Almeria will play in LaLiga again next season for the first time since 2015 after securing promotion from the Segunda on a dramatic final day.

The Andalusians were away to Leganes on Sunday and could only claim a 2-2 draw, but it was just enough to see them finish top of the table ahead of Real Valladolid due to a superior head-to-head record.

Valladolid, who are run by Brazil and Real Madrid great Ronaldo, thus secured their return to the top flight at the first time of asking.

But Almeria are back in LaLiga after seven seasons in the Segunda, having stumbled at the play-off stage in each of the previous two campaigns.

As such, the 2022-23 season will be their first term in LaLiga since being bought in 2019 by Turki Al-Sheikh, an advisor to Saudi Arabia's Royal Court and chairman of the country's General Authority for Entertainment.

Almeria have Alcorcon to thank, however.

Eibar looked set to be going up instead of them as they were drawing 0-0 away to already relegated Alcorcon, but a stoppage time winner for the Madrid-based club by Giovanni Zarfino meant it was all change at the top.

Suddenly, Eibar dropped out of the top two and Almeria shot to the top of the table, with the Basques instead having to settle for a spot in the play-offs.

Real Oviedo were the team to miss out in the play-off hunt as a result of losing 3-2 to Ibiza, meaning Girona and Las Palmas joined Tenerife in sealing their spots in the two-legged semi-finals.

Eibar will face Girona while Las Palmas will tussle with their Canary Islands rivals Tenerife in the other semi over the next week.

The final, also played over two legs, is set to be played on June 11 and 19.

There was little change towards the bottom of the table, with the bottom four already having their relegation confirmed.

Eduardo Camavinga described Real Madrid's Champions League final triumph as a "dream come true" as he reflected on a glorious first season at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Camavinga came on as an 85th-minute substitute at the Stade de France as Madrid claimed their 14th European crown courtesy of Vinicius Junior's goal, meaning the French midfielder ends his first campaign in Spain with LaLiga and Champions League winner's medals.

Despite finding himself behind experienced midfield trio Casemiro, Luka Modric, and Toni Kroos in the pecking order, Camavinga has made 44 appearances in all competitions since joining from Rennes last August.

The 19-year-old, who has been tipped as a future star for both Los Blancos and France, made a series of valuable contributions to Madrid's Champions League run from the bench, producing a particularly lively performance as Carlo Ancelotti's team recovered from a 5-3 aggregate deficit to eliminate Manchester City in the semi-finals earlier this month.

Speaking to Canal+ after Madrid beat Liverpool 1-0, Camavinga was delighted with the "dream" victory, saying experiencing such occasions was the reason he joined the Spanish giants.

"It's a crazy thing, it's a childhood dream come true. Touching the cup, experiencing matches like that, it's crazy... That's why I came here," he said.

"From the moment we come here, we know that we are in the best club in the world, we only play big matches. I am very happy to have played in the final and to have won it."

Camavinga has some way to go to match the honours of some of his Madrid team-mates, with Karim Benzema, Dani Carvajal and Modric all winning their fifth European titles in Paris. No one has won more.

Touching on the illustrious careers of his colleagues, Camavinga laughed: "Some have five Champions Leagues here, but I already have one, I still have four left [to win]. We're going to enjoy it. Next year, we'll see."

With his late introduction, Camavinga, aged 19 years and 199 days old, became the youngest player to appear in a Champions League final since Kingsley Coman for Juventus against Barcelona in 2015 (18 years, 358 days).

Coman is also the only Frenchman to have played in a European Cup/Champions League final at a younger age than Camavinga.

And the midfielder believes he has improved as a player after making 16 starts in his first season with the club, though he insists his playing time is of secondary importance compared to the team's performances.

"It's been an incredible season, an extraordinary accomplishment, very positive," he said in comments reported by Marca.

"I've learned a lot in this first year from the players here, from my coaches too, so I think I'm a better player than I was a year ago.

"The first thing to remember is this victory, the work of the team and [only] after that, whether I've played more or less is important."

Thierry Henry declared the race for the Ballon d'Or over after Karim Benzema lifted the Champions League with Real Madrid on Saturday.

Benzema became just the second French captain to lift the trophy, after Didier Deschamps with Marseille in 1993, following a 1-0 win over Liverpool at the Stade de France.

