confirmed on Tuesday they have reached an agreement to sign Haaland, who had been linked with an array of clubs across Europe – Ancelotti's Real Madrid among them.

Haaland's 85 goals in 88 games since joining Dortmund in January 2020 is bettered only by Robert Lewandowski (122) and Kylian Mbappe (89) across Europe's top five leagues.

But Madrid already boast a prolific striker of their own in Karim Benzema, whose 57 direct goal involvements in all competitions is unmatched in the continent's major divisions.

While Ancelotti has made no secret that he is a fan of Haaland, he is happy with his current squad, having already wrapped up his first LaLiga title and reached the Champions League final thanks to their sensational comeback against City last week.

"I don't really like to talk about this," Ancelotti said at a news conference on Wednesday when asked about Haaland's imminent switch to the Premier League leaders.

"He's a great player, City's a great club. But I'm sticking with my squad, which has led me to enjoy another Champions League final."

Madrid set up a showdown with Liverpool in Paris by overcoming City in a remarkable semi-final tie that they trailed 5-3 with a minute of normal time remaining.

Los Blancos followed that up with a 1-0 loss to rivals Atletico Madrid last weekend in a game that saw Ancelotti make seven changes to his starting line-up.

Ancelotti confirmed the likes of Thibaut Courtois, Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior will each return for Thursday's visit of Levante, who have lost just one of their last four trips to face Madrid in LaLiga.

Despite the title being secured with four games to spare, Ancelotti insists his side are not yet focusing on their upcoming clash with Liverpool at the Stade de France on May 28.

"The time we have spent together since the Atletico match has been looking only at tomorrow's game," he said. 

"It's important we give minutes to those who didn't play against Atletico, and then we have another game on Sunday. We are not preparing for the final.

"Tomorrow is a game that we have to play well to win. The objective is the same: keep a good rhythm, play well with the ball and win the match.

"If you lose competitiveness, you will not do well. They must rest, but also play in order to reach 100 per cent. 

"All this time it has been said that Ancelotti did not rotate and now that he does, nobody is happy. You have to give minutes to players."

Even with Haaland no longer on the market, Madrid are expected to strengthen in attack, with Mbappe their main target.

But Ancelotti was once again unwilling to discuss any potential targets, with Chelsea's Antonio Rudiger another rumoured to be on Madrid's radar. In fact, reports on Tuesday suggested the deal had been done to bring the Germany defender to Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer.

"After the final there will be time to talk about this. For now, we are just aiming to finish the season well," he said.

"Talking about the future transfer window is not correct, I don't want to. I want to talk about tomorrow's match. It is the day to talk about this, not about alleged new signings."

Barcelona sealed a seventh straight LaLiga win as Luuk de Jong's stoppage-time header earned a dramatic 3-2 victory over a Levante side who were awarded three penalties.

Jose Luis Morales' penalty seven minutes after the interval handed the hosts the lead, and they could have been 2-0 up moments later, yet Roger Marti's spot-kick was kept out by Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

Barcelona took advantage of that reprieve, moving 2-1 ahead within seven minutes of the miss thanks to goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang and Pedri.

Levante thought they had claimed a point when Gonzalo Melero slammed home from the spot with seven minutes remaining, but substitute De Jong popped up in added time to claim yet another maximum-points haul for the Blaugrana.

Diego Simeone insisted he "fully believes" Atletico Madrid can secure Champions League qualification as he seeks solutions following disappointment against Levante.

The reigning LaLiga champions are 15 points off local rivals and leaders Real Madrid after 24 games, sitting fifth in the league and level on points with fourth-placed Barcelona, who have played a game fewer.

Simeone's side suffered another setback in their last outing, falling to a 1-0 defeat against bottom side Levante, as their top-four push for Champions League football next season was dented again.

However, Atletico have won their past seven top-flight meetings with their next opponents Osasuna and Simeone believes his side can escape their underwhelming run of form on Saturday.

