A resurgent Joao Felix is doing everything that Atletico Madrid are asking of him, according to head coach Diego Simeone.

The Portugal international continued his fine form on Saturday with two goals as LaLiga champions Atleti claimed an emphatic 4-1 win over lowly Deportivo Alaves.

Joao Felix has now been involved in eight goals in his last six games in all competitions (six goals, two assists), which is the same as his 33 games before that (four goals, four assists).

Simeone is thrilled with the 22-year-old's contribution and believes he is on the right path after what has been a far from smooth Atleti career so far, since his big-money switch from Benfica in 2019.

"He continues to grow, he's in a great moment," Simeone told Movistar+. "He's happy. He's fine and he's doing everything we need from him."

Luis Suarez came off the bench to score a late double of his own, the first of which came from the penalty spot, and Simeone said the striker is enjoying his role as one of the team's elder statesmen.

"I am very happy for him," Simeone added. "He is in a moment that he has not lived. He is enjoying the hierarchy, the security.

"Before the game he told Joao Felix to score two goals. It's nice. He wants to compete to win. To win, everyone has to be involved."

There was a moving tribute before the game to Simeone's father, Carlos, who died in March, and the Atleti coach was thankful to the club for putting it on.

"Out of respect I will say that I will never forget it," he said. "And a thank you to the club for having done it."

 

Joao Felix had 52 touches in Saturday's win, more than any other Atleti attacker, while his 20 attempted passes in Alaves' half was the second-most and he led the way, along with Yannick Carrasco, for chances created (three).

"We're working well. The team is very good and when that's the case, individuals stand out," Joao Felix said.

"I go in with the same mentality of winning and scoring. At the beginning, I am fresh and I can do a little more. The desire to win and score is in the first minute or in the last.

"It's a natural process for players. Some start playing, others start on the bench. I have never stopped working."

Atleti, who are up to third in LaLiga, travel to England to face Manchester City in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final on Tuesday.

Atletico Madrid went third in LaLiga after doubles from Joao Felix and Luis Suarez sealed a 4-1 victory over lowly Deportivo Alaves on Saturday.

It had looked like Diego Simeone's side would be denied a sixth straight top-flight win when Gonzalo Escalante cancelled out Joao Felix's opener in the 63rd minute. 

However, Suarez's penalty and Joao Felix's second inside wrapped up maximum points at the Wanda Metropolitano.

Suarez prodded in a fourth in the 90th minute as Atleti moved level with second-placed Sevilla on 57 points, although Julen Lopetegui's side do have a game in hand. 

Atleti thought they had opened the scoring in the ninth minute, yet Thomas Lemar's finish was ruled out for offside.

They went ahead two minutes later, though, as an unmarked Joao Felix superbly headed Sime Vrsaljko's cross into Fernando Pacheco's top-left corner.

Yet a sluggish start to the second half meant Atleti had to wait until the hour mark for another clear sight of goal, Marcos Llorente whipping wide from just outside the area. 

Atleti were made to pay when Escalante stole into the area and headed Edgar Mendez's sumptuous cross past Jan Oblak. 

However, Florian Lejeune's foul on substitute Matheus Cunha and Suarez duly slammed his penalty down the middle.

Joao Felix got his second in the 82nd minute with a venomous close-range effort after Cunha's initial shot had been saved.

Suarez added gloss to the scoreline in the 90th minute with a cool finish after being played in by the hugely influential Cunha.

 

Atletico Madrid boss Diego Simeone believes Barcelona president Joan Laporta merely demonstrated his intelligence and good taste by expressing interest in Joao Felix.

The Portuguese attacker has recorded six goal involvements in his last five games in LaLiga – four goals and two assists – which is as many as he managed in his previous 30 games in the competition, when he tallied just three goals and three assists.

Joao Felix is helping his side to a strong run of form as they chase Champions League qualification for another season, impressing not only Simeone.

Earlier this week, Barcelona chief Laporta confirmed an admiration for the 22-year-old, revealing he attempted to engineer a swap for the forward when Antoine Griezmann agreed to leave Camp Nou for Atleti early in the season.

