Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane has urged his players to find consistency after their 1-0 defeat to Mallorca on Saturday.
Los Blancos were unbeaten in La Liga heading into Saturday’s trip to Mallorca but failed to respond to Lago Junior’s seventh-minute goal.
Things were made more difficult with Alvaro Odriozola’s sending off on 74 minutes as Real tasted domestic defeat for the first time this season in the Balaerics.
The French boss was without seven first-team players for the game and handed rare starts to Eder Militao, Luka Jovic and the aforementioned Odriozola.
Saturday’s result, combined with Barcelona’s 3-0 triumph at Barcelona, means Real slip to second and now turn their focus on the Champions League.
A 3-0 defeat at Paris Saint-Germain and a 2-2 home draw against Club Brugge has left them struggling in Group A and Real need a win on Tuesday away at Galatasaray.
The pressure is undoubtedly on Zidane and he is growing frustrated with his side’s inability to put a run of games together.
Rather than blame injuries for his team’s poor showing at the Son Moix the Frenchman instead call on his players to start setting a regular standard, week-in, week-out.
“The problem at the moment is that we have to show a consistent level every three or four days,” he said. “At the moment, we are not doing that, and that needs to improve.
“I am not worried, but I always tell the players that if they want to win trophies, they need to show consistency.”
Lionel Messi says that while he is fully committed to Barcelona, he has no interest in signing a contract that would tie him to the Blaugrana until the end of his playing career.
The Argentina international has a clause in his current deal that would allow him to walk away from the Nou Camp at the end of this season, albeit only for a team outside of Europe.
While Barcelona's all-time leading goalscorer has no plans to depart the reigning La Liga champions anytime soon, the clause caused panic amongst the club's hierarchy as they look to make sure they don't lose their most valuable asset.
In September, reports emerged claiming Barca were ready to offer him a deal that would see him remain at the club until the end of his playing days.
Messi has previously expressed an interest in finishing his career with his childhood club Newell's Old Boys and that would still appear to be the case.
The five-time Balon d'Or winner says he would have no interest in signing such a long-term agreement but has indicated he would like to remain at the Catalan outfit for the foreseeable future.
"It is true that Barcelona proposed a contract for life to me, but what I said was that I do not want a contract to bind me," he said.
"I want to be fine to perform, to play and continue fighting for objectives. Being here can be for life, but not with a contract."
Messi seems eager to stick around at the Nou Camp in the hope he could play with Neymar again, the superstar forward having called on Barcelona to re-sign him during the summer.
Barca were heavily linked with a move for the Paris Saint-Germain forward but a deal never materialised and Messi has revealed certain members of the club were against bringing Neymar back after his magnanimous exit.
Stefano Pioli's AC Milan have been linked with a move for Atletico Madrid forward Angel Correa in the January transfer window.
Milan attempted to land Correa during the summer and are believed to have agreed terms with the player, but were unable to reach an agreement with Los Colchoneros.
Correa has been involved for Atleti this season but he remains down the pecking order as he has just made one start in five La Liga appearances so far, while he has also managed two outings in the Champions League from the bench.
The Madrid club are likely to be open to offers for the Argentine in the winter window and they value the 24-year-old at around €50million.
Such a hefty fee could be an issue for the Rossoneri and they may well have to sell some of their current players in order to facilitate a move for Correa.
Milan are looking to offload Spanish striker Suso, while they may even decide it is time to cash-in on 20-year-old Italy international keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in order to boost their outfield options.
Donnarumma has previously been linked with the likes of Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain and would command a huge fee. Ideally, the Rossoneri would prefer to keep hold of the young shot-stopper but he could still be sacrificed to strengthen other areas of the squad.
Atletico return to action after the international on Saturday with a home game against Valencia.
Milan play on Sunday as they entertain Lecce at the San Siro.
Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer has shrugged off concerns over Paul Pogba's meeting with Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane this week.
Manchester United's manager was not overly concerned to learn that his talismanic midfielder Pogba met up with Zidane in Dubai while rehabilitating from injury.