Carlo Ancelotti's side were largely indebted to the heroics of Thibaut Courtois after the goalkeeper produced nine saves – a Champions League final record since Opta began recording data in 2003-04.

Vinicius Junior may have scored the winner in Paris but a 14th European Cup for Madrid, which is double the tally of second-best Milan (seven), came down to Benzema's efforts throughout the knockout stages.

The 34-year-old netted a hat-trick against Paris Saint-Germain, four goals across two legs with Chelsea and three in the tie with Manchester City, including an extra-time penalty to win the semi-final.

Benzema has been involved in 59 goals this season (45 goals, 15 assists) in all competitions, with only France team-mate Kylian Mbappe (60) bettering that total across Europe's top five leagues.

And Arsenal great Henry believes Benzema ended the debate for who should win the Ballon d'Or this year with his success in Paris.

"I just wanted to say something for France Football or whoever is voting. Close the votes, Benzema won it. Bye," Henry said to CBS Sports after the final.

France coach Didier Deschamps will hope Benzema can lead Les Bleus to more World Cup glory in November, and he echoed Henry's sentiments by suggesting the Madrid talisman should win the award.

"The answer is simple: yes. This new title and the sporting season achieved with his team, and what he was able to do, he was so decisive," Deschamps told Telefoot.

"Obviously, he was already one of the favourites and he deserves this reward."

The Ballon d'Or has been won by Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi in 13 of the past 14 seasons, barring when Benzema's team-mate Luka Modric was named the winner in 2018.

While Benzema may believe his achievements on a personal and team level are enough to stave off Liverpool's Sadio Mane and Mohamed Salah, the Madrid forward insisted he will be satisfied either way.

"Obviously, I finished my season, now I will join up with the national team," Benzema told Canal Plus.

"I think at club level I can't do better. We'll see what happens but in any case I'm proud of what I've achieved."

Kylian Mbappe will not have long to wait until he wins the Ballon d'Or, according to Barcelona great Patrick Kluivert.

Mbappe was widely expected to join Real Madrid when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expired in June, but opted to sign a three-year extension in the French capital.

The 23-year-old cited the project changing at PSG as he hopes to secure a maiden Champions League success.

Mbappe was in scintillating form this campaign as he scored 28 league goals, a tally only bettered by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (35) across Europe's top five leagues.

The France international also added 17 assists, with no player in Europe's biggest leagues managing more direct goal involvements (45) – Les Bleus team-mate Karim Benzema ranked second with 39.

Mbappe will look to deliver World Cup glory for France in Qatar later this year, and Kluivert believes it will only be a matter of time before the PSG talisman wins the Ballon d'Or.

"Mbappe is one of the best players out there at the moment," former PSG director of football Kluivert told Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo.

"I congratulate him on his recent renewal with the team. I think he will win the Ballon d'Or shortly."

 

Kluivert also discussed his former club Barca, who ended LaLiga in second despite languishing in ninth when Xavi took charge after Ronald Koeman's dismissal in late October.

Xavi will now be tasked with rebuilding in the transfer window as he looks to close the gap on Champions League and LaLiga winners Real Madrid.

Kluivert played with Xavi at Camp Nou, and backed his former team-mate to transform Barca's fortunes.

"Next season he will have many possibilities to improve the team, I have a lot of faith in him," Kluivert said.

"The club has very good young players who know the values ​​of the club. I am confident that Barca will return to where it was."

Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang says he was disappointed with Arsenal's failure to qualify for the Champions League, as he had hoped to face his former club with Barcelona.

Despite enjoying an encouraging campaign under Mikel Arteta, Arsenal missed out on a top-four finish to fierce rivals Tottenham after losing two of their final three games of the Premier League season.

Their late-season collapse meant Arsenal have not finished in the Premier League's top four since Arsene Wenger's Gunners finished second to Leicester City in the 2015-16 campaign.

Aubameyang, meanwhile, departed the Emirates Stadium in January after four years at the club, scoring 13 goals in all competitions for Xavi's Barcelona as the Blaugrana secured second in LaLiga.

That return made the Gabon forward Barca's joint-top goalscorer for the campaign along with Memphis Depay, despite him making just 23 appearances since his arrival at Camp Nou.