"It's normal after the painful defeat, but with a desire to have a new opportunity and to focus on the game against Osasuna, who play really well and are going through a good moment," Simeone told reporters at Friday's pre-match news conference when asked about the squad's morale.

"I have the motivation to live on every day. I'm at a great club, where I want to be, and I look at the future trying to solve the present.

"There isn't one circumstance [behind our problems], but several, and I believe blindly in the players that I have. I'm sure they'll pull this off.

"We're now facing a 14-game league in which there will be seven teams who will have the chance to get into the Champions League, and being all together, looking for ways out of difficult moments like we had in the pandemic, when we had one point more than we do today, [and] we were sixth and finished third.

"We'll have to make a great effort for this, but we're focusing on the present."

Atletico have won on each of their past three LaLiga visits to El Sadar and are looking for four consecutive top-flight wins at Osasuna in the competition for the first time.

However, Simeone's team have failed to win in any of their most recent five away league games, conceding at least twice in each of those matches (12 in total). 

But Simeone insisted he has the backing of Atletico chiefs Miguel Angel Gil Marin and Andrea Berta after meeting with the pair to discuss the club's problems.

"We get together no more than one or two days a month, and we talk about the good or bad situations," Simeone added on his discussions with Atleti’s executives. 

"It's a bad moment, but we have to take things forward, being together."

Atletico Madrid's top-four chances suffered another blow as they slumped to a surprise 1-0 defeat at home to Levante, who became the first away team to win two LaLiga games at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Diego Simeone's men were overtaken in fourth by Barcelona 10 days earlier and the champions will trail them by three points if the Blaugrana go on to win their game in hand.

Atletico remained level at half-time despite an underwhelming display, but they were punished in the 54th minute by Gonzalo Melero's crisp finish.

A penalty award in favour of Atletico was then reversed soon after and, although Simeone threw attacking players on towards the end, they could not salvage a point.

Atletico offered precious little in a first half that Levante dominated for spells with 60 per cent possession.

The hosts were indebted to Jan Oblak as Levante looked destined to take the lead in the 22nd minute, the goalkeeper making a vital one-on-one save to deny Jorge de Frutos after Stefan Savic's miscued header.

Levante deservedly went ahead early in the second half, De Frutos teeing up Melero for a first-time finish that beat Oblak at his near post.

Atletico thought they had the chance to level from the spot when Geoffrey Kondogbia's shot was blocked by an arm, but referee Jose Luis Munuera Montero overturned his decision due to Marcos Llorente straying offside in the build-up.

A chaotic end saw Angel Correa have an equaliser disallowed for an apparent foul on Martin Caceres by Jose Gimenez, before Mickael Malsa struck the crossbar for Levante from 40 yards – not that it mattered as the visitors clung on for a massive win.

What does it mean? Atletico's woes reach the stands

Atletico fans have had just cause for frustration in recent weeks given how leaky they have been at the back, but this was the first time a divide could be seen between the support and certain players.

Jose Gimenez made a couple of gestures towards the home fans in the second half, seemingly urging them to stop jeering the team.

He was subsequently whistled every time he got the ball, and it highlighted what is quickly becoming a toxic situation at Atletico.

Pepelu shows his class

In an otherwise difficult season for Levante, midfielder Pepelu has been a bright spark. He was lively again here, his two key passes the joint-most of anyone on the pitch, but he also worked hard off the ball, making a team-high three interceptions.

Atletico's creators lacking craft

Rodrigo de Paul's first season at Atletico has largely been a disappointment. He was again here, failing to lay on a single key pass – though he was not the only one.

Matheus Cunha's recent form has earned him a few more starts, but he was also withdrawn just after the hour having not registered a shot or key pass.

What's next?

Atletico face Osasuna in Pamplona on Saturday before turning their attentions to the Champions League and the visit of Manchester United next Wednesday.

Diego Simeone acknowledges his inability to find a winning formation is the key to Atletico Madrid's below-par season, as the LaLiga champions prepare to welcome Antoine Griezmann back.

Atletico won the title last year and appeared primed for back-to-back successes when they recruited well while Real Madrid and Barcelona saw only limited transfer business.