Pogba is in the Middle East state to undergo rehab on the troublesome ankle injury which kept him out of most of September and the 1-0 defeat to Newcastle just prior to the international break.
Zidane - who is believed to have told Real Madrid officials in no uncertain terms that he wants to bring the World Cup winner to the Bernabeu - was in Dubai during the international break as a guest attendee of the Dubai Artificial Intelligence in Sport (DAIS) Conference and Exhibition.
Reacting to a question about the picture, published in the Daily Mail two days before United take on Liverpool in a huge Premier League clash, Solskjaer said he did "not have a problem" with the meeting.
Pogba has also previously expressed a strong desire to work under iconic Frenchman Zidane, who guided Real Madrid to three successive Champions League wins from 2016-2018 before sensationally quitting the job, even admitting Zidane was his role model as a youngster.
Back in charge since last season, Zidane appears to be in a constant power struggle with Real president Florentino Perez to get the players he wants and dump those he doesn't - like Gareth Bale.
News of the Pogba meeting will also reverberate around Spain and increase pressure on Perez to find the means to bring the ex-Juventus star to the Spanish capital.
And the UK sports media will also have a feeding frenzy, no doubt pushing talk that Pogba is looking for an exit at the earliest opportunity in January.
Pogba's brother Mathias, who joined Wrexham when his younger sibling initially moved to United and then headed to Pescara when the 26-year-old played for Juventus, is already in Madrid at Tercera Division club Manchego and talking up a family reunion in the city.
He told Radio Marca in September: "Zidane wanted players, he didn't get them, but I have no doubt that he's going to do the work he needs to do in order to get the team back to the level he wants. I like Zidane and he likes my brother - everyone knows it."
Real Madrid midfielder Isco is again the subject of transfer speculation with Tottenham reported to be weighing up a swoop when the window re-opens.
Isco has been linked with a move away from the Bernabeu on a number of occasions over the last few seasons, but has remained with Los Blancos as for one reason or another a deal has not happened.
The 27-year-old has struggled to establish himself in the Real side, which is never easy to do, but he is said to be unhappy with the amount of opportunities he gets and would be open to a move away in January.
There will be no shortage of interest in the 50-cap Spain international, but it would appear that Tottenham are in the box seat to do a deal.
However, any move could hinge on the future of Spurs midfielder Christian Eriksen, who is incidentally, a target for Real boss Zinedine Zidane as he looks to strengthen his own midfield.
Eriksen has eight months remaining on his current deal, but there is no sign of him penning a new one and a move away looks to be on the cards in the new year.
Tottenham see Isco as the perfect replacement for the Dane, but any deal with Real, looks to hinge on moving him out first.
There is of course the possibility of hammering out a swap deal, which could get complicated, but could also suit all parties involved.
Bayern Munich could potentially throw a spanner in the works as reports claim they are also keen on Isco should he become available.
Paris Saint-Germain are attempting to move Julian Draxler out of the club, with Real Madrid a possible destination, reports are claiming.
Speculation over the future of the German star has been raging for some time, but it is claimed that PSG are stepping up their efforts to find him a new club.
The 26-year-old does not figure in the future plans of PSG boss Thomas Tuchel, who would be happy for him to move when the transfer window re-opens in January.
Draxler has made just two appearances this season, and although he has been hampered by injury, he would struggle to force his way into the side even if fully fit.
His departure would also improve the club’s standing with Financial Fair Play regulations, but it remains to be seen if they will be able to offload him.
Reports are rife suggesting that PSG officials have been in touch with Real to see if they would be willing to take Draxler as a solution to their issues in midfield.
Real are keen to bolster their midfield options with both Paul Pogba and Christian Eriksen on their wanted list, but Draxler could be a good inexpensive, short-term solution for them.
PSG are aware of Real’s need for midfielders and are hoping it could result in a deal being struck between the two parties.
It has also been claimed PSG would be willing to sell for a fee in the region of £25million, that would be a snip in this market, and could tempt Los Blancos.
Bayer Leverkusen are believed to have joined the queue of clubs who are showing an interest in Real Madrid winger Lucas Vazquez.
