David Alaba hopes to form a defensive alliance with Raphael Varane at Real Madrid, despite speculation linking the France international with Manchester United.

Alaba joined Madrid on a free transfer following a decorated spell with Bayern Munich, during which time he won an incredible 27 trophies.

The Austria international was presented to the media in the Spanish capital on Wednesday, where it was revealed he would inherit the number four shirt from Sergio Ramos, who has joined Paris Saint-Germain following a career-defining association with Los Blancos.

That in itself was a point of intrigue, but Alaba also addressed Varane – who he hopes does not follow the veteran Spain centre-back out of the Santiago Bernabeu exit door.

"I would have loved to play with Ramos, of course," he told reporters. "He is a leader, it would have been a pleasure.

"Varane, of course I would like to play with him. He is a player who has played excellent football.

"He is a great defender and has very good qualities. "

 

Alaba explained he has spoken to Ramos about taking on his famous shirt number.

"Ramos was here for a decade and has played football very well wearing this number and has become a leader," he said. "It is something that is present in everyone's head.

"He spoke to me. I was told that it is the last available number and I did not want to ask other players for their number. I feel honoured and it is a great motivation for me."

Even though a tough close-season market and the relatively parlous state of Madrid's finances look like obvious stumbling blocks, Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe continues to be linked with the club.

Alaba was on the winning side when Bayern beat PSG in the 2020 Champions League final, but Mbappe excelled when the Ligue 1 giants deposed the European champions in last season's quarter-finals.

The France forward's 42 goals in all competitions last season put him second only to Robert Lewandowski (48) across Europe's big five leagues.

"He is a world-class player and he has enormous quality, that is something indisputable," Alaba added.

"I think it is something that does not affect me. That question should be addressed to other people."

Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Georginio Wijnaldum and Gianluigi Donnarumma have all joined Paris Saint-Germain this transfer window - a haul of signings Mauricio Pochettino feels are befitting of the Ligue 1 giants.

Having been appointed in January to replace Thomas Tuchel, the Argentine led his side to semi-final elimination in the Champions League at the hands of Manchester City and they finished second to Lille domestically.

After bringing in numerous big names, Pochettino is preparing to bounce back in the 2021-22 season and has surrounded himself with some stars of European football.

"A club like Paris Saint-Germain deserves players of the highest level", Pochettino told the club's in-house media on Monday.

"And when you talk about players like Wijnaldum, Ramos, Hakimi or Donnarumma, these are all players who have shown their quality at other clubs and who have proven that they have the quality to play for Paris Saint-Germain."

Donnarumma, whose shoot-out heroics led Italy to their first European Championship triumph since 1968, will provide additional defensive solidarity - a characteristic synonymous with Ramos.

The former Real Madrid centre-back kept 206 clean sheets during his time with Los Blancos, while he is the only defender to score 100 goals in one of the top-five European leagues since the turn of the century.

Hakimi offers further quality at both ends for PSG. The wing-back contributed seven goals and nine assists last season for Inter, a total bettered by four defenders across Europe's top-five leagues.

 

And Pochettino appreciated the impact that experience could have on his team preparing for their next campaign.

"What we are looking for in all players that we want to see in the Paris Saint-Germain shirt is personality and a winning mentality," the former Southampton and Tottenham boss said.

"These players that we have signed have won things at different clubs, but most importantly, they haven't won anything here yet and they will do everything they can in order to do so."

Last season, PSG ranked 11th in Ligue 1 in terms of the number of times they recovered possession and Pochettino insisted this is an area that his team must improve if they are to succeed.

While PSG recorded 2,250 recoveries across the Ligue 1 campaign, champions Lille were the hardest working, recovering possession 2,460 times. The signing of Wijnaldum, who ranked fourth in terms of recoveries for Liverpool last season, may help their cause.

"The key lies in the way we recover the ball, the commitment and desire that each of the 11 players that are out on the pitch show when we don't have the ball", Pochettino added.

"That we have that aggression and collective effort in order to leave the opposition with very few options. I think that will be the key."

