Four clubs are interested in signing Jadon Sancho this summer, while Borussia Dortmund are unwilling to sell Erling Haaland for less than £150m.
It is understood Manchester United remain keen on England international Sancho.
Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc has said Sancho will be allowed to leave under a “gentleman’s agreement” and provided “certain conditions are met”.
Zorc said United almost signed the winger last summer, but “requirements were not met”.
Dortmund’s asking price was believed to be £108m last summer, but no price has been set this time.
Sky Sports News has been told Dortmund could accept a deal at around £80m.
Sancho’s preference is to play in the Champions League next season.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man Utd, Man City & Chelsea want Haaland
Dortmund believe they are in an even stronger position over striker Haaland than they were last summer when United tried to sign Sancho.
They had an agreement with Sancho that they would let him leave for €120m before a deadline of August 10. No such agreement is in place for Haaland.
Dortmund will not sell Haaland for less than £150m this summer even if they fail to qualify for the Champions League.
It had been thought failing to qualify for the Champions League would force Dortmund to sell but they are serious about keeping him and have told the player and his agent Mino Raiola they will not be bullied into selling.
Dortmund are expecting the player and his camp to agitate for a move and one source has told Sky Sports News there will be war this summer if the club finish outside the Champions League places.
Dortmund are fifth in the Bundesliga at the moment, one point behind Eintracht Frankfurt with three games to play.
Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea want to sign Haaland.
He has a €75m release clause which can be activated in July 2022.
Man Utd yet to open contract talks with Pogba
Manchester United have yet to open contract talks with midfielder Paul Pogba, whose contract is up in summer next year.
Pogba is also represented by Raiola, whose stance has softened in the past few months.
In December, he said Pogba was unhappy and would leave. Last month, he said Pogba was interested in winning the big trophies and asked if that could yet be with United.
Pogba’s focus is finishing the season on a high with United ahead of the Euros with France.
But United will want to sort this out sooner rather than later.
They have lost him for free once before and he is seven months away from being able to sign on a pre-contract agreement with a foreign club.
Barcelona have held initial talks with representatives of Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero over a free transfer this summer.
Aguero, who is City’s record goalscorer with 258 goals in 387 appearances in all competitions, will leave the Etihad Stadium when his contract expires at the end of the season.
The 32-year-old Argentine spent five years playing in La Liga for Atletico Madrid prior to his move to City in 2011.
Aguero is targeting a treble in his final season with City, with the club in the final of the Champions League and on the verge of adding the Premier League title to the League Cup.
He has played a peripheral role this season under Pep Guardiola, making only 17 appearances, in part due to injury and illness, and scored just his fourth goal of the season against Crystal Palace on Saturday.
Aguero has been linked to several of Europe’s top clubs in recent weeks, with Chelsea believed to be among the possible suitors should he decide to remain in the Premier League.
Barcelona are hopeful of persuading captain Lionel Messi, an international team-mate of Aguero, to remain at the club beyond this summer.
Aguero is the fourth-highest goalscorer in Premier League history, with his tally of 182 putting him behind only former England internationals Alan Shearer (260), Wayne Rooney (208) and Andrew Cole (187).
‘Aguero could help settle Messi at City’
Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero told Sky Sports News:
“It is a huge possibility as far as we know. Sergio Aguero has a desire [to play] for Barcelona. There is no catch. He is 32 years old. He knows perfectly the language, he knows La Liga, he knows the country and one of his best friends in football is Lionel Messi. It is said in Barcelona, Catalonia that there is a huge possibility for Joan Laporta (Barcelona president) to try and convince Messi to stay by signing one of his good friends Sergio Aguero after Luis Suarez left the club last year.
“In the last weeks and last months we have seen Messi more committed and comfortable. He is even fine with Ronald Koeman. We have seen him laughing in the games, winning the Cope del Rey. Now they are in the battle for the La Liga title and although many people said that he could go to Paris Saint-Germain, in my point of view Joan Laporta could be the key.
“Sergio Aguero can be one of the reasons for Messi to stay as Barca needs a striker, goals and needs a better sports project for the future to try to win for example the Cope del Rey, maybe La Liga and especially the Champions League which they have not won since 2015.”