The 28-year-old is struggling to force his way into the Los Blancos side following the emergence of young Brazilian forwards Rodrygo and Vinicius Jr at the Bernabeu.
Vazquez has played a key role for Real, winning three Champions League titles during his time at the club, but the end could be near as he wants to be playing more regular football.
The winger will not be short of options, but reports in the press are claiming that Leverkusen are in the box seat to do a deal as they are willing to offer the player the better wages.
Leverkusen are also happy to match Real’s valuation of 20million euros, and as things stand that could give them the edge over their rivals.
However, the competition will still be fierce as it is claimed that both English Premier League side Arsenal and Italian Serie A outfit AS Roma are also in the hunt.
The switch to Arsenal could be particularly appealing to the player, and the chance to play in the Premier League could be tough to turn down.
It would also give him the chance to link up with Real team-mate Dani Ceballos, who joined the Gunners on a season-long loan deal in the summer and could stay there on a permanent basis once the season is done.
However, the fact that Leverkusen could match the wages and the fee still puts them in pole position to sign him.
Barcelona could make a move for Paris Saint-Germain’s Marco Verratti in the January transfer window.
The Catalan giants have been linked with the Italy international on a number of occasions but have so far been unable to bring him in from PSG.
However, Verratti’s current deal is due to expire in 2021 and talks over a new deal to keep him in the French capital appear to have stalled, so PSG are ready to listen to offers ahead of the January transfer window.1
Current Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic continues to be linked with a move away and Manchester United and Juventus are keen on the Croatia international.
Should Rakitic depart, Barca will be keen to bring in a replacement and Verratti is a target.
It has been suggested a fee in the region of £52million would be enough to convince PSG to sell the 26-year-old.
Barcelona also remain keen to re-sign former forward Neymar from the French champions after failing to reach an agreement during the summer.
There is a chance the Nou Camp club could attempt to engineer a double deal in the winter window and they may offer some of their own players as makeweights.
It has previously been suggested Barca may offer Rakitic as part of a deal to bring in Neymar but the former Sevilla man is seemingly reluctant to head to France and would prefer a switch to the Premier League or Serie A.
Real Madrid are reportedly willing to offer Toni Kroos to Manchester United as part of a deal to bring Paul Pogba to the Spanish capital.
Real have been chasing Pogba for some time but have so far been unable to wrap up a deal as the powers that be at United have refused to cash in on the Frenchman.
It has been suggested that United asked Pogba to give them one more season before granting the player his wish of a move away the following summer, with Real in the box seat to do a deal.
Whether that is just speculation or fact remains to be seen but Real are determined to get the midfielder on board and reports claim they are ready to offer Kroos as a sweetener.
Los Blancos officials are well aware that United hold an interest in the German midfielder, having enquired about him in the past and hope by offering the player and a substantial cash adjustment it could help to get the deal done.
Real have been linked with other midfielders but keep coming back to Pogba, who is Zinedine Zidane's number one target.
Other clubs including Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain are also said to be in the hunt but it is thought that Pogba has set his heart on a move to the Bernabeu.
Kroos, 29, has only recently penned a new deal with Real but the club are happy for him to move on and there has even been talk he could leave when the window re-opens in January.
Bayern Munich defender Lucas Hernandez has revealed that he rejected a move to Real Madrid before signing for the Bundesliga giants.
The Bavarians broke their transfer record when signing the France international from Atletico Madrid for £70million in the summer, but it would have been different had Real had their way.
However, having played for Madrid rivals Atletico, the 23-year-old says there is no way he could have made the switch to the Bernabeu. He stayed where he was and eventually Bayern came in to complete the deal.
"Real had already made a move for me, it's true, but not this summer," he told France Football. "And I wouldn't go there. Not after having worn the colours of Atletico for such a long time."
Meanwhile, Hernandez has also revealed the lengths that Bayern went to to ensure they got him on board, even bringing Philipp Lahm's 21 shirt out of retirement for him.
"When we were in discussions, they asked me what number I wanted. I told them I would have 21," he added. "I won the World Cup with the No.21. At Atletico, when I took the No.21, we won the European Super Cup. I told them that this was the number I wanted and, if they could give me it, that would be good.