Kylian Mbappe should join Real Madrid at some point in his career, says Sergio Ramos, but Paris Saint-Germain's new signing wants the France star to stay put for now.

Ramos joined PSG earlier this month, signing a two-year contract with the Ligue 1 giants after leaving Madrid.

The defender, who missed out on Spain's Euro 2020 squad, failed to agree a new deal with Madrid and called time on a 16-year stint in the Spanish capital.

He joins a PSG team who will bid to reclaim the Ligue 1 title in 2021-22, after Lille's triumph last term, while the Champions League will be another one of head coach Mauricio Pochettino's goals.

However, perhaps the first priority for PSG is securing the future of Mbappe.

Neymar is already tied down to a long-term deal, but Mbappe is yet to sign an extension on the four-year contract he penned in 2018.

Mbappe, who endured a difficult Euro 2020 with France, has been heavily linked with a move to Madrid.

When asked if he would advise the 22-year-old to test himself in the Spanish capital, Ramos told Spanish media in a video call: "Of course. Madrid is one of the best clubs in the world. On a historical level, the best.

"For me, great players have to go through there. But now I want him on my team. I want to win and for that I want the best to be by my side.

"Advice on a personal level I could never give. I could tell him something from experience, but I would do it in private. As a PSG player, I would like him to stay. I like to play with the best and Mbappe is one of them."

 

Asked what he could say to help ensure Mbappe remains at PSG, Ramos said, according to AS.com: "I don't know. When you make the decision to leave or stay, it ends up being very personal.

"In my case, the family, the sports project. I don't know what Mbappe has in mind. I want him to stay here because he is very young and makes a difference.

"Here is a very good team. My winning spirit is what I can contribute to the group and if that can infect a team-mate, the better."

While Mbappe could become one of the most sought-after free agents of 2022, there is currently another superstar without a club.

As it stands, Lionel Messi is yet to agree a new contact with Barcelona, who are struggling financially.

"Leo is one of the best players in the world," said Ramos, who has been a Clasico nemesis of Messi through the years.

"But it is not up to me. I could tell you a thousand things, but they would not be decisive. Each person makes the decisions they have to make. But I like being surrounded by the best and he would always have a place in my team."

Real Madrid announced a contract extension for Nacho shortly after fellow centre-back Sergio Ramos' move to Paris Saint-Germain was confirmed.

Madrid great Ramos left the Spanish club when his deal expired at the end of last month and joined PSG on Thursday after settling on a two-year agreement.

Ramos had wanted a two-year commitment at the Santiago Bernabeu, although he claimed in June he had belatedly accepted a 12-month contract offer before it was withdrawn.

Nacho, who was still under contract until 2022, has secured a deal that now runs alongside Ramos' PSG agreement to 2023.

The timing of Madrid's announcement was curious, although Nacho confirmed in April his future would be linked to a decision on Ramos.

"Of course, whether Madrid renew Ramos or sign a central defender or two are decisions that influence my future," he said.

 

As well as Ramos leaving on a free, Raphael Varane has been linked with Manchester United, leaving Madrid light in that position.

Nacho will hope that means increased opportunities, although he started 30 games in all competitions last season, profiting from Ramos' injury woes. The captain started just 21.

Madrid conceded 21 goals with Nacho on the pitch, the same number as with Ramos involved despite the new PSG signing playing only 1,790 minutes to his team-mate's 2,765.

No Blancos defender made more tackles (45) or interceptions (52) than Nacho – 18 and 27 for Ramos – but he won a less impressive 50.8 per cent of his duels and 50.0 per cent of his aerial tussles.

Sergio Ramos has joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after leaving Real Madrid.

The 35-year-old left Madrid on the expiration of his contract, having helped Los Blancos to five LaLiga titles and four Champions League triumphs during his 16-year spell in the Spanish capital.

Ramos, who wanted a two-year commitment from Madrid, claimed in June that he had belatedly accepted a one-year contract offer from the club, only for it to be withdrawn.