Speaking to Sky Sports while attending the Monaco Grand Prix, the 32-year-old admitted he was sad to see his former club miss out on a place in European football's premier competition, but hopes they can impress upon their return to the Europa League. 

"Yeah, [they came] really close. I think they did a lot of improvements," Aubameyang said.

"I'm a bit sad because I wanted to play them in the Champions League. I have a lot of friends over there, but I'm wishing them all the best for next season.

"Obviously, I think it's going to be a good thing for them to get back to the Europa League as well, hopefully they can win it."

Kylian Mbappe staying at Paris Saint-Germain can only be a positive outcome for French football, according to Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps.

World Cup winner Mbappe appeared set to move to Real Madrid when his contract expired in June, but opted to sign a three-year extension with PSG.

That denied Madrid talisman Karim Benzema the chance to link-up at club level with international team-mate Mbappe, who insisted he stayed at PSG "because the project had changed" and for sentimental reasons.

Deschamps will have the attacking duo to call upon for the Nations League campaign, starting against Denmark next Friday, and the France coach was delighted to see Mbappe stay in Paris.

"It's his choice. It's obvious that he stays in Ligue 1, it's a very good thing for French football," he told reporters on Saturday.

"He is attached to the club, he said what he had to say but in being French, that can only be a good thing.

"We can grow by staying. Today the objective of PSG is the same as in all the big clubs, and to win the Champions League. It may be necessary one day to go abroad, but that is not an obligation.

"We are not going to speak in other periods when there was a lag compared to France. But today, the choice of players is not the same.

"It is perhaps less of an obligation to go abroad to accomplish beautiful things."

 

There were reports of tension between Benzema and Mbappe after the former uploaded a photo of late rapper Tupac Shakur that was deemed to be a veiled reference to betrayal.

Benzema has since denied those suggestions, insisting he does not feel betrayed by Mbappe, and Deschamps does not envisage problems between the pair when they arrive for international duty.

"From my position as coach, where I have the players live where I know from A to Z what is going on, the main thing is the group," he added.

"It can lead to misunderstandings. From a situation where we can all draw negative conclusions when they are not necessarily negative... It can turn into a misunderstanding, which does not reflect reality.

"Today with the connected world it can go very very quickly, the slightest photo goes quickly. Even if I'm not on there!"

Christopher Nkunku, Moussa Dembele and Wissam Ben Yedder will also join Mbappe and Benzema in France's attacking ranks, with Olivier Giroud missing out from selection.

Deschamps says he did not call up Giroud as he wanted to offer the likes of Nkunku, Dembele and Ben Yedder a chance to show their worth.

"I said that in relation to the attacking players, who will be supposed to have a little more playing time," Deschamps continued.

"Olivier Giroud is not with us, it's to give playing time to Moussa, Christopher and Wissam, who are with us regularly, who have had playing time and will have the opportunity to have a little more.

"If possible we will make sure to involve everyone, some will play more than others. Through the four meetings, we will make sure that they are active, so that they get stronger, to have more experience. It will give additional information on the final list for the World Cup."

Ruben Neves is Erik ten Hag's number one midfield target in his first transfer window as manager at Manchester United.

Neves, 25, signed for Wolves from Porto in 2017, and quickly asserted himself as a crucial cog in midfield.

United made a move for the Portugal international in the January transfer window, and were rebuffed, but they reportedly prepared to come in with a much more substantial offer this time around.

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS LAUNCH ANOTHER MOVE FOR NEVES

After United's January offer of £35million was unsuccessful, The Sun is reporting Wolves will want in the range of £50m to sell star man Neves.

Wolves have reportedly been preparing for life without Neves for some time now, and are targeting 26-year-old Sporting CP midfielder Joao Palhinha as his long-term replacement. They are also said to have strong interest in Benfica's Martim Neto, demonstrating the clear links their scouting department has with the Primeira Liga.

However, United will have stiff competition for Neves' signature, with Barcelona reportedly keen. 

ROUND-UP

– Paris Saint Germain are open to Neymar leaving in the upcoming window, according to ESPN, with Chelsea named as a club that have interest.

– The Star is reporting Benfica have told interested parties – including United – that striker Darwin Nunez will cost £100m.