"They told me that was Philipp Lahm's number and that no-one had worn it since he had retired, but they told me they'd give me it if I signed for them. It's just one example of the confidence that they've placed in me."
Luka Modric says Real Madrid team-mate Gareth Bale is an amazing player and he hopes that the Welshman will stay at the club for the foreseeable future.
Bale's future has been shrouded in doubt following his brittle relationship with coach Zinedine Zidane, who appeared to be pushing him towards the exit door in the summer.
A failed move to China resulted in the Welshman staying at the Bernabeu and he appeared to have won over Zidane when fighting his way back into the side with some good performances.
However, tensions were reignited when Bale was snubbed for the recent Champions League encounter against Club Brugge. That led to reports that Bale had had enough and definitely wanted out of the club in January.
Modric is hoping that is not the case as he believes the 30-year-old is a very important player for Real and will be needed this season and beyond.
"Of course. I think he is an amazing player and very important for the team," said Modric. "He is showing that this season. Hopefully he will stay this season and the next seasons as well."
Meanwhile, Real's Champions League hopes are in danger after a defeat to Paris Saint-Germain was followed up by the 2-2 draw with Brugge.
However, Modric remains upbeat and says they have what it takes to turn it around and progress once the tournament resumes.
"We are good enough to overcome this bad start and qualify for the next round," said Modric. "It's still the beginning of the competition but we have a few more games left."
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic could be making a move to Manchester United in January as the Red Devils aim to bolster their ranks.
Reds boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is looking to strengthen all areas of his squad and a new central midfielder is high on his wanted list.
Young starlets such as Leicester City's James Maddison and West Ham's Declan Rice have been heavily linked with a move to Old Trafford, but there is zero chance of either deal happening in January as both clubs refuse to sell midway through a season.
With that in mind, reports claim that Solskjaer will turn his focus to Rakitic, who has bags of quality and experience, and at the age of 31 still has some of his best years ahead of him.
He could be the answer to some of United's issues and there is a good chance of getting him on board as Barca are willing to sell at the right price, as he struggles for game time at the Nou Camp.
That figure is set to stand at £35million and United would have no problems matching it when the window opens.
Talks are said to have started with the Catalan giants over a potential deal, but United are not the only interested party and they will face competition from elsewhere.
AC Milan are also said to be in the hunt as they look to build a side capable of getting back into the top four of Serie A, and see Rakitic as such the kind of player they need.
The Croatian international is desperate to play first-team football and will be keen to join a club that can offer that on a regular basis. That could put Milan in the box seat to do a deal, because as things stand, he would be one of the first names on the team sheet if they could do a deal.
There is uncertainty regarding the fitness of Real Madrid midfielder Luka Modric as the Spanish giants prepare to take on Barcelona in El Clasico.
The former Tottenham playmaker was forced from the field in Sunday's draw between Croatia and Wales in Cardiff.
Modric was unable to support his right leg when taken off the field but Nikola Jerkan, a member of Croatia's medical staff, claims the problem is not as bad as first feared.
"According to the doctors, Modric has had a painful knock to the quads," he told Radio MARCA.
"It's logical that people are worried about the Clasico, but it doesn't seem very bad."
Meanwhile, Real boss Zinedine Zidane might have also had concerns after Gareth Bale failed to complete the full 90 minutes in the same match.
Wales boss Ryan Giggs has since allayed any fears regarding Bale's fitness, saying: "Bale suffered a small cramp but he wanted to continue."
Real are next in action on Saturday when they make the trip to Mallorca before Los Blancos face Galatasaray in the Champions League.
Just four days after that trip to Turkey, Real travel to Camp Nou for their first showdown of the season with arch rivals Barcelona.
Chelsea goalkeeper Kepa Arrizabalaga has welcomed the possibility of making a return to former club Athletic Bilbao at some point in his career.
Spain international Kepa came through the youth set-up with Bilbao before completing his reported €80million move to Chelsea during the summer of 2018 – a transfer fee that made him the most expensive goalkeeper of all-time.