Joao Felix's six league goals this season put him third in Atletico's goalscoring charts behind Angel Correa (11) and Luis Suarez (nine) for the season.

"I live from day to day, from game to game," Simeone told a news conference ahead of Atletico's clash with Alaves.

"[But] it doesn't seem surprising to me that a president as intelligent as Laporta speaks perfectly about Joao. It doesn't surprise me at all.

"He is in a great moment. He feels good, strong, committed to what the team needs, and we always look for that, he is performing and that is why he is playing."

The Atletico boss also confirmed the former Benfica prospect is "fine" and showing "no discomfort" after making two substitute appearances for Portugal during the international break.

Simeone's team are chasing Champions League qualification after winning five consecutive league games, having won just one of their previous 10. They could win six successive games in LaLiga for the first time in over a year – they won eight in a row on a run which ended in January 2021 – when they host Alaves.

Pep Guardiola has indicated Manchester City will have to cope without Ruben Dias for crucial games against Atletico Madrid and Liverpool.

Centre-back Dias has been sidelined since suffering a hamstring injury in the FA Cup win at Peterborough United on March 1, and it was revealed he faced four to six weeks on the sidelines.

It appears the Portuguese defender will be available again closer to the six-week mark than Guardiola might have hoped, with City facing Atletico in the Champions League either side of a Premier League clash with title rivals Liverpool.

First comes a trip to Burnley on Saturday, with Dias a confirmed non-starter for that game.

"I don't know," Guardiola said, when asked how much longer Dias faced on the sidelines.

"The doctor said four to six weeks. I think we need 10 more days, two weeks more. Everything is going well."

The first leg of the Atletico quarter-final is coming up at the Etihad Stadium on Tuesday, with Liverpool visiting on Sunday, April 10, three days before Guardiola's men are back in European action in Madrid.

The timeframe suggests Dias may struggle to play any part in those three games, which are followed by an FA Cup semi-final, also against Liverpool, on April 16 at Wembley.

Although Dias has been an integral figure in Guardiola's first-team plans, his absence from four Premier League games this season has not had a majorly adverse impact to date.

Without him, City have won three times and drawn once in four games (average points: 2.5), while with Dias in the side they have won 19, drawn three and lost three (average points: 2.4) – though the sample sizes are significantly different.

City would have good cause to be cautiously optimistic of taking three points at Burnley without Dias involved, however.

After taking five points from their first 12 available against City in the Premier League (W1 D2 L1), Burnley have managed just one point from the subsequent 11 games between the teams (D1 L10).

Indeed, City have won their last nine meetings with Burnley in all competitions by a 32-1 aggregate score.

Barcelona are reportedly too restricted by LaLiga financial rules to enter the race for the world's best players, even after inking a deal with Spotify worth up to $235million.

Xavi's side have gone from strength to strength recently, finding form and re-establishing Barcelona as a prime destination, with a number of strong signings rumoured to be heading to Camp Nou in the next transfer window.

While there may be interest in bringing in the biggest names in the world, Barcelona supporters will likely need to lower their expectations.

TOP STORY – BARCELONA OUT OF SALAH RACE

It was reported that Barcelona have interest in signing Liverpool's Mohamed Salah, but The Daily Mirror claims that it will not be possible due to LaLiga's financial rules.

Salah – who boasts 28 goals and 10 assists in 36 matches for Liverpool this season – is likely to fetch a price similar to Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, who Barcelona president Joan Laporta ruled out when talking with RAC 1, as well as Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, due to the lofty figures.

While Barca may not be willing to fork out €100m for a single signing, they are rumoured to have agreed to terms with Robert Lewandowski, who could fetch up to €60m at 33 years old, as well as Franck Kessie and Cesar Azpilicueta, with further interest in Ajax's Antony and Manchester United's Paul Pogba.

ROUND-UP

– Borussia Dortmund are interested in signing Premier League strikers Timo Werner and Anthony Martial from Chelsea and Manchester United, according to 90Min.