Manchester City are on the brink of being crowned Premier League champions while Inter Milan ended Juventus’ nine-year reign in Italy last weekend, but it is all to play for in La Liga.
The battle for domestic glory in Spain’s top tier is going right down to the wire, and this weekend sees two of the title protagonists go head-to-head at the Camp Nou.
Ronald Koeman’s Barcelona are breathing down the neck of leaders Atletico Madrid, and will overtake Diego Simeone’s side with a victory on Saturday.
But there are two other teams still in with a shout of claiming the title with just four rounds of action still to play. Sky Sports caught up with Spanish football expert Alvaro Montero to assess where the 2020/21 La Liga race will be decided.
La Liga title race – state of play
1. Atletico Madrid (Played 34, 76 points)
Are they still favourites for the title? “They’re still the favourites but let’s see what happens in the Camp Nou! If they win that game, psychologically it’ll be very powerful. They would lose the leadership if Barcelona win as they are only two points behind. My feelings are that if Barcelona win, they will go on to win La Liga.
“Real Madrid could win against Sevilla on Sunday but they still have a difficult calendar. If Atletico win this weekend, they’re clear favourites. If not, it will certainly depend on results elsewhere. They suffered in the 1-0 win over Elche, it’s true they won well against Eibar 5-0, but they lost to Athletic Bilbao and they suffered a little bit against Huesca and they drew against Real Betis so they’ve not been playing with the feeling of champions.
“That said, they had luck in the final minute against Elche with the penalty miss [Fidel Chaves hit the post and replays showed goalkeeper Jan Oblak had encroached off his line], but my feelings are that Atletico are suffering. I’m not sure if it’s a physical issue or whether that sense of being so close to the title is starting to affect them.
“They’re not as strong as they were one or two months ago but the trip to the Camp Nou will be the perfect exam to show if they can win the league. They passed it in 2014 [Atletico won La Liga on the final day of the 2013/14 season by drawing 1-1 at Barcelona], and while the circumstances are slightly different this time as they will still have three more games, it’s a pivotal match.
“Simeone’s team in 2014 felt more secure and were more trustworthy. This team doesn’t fill you with the same confidence and you feel Barcelona are very capable of beating them at the Camp Nou.”
2. Real Madrid (Played 34, 74 points)
Is it dangerous to rule out Real? “There are many things to say about Real Madrid, but the first thing is that Zinedine Zidane has saved the club’s season. Some weeks and months ago, we thought that it would be a disaster. The team were struggling to progress from the Champions League group stages. But he has restored hope among supporters and they are taking the title race right down to the final few games.
“Everyone at Real knows that La Liga is a good title, but that the Champions League title is the most important one. Real are in the perfect moment where they are so close to achieving something great. We saw in the first leg against Chelsea that they managed to keep the tie alive even though they were the inferior side in Madrid.
“This generation of players don’t just play finals; they win them. It’s similar when it comes to La Liga. They have tricky games but it could well be that their opponents won’t have anything to play for. By the time they face Sevilla on Sunday night, they’ll also know the result from the night before [between Barcelona and Atletico]. So they are extremely dangerous.
“With three games remaining, they could well be the leaders [if Atletico fail to win at Barcelona and Real beat Sevilla]. They then have to face Granada, who are a tough team but they are eighth and it’s almost impossible for them to qualify for Europe]. They then face Athletic Bilbao, who are in the same position and Granada and then Villarreal – who could be preparing for a Europa League final three days later. They’re not playing against a side with a massive amount of motivation.”
3. Barcelona (Played 34, 74 points)
How significant is it for Ronaldo Koeman to win La Liga? “It’s extremely important as it would mean a domestic double having won the Copa del Rey. After the home defeat to Granada, my TV programme Deportes Cuatro reported that Xavi Hernandez was called by Laporta telling him not to renovate his contract with Al Sadd in Qatar because he wanted him as Barcelona head coach for the start of next season.
“But things can change.