He has now joined PSG, linking up with mooted Madrid target Kylian Mbappe and former Clasico rival Neymar in Paris, with the centre-back signing a two-year deal.

Ramos may well fill the void left in PSG's defence by Thiago Silva's departure to Chelsea in 2020, with Presnel Kimpembe putting in some erratic displays last term, while Thilo Kehrer and Abdou Diallo have also failed to step up, putting the onus firmly on Marquinhos to perform.

Club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said: "Paris today welcomes one of the greatest players of our time. We are happy to announce that Sergio Ramos is joining us.

"Sergio is a complete footballer, one of the best defenders in history. He is a born competitor, a leader and a great professional.

"His great experience and his ambitions are in perfect harmony with those of the club. I am proud to see him in the Paris Saint-Germain jersey and I know our supporters will give him a fantastic welcome."

 

Ramos added: "I am very happy to join Paris Saint-Germain. It is a big change in my life, a new challenge and a day that I will never forget.

"I am proud to be part of this very ambitious project, to join a team with great players. It's a club that has already proven at the highest level with solid foundations. I want to continue to grow with Paris and help the team work to win titles."

Having missed out on the Spain squad for Euro 2020 following injury trouble, Ramos will be hoping not only to help Mauricio Pochettino's team claw back the Ligue 1 title, but also push on in the Champions League as the club look to break their duck in the competition.

Ramos not only brings defensive nous and experience – he helped Madrid to 206 clean sheets – but he is the only defender to score 100 goals while playing in one of Europe's top five European leagues since the turn of the century.

The only players to outscore Ramos for Madrid in all competitions since 2000 are Cristiano Ronaldo (450), Karim Benzema (279), Raul (225), Gonzalo Higuain (119) and Gareth Bale (105).

His total of 101 goals is split between Sevilla and Madrid, though he only scored three times for the Andalusian club before his move to the capital.

Ramos played over 40 times across all competitions for Madrid in all but two of his campaigns at the club – his lowest tally of appearances coming last season, when he managed just 21 games, all of which were starts.

Sergio Ramos has joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after leaving Real Madrid.

The 35-year-old left Madrid on the expiration of his contract, having helped Los Blancos to five LaLiga titles and four Champions League triumphs during his 16-year spell in the Spanish capital.

Ramos, who wanted a two-year commitment from Madrid, claimed in June that he had belatedly accepted a one-year contract offer from the club, only for it to be withdrawn.

He has now joined PSG, linking up with mooted Madrid target Kylian Mbappe and former Clasico rival Neymar in Paris, with the centre-back signing a two-year deal.

Ramos may well fill the void left in PSG's defence by Thiago Silva's departure to Chelsea in 2020, with Presnel Kimpembe putting in some erratic displays last term, while Thilo Kehrer and Abdou Diallo have also failed to step up, putting the onus firmly on Marquinhos to perform.

 

Having missed out on the Spain squad for Euro 2020 following injury trouble, Ramos will be hoping not only to help Mauricio Pochettino's team claw back the Ligue 1 title, but also push on in the Champions League as the club look to break their duck in the competition.

Ramos not only brings defensive nous and experience – he helped Madrid to 206 clean sheets – but he is the only defender to score 100 goals while playing in one of Europe's top five European leagues since the turn of the century.

The only players to outscore Ramos for Madrid in all competitions since 2000 are Cristiano Ronaldo (450), Karim Benzema (279), Raul (225), Gonzalo Higuain (119) and Gareth Bale (105).

His total of 101 goals is split between Sevilla and Madrid, though he only scored three times for the Andalusian club before his move to the capital.

Ramos played over 40 times across all competitions for Madrid in all but two of his campaigns at the club – his lowest tally of appearances coming last season, when he managed just 21 games, all of which were starts.

Lionel Messi became a free agent last week.

Initial reports suggested he had agreed to a new two-deal with Barca.

The 34-year-old told Barcelona last year he wanted to leave but opted to remain.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI BEING EYED BY DUO

Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City are both monitoring Lionel Messi's transfer position after becoming a free agent, according to the front page of Tuesday's Mundo Deportivo.