– According to The Sun, Newcastle United are keen on signing Watford's Ismaila Sarr in the upcoming transfer window in a deal believed to be worth around £35m.

– Leeds United have placed an asking price of £67m on Brazilian winger Raphinha, per The Daily Mirror, with The Athletic also reporting that the club insists his only release clause is triggered if the Whites are relegated from the Premier League.

– Calciomercato is reporting that Arsenal and Atletico Madrid will be competing for the signature of Inter Milan striker Lautaro Martinez, with the Italian club said to be interested if the fee hits £58m.

– According to Mundo Deportivo, Paulo Dybala is interested in joining Atletico Madrid when his contract expires after this season, and while Inter also have interest, they would need to sell Martinez to do so.

Koke says Atletico Madrid's improved defensive showings are now being reflected by their results after the captain scored in a 1-0 win over Rayo Vallecano.

After Atletico had managed just a single attempt on target despite bossing the first half, Koke bent a delicate strike into the bottom-right corner after a neat one-two with Joao Felix, handing Los Colchoneros a fifth consecutive win in LaLiga.

Koke's first strike of the campaign also saw him join a select group, becoming just the fifth man to score in each of the last 12 seasons in LaLiga, after Karim Benzema, Raul Garcia, Iker Muniain, and team-mate Antoine Griezmann.

The victory, which Atletico claimed despite Angel Correa's late red card, put last season's champions third in LaLiga, three points clear of Barcelona and five clear of Real Betis in the top-four race.

After downing Vallecano with his first goal since January 2021, Koke hailed the team's concentration levels and emphasised the importance of keeping a clean sheet.

"We have found the key," the 30-year-old told LaLiga TV. "We have all increased the intensity, the concentration. That is why we are in this dynamic. 

"We are playing very good games and that is reflected in the results. We have found the key both offensively and defensively. 

"We have conceded a lot of goals [prior to this run] and [now] we are managing to keep a clean sheet, which is important for us and has given us victories."

The shutout win saw Atletico boss Diego Simeone become just the fourth coach to oversee 200 clean sheets in LaLiga. After reaching that landmark in just 393 games, the Argentine has done so quicker than any of the previous three, namely Luis Aragones, Miguel Munoz, and Javier Irureta.

"Jan is always the best in the world," Koke added. "He proves it in every match. To score a goal [against Oblak], you have to score a great goal or get lucky. 

"For us it is good news that we did not concede a goal and Jan is very important."

Atletico have now conceded just twice in their last five league games, having shipped 10 goals in their previous five matches in LaLiga.

Simeone, meanwhile, highlighted the team's recent growth, and emphasised the contribution of Koke after his match-winning intervention. 

"The team has grown as a whole, and the individuals are having a very good level," Simeone said. "Lodi, Reinildo, Llorente, the return of Koke has given us a lot, De Paul 's [had] two very good games…

"The team is very strong when they work like this. It is repetitive to talk about Koke, they [the players] know what I think of him. He goes through bad times, but he accepts them. Some criticise him more than others, but he always gives us a lot."

Koke's fine second-half strike earned Atletico Madrid a 1-0 derby victory over Rayo Vallecano on Saturday, though Diego Simeone's team finished with 10 men.

Antoine Griezmann and Joao Felix missed the best openings of a cagey first half, before visiting captain Koke finished neatly into the bottom-right corner in the 49th minute.

Jan Oblak made a fine left-handed save to preserve the lead, and Atleti held on despite Angel Correa's late red card, earning a fifth successive league win and boosting their hopes of a top-four finish. 

Griezmann's early volley forced Stole Dimitrievski into a reaction stop at his near post, before Joao Felix poked agonisingly wide after meeting Rodrigo de Paul's free-kick at the back post.

Joao Felix then sent a disappointing header over the bar from a right-wing corner on 34 minutes, but the fleet-of-foot Portugal international was Atleti's brightest attacker in a competitive first half.

Stefan Savic headed over from another set-piece at the end of a first half in which chances came at a premium, with both sides each registering just one shot on target each before the break.