The 25-year-old has made 44 Premier League appearances during his time with Chelsea and he seemingly has no plans to leave the club anytime soon, with his current contract at Stamford Bridge not set to expire until the summer of 2025.
However, the former Valladolid loanee has not ruled out a return to hometown club Bilbao later in his career, admitting he will always have a great affinity with the team where he started his career.
Speaking to El Chiringuito TV, Kepa said: "Of course I would like to return to Athletic.
"I don't know when or how or what, but playing at Athletic obviously I'd like that. I have great memories."
Kepa is currently away with Spain on international duty and he will be hopeful of adding to his seven caps when La Roja face Norway and Sweden in potentially crucial Euro 2020 qualifiers over the coming days.
Bayern Munich have reportedly joined Real Madrid in the race to clinch the services of Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen in the January transfer window.
Eriksen, 27, signed for Spurs in 2013 and has been one of the first names on the teamsheet for the past six seasons, but was heavily linked with a move away during the summer transfer window.
Real Madrid showed more than a passing interest in the Denmark international and it seemed as though he might be on his way to the Bernabeu.
However, he remained at the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium and has scored one goal from eight Premier League appearances in 2019-20.
However, rumours of discontent behind the scenes in north London will not go away, with Spurs' performances appearing to suggest that all is not well and it may be that Eriksen has set his heart on a move.
Whether Real come back in for the talented schemer only time will tell but, according to Sport1, the Bavarians are now considering a bid of their own in January.
The former Ajax ace's contract is up next summer and he will be able to negotiate with other clubs in the new year.
That means Spurs will be under pressure to sell or risk losing the Dane for nothing – not a viable prospect given his market value.
Bayern are looking for midfielders after losing Arjen Robben and Franck Ribery and it may be that Eriksen fits the bill.
Manchester United have also been linked in the past although reports claim the Scandinavian is not interested in a move to Old Trafford.
Real Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois has hit out at "disrespectful" media reports suggesting he was substituted against Club Brugge after suffering an anxiety attack.
The goalkeeper was forced off at half-time of in the European clash at the start of the month and then missed the subsequent La Liga game against Granada.
Reports in Spain suggested he had suffered an "anxiety attack" but that was swiftly denied by Real, who responded by issuing a statement to say he had been affected by "acute gastroenteritis with dehydration and electrolyte imbalance".
And now the Belgium international has moved to clarify the situation further.
The former Chelsea keeper has slammed some media outlets for what he says were "lies" and "nonsense".
He said: "I know what it means to be an elite player. Right now, I am very happy and I don't have those problems. Media responsibility is about not making up lies and talking nonsense with those things because in the end those are problems that people really suffer with.
"I think it's disrespectful not only to the player but also the people who really suffer from that, I feel happy and (I'm) training hard."
Courtois showed no signs of his recent illness as he played the whole 90 minutes for his country in their 9-0 hammering of San Marino in their Euro 2020 qualifier on Thursday night.
Alphonso Areola, who joined Real on loan this summer from Paris Saint-Germain, had come in for Courtois in Los Blancos' starting line-up but is expected to make way when the club action resumes next weekend.
Real are top of La Liga and go to Real Mallorca on October 19.
On-loan Arsenal midfielder Dani Ceballos has dismissed the possibility of extending his stay at the Emirates, saying he is determined to fight for a place at Real Madrid next season.
Ceballos joined Los Blancos on a six-year deal from Real Betis for 18million euros in the summer of 2017, however, he struggled to tie down a regular spot in his first two seasons at the Bernabeu.
The midfielder, who can play in a variety of positions, started just four games during his debut campaign in Madrid before earning a further 13 starting appearances in 2018-19.
With his chances set to be limited again this season, Ceballos took it upon himself to secure a loan move away from the Spanish giants.
It appears a warning from Spain boss Roberto Moreno played a big part in his decision to head out on-loan as he looks to ensure he is in the coach's plans for Euro 2020.
So far, his move to north London for the 2019-20 campaign has proven to be a successful one and he is earning plenty of admirers in England.
He has been named in the starting XI on five occasions in the Premier League, featuring a further three times from the bench, and has offered plenty of creativity.