Messi's Barcelona contract expired on June 30, but he has been widely expected to re-sign with the LaLiga giants, who need to manage their finances.

However, with Messi still unattached, Ligue 1 powerhouse PSG and Premier League champions City are continuing to eye the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- ESPN reports Sergio Ramos, fresh from his Real Madrid exit, will have a medical with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday and join as a free agent.

Juventus remain interested in signing France international midfielder Paul Pogba from Manchester United, according to 90min.

- Marca reports United are leading the race to sign Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga, ahead of Madrid and PSG.

City may still turn to Barca forward Antoine Griezmann, if they fail to land Tottenham's Harry Kane, claims Mundo Deportivo. City have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Inter star Romelu Lukaku.

- New Tottenham boss Nuno Espirito Santo is interested in signing Benfica's Haris Seferovic reports the Mirror. Benfica are looking to sell the Swiss striker.

- Fabrizio Romano claims Juventus have not initiated any move for Barcelona's Miralem Pjanic despite links of a return to his former club. Juve continue to be linked with Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli, who is also reportedly wanted by Arsenal.

Lionel Messi is out of contract but tipped to re-sign with Barcelona.

However, Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly not prepared to give up on prising Messi to Paris.

Messi's future could become clearer after the Copa America.

 

TOP STORY – PSG STILL DREAMING OF MESSI

Paris Saint-Germain are trying to trump Barcelona's offer to Lionel Messi, according to Diario AS.

Messi is officially a free agent following the expiration of his Barcelona contract and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with PSG and Manchester City.

While Messi has been tipped to re-sign at Camp Nou, PSG are reportedly refusing to give up hope on signing the Argentina superstar.

Amid uncertainty over Real Madrid and Liverpool target Kylian Mbappe, PSG have also been eyeing Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo and Tottenham's Harry Kane.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS reports Manchester United are considering a swap deal involving Paul Pogba and Madrid defender Raphael Varane. The Red Devils are interested in signing Varane to bolster their defence, while Pogba has long been linked with Madrid and Juve.

Barca are stepping up their interest in Sampdoria and Denmark star Mikkel Damsgaard, claims Mundo Deportivo.

- Ajax star Dusan Tadic has emerged as a target for Milan following the departure of Hakan Calhanoglu, says Calciomercato.

Eduardo Camavinga's Rennes departure is inevitable, according to Le Parisien. The France sensation has been linked with Madrid, PSG, United, Arsenal and Bayern Munich among others.

- The Transfer Window Podcast says free agent Sergio Ramos has been offered to Chelsea. After leaving Madrid, Ramos is reportedly poised to join PSG. At Stamford Bridge, Champions League holders Chelsea are eyeing Borussia Dortmund's in-demand forward Erling Haaland.

Are Manchester United set for a busy transfer window?

After finishing runners-up to Manchester City in the Premier League and losing in the Europa League final, United are keen to strengthen.

A trio of stars are reportedly on the club's shortlist.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED WANT THREE MORE PLAYERS

Manchester United are targeting three more signings this off-season, according to The Guardian.

United have agreed a deal to bring Jadon Sancho to Old Trafford from Borussia Dortmund but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer wants more.

The Red Devils are reportedly closing in on Real Madrid defender Raphael Varane, though Villarreal's Pau Torres has also been linked, with Tottenham star Harry Kane and West Ham midfielder Declan Rice also on the list.

 

ROUND-UP

- Italy and Roma full-back Leonardo Spinazzola is attracting interest from Madrid following his exploits at Euro 2020, reports Calciomercato. LaLiga rivals Barcelona have also been linked.

- After agreeing to sell Sancho, Dortmund are eyeing PSV's Donyell Malen and RB Leipzig defender Marcel Halstenberg, reports Sport Bild.

Paris Saint-Germain are planning to announce the arrivals of Sergio Ramos, Inter star Achraf Hakimi and former Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma within 15 days, according to Fabrizio Romano. Ramos has agreed to sign a two-year deal in Paris.