“If Koeman wins the title, it would place significant doubt in the mind of club president Joan Laporta on his future. Winning the Doblete would make it very difficult for Laporta to justify sacking Koeman. Securing that in his first season while helping Lionel Messi return to his best since that explosive interview he gave in September where he expressed a desire to leave would have to be seen as a huge success.
“Barcelona fans would understand why Laporta would keep hold of the manager if he won both trophies and earned it on the pitch. The football hasn’t been fabulous but it would justify his stay. If Real Madrid were to win the Champions League, however, that would eclipse a Barcelona domestic double – which perversely could have a negative effect on Koeman.
“The game with Atletico will come down to which side defends better. We saw how Barcelona conceded against Valencia and Granada. It’ll be a match of not many goals.”
4. Sevilla (Played 34, 70 points)
Are Sevilla’s hopes over after Bilbao loss? “If they beat Real Madrid, they will still be fourth in the league with three games remaining. They would still have to win all three of those games and hope others drop points so it’s a tough ask. There are many inconveniences for them. Mathematically, they’re still not out of it but psychologically, the defeat at home to Athletic Bilbao on Monday could have a huge impact.
“Speaking to some of their supporters, they realise that their dream is probably now over. They will definitely finish in the top four now so perhaps they can play without pressure. With no pressure, perhaps they can play better but I would still prefer to play in Real’s position this weekend with that extra motivation.
“If Atletico Madrid vs Barcelona finishes in a draw, or if Barca win, Real know they would go top with a win against Sevilla. For me, that’s a greater motivation than what can happen through playing without pressure.
What happens if teams are locked on the same points?
Importantly for Real Madrid, they have the superior head-to-head record over both Atletico and Barcelona, so if it comes to it, they can call upon their fine performances over the duo to help deliver domestic glory. The results between the four title protagonists:
Oct 4, 2020: Barcelona 1-1 Sevilla
Oct 24, 2020: Barcelona 1-3 Real Madrid
Nov 21, 2020: Atletico Madrid 1-0 Barcelona
Dec 5, 2020: Sevilla 0-1 Real Madrid
Dec 12, 2020: Real Madrid 2-0 Atletico Madrid
Jan 12, 2021: Atletico Madrid 2-0 Sevilla
Feb 27, 2021: Sevilla 0-2 Barcelona
Mar 7, 2021: Atletico Madrid 1-1 Real Madrid
April 4, 2021: Sevilla 1-0 Atletico Madrid
April 10, 2021: Real Madrid 2-1 Barcelona
If the two teams at the top of La Liga are locked on the same number of points and have an identical head-to-head [for example, if Barcelona win 1-0 against Atletico and finish on the same points] the league will be decided on goal difference.
La Liga title race – Head-to-head table
Koeman to be absent from touchline
Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman will be absent from the touchline for Saturday’s crunch game after the Spanish football federation on Wednesday rejected the club’s appeal against a touchline ban.
Koeman was sent off in his side’s 2-1 home defeat by Granada on April 29 for saying “what a character” to the fourth official after being warned about his conduct.
He was given an automatic one-game ban which was then extended to two matches by the federation’s competition committee.
A statement by the competition committee said Koeman had been suspended for violating article 117 of the disciplinary code, which is described as ‘showing an attitude of disrespect towards referees, directors or sporting authorities’.
The Dutchman was absent for Sunday’s 3-2 win at Valencia which kept his side two points behind Atletico and will also miss the game against the leaders at the Camp Nou. His assistant Alfred Schreuder is set to take charge of the team again.
How to follow
Follow Barcelona vs Atletico Madrid via our dedicated live blog on Sky Sports website and app on Saturday; kick-off at 3.15pm.
Two late goals from Cristiano Ronaldo earned Juventus a 2-1 comeback win against Udinese on Sunday to give the Turin club a precious three points in the Serie A top-four race.
Juve climbed into third place on 69 points, level with Atalanta in second and AC Milan in fourth, but two points ahead of fifth-placed Napoli.
The visiting defence was caught napping when Udinese wing back Nahuel Molina latched onto a quickly taken freekick to fire home the opener after 10 minutes.
But Rodrigo De Paul stuck out an arm to block a Ronaldo freekick with seven minutes remaining and the Portuguese converted the resulting penalty to end his run of three games without a goal.