Atleti went up a gear at the start of the second half, however, with Koke exchanging a neat give-and-go with Joao Felix before bending the ball into the bottom-right corner.

Mario Suarez drew a stunning save from Oblak on the hour and substitute Correa put his team in a difficult spot when he saw red on 85 minutes for shoving Alejandro Catena, but the visitors clung on.

Cristiano Ronaldo has been heavily linked with an early exit from Manchester United this season.

The Red Devils are out of the Premier League title race and struggling to make the top four.

There is said to be tension surrounding Ronaldo due to Ralf Rangnick's appointment as interim manager.

TOP STORY - RONALDO RE-COMMITS TO MAN UTD

Ronaldo will stay with United next season with interim manager Rangnick set to depart, reports AS.

The 37-year-old forward has committed to United, whom he joined in August on a two-year deal with the option for a third season, as he is confident they will show their ambition by making a major appointment with their new permanent manager.

United were eliminated from the Champions League this week by Atletico Madrid and are struggling to reach next season's edition, sitting fifth in the Premier League.

ROUND-UP

- Jesse Lingard has been offered to Italian clubs Milan and Roma as he prepares to leave United as a free agent, reports Nicolo Schira. West Ham  and Newcastle United are also interested in the 29-year-old England international.

- Benfica have slapped a £67million price tag on striker  Darwin Nunez , who is being pursued by Manchester United , Arsenal , Liverpool and Newcastle ,   according to The Mirror.

- Foot Mercato reports  Arsenal will enter the race to sign Real Madrid winger  Eden Hazard , with Chelsea previously linked to their former player.

- Fichajes claims  Atletico Madrid are considering a move for Athletic Bilbao head coach Marcelino should Diego Simeone opt to leave the Spanish champions.

Tuesday sees two very finely poised games in the Champions League round of 16 as Manchester United host Atletico Madrid and Benfica travel to Amsterdam to face Ajax.

A 1-1 draw at the Wanda Metropolitano three weeks ago felt harsh on Atletico, and Diego Simeone will not have been too pleased to see Cristiano Ronaldo roar back into form at the weekend with a hat-trick in United's 3-2 win against Tottenham.

An exciting first leg in Lisbon saw Benfica and Ajax play out a 2-2 draw, with the Dutch side's star striker Sebastien Haller finding the net at both ends.

The removal of the away goals rule means there is not a single thing separating these sides heading into the second legs, so here are some Opta facts to help you decide who you think will come out on top on Tuesday.

Manchester United v Atletico Madrid

Ronaldo was back to his effervescent best on Saturday, and has scored in both of his Champions League home games for Ralf Rangnick's men this season. If he does so again, it would be only the second time he has managed three in a row for the club (previously between November 2007 and March 2008).

He has netted 13 goals in his last 15 home games against Atletico across all competitions, including two hat-tricks in his most recent four (for Real Madrid in May 2017 and Juventus in March 2019, both in this competition).

United have been eliminated from their last three Champions League knockout stage games when drawing the first leg, doing so against Real Madrid (2012-13 last 16), Bayern Munich (2013-14 quarter-final) and Sevilla (2017-18 last 16).

However, when failing to win the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie at home, Atletico have been eliminated three out of four times. The only exception was a 3-1 win at Chelsea in the 2013-14 semi-final, following a 0-0 draw in the home leg.

 

Before this season, 69 per cent of teams to draw the first leg of a Champions League knockout stage tie at home have been eliminated (59/85). That being said, six of the last 10 such teams to progress have done so against English sides.

Atletico have lost their last two away trips to face English sides in the Champions League, losing at Chelsea in 2020-21 and Liverpool this season without scoring a goal in either. In addition, they have not kept a clean sheet in any of their eight total away games against English teams in the competition, conceding 14 goals overall.

The Red Devils have only won two of their last eight Champions League home games when hosting Spanish opposition (D3 L3), although the most recent of those did come earlier in the competition this season, beating Villarreal 2-1 with a stoppage-time winner from Ronaldo.

Despite the reputation of Simeone's side for being tight at the back, they have not kept a clean sheet in any of their last six Champions League matches – only between September 2009 and October 2013 (seven games) have they had a longer such run in the competition.