- Antena 2 claims James Rodriguez is in talks with Serie A runners-up Milan over a move from Everton.

United are prioritising a contract extension for star Bruno Fernandes, says Romano. Fernandes has flourished since arriving from Sporting CP.

Madrid have joined Milan in the race to sign United and Portugal full-back Diogo Dalot, claims Calciomercato.

PSG have emerged as the only likely suitor for Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo after United signed Sancho, reports Calciomercato. However, a move depends on whether Kylian Mbappe leaves PSG for Madrid or Liverpool.

What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe?

The Paris Saint-Germain star is wanted in France and Spain.

France striker Mbappe is reportedly facing a decision over his future.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE HAS DECISION TO MAKE

Kylian Mbappe has a decision to make over his future as he enters the final year of his Paris Saint-Germain contract, according to the front pages of Wednesday's Marca and Diario AS.

Mbappe will become a free agent at the end of the 2021-22 season and the PSG star continues to be heavily linked with LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

L'Equipe, however, claims PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi has taken over from sporting director Leonardo in contract negotiations and Mbappe is reportedly pleased with the club's early transfer business as Gianluigi Donnarumma prepares to join Georginio Wijnaldum in Paris.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano reports Cristiano Ronaldo's future at Juventus is uncertain. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with PSG, Madrid and Manchester United. Contracted to Juve until 2022, Romano says Ronaldo is not negotiating a new deal as the Serie A giants wait for the superstar to decide whether he stays or leaves.

- Aston Villa are hopeful of keeping star captain Jack Grealish amid interest from Premier League champions Manchester City, per The Telegraph.

- Bild reports RB Leipzig are set to sign Eintracht Frankfurt forward Andre Silva. The Portugal international starred in 2020-21 and has been linked with Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Madrid, United and City.

- United are eyeing Bayern midfielder Leon Goretzka as a possible replacement for Paul Pogba, according to Sport Bild. Bayern and Goretzka have been discussing a new deal. It comes as Bayern also try to re-sign Kingsley Coman and Joshua Kimmich. Coman has been linked with United and Liverpool.

Atalanta are in advanced talks to sign Udinese goalkeeper Juan Musso, claims Sky Sport Italia. Musso has previously been linked with Serie A champions Inter, who are reportedly eyeing Ajax's Andre Onana.

- Le10 Sport claims negotiations between PSG and former Madrid captain Sergio Ramos have hit a snag due to the club's unwillingness to offer a two-year deal. Ramos has also been linked with United, City, Chelsea and Juventus on a free transfer.

- A resolution for Lionel Messi's contract renewal at Barcelona does not seem to be close as he is set to officially become a free agent at midnight on Wednesday, claims Marca. Barca are pushing to complete the new deal.

Sergio Ramos' Real Madrid contract is due to officially expire on June 30.

The 35-year-old defender has been with Los Blancos since 2005.

There appears to be no shortage of suitors lining up for Ramos' signature.

 

TOP STORY – RAMOS WEIGHING UP POWERHOUSE TRIO

European heavyweights Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich have all approached Sergio Ramos about a potential move, ESPN reported.

Ramos, who will leave Madrid as a free agent this off-season, is said to be assessing the interest.

Family considerations are a big part of Ramos' decision-making, while it is claimed City could offer him a two-year deal.

ROUND-UP

- Jose Mourinho's new club Roma are closing in on a deal to sign Wolves' Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patricio , reports Sky Sports.

- Arsenal target Aaron Ramsey has opted to stay with Juventus following the appointment of Massimiliano Allegri, claims The Sun.

- Uruguayan prospect Martin Satriano is attracting attention from Premier League clubs Arsenal , Everton and Tottenham , claims the Daily Mail. Satriano is currently on the books of Inter.

- Turkey international Merih Demiral wants to leave Juventus but the Serie A club have set an asking price of €40million (£34m), according to Calciomercato.

- Chelsea are close to agreeing a loan deal with Norwich City for Billy Gilmour , reports Sky Sports.

Is one of football's biggest transfer sagas coming to an end?

