Griezman get a boost to play 'home final' - 19/02

Madrid still in title race, Luis Figo says - 19/02

Liverpool linked Barca Malcom - 17/02

Report: Arsenal lead race to sign James Rodriguez from Real

Arsenal are reportedly at the front of the queue to sign Real Madrid star James Rodriguez, though Liverpool are also said to be in the running.

Rodriguez has been on loan at Bayern Munich since July 2017 though he has struggled for consistency and it appears the Bavarians are unlikely to sign him on a permanent basis.

Bayern have an option to sign him at the end of his two-season loan spell yet this is unlikely to transpire.

As such, the Gunners are stepping up their interest in landing the Colombia ace on a big-money switch to the Emirates Stadium.

According to Spain's Don Balon, the player is a major target on the radar of manager Unai Emery.

The Spanish publication has added that Liverpool are also eyeing the 27-year-old goal-scoring attacking midfielder with interest.

Nonetheless, if he were to sign for Arsenal, it seems that the future of Mesut Ozil may be in doubt despite signing a 350,000 a week pound a week contract just under 12 months ago.

With Aaron Ramsey set to potentially depart either in January or at the end of 2018/19, the Cucuta-born star could be brought in to fill the void.

However, injury and inconsistent form could see the London-based outfit offload the former Germany star in order to save money on the wage bill.

Don Balon also suggested that Manchester United have an interest in the 2014 World Cup Golden Boot winner, though it seems a move to Old Trafford will not materialise.

Hazard: I've always loved Real

Eden Hazard admits he is unsure if he will leave Chelsea for Real Madrid or sign a new long term contract in the Premier League.

The Belgian attacker has previously announced his desire to one day play for the Spanish giants.

In his most recent comments, the 27-year-old, who has 18 months remaining on his Chelsea deal, said he didn't want to end his career having regrets.

Hazard told radio station RMC, said: "The new (Chelsea) coach (Maurizio Sarri) thinks football like me, so we'll see.

"The family is in London, I'm also going to be 28. I do not want to have any regrets at the end of my career.

"It's a decision I'm going to make, I do not know when, but I'll take it.

"You know me, I've always loved Real, even before (Zinedine) Zidane. We'll see what happens.

"As I said, I'm already finishing this year with Chelsea, I still have a year of contract after this year."

Silva wants Gomes stay

Everton manager Marco Silva says he will do what he can to keep Andre Gomes at the Premier League club next season.

The loan signing from Barcelona has impressed during his seven appearances for the Toffees this term, with the club flying high in sixth place.

But any chance of a permanent deal for the 25-year-old Portugal international, whose deal runs out at the end of the current campaign, depends on a number of factors. 

Silva told Sky Sports News: "I think at first, I agree, he is doing very well. But what is most important for me is the team and the squad, I think it is not fair just to talk about Andre.

"If Andre is doing well then he is helping our squad. He is getting better every time, taking his responsibility in the squad is important for me as well.

"But if he is doing well it is because his teammates are helping him since the first day."

He added: "He's enjoyed his first two months but let's see what we can do. We are working on that, I don't know if I have answer in one week or two weeks.

"It is not something that it is in our hands. The best scenario to look at is - it is not just in our hands as a club, not just in the hands of Andre, there is a third party as well. Barcelona are included, let's see when we can talk about the situation."

Solari: No issue with Isco

Santiago Solari said he has no issues with Spanish midfielder Isco after Real Madrid's 2-0 win against Valencia.

Lucas Vazquez sealed the win with his goal in the 83rd minute, following an own-goal from Daniel Wass after just eight minutes.

Isco played just the last ten minutes of the tie, having been used sparingly by the boss in the past few La Liga matches while also sitting out of Tuesday's Champions League victory at Roma.

But Solari has downplayed a rift with the 26-year-old, who was also missing for three games in September and October, with Appendicitis.

Solari told Movistar: "He would be decisive when we had a transition.

"[I am] satisfied with him and with everyone."

Solari added: "It's fantastic, it's what makes teams solid and big, the big ones play many competitions.

"It's a lot of games and it's important that each of the players is fit and cheerful and available. Two great games that he had to play."

Former Barca star set to join Iniesta in Japan

Former Spain and Barcelona striker David Villa is set to sign for Japanese top-flight club Vissel Kobe after leaving Major League Soccer's New York City FC.

Villa is set to link up with former Barca teammate Andres Iniesta as well as former Germany forward Lukas Podolski.

The 36-year-old was a huge hit in New York where he smashed home an incredible 80 goals in 124 appearances, after signing from Atletico Madrid in 2014.

With Spain, the player won the 2008 European Championship as well as the World Cup in South Africa in 2010.

Speaking of his move, he said: "The moment has come. It's decided. I have a new destination.

"A great challenge awaits. Asia. New trips. New country. New culture. New team-mates. Hello Japan. Hello Vissel Kobe."