Ajax v Benfica

Ajax lost their first ever home game against a Portuguese opponent in the European Cup/UEFA Champions League (3-1 in February 1969 v Benfica) but have since gone unbeaten in five matches since (W4 D1). They have won all three encounters that have taken place in the Champions League era, including one earlier this season (4-2 win v Sporting CP in the group stage).

Including qualifiers, Benfica have only won one of their last 10 away games against Dutch sides in European competition – 1-0 v AZ in the Europa League in 2013-14. Six of the other nine games have ended in draws (L3), including one earlier this season against PSV in Champions League qualifying (0-0).

Ajax have won all three of their home games in the Champions League this season. They will be looking to win four in a row on home soil in the competition for the first time since March 1996, when they won seven in succession under Louis van Gaal.

Benfica are looking to progress beyond the last 16 of the Champions League for the first time since 2015-16, when they beat Zenit. It would be just the fourth time they have reached the quarter-finals of the competition in the 21st century, after doing so in 2005-06, 2011-12 and 2015-16.

 

Goal enthusiasts Ajax have scored at least twice in all seven of their Champions League games this season, netting 22 times in total. That is the most by team from outside of the big five European leagues through their first seven games of a campaign since Ajax themselves, who scored 30 in 1979-80.

Benfica have only won one of their last 14 away games in the Champions League (D4 L9), which was against AEK Athens in October 2018. In the knockout stages of the competition, Nelson Verissimo's side have lost five of their last six away games (W1).

Ajax have four different players in double figures for chances created from open play in the Champions League this season – Dusan Tadic (16), Haller (13), Steven Berghuis (12) and Antony (10). Only Manchester City have had as many different players do so (also four).

Haller has been directly involved in five goals in three home appearances in the Champions League this season (three goals, two assists), and could become just the fourth player in the competition's history to score in each of his first four home appearances, after Oscar (2013), Frederic Kanoute (2008) and Alessandro Del Piero (1996).

Atletico Madrid head coach Diego Simeone hopes to cause Manchester United "vertigo" when his team travel to Old Trafford for the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie on Tuesday.

The first leg at the Wanda Metropolitano three weeks ago ended 1-1 after a late equaliser from substitute Anthony Elanga cancelled out Joao Felix's first-half header.

Atletico have lost their last two away trips to face English sides in the Champions League, losing at Chelsea in 2020-21 and Liverpool this season without scoring a goal in either.

They have also not kept a clean sheet in any of their eight away games against English teams in the competition, conceding 14 goals overall, but Simeone believes United could struggle as the home team. 

"We will press high," he told reporters at Monday's pre-match news conference. “It will be the classic type of match you expect in a game like this – the vertigo you sometimes suffer when you play at home.

"I think we have the opportunity to hit on the counter to capitalise on any errors they make. We are really up for the game and will do the best we can."

Atletico eliminated Liverpool in the 2019-20 Champions League at the round of 16 stage, winning the second leg 3-2 at Anfield after extra-time, but Simeone insists the game at Old Trafford is separate and the previous success England will have no bearing on the outcome.

"They are different games, we know the importance of the rival we are going to face tomorrow and the danger they have, but we are confident," he added.

 

Marcos Llorente, who scored twice in the win at Liverpool in 2019, said he and his team-mates are confident ahead of the game, but stressed they must be careful with Cristiano Ronaldo around.

Ronaldo scored a hat-trick in United's 3-2 win against Tottenham on Saturday, and has netted 13 goals in his last 15 home games against Atletico across all competitions, including two hat-tricks in his most recent four (for Real Madrid in May 2017 and Juventus in March 2019, both in the Champions League).

"When you have players like that, you always need to be on your guard," Llorente said. "They have some other great players that play at a really high level and have to be aware of all of them."

Luis Suarez sent a message of support to Lionel Messi and Neymar after the Paris Saint-Germain duo were booed by their own fans.

Mauricio Pochettino's team threw away a 2-0 aggregate lead to exit the Champions League at Real Madrid in midweek, prompting fury on their return to domestic action on Sunday.