Bayern Munich will pay £25m for Liverpool's Sadio Mane as a replacement for Robert Lewandowski, per L'Equipe.

– The Telegraph is reporting that Aston Villa will explore the possibility of signing manager Steven Gerrard's former team-mate, Luis Suarez, who is a free agent.

Newcastle United have made enquiries about Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, and hope to add the France international to their attack for next season, according to The Telegraph.

You could be forgiven for feeling a sense of deja vu when Liverpool take on Real Madrid in the Champions League final at the Stade de France on Saturday.

The two European giants faced off in 2018 in Kyiv, with Los Blancos running out 3-1 winners thanks to, among other things, a sensational Gareth Bale overhead kick.

Four years later Liverpool and Madrid ready to battle it out to be crowned kings of the continent, with 19 European Cups/Champions Leagues already between them.

Just how much have the two teams changed since then, though? Stats Perform has taken a look at both to see if there are any similarities and marked differences to expect in Paris.

From nearly men to trophy collectors

One of the many reasons defeat in Kyiv hurt for Liverpool was it would have not just been another Champions League success, but the first trophy won since Jurgen Klopp had taken over.

The German coach had been at Anfield since October 2015, and while there had been clear progress, it had not yet manifested in the form of silverware.

The idea that the loss was merely a bump in the road on the start of a journey has since been proven correct, as Liverpool have since hoovered up a Champions League, Premier League, UEFA Super Cup, FIFA Club World Cup, EFL Cup and FA Cup.

At the time, though, it may not have felt that inevitable given the Merseyside club went into the final having finished fourth in the league, 25 points behind champions Man City, having also been knocked out of the EFL Cup in the third round and the FA Cup in the fourth round.

As well as making the final, the 2017-18 season was memorable for the Reds acquiring one Mohamed Salah, who went on to score 44 goals in all competitions.

They lost Philippe Coutinho to Barcelona in the January transfer window, but signed Virgil van Dijk from Southampton to help out a troubled defence.

The team that started against Madrid included at least six players you would think will start in Paris in Trent Alexander-Arnold, Van Dijk, Andrew Robertson, Jordan Henderson, Salah and Sadio Mane, while James Milner and Roberto Firmino will at least be on the bench.

It is perhaps the additions made that will make the difference this time, most notably in goal.

Loris Karius suffered a concussion after an elbow to the head from Sergio Ramos that night, which could explain his bizarre performance after that where he threw the ball straight onto Karim Benzema's foot for Madrid's opener, before dropping the ball into the goal from a Bale shot for their third.

Brazil international Alisson is a significant upgrade on Karius.

Instead of the... shall we say... enigmatic Dejan Lovren, Van Dijk will be partnered by either Joel Matip or Ibrahima Konate, both of whom have performed well with the big Dutchman this season.

Should they be fit, Thiago Alcantara and Fabinho will play with Henderson in midfield instead of Milner and Georginio Wijnaldum, while Luis Diaz will almost certainly play alongside Mane and Salah in place of Firmino.

Klopp only made two changes off the bench that night, with Adam Lallana replacing the injured Salah in the first half, while Emre Can also arrived in the second half with little impact.

He will likely have players such as Firmino, Milner, Diogo Jota, Naby Keita and, for one last time, Divock Origi to make the difference if needed in the French capital.

But overall, how much have they changed as a team since that season?

In all competitions in 2017-18, Liverpool averaged 2.39 goals for and 1.11 goals against per game, while making 584.18 passes per game.

They created 2.26 big chances per game, attempted 62.19 long passes per game and won possession in the final third on average 4.94 times per game.

Compare that to this season, they have averaged slightly fewer goals for with 2.37 per game, though have conceded just 0.76 per game, and made 624.55 passes per game, suggesting they control matches more than they used to.

They have created 2.43 big chances per game, and make fewer long passes with 57.13 per game, so are also maybe not quite as direct.

One of the more interesting stats is that they have been winning possession in the final third on average 7.32 times per game this season, significantly more than they did four years ago, so Madrid will be wary of that.

Speaking to Stats Perform, former Liverpool player and assistant manager Phil Thompson - who was captain of the Reds when they beat Madrid in Paris to lift the European Cup in 1981 - said he feels their added experience will help them this time.