Ronaldo then headed in an 89th-minute winner from close range to take his tally to the season to a league-high 27 Serie A goals in 30 appearances.
But the striker’s goals papered over the cracks of another poor performance from Andrea Pirlo’s team.
“If we are satisfied with these 10 minutes, it means that we have not understood anything,” Juve defender Leonardo Bonucci told Sky Italia. “We can’t change gear and keep it up for the whole game, that is the hardest thing to understand.
“Matches are decided by episodes, after this many games you need to pay attention to the details. We have dropped points too many times because of the details.”
Juve knew before kick-off that they had the chance to gain ground in the top-four race after Atalanta and Napoli drew against Sassuolo and Cagliari respectively.
But they got off to the worst possible start when De Paul found Molina with a quick freekick, and he drilled in a finish.
It was the tenth consecutive league game in which Juve have conceded ustration after heading wide from six yards and Paulo Dybala’s deflected shot required a smart save from Simone Sat least one goal, their worst record since April 2010.
Juve’s Weston McKennie was left punching the ground in frcuffet.
But the visitors’ chances were few and far between until Ronaldo’s decisive contribution in the closing stages.
De Paul’s handball gave the Portuguese forward the chance to fire a penalty into the bottom corner, and the 36-year-old turned the game on its head when he nodded in an Adrien Rabiot cross at the back post.
Meanwhile, Nahitan Nandez scored a 94th-minute equaliser to snatch a 1-1 draw for relegation battling Cagliari and dent Napoli‘s Champions League qualification hopes on Sunday.
Napoli are fourth in the standings, two points behind Atalanta and AC Milan, but Juventus can overtake them by beating Udinese later.
Victor Osimhen latched onto a dinked Lorenzo Insigne pass and guided home a finish after 13 minutes to put the home side in front.
La Liga: Messi nets twice in Barca turnaround over Valencia
Lionel Messi led Barcelona to a quick-fire comeback to win 3-2 at Valencia on Sunday and keep the pressure on La Liga title rivals Atletico Madrid and Real Madrid.
Barca fell behind in the 50th minute when Valencia defender Gabriel Paulista headed into an empty net from a corner after keeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen had stumbled to the ground in his attempt to come for the ball.
The Catalans, who had blown the chance to go top of the league with a shock 2-1 defeat at home by Granada on Thursday, reacted well to going behind and soon won a penalty thanks to a handball from Valencia’s Toni Lato.
Messi saw his spot-kick saved by former team mate Jasper Cillessen but Valencia failed to clear the danger and the Argentine followed up to score on the second rebound in the 57th minute.
Antoine Griezmann gave Barca the lead six minutes later, also netting on the rebound after Cillessen could only parry a header from Frenkie de Jong, while Messi looked to have clinched the points in the 69th by firing a freekick in off the post.
Valencia got back into contention out of nowhere when midfielder Carlos Soler scored with an unstoppable strike from long range in the 83rd and had a couple of half chances to equalise but Barca clung on for the win.
Ronald Koeman’s side are third on 74 points with four games remaining, level with second-placed Real Madrid and two behind leaders Atletico Madrid after both sides won on Saturday. Fourth-placed Sevilla, on 70, host Athletic Bilbao on Monday.
Ligue 1: Cherki late goal earns Lyon win at Monaco
Ten-man Lyon revived their Champions League hopes while almost ending Monaco’s Ligue 1 title dreams as substitute Rayan Cherki earned them a last-gasp 3-2 win in the principality on Sunday.
After Maxence Caqueret had been sent off with 20 minutes remaining, Cherki found the back of the net in the last minute to add to goals by Memphis Depay and Marcelo, putting fourth-placed Lyon on 70 points with three games left.
Monaco, who had opened the scoring through Kevin Volland and levelled for 2-2 in the 86th courtesy of a Wissam Ben Yedder penalty, are one point ahead in third place.
They now trail leaders Lille by five points and second-placed Paris Saint-Germain by four after both won their respective games on Saturday.