Messi and Neymar were roundly jeered during PSG's 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux, even when Neymar tapped home the team's second goal after a move which included a sublime defence-splitting pass from Messi.

Messi has not enjoyed his finest campaign since arriving in the French capital, scoring just two goals from 60 attempts (18 of them on target) in Ligue 1 this season, although he has hit the woodwork eight times in the league, more than any other player in the top five European divisions.

The treatment of his former Barcelona team-mates prompted Atletico Madrid striker Suarez to show support on his Instagram story, accusing the fans of having "no memory".

"As always, football has no memory," the 35-year-old wrote alongside a picture of the three players.

"[I'm] always with you. I love you."

The Messi-Suarez-Neymar 'MSN' trio enjoyed a fruitful relationship in their time with the Catalan giants, hitting a combined 81 LaLiga goals in a stunning 2014-15 season. They led the Blaugrana to the LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles in that campaign.

Neymar's goal against Bordeaux means he has scored eight Ligue 1 goals against them, more league goals than he has managed against any other team since arriving in Europe in 2013. 

The dominant victory at Parc des Princes also means that PSG have won seven of their nine Ligue 1 games immediately following a Champions League exit since their Qatari takeover in 2011.

Romelu Lukaku's Chelsea return has not gone to plan – and it may well be that the striker departs after just one season back at Stamford Bridge.

The Belgium international has 11 goals in 31 matches and is struggling to nail down a spot in Thomas Tuchel's starting line-up.

With Chelsea's problems growing off the field, they may now face a big decision regarding their record signing.


TOP STORY – LUKAKU WANTS INTER RETURN AT ALL COSTS

According to Calciomercato, Lukaku is doing everything in his power to push through a return to Inter ahead of next season after departing the Serie A champions in August.

The Italian outlet claims that Lukaku accepts he made a big mistake in departing San Siro and, amid a breakdown in his relationship with Chelsea fans, he is desperate to return.

However, while the 28-year-old is said to be willing to take a pay cut, Inter are unable to finance a permanent transfer and may instead look to purchase him on an initial loan. 

Chelsea would also have to be cleared to sell the player following the heavy sanctions placed upon owner Roman Abramovich by the United Kingdom government this week.

ROUND-UP

- Those sanctions cast doubt over Chelsea's ability to sell or recruit players in the next transfer window, but that has not stopped the Blues being linked with more players. The Mirror reports that they remain hopeful of signing Saul Niguez from Atletico Madrid on a permanent deal.

- Should they be allowed to offload players in the coming months, Tuttosport suggests that Juventus will attempt to sign Jorginho from Chelsea. The Italian club are also reported to be in the mix to land wing-back Emerson Palmieri.

- With Harry Maguire struggling, Fichajes reports that Manchester United are targeting versatile Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez. However, United may face competition from LaLiga heavyweights Barcelona and Real Madrid.

- According to The Sun, United are ready to offer Juan Mata a coaching role should the midfielder call time on his playing career. Mata has played just four games all season, starting two of those, and is due to be out of contract at the end of the season.

- The Daily Mail reports that mega-rich Newcastle United intend to move for Leeds United's in-demand midfielder Kalvin Phillips, who has also been linked with ambitious Aston Villa. Antonio Rudiger of Chelsea is another supposed target for the Magpies.

Rodrigo de Paul boosted Atletico Madrid's Champions League hopes, netting a second half winner as the below-par hosts beat Cadiz 2-1.

Diego Simeone's men established an early lead through Joao Felix, but Alvaro Negredo headed home a fine leveller at the end of a scrappy first half.

Despite the relegation-threatened visitors enjoying the better of the play for long periods, De Paul fired home a second-half winner to send Simeone's men third in LaLiga, with Javi Serrano's late red card not significantly impacting Atleti.

Cadiz gifted their hosts the opening goal just three minutes in when goalkeeper Jeremias Ledesma passed straight to Joao Felix, leaving the Portuguese to finish neatly from a tight angle.