"They're better equipped all round," he said. "We're better defensively. The back four, the goalkeeper, I do think all round we're more experienced now in the way we play with Sadio, Mo Salah, and Luis Diaz has brought a different element to our game."

Madrid back as Champions League experts

Back in 2018, Zinedine Zidane guided Los Blancos to their 13th European Cup/Champions League, but otherwise it was a pretty ordinary campaign.

They finished third in LaLiga, 17 points behind the champions Barcelona. They were also knocked out of the Copa del Rey at the quarter-final stage by lowly Leganes.

They just had a knack in the Champions League, though, and remarkably won their fourth in five years.

Similarly to Liverpool, you would imagine at least five of their starting XI in Kyiv will also start in Paris, with Dani Carvajal, Casemiro, Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Benzema key men in Carlo Ancelotti's side.

Thibaut Courtois has replaced Keylor Navas in goal, while Eder Militao, David Alaba and Ferland Mendy will probably be the ones to take the places of Raphael Varane, Sergio Ramos and Marcelo.

It is up top where things have mainly changed though, and not just in personnel.

Isco has become a squad player, who will leave at the end of the season, while Cristiano Ronaldo has long since departed, paving the way for Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo to come in, while Benzema has drastically increased his output.

The France striker scored 12 goals in all competitions in 47 games in the 2017-18 season, but has bagged 44 in 45 this campaign.

As for the team overall, in 2017-18 they averaged just 2.14 goals for per game, and 0.91 against, creating 2.11 big chances per game.

Somewhat bizarrely, their goal averages both for and against are the same as Liverpool's were four years ago (2.39 goals for, 1.11 against per game), though they have increased their average of big chances created to 2.71 per game.

However, they have won LaLiga this season, in addition to the Supercopa de Espana, and somehow found their way past Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City to reach the final.

Looking at those numbers and what has been achieved since, it is fair to say that both teams have improved since their Kyiv meeting.

Klopp's men have gone from a relative also-ran in English football to one of the strongest teams in the world, and had it not been for City's incredible comeback against Aston Villa on Sunday, would be playing to complete a phenomenal and unprecedented quadruple on Saturday.

Madrid have taken back their place as the best in Spain, and whether it was through luck or determination, have toppled three of the best teams in the competition to make it here.

You would assume the match in Paris will be a closer affair than 2018, and as finals so often are, is likely to be decided by the fine margins.

With the strength of both teams, though, do not be surprised if this isn't the last time we are sat here preparing to do battle in Europe's showpiece club game in May.

Kylian Mbappe remains at the centre of a disagreement between French and Spanish footballing bodies after snubbing Real Madrid to stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, long linked with Madrid, announced last week he would be signing a new contract in Paris rather than joining the Champions League finalists as a free agent.

LaLiga chief Javier Tebas swiftly responded to the news by claiming it to be "an insult to football".

Those comments have unsurprisingly prompted replies from France, firstly from LFP president Vincent Labrune, whose letter to Tebas was reported on Thursday.

Labrune questioned "your latest attacks against Ligue 1 and one of our clubs", believing his counterpart's behaviour to be "completely inappropriate".

And that is a view shared by the UNFP, the French players' union, which released a statement also directed at Tebas later on Thursday.

"We can hear and understand the disappointment of people from Madrid and their compatriots, even knowing, especially in the world of football, that you don't win every time and that it is possible to say 'no' to Real Madrid, even for a third time," said the body on its website.

"But demonstrating to the point of incomprehension does not justify disrespecting the player, his club and all of French football in this way, unless we call into question the freedom for a footballer to sign a contract with the club of his choice?

"The arrogance of the remarks made is shocking and there is no need here to reply to our Spanish friends that they have hardly any lessons to give to French football in terms of financial management, protectionism and equality...

"Once again, the most enraged is Javier Tebas who, when it comes to PSG, forgets to turn his tongue in his mouth seven times before speaking.

"And his offensive, hateful remarks, without restraint or foundation, bring shame and discredit to him, especially with regard to his position.

"In the heart of the 70s, Jeannette sang 'Porque te vas?' ['Why must you leave?']. But Kylian Mbappe will not leave, no offence to the president of the Spanish league...

"So 'Porque Tebas?' asks the UNFP..."

Aston Villa have agreed a deal with Sevilla to sign centre-back Diego Carlos for an undisclosed fee.