Rodrigo De Paul arrived from Udinese and Matheus Cunha from Hertha Berlin, before Griezmann returned on loan from Barca.

Although Griezmann scored only three league goals before sustaining a hamstring injury at the start of January, Atletico have thrived in attack. With 42 goals, they rank third in LaLiga.

By contrast, however, the defensive bedrock on which Simeone's success has been built appears to be no more. Only seven teams have conceded more than their 33 through 23 matches – Atletico's most at this stage of a season under Simeone.

Shipping two or more goals in eight of their past nine league matches, Atletico enter Wednesday's game against Levante outside of the Champions League places in fifth.

Given late winners from Mario Hermoso have rescued results in two of their past three games, contributing to a league-high 15 points won with goals scored in the final 15 minutes of matches this season, Atletico's position could be even worse.

 

Simeone continues to seek a solution for his side's poor form, but he believes this might actually be the problem.

The Atletico coach, who deflected questions on his future after "10 wonderful years" in Madrid, said ahead of the Levante match: "There are many years playing in the same way, but every year is not the same.

"After the pandemic, when everyone saw us out of the Champions League, after the game with Liverpool, we were four or five points behind those above us, and it was very difficult with 11 matchdays to go.

"The team followed a plan in the 4-4-2, and we won eight games and drew three, and you saw on the field what the team wanted to do.

"Last season we started with the 4-4-2, we saw that we needed a change. We went to 5-3-2, and following that line, the team had a plan and took it forward in a good way.

"This season, I take responsibility, I was continuously changing in search of better things. Let's see if I choose well now and they follow the path I will choose."

While Atletico's issues are clearly at the back, the attack is only set to get stronger with Griezmann's involvement. He will not feature against Levante, though.

"We are happy to have Griezmann back," Simeone said. "He is coming back on Thursday to train with the team. We will have him soon for the Osasuna game [on Saturday].

"Apart from [Angel] Correa and Matheus, who are doing a great job, we also have Luis [Suarez], Joao [Felix], very important players in a decisive position. The more competition between them, the team will always win."

Diego Simeone criticised the refereeing as LaLiga champions Atletico Madrid were held to a 2-2 draw away to Levante after an explosive final 15 minutes. 

Matheus Cunha put Atletico ahead in the 76th minute with his first goal for the club but Simeone was shown a second yellow card soon after for remonstrating with the fourth official on Thursday.

Referee Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes then deemed Renan Lodi handled the ball in his own box after reviewing footage at the pitchside monitor. 

Enis Bardhi, who cancelled out Antoine Griezmann's opener with a penalty that was awarded for a foul by Luis Suarez on Ruben Vezo, blasted in the 90th-minute spot-kick to earn Levante a share of the spoils. 

Asked about the decision to award the second penalty, Simeone said: "We have to improve as a team and not use as an excuse the referee's performance, their goal from the penalty, the penalty in the first half, the 200 kicks to Joao [Felix] that had no consequence. 

"We have to work to try to get out of this moment. One negative thing brings another and we quickly have to become strong and build. 

"The team has to grow and not apologise for the penalties, for the kicks to Joao or for the many yellow cards we received. 

"The reality is we have to improve ourselves and that is urgent. 

"Everything the referee does on the pitch is understood by him to be a penalty. You [journalists] are here to comment and look at the rules. 

"Nothing is going to change no matter much I think it should, so don't make me talk." 

Atleti are winless in three games in all competitions and sit five points adrift of LaLiga leaders Real Sociedad, though they have a game in hand.

Enis Bardhi scored a controversial late penalty for Levante to salvage a dramatic 2-2 draw against Atletico Madrid in a frenetic finish that saw Diego Simeone sent off.

In his seventh outing since signing from Hertha Berlin in a reported €30million deal in August, Matheus Cunha appeared to have netted the winner with 14 minutes remaining at Estadio Ciutat de Valencia.