Alfonso Espino and Negredo both volleyed narrowly wide as Cadiz looked to respond in a feisty first period, which threatened to boil over when Atletico defender Reinildo threw himself into a two-footed challenge and was shown a straight red card just before half-time.

Referee Pablo Fuertes then contentiously overturned the decision after a rapid VAR review, much to the visitors' fury.

But Cadiz ended the first half on a high, levelling through Negredo's well-placed header after a sublime left-wing cross from captain Espino.

Against the run of play, the hosts re-established their lead 22 minutes from time – De Paul firing home the rebound after Ledesma parried substitute Angel Correa's fierce strike.

Jose Gimenez made a remarkable goal-line clearance from Luis Hernandez soon after and Atletico were then put in a difficult spot when Serrano was dismissed for a forceful challenge just five minutes after coming on, but the hosts clung on for three vital points in their bid for Champions League football.

Georginio Wijnaldum only joined Paris Saint-Germain in June but is reportedly unsettled.

The 31-year-old Dutch midfielder had signed a three-year deal with the Parisians.

Wijnaldum has been linked with several clubs given his situation.

TOP STORY – VILLA PLOT WIJNALDUM MOVE

Steven Gerrard's Aston Villa are considering a move for PSG's Wijnaldum , claims Sport.

Gerrard is keeping tabs on ex-Liverpool midfielder Wijnaldum, who is reportedly ready to leave PSG whom he joined less than 12 months ago.

The Villans were quoted with a £21million price tag for Wijnaldum who is contracted until 2024.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims that 35-year-old Luis Suarez will leave Atletico Madrid at the end of this season, with Inter, Ajax and Sevilla pursuing him along with unnamed Brazilian clubs.

- Newcastle United will table a £50m offer for Bayer Leverkusen's French winger Moussa Diaby,  according to the Mail. Leverkusen have set a £75m valuation for Diaby.

- PSG want to re-sign Italy international forward Moise Kean, who is currently on loan at Juventus from Everton, claims Calciomercato. Kean was on loan at PSG last season, netting 17 goals in 41 appearances.

- Football Insider reports that Arsenal are monitoring Aston Villa striker Ollie Watkins as a cut-price forward option if moves for Alexander Isak, Dominic Calvert-Lewin or Darwin Nunez fail to materialise.

Jan Oblak believes Atletico Madrid have turned a corner after battling to a 3-1 victory at Real Betis on Sunday.

Atleti followed up victories over Osasuna and Celta Vigo in LaLiga with three more points at Estadio Benito Villamarin to move above their opponents into fourth place.

Two goals for in-form Joao Felix, either side of Cristian Tello's equaliser deep in first-half stoppage time, was followed up by a late strike by Thomas Lemar.

After winning three league games in a row for the first time this term, Oblak feels confident his side can hold off the chasing pack and secure a Champions League berth.

"This is a different Atletico, we have to continue like this," Oblak told Movistar. "Only in this way can we reach the Champions League. 

"There's a long way to go. All the players and the coaching staff are involved in that. If we continue like this, we have no doubt [of finishing in the top four]."

 

Joao Felix has now scored four goals in his last four appearances in all competitions for Atletico, compared to three goals in his first 23 outings at club level this campaign.

He has scored two or more goals on five occasions for Los Colchoneros, though this is the first such occasion he has managed that since November 2020 against Cadiz.

While his output in front of goal has improved drastically in recent weeks, the Portugal international insists he has performed at a consistent level all campaign.

"Nothing has changed," he said. "I was also doing things well before, but goals were missing. Now they are arriving and I'm hoping to keep it up.

"As a team we are well-connected and clear about our objective. We are performing well and our attitude is good. When that is the case, the quality shows."

Atletico are two points better off than Betis, who slipped from third to fifth this weekend, and are level with Barcelona – 2-1 winners against Elche earlier on Sunday – in third.

Reflecting on a huge victory for his side with the pressure on, head coach Diego Simeone said: "We were facing a rival who is in a very good moment. 

"You have to play with humility, with the same spirit, and go game by game. We will now try to get better."

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