The club confirmed on Thursday the player will travel to England "in the next few hours" to finalise personal terms and undergo a medical, with reports suggesting the fee will be in the region of £26.4million (€31m).

Diego Carlos would be Villa's second signing in the space of a few days, with a deal also announced earlier this week for Marseille midfielder Boubacar Kamara, who will soon become a free agent.

Former Nantes defender Diego Carlos was pursued by Newcastle United for much of the January transfer window – even reportedly handing in a transfer request – but will now link up instead with Steven Gerrard's side, who finished 14th in the Premier League this season.

The 29-year-old played 136 games for Sevilla since his signing in 2019, winning the Europa League in 2020 when his overhead kick was turned into his own net by then Inter striker Romelu Lukaku for the decisive goal in the final.

Diego Carlos was also a part of the Brazil team that won gold at the Tokyo 2020 Olympics.

A statement on Sevilla's website also confirmed the news, with the Spanish club adding: "Sevilla FC wants to thank the player for his work during all these years in Seville and wishes him the best of luck in his new professional stage."

Erik ten Hag will have an early chance to test his Manchester United team against European heavyweights after a clash with Atletico Madrid was revealed.

On the weekend before the Premier League season begins, Ten Hag's United will tackle Atletico at Oslo's Ullevaal Stadium.

The July 30 fixture sees United take on the team that knocked them out of the Champions League at the last-16 stage this season.

Ralf Rangnick oversaw a 1-1 draw in Madrid followed by a 1-0 defeat at Old Trafford, but the interim boss has stepped aside after former Ajax head coach Ten Hag was named manager on a three-year contract.

United football director John Murtough, who alongside Ten Hag is set to lead an overhaul of the club's playing staff during the close season, said the Atletico game would be a significant fixture.

"Pre-season is such an important part of the squad's preparations for the season ahead," Murtough said.

"Our players and coaching staff will be relishing the opportunity to play against such a high-calibre opponent in Atletico Madrid, as well as the chance to perform in front of a full stadium of passionate Norwegian fans."

United trailed home a dismal sixth in the 2021-22 Premier League, losing their last six away games, finishing with their fewest points since 1989-90, and ending the campaign with a goal difference of zero.

Atletico, a year on from winning the LaLiga title, finished third in the Spanish top flight as Real Madrid took top spot and Barcelona edged into second position.

Xavi is hopeful Barcelona will be able to announce a new contract for Gavi "in a few days". 

Barca president Joan Laporta this week publicly stated the club were frustrated by the delay in the 17-year-old signing a renewal. 

Laporta suggested Gavi's agent Ivan de la Pena – a former Barcelona team-mate of Xavi – was comparing the offer to others, with the Spain international only having one year left on his deal. 

However, Xavi was optimistic Gavi will put pen to paper in the near future after Barca beat the A-Leagues All-Stars 3-2 in Sydney on Wednesday. 

"These things take time, but I'm hopeful that in a few days we can announce something," said Xavi. 

 

The Barca boss was far less convincing when asked about the future of Frenkie de Jong. 

De Jong has been linked with a move away to help the club finance a move for Robert Lewandowski. 

Xavi said of the Netherlands midfielder: "He is a key player for us and he will continue to be, but everything depends on the financial situation of the club. We'll see what happens." 

Sadio Mane cast doubt on his Liverpool future by saying he will reveal whether he is staying at the club after the Champions League final. 

Bayern Munich and Real Madrid have been heavily linked with a move for Mane, who has one year remaining on his contract at Anfield. 

After missing out on Premier League glory at the weekend, the Senegal international hopes to help Liverpool lift the trophy in Europe's leading club competition for the seventh time. 

They will need to overcome Madrid at the Stade de France – a repeat of the 2018 final that was won by LaLiga's champions – for their third piece of silverware this season. 

Madrid's interest in Mane has reportedly stepped up after they missed out on Kylian Mbappe, and the 30-year-old intends to provide clarity on his future after the final. 

"I will answer after the Champions League. Whether I'm staying or not, I'm going to answer after the Champions League," he told Sky Sports. 

Mohamed Salah, whose Liverpool deal is also set to expire in June next year, confirmed on Wednesday that he will still be at the club next season. 