Reports have suggested that Arsenal are already considering the possibility of turning his loan switch into a permanent deal next summer.
However, Ceballos has dampened the Gunners' hopes of acquiring his services long-term by suggesting he wants to be a success with Los Merengues.
Ceballos told Radio Marca: "I knew it was an important year, the coach has doubts and he who doesn't play doesn't go [to Euro 2020], so it was a good time to go on loan.
"I never thought about going permanently. My goal is to succeed at Real Madrid. I will fight to fulfil my dream."
The 23-year-old has been named in Spain's squad for the current international break and will be hoping to feature in the Euro 2020 Qualifiers against Norway and Sweden.
Primera Liga outfit Espanyol have handed Pablo Machin the head coach position after the departure of David Gallego on Monday.
Los Periquitos moved to replace Gallego after he managed just seven wins in 16 games at the helm, having only replaced the outgoing Rubi in the summer.
However, only one of those victories came in eight La Liga matches this season and the Catalan club sit just above the winless Leganes in 19th position.
Espanyol are also involved in the Europa League group stages and have four points from two games, having followed up a 1-1 home draw against Hungarian outfit Ferencvaros with an impressive 2-0 win at CSKA Moscow last Thursday.
Machin arrives with good experience of managing in Spain and made his name in a four-year stint at Girona, who he guided to their first ever promotion to the top-flight in 2017 and a top-half finish in the following 2017-18 season.
The 44-year-old endured a disappointing spell at Sevilla last term which resulted in him being sacked in March on the back of the side’s Europa League elimination against Slavia Prague.
Machin will now hope to resurrect his career at the RCDE Stadium and help guide Espanyol away from La Liga relegation trouble, while also making progress into the Europa League knockout rounds.
Ivan Rakitic admits he is getting frustrated by a lack of game time at Barcelona and will consider his future if there is no improvement.
The 31-year-old is in his sixth season with the Catalan giants and has been a regular first-team fixture in his previous five, making 268 appearances in all competitions prior to the start of 2019-2020.
However, the man capped 104 times by Croatia has enjoyed just five outings and one start in La Liga this term, with only 156 minutes of league football under his belt.
It is a frustrating situation for the former Sevilla schemer who has been used to being in the thick of things during his stay at the Nou Camp and is now just a peripheral figure.
It remains to be seen if head coach Ernesto Valverde goes back to Rakitic in the near future, who confessed that he is willing to knuckle down and fight for his place in the team.
“I don’t know what will come now. It’s tough because I want to play and not just be part of the team,” he said. “I will do everything possible to change my situation.”
Barca are second in the Spanish top-flight standings behind fierce rivals Real Madrid but there have been rumours of unrest behind the scenes, with Lionel Messi reportedly unhappy with the club’s inability to re-sign Neymar.
Therefore Valverde will need his most experience stars to pull together and Rakitic certainly falls into that category.
But he added: “If nothing changed, we will have to sit down and talk about my situation again.”
Lionel Messi believes former Barcelona teammate Neymar regrets leaving Camp Nou to move to the French capital.
Speculation was rife over the summer that Neymar wished to make a swift return to the Blaugrana, having failed to settle in his surroundings at Paris Saint-Germain.
Barca, along with Real Madrid, were thought to be battling out for the Brazil international's services but ultimately PSG were able to keep hold of their prize asset, who has made a strong start to the season.
Messi, who is getting back closer to his best after a spell out with injury, feels Neymar regrets his initial call to leave Catalonia and can understand why some people would not want the former Santos starlet back at the Camp Nou after the manner of his departure.
"I think so [he regretted the decision], shortly after he left he realised that he was wrong and that he had made a bad decision," he told radio station RAC1. "It would be necessary to ask him but, knowing him and seeing what happened, I think so [he regretted leaving].
"Having had him on the team would have given us more options but I understand that the signing of Neymar is not only looked at for sporting reasons but also for having left the way he did. There are those who didn't want him to return - it's understandable. It was complicated."
Barcelona, who currently find themselves in second place in the La Liga table behind arch-rivals Real Madrid, are back in action October 19 when they travel to Eibar.