Manchester United wanted Jadon Sancho at the start of 2020-21 but a deal with Borussia Dortmund did not materialise.

However, Premier League giants United appear to be closing in on the England international ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHO SET FOR OLD TRAFFORD

Jadon Sancho will join Manchester United from Borussia Dortmund, according to Fabrizio Romano.

United have long been interested in Sancho, who had previously attracted attention from Liverpool and Chelsea.

But Romano says an agreement is "really close", with "final details expected to be completed in the next few days".

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport Bild reports Real Madrid are scouting RB Leipzig and Spain star Dani Olmo during Euro 2020. Madrid continue to be linked with Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, however, Cadena Ser claims Los Blancos have ruled out an off-season move due to their financial situation.

United are confident of signing Raphael Varane from Madrid but the France defender's salary expectations are a stumbling block, says The Independent. It comes as ESPN reports Anthony Martial and Donny van de Beek could be sold as part of a revamp of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's squad.

- According to Foot Mercato, former Madrid captain Sergio Ramos has made PSG his priority. The veteran has also been linked with United, Manchester City and Chelsea.

Tottenham are interested in Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde as they edge closer to appointing former Wolves boss Nuno Espirito Santo, says Romano and Gianluca Di Marzio. Kounde is one of the most sought-after defenders in Europe, linked with Chelsea, United and Madrid.

- Mundo Deportivo reports Barca are eyeing Valencia captain Jose Gaya and Chelsea's Marcos Alonso if Inter target Jordi Alba leaves and Junior Firpo joins Milan.

Lazio head coach Maurizio Sarri wants to reunite with Arthur in Rome and could send Sergej Milinkovic-Savic to Juventus, per Il Bianconero.

- Alfredo Pedulla claims PSG are leading the race to sign Lazio star Joaquin Correa. Arsenal and Tottenham are also eyeing the forward.

Gareth Bale is "one of the great players in Europe" according to Florentino Perez, but the Real Madrid president did not offer any assurances on the Wales international's future.

Bale fell out of favour with Zinedine Zidane at Madrid and spent last season on loan in the Premier League with former club Tottenham.

Zidane's second departure as head coach paved the way for a return to the Santiago Bernabeu for Carlo Ancelotti, who was in charge during Bale's maiden season in the Spanish capital in 2013-14 that culminated in Madrid's 10th Champions League crown.

In an interview with El Transistor on Onda Cero, Perez referenced Bale scoring a key goal during extra time of that final triumph over Atletico Madrid, along with his similarly decisive contributions in the 2014 Copa del Rey final against Barcelona and 2018 Champions League final win over Liverpool.

Although he was not always first choice for ex-Spurs boss Jose Mourinho last season, Bale scored 16 times in 19 starts and 34 appearances overall.

Of Premier League players to score 15 goals or more in all competitions during 2020-21, none did so at a better rate than Bale's one every 104.4 minutes. Leicester City's Kelechi Iheanacho was the next most efficient in that regard, with 19 goals at one every 118.8 minutes.

Overall, Bale has 105 goals in 251 appearances for Madrid.

"He's a great player. The way I see him, he is one of the great players in Europe," Perez said of Bale, who has impressed on Wales' run to the last 16 of Euro 2020 and has a contract at Madrid running until June 2022.

"Each one is as he is and has his personality. The last thing I remember from him is in Kiev [against Liverpool]. He throws a scissors [overhead kick] and scores a goal. And then he scores another.

"And the header in Lisbon [against Atletico Madrid]. That race against Barcelona in Valencia in the Copa del Rey.

"Would I would like him to stay? I love all [the Madrid players]."

 

The most notable outgoing at Madrid this close season, arguably more so than Zidane, is long-serving captain Sergio Ramos.

The veteran defender bade a tearful farewell to the club last week and has claimed he did not want to leave Madrid, only to be told a contract offer that was on the table for him had expired.

"I have adoration for Sergio and I am not going to talk about it. He has been a Real Madrid legend," Perez said.

"We offered him a contract, we told him that he had a deadline and he did not admit it. He thought otherwise."