However, as Simeone watched from the stands after being shown a second yellow card for dissent, Renan Lodi was deemed to have handled the ball in the box when referee Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes reviewed footage on the pitchside monitor.

Bardhi, who cancelled out Antoine Griezmann's opener in the first half, drilled in a second penalty of the game in the 90th minute to deny the reigning LaLiga champions the full three points.

Griezmann had put Atleti ahead inside 12 minutes with his first LaLiga goal since returning to the club from Barcelona, following up his cross and nodding home Felipe's header back into the middle.

Levante responded well to going behind and drew level in the 37th minute when Bardhi slammed home a penalty after Luis Suarez miscontrolled the ball in the box and fouled Ruben Vezo.

Atleti finally regained their lead when substitute Rodrigo de Paul drove forward and released Cunha – who only replaced Griezmann four minutes prior – to slot beneath Aitor Fernandez.

Simeone remained heated and was shown a second yellow card for remonstrating at the fourth official, with Atleti unable to hold on for the victory.

A harsh handball decision against Lodi resulted in a penalty that Bardhi confidently dispatched low into the left corner to send the home fans into raptures, though Rober Pier received a second yellow card after the final whistle for complaining to the referee.


What does it mean? 

Atletico have struggled at Estadio Ciutat de Valencia under Simeone – prior to kick-off, the only LaLiga grounds where they had a higher losing percentage were Camp Nou and the Reale Arena.

Although they now haven't lost on any of their past five top-flight trips to Levante, they will have been hoping for more than a draw against the leakiest defence in the competition this season.

Failing to see out the victory means they are five points adrift of LaLiga leaders Real Sociedad, who were 2-0 winners at Celta Vigo earlier in the day – Atleti do have a game in hand, though.

Brilliant Bardhi

Bardhi is a set-piece specialist, but his two penalties were his first goals from the spot for Levante. He also created three chances for team-mates in a thoroughly impressive outing. 

Atleti's toothless trident

Griezmann may have got on the scoresheet, but his link-up with Suarez and Joao Felix was nowhere near as exciting as it promised to be. Griezmann and Suarez did not share a single pass, while Joao Felix and the France star only exchanged the ball four times.

Key Opta facts

- Levante have conceded five goals in the first 15 minutes of their games in LaLiga this season, the same number as Valencia have shipped in the opening quarter of an hour. No other side have conceded more in this period.
- Eight of 22 goals scored by Bardhi with Levante in LaLiga have come from set-pieces, but here he scored his first two goals from the penalty spot in the competition. The other six came from direct free-kicks.
- Levante have had the most penalties awarded in their favour in LaLiga this season (5). Before their double success against Atletico, they had failed to convert four of their previous six spot-kicks in the competition.
- Joao Felix is on a streak of 940 minutes (spanning 19 games) without scoring for Atletico in all competitions, his worst streak with Rojiblancos. His last goal was against Villarreal in LaLiga on February 28, 2021.
- Cunha scored his first goal in LaLiga with his first shot on goal in the competition after seven games and 115 minutes played with the Rojiblancos in the competition.
- Levante have played three games without losing against Atletico in LaLiga (W1 D2), their best streak without defeat in their history against the capital club.
- Levante are undefeated in six of their last seven games against Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atletico de Madrid (W2 D4).

What's next?

Atleti have an important meeting with fourth-placed Real Betis to look forward to on Sunday, while Levante are at home to Granada on Monday.

Matheus Cunha went from ecstasy to despair as he followed his first Atletico Madrid goal by conceding a late penalty that Levante scored to salvage a dramatic 2-2 draw.

In his seventh outing since signing from Hertha Berlin in a reported €30million deal in August, Cunha appeared to have netted the winner with 14 minutes remaining at Estadio Ciutat de Valencia.

However, as Diego Simeone watched from the stands after being shown a second yellow card for dissent, Cunha was deemed to have handled the ball in the box when referee Pablo Gonzalez Fuertes reviewed footage on the pitchside monitor.

Enis Bardhi, who cancelled out Antoine Griezmann's opener in the first half, drilled in a second penalty of the game in the 90th minute to deny the reigning LaLiga champions the full three points.