Eredivisie: Ajax crowned champions
Ajax were crowned Dutch league champions in emphatic style on Sunday following a 4-0 home thrashing of lowly Emmen that gives them an unassailable lead and extends their record number of domestic championship wins to 35.
Jurrien Timber, Sebastien Haller, Devyne Rensch and Davy Klaassen all scored as Ajax overwhelmed their relegation-threatened opponents, who had come into the fixture on the back of three straight wins but were no match for the champions.
The victory moves Ajax to 79 points from 31 games, 15 ahead of second-placed PSV Eindhoven, who play later on Sunday at home to Heerenveen but have only four matches remaining.
Ajax retain the title they won two years ago after the championship was called off in the 2019-20 campaign due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Amsterdam club were joint top of the table at the time with AZ Alkmaar after 25 matches in the 34-game season.
The title win caps an excellent week for Ajax after coach Erik ten Hag also signed a new contract to keep him at the club until June 2023.
Lionel Messi has backed the social media boycott currently taking place across British sport.
The Barcelona legend posted on his Instagram account – which is followed by more than 200m people – to pledge his support for the four-day initiative, which is in an attempt to tackle online abuse and discrimination.
Messi asked for his followers to give importance to the people that are behind each profile and asked for Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies to do more.
“I would like you, the 200 million people who follow me, to become the 200 million reasons that exist to make the networks a safe and respectful place, where we can share what we want without fear of being insulted,” he wrote.
“And that insults, racism, abuse and discrimination remain outside of them forever. For you who are part of these networks and who are always with me, I hope you will accompany me and support me in this crusade.”
He added: “Big hug to all and congratulations to all the football people in the United Kingdom for their idea of ??putting together the campaign against abuse and discrimination in networks.”
The FA, Premier League, EFL, FA Women’s Super League, FA Women’s Championship, PFA, LMA, PGMOL, Kick It Out and the FSA are uniting for the boycott from Friday through to Monday.
The Scottish FA, Scottish Professional Football League, Scottish Women’s Football and PFA Scotland have also confirmed the participation of clubs and football organisations in Scotland.
UEFA also gave its backing on Thursday, urging players, clubs and national associations “to lodge formal complaints whenever players, coaches, referees or officials are victims of unacceptable tweets or messages”.
FIFA also said it supports the English football-led social media boycott in response to discriminatory and offensive abuse on social media.
Sky Sports will not post any sports content to its channels on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Snapchat and Tik Tok for the duration of the boycott period.
Key organisations from other UK sports – such as the England and Wales Cricket Board, England Rugby, Premiership Rugby, Scottish Rugby, the Professional Darts Corporation, British Cycling, the Lawn Tennis Association and the British Horseracing Authority – have opted to join, as have other broadcasters including BT Sport, At The Races and talkSPORT.
The British Basketball League and Women’s British Basketball League will also support the boycott along with key rugby league organisations including the Rugby Football League, Super League Europe, Rugby League World Cup 2021 and the Rugby League Players’ Association.
Messi’s statement in full
“I have reached 200 million followers on Instagram, however, because of what is happening today, I am not going to take it as a reason for celebration.
“Of course I appreciate all the love and support that I always receive from you, but I think the time has come to give importance to all the PEOPLE behind each profile, that we realize that behind each account there is a person, who laughs, cries, enjoys and suffers, human beings with feelings.
“Let’s raise our voices to stop abuse on social media. It does not matter if we are anonymous, famous, athletes, referees or followers of a game, even someone outside all this, it does not matter the race, religion, ideology or gender … No one deserves to be mistreated or insulted.
“We live together seeing and experiencing abuse, increasingly worse in each of the networks, without anyone doing anything to prevent it. We must strongly condemn these hostile attitudes and demand that the companies that run the networks take urgent action against these behaviours.
“I would like you, the 200 million people who follow me, to become the 200 million reasons that exist to make the networks a safe and respectful place, where we can share what we want without fear of being insulted. And that insults, racism, abuse and discrimination remain outside of them forever.
“For you who are part of these networks and who are always with me, I hope you will accompany me and support me in this crusade.
“Big hug to all and congratulations to all the football people in the United Kingdom for their idea of ??putting together the campaign against abuse and discrimination in networks.”
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