Perez added that there would be a role for Ramos at Madrid when the 35-year-old's playing days conclude, if he so desires.

"I love Sergio as a son. I bought him in 2005. Of course, I'm sorry," Perez said.

"He will return, this is his house. It has happened to me with other players. I love him as if he were my son and I wish him the best.

"I am not going to talk here about who is right and who is not. There are no nuances."

Is Lionel Messi's future close to being resolved?

Messi is out of contract at Barcelona and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with a move away.

But, if reports are to be believed, the superstar is on the verge of extending his Barca contract.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI SET TO RENEW AT CAMP NOU

Lionel Messi will renew his contract with Barcelona until 2023, according to Fabrizio Romano.

Messi is out of contract at Camp Nou and the superstar captain has been linked with Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain.

But Messi is poised to re-sign, with an official deal reportedly only a matter of time.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are edging closer to signing long-time transfer target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, reports Bild.

- Diario AS claims Real Madrid are set to rival Arsenal for Real Sociedad star Alexander Isak. The Sweden international appeals as a more affordable option compared to Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and PSG forward Kylian Mbappe.

- Inter star Achraf Hakimi is expected to join PSG, says Romano. Personal terms have reportedly been agreed until 2026. He has also been linked with Chelsea.

- Premier League champions City are willing to wait a year to sign a striker if they are unable to prise Harry Kane from Tottenham, according to ESPN. Kane has been linked with City, United, Chelsea, Madrid and Barca amid reports he wants to leave Spurs. With Tottenham unwilling to sell Kane, City are prepared to wait in the transfer market as they also eye Haaland.

- Mundo Deportivo claims Inter want to sign Barca full-back Jordi Alba, with the Serie A holders willing to offer three players – Milan Skriniar, Lautaro Martinez and Marcelo Brozovic.

- Maurizio Sarri's Lazio are close to signing Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, reports Sky Sport Italia.

West Ham have made a bid to sign Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic, says Sky Sport Italia. The Serbia international has previously been linked with Tottenham, United and Milan.

Real Madrid would be "negligent" if they failed to bring Sergio Ramos back to the club one day, according to former team-mate Toni Kroos.

The LaLiga giants announced last week that the long-serving centre-back is to leave the club after a remarkable 16-year spell in the Spanish capital.

Ramos won LaLiga five times with Madrid and helped Los Blancos to four Champions League titles, among an array of other major honours.

But the Spain international will start a new adventure next season after Madrid withdrew their offer of a one-year deal on reduced terms, as confirmed by the long-serving defender.

Kroos spent seven seasons playing in the same side as Ramos and believes the 35-year-old will return to the Santiago Bernabeu in the future.

"I am sure we will see him at Real Madrid again, whatever his role," Kroos said on his Einfach mal Luppen podcast.

"It would also be negligent not to have someone like that at the club and keep him. He can still contribute a lot in the future."

Ramos joined Madrid from Sevilla in 2005 and made 659 appearances for the club in all competitions, the last of those coming against Chelsea on May 5.

Kroos, who has two more years to run on his contract, admits it is difficult to envisage a future without the experienced defender at Madrid.

 

"I do not know Real Madrid without Ramos," he said. "It was inconceivable that he was not going to finish his career at Madrid. I expected him to stay.

"He is not only a first-rate player, but also the best captain I have ever seen because he always fought for the team on and off the field.

"If you ask 100 rival forwards which defender they least liked playing against, Ramos' name will be mentioned quite often. It was good to have him on our team."

The 21 games Ramos managed in an injury-plagued 2020-21, totalling 1,790 minutes, was the fewest he has played across a season since joining 16 years ago.

His previous lowest tally was the 33 matches he played in 2015-16, totalling 2,843 minutes in all competitions.

Ramos was left out of Spain's Euro 2020 squad due to his injury issues, but he has been linked with a string of big-name clubs ahead of the new campaign.

"I'm not sure where he will go next, but I'm sure he will make a good decision," Kroos added. "The seven years I spent with him, as a player and as a person, were incredible."

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