Struggling Getafe have sacked head coach Michel after less than six months in the post with the club sitting last in LaLiga.

Getafe claimed their first point of the 2021-22 season with Sunday's 1-1 home draw with third-placed Real Sociedad.

However, the draw was not enough to save former Real Madrid midfielder Michel's job, having been appointed in May.

Azulones have one point from eight league games this term, conceding 13 goals and only scoring three times.

Michel's dismissal follows Levante's decision to axe Paco Lopez on Sunday after their poor start to the season.

Levante are 18th, having lost three games in a row and collected only four points in a winless start to the 2021-22 campaign. Levante's winless run is 16 games and dates back to April.

Paco Lopez had been Levante head coach since May 2018, with 15th, 12th and 14th-place finishes respectively over the past three seasons.

Ansu Fati says Barcelona are aiming to triumph in LaLiga and the Champions League this season after making a goalscoring return to action against Levante on Sunday.

Fati, on as a late substitute, put the icing on the cake in his comeback following 10 months out with a knee injury, finishing superbly in stoppage time as Barca ended a run of three games without victory.

Luuk de Jong had earlier doubled Barca's lead in his fourth appearance for the club following his move from Sevilla after his Netherlands team-mate Memphis Depay opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

It was the first time since March 2009 that two different Dutch players had scored in the same LaLiga game, Arjen Robben and Klaas-Jan Huntelaar last doing so for Real Madrid against Athletic Bilbao.

It has been a difficult start to the season for Barca following the shock departure of club icon Lionel Messi, with coach Ronald Koeman's position the subject of intense scrutiny.

Fati, though, is expecting big things from the Catalan giants this season.

"We are Barca, we are going for LaLiga and the Champions League and all the competitions we are in," he told Movistar.

"All the teams want to win everything, but we are Barca and we have to fight for it."

Fati only returned to training last month after undergoing three operations following his knee injury in November 2020.

Despite inheriting Messi's number 10 shirt in that period, Fati says he feels no pressure following in the Argentinian's footsteps.

"I am proud to be able to wear it after Leo," he added. "I want to thank the club and the captains for giving me the opportunity to wear it.

"It is not a pressure but I am grateful for wearing this number that has given a lot to this club."

Barca's assistant coach Alfred Schreuder oversaw matters on the pitch on Sunday with Koeman suspended from the touchline, and the Dutchman was delighted with the reception afforded to Fati by the Camp Nou faithful.

"The reaction of the stadium was evident, we know that he is a player who generates chances out of nowhere," he said. 

"We knew he could play for 15 minutes and this is the first step. We know that he is an excellent player, but also that he has been absent for a long time."

Barca are next in action against Benfica in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Ansu Fati marked his return with a brilliant late goal and Luuk de Jong opened his Barcelona account in a 3-0 LaLiga defeat of Levante.

Luuk de Jong doubled Barca's lead in his fourth appearance for the club following his move from Sevilla after his Netherlands team-mate Memphis Depay opened the scoring from the penalty spot.

An inspired performance from Aitor Fernandez prevented Barca from significantly boosting their goal difference as they totally dominated the game, with under-pressure boss Ronald Koeman watching on from the stands as he serves a two-match ban.

Fati, on as a late substitute, put the icing on the cake in his comeback following 10 months out with a knee injury, finishing superbly in stoppage time as Barca ended a run of three games without victory.

Depay sent Fernandez the wrong way from the spot just six minutes in, having produced great trickery to beat two defenders before being upended by Nemanja Radoja.

De Jong opened his Barca account eight minutes later, finishing clinically with his right foot after Sergino Dest had slipped him in.

Gerard Pique somehow failed to add a third from point-blank range and Gavi was unable to lob an advancing Fernandez, who showed great reflexes to tip the lively Depay's header over the crossbar.

Levante were unable to contain Depay and Fernandez diverted his right-footed drive around the post after some shambolic defending.