The Egyptian winger said the Reds want revenge over Madrid following the result in the 2018 Champions League final in Kyiv, but Mane does not feel the same way. 

"I think Mo is just Mo," he said with a smile. "For sure it's not a revenge. In four years a lot of things have changed, we have more experience and quality in the team. 

"I think we've all forgotten about what happened in 2018. For sure, Real Madrid were the better team and deserved to win the final, but it's going to be a different game." 

Mane added: "For me, relaxed, no pressure, nothing at all – just enjoy it. I think it's a dream moment for us, so let's enjoy it without putting pressure on ourselves. 

"Everybody is smiling and confident, which is amazing. We know it won't be an easy game against one of the best in the world, but that will make the game special." 

Xabi Alonso is set to leave Real Sociedad after a three-year spell in charge of the club's B team.

Alonso has built a reputation as a highly rated young coach since returning to his first club.

He took La Real's youngsters – often known as Sanse – to a fifth-placed finish in Segunda B2 in his debut campaign, before surpassing expectations the following year.

Alonso secured Sanse's first ever promotion to the second tier in the 2020-21 season as they finished top of Subgroup 2A and Promotion Group 2C in the reformatted Segunda B.

Their relegation back to the third tier has already been confirmed despite having one match left, but Alonso's spell in charge has largely been considered a success.

According to local reports, La Real wanted Alonso to take charge of the senior team for the upcoming 2022-23 season, such is the regard president Jokin Aperribay holds the former Spain international in.

But incumbent head coach Imanol Alguacil is said to have rejected the offer of a promotion to a directorial position as head of the club's academy in a suggested management reshuffle.

Alonso's departure was announced soon after such rumours began to surface.

"Xabi Alonso will not continue at Real Sociedad once the 21-22 season is over," a statement read. "The coach from Tolosa, coach of Sanse for the last three years, will leave the txuri urdin club having completed a brilliant stage, in which he achieved historic promotion to [the second tier] and enriching, thanks to his knowledge and involvement, the training and progress of the players of our subsidiary, many of them having debuted during this time with the first team.

"Xabi Alonso will not continue at Real Sociedad next year, but the doors of the txuri urdin club will always remain open to be able to join their paths again.

"Real Sociedad wishes to thank Xabi Alonso for the dedication, effort, commitment and involvement shown in the three years in which he has remained at the club in this stage as a coach and wishes him the best for his personal and professional future."

Karim Benzema insists he does not feel "betrayed" by Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay with Paris Saint-Germain instead of joining him at Real Madrid.

After well over a year of intense speculation, Mbappe finally confirmed on Saturday that he had signed a new three-year contract at PSG.

It was a decision few saw coming given Madrid's apparent confidence the France international was going to join them on a free transfer at the end of June.

Mbappe's decision infuriated LaLiga chief Javier Tebas, while others associated more closely with Madrid were said to have been stunned.

An Instagram post by Benzema later the same day attracted particular attention, as he uploaded a photo of late rapper Tupac Shakur that was deemed to be veiled reference to betrayal.

According to Madrid-based newspaper Marca, which is generally regarded to have strong ties to Los Blancos, Benzema had been key in trying to persuade international team-mate Mbappe to join the club, hence why he might have felt betrayed.

But Benzema is adamant such stories are nonsense.

Speaking to Movistar Plus on Tuesday, Benzema said: "I'm going to tell you that we're going to play a Champions League final on Saturday. This is not the time to talk about those little things. I'd rather not talk.

"I'm not angry, I'm just telling you that I'm focused on the Champions League final, which is more important than listening to other things."

Asked if he felt "betrayed", Benzema continued: "Why? Everyone has to be focused on their things.

"Mbappe and other players have no reason to call me. Everyone decides their future. I'm calm here, preparing for Saturday's game. Each person does what he wants.

"There is no history of betrayal, or anything… Every month and a half I [post] photos of Tupac, who is my favourite.

"It's not a photo with a message; if I have a message I will see the person. Madrid is the best club in the world, but it was not a message."

Benzema did acknowledge, however, that the news was unexpected.

"I was surprised, like everyone else," he said. "He is a Paris player and we have a game on Saturday."

Both players are expected to be on international duty with France next month when Les Bleus begin their Nations League title defence.

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