Teenager Nico Gonzalez, making his first Barca start, flashed a venomous long-range drive wide and Fernandez thwarted Depay yet again.

Sergio Postigo almost turned the impressive Gavi's cross into his own net before Fati was given a great ovation when he came off the bench with 10 minutes to go.

The 18-year-old looked like he had never been away as he spun away from a defender then beat another before finding the back of the net with a right-footed shot from outside the area.

Ronald Koeman called for caution over Ansu Fati's return to action after the youngster was included in Barcelona's squad for the first time in 10 months.

Fati has not played for Barca in 322 days, after he suffered a serious knee injury in November 2020.

The 18-year-old, who has taken the number 10 shirt vacated by Lionel Messi, has undergone three operations and only returned to training last month.

However, Fati has been called into Barca's 20-man squad for Sunday's home game against Levante, a team he has scored two goals against in two matches. He has only netted more times against Villarreal (three) in LaLiga.

Fati became the youngest goalscorer in Barcelona's history when he netted against Osasuna in August 2019 aged 16 years and 304 days and has since added a further 12 goals to his tally, but Koeman says the Spain international will need more time to recover full fitness.

"It's really important to have Fati back, for himself because he has been out injured for many months," Koeman told a news conference.

"We have a plan to recover him, to get him in his best shape, so he will have to get minutes little by little and the plan is that he will play around 15 minutes maximum [on Sunday].

"There is a long way to go before he is as sharp as he has been. He does not recover in two games or in two weeks. We have to help him. The most important thing is that he recovers.

"It depends on his state. We are talking about a young man who will give us a lot of quality, but little by little."

Koeman's future at Barcelona is far from certain. His position seems a precarious one, given president Joan Laporta is reportedly searching out replacements, with Belgium coach Roberto Martinez a rumoured target.

Barca have been held to draws by Granada and Cadiz in the last two games, with Koeman seeing red in the latter match.

"I have to learn from this. Be calmer. Think about the team and the game," Koeman said. "I am also human and there are moments in games where it is difficult to accept decisions."

As for his future, Koeman said: "I can't say much about this issue because I haven't been reading the press for a long time.

"I know the rumours out there, but all we have to do is win games. There are rumours, names. I'm not going to waste energy on things I can't control.

"The president can speak, he is the most important man at the club. I have no problem. I am involved in my job, I have to win games. The rest does not interest me."

Koeman also explained he believes he has the backing of the dressing room.

"Every player and every coach wants to win titles and games," he said.

"There are no differences on this issue because I have spoken with them. In general, the players agree. That is the important thing. In that sense, there are no differences of opinions between them and me."

Ansu Fati is back in the Barcelona squad after spending 10 months out of action due to a knee injury.

The 18-year-old has been included in Ronald Koeman's 20-man group for the LaLiga game at home to Levante on Sunday.

Fati has not played for the Catalans in 322 days, having torn the meniscus in his left knee during a 5-2 win over Real Betis last November.

The winger, who underwent three operations, only returned to training in August.

Sunday's game at Camp Nou will offer Fati the chance to make his first competitive appearance since inheriting the number 10 shirt from Lionel Messi, who left the club at the end of his contract before signing for Paris Saint-Germain ahead of this season.

Fati has scored two goals in his two matches against Levante in LaLiga, only netting more against Villarreal (three) in the competition.

He became the youngest goalscorer in Barca's history when he scored against Osasuna in August 2019 aged 16 years and 304 days.

Fati has since added a further 12 goals in 42 appearances across all competitions for the Blaugrana, whom he joined at the age of 10.

The Guinea-Bissau-born youngster has been capped four times by Spain and scored his first international goal against Ukraine in September 2020.

Barca's 0-0 draw with Cadiz on Thursday piled further pressure on head coach Ronald Koeman, with president Joan Laporta reportedly keen to appoint Belgium boss Roberto Martinez in his place.

The Catalans have won two and drawn three of their opening five league matches of 2021-22 and are already seven points behind leaders Real Madrid, albeit with a game in hand.

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