Villa started his career with Sporting Gijon before joining Real Zaragoza and then Valencia. His talent saw him secure a big money move to Barcelona where he won La Liga twice as well as the UEFA Champions League.

He left for Atletico Madrid in 2013 and helped them win the Spanish top flight with 13 league goals.

Dominguez calls for calm

CONMEBOL president Alejandro Dominguez has urged fans to be well behaved during the Copa Libertadores final in Madrid.

The decision was taken to allow the second leg featuring Boca Juniors and River Plate to be played at the Santiago Bernabeu after the Boca bus was attacked on its way to the stadium for the first leg that ended 2-2.

Dominguez told a news conference: "The decision of the administration is that the match is played with supporters of both clubs in the city of Madrid.

"It will be Sunday December 9 at 20:30 CET.

"Spain is the country with the largest Argentine population outside of its country. Madrid is one of the 10 safest cities in the world and it has a great football culture. I want everyone who goes to show how to enjoy and have a good time.

"I sympathise with the players who were injured, and I want to repudiate what has happened. The ball is never going to be stained by unscrupulous people, it will keep rolling."

Poch in bullish mood ahead of crucial Barcelona tie

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino believes Spurs can beat Barcelona in their final UEFA Champions League Group B tie on 11 December to progress to the knockout stages.

A Christian Eriksen goal gave the Lilywhites a crucial win on Wednesday against Inter Milan and they now sit second in the standings on seven points, tied with the Italians.

Barca have already qualified for the next stage on 13 points whereas PSV Eindhoven are eliminated at the bottom of the group on a single point.

Nonetheless, despite the Spanish giants having already gone through, Pochettino takes the view that they will still face a highly competitive team at the Camp Nou.

He said: "I expect they'll play with the best players but I don't know how they'll prepare the game.

"We need to think about us, prepare for the game in the best way, and try to believe we can win. What Barcelona do is not in our hands.

"But, of course, in the Champions League, no one is going to give a present and play and not care about the result.

"It's going to be very competitive but of course they're qualified in first with 13 points. Us and Inter can only arrive with 10 points. All is possible in football.

"But now we need to focus on Arsenal on Sunday [in] another massive game for us. We have big respect for Barcelona, one of the best teams in Europe.

"Of course, they have unbelievable players and it'll be so tough, but one thing we have is our belief and faith we can win.

"We only need to show again a good level to compete at our best. To arrive at Barcelona and compete in our best we need to have fresh legs, fresh minds, no injuries.

"To arrive in that way in Barcelona we need to manage and we need to rotate the squad. If not, the demands of the Premier League are so tough.

"We're playing Champions League and the cup against Arsenal at the Emirates. Every three days playing games is so tough, so tough for us but for our players so, so difficult. They're not going to have one day off until January."

Man City starlet linked with Real Madrid move

Real Madrid are reportedly looking to clinch the signing of Manchester City midfielder Brahim Diaz who has rejected a contract offer from the Citizens.

Journalist Jose Alvarez reported on Sunday that the 19-year-old had agreed to join Los Blancos though it is unclear what the terms of any deal may be.

A further development to the story sees Spain's Cadena SER reporting that Madrid are pursuing the prospect of being able to sign him in January, six months before his deal expires at the Etihad Stadium.

However, it appears the reigning European champions are content at signing the Spain U21 star at the end of 2018/19 when his deal with Pep Guardiola's men comes to an end.

It appears losing Diaz would be a blow for City after they lost the services of Jadon Sancho in 2017, who is now starring for Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund.

The pair are youth development products of the English Premier League leaders though seemingly departed due to a lack of game-time in the first team.

The teenager has made his mark in the senior outfit when he scored twice against Fulham in the Carabao Cup at the start of November, yet has not featured since.

The young star is expected to be on the bench for City for Tuesday's UEFA Champions League tie against Lyon, due to a string of injuries affecting the team's first team squad.

Real captain Ramos not guilty of doping breach

UEFA have confirmed that Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos did not breach anti-doping regulations following a test after the 2017 Champions League title win.

Madrid triumphed over Italian giants Juventus 4-1 with Ramos playing an influential role in the tie at the heart of defence for Los Blancos.

German publication Der Spiegel say the Spain international tested positive for anti-inflammatory drug dexamethasone, which is only illegal if testers are not told of its use.

Der Spiegel report that doping control officers were told the 32-year-old had taken a different anti-inflammatory ahead of the final.

Nonetheless, it later emerged that Real's doctor had made an administrative mistake by writing down the wrong anti-inflammatory that had been used.

Madrid said in a statement: "Ramos has never breached the anti-doping control regulations. Uefa requested timely information and closed the matter immediately, as is usual in these cases, after verification by the experts themselves."

The doctor, in a letter to Uefa seen by Der Spiegel, said he had accidentally written the name of a different drug on the doping report after the match as Ramos was being tested. 

A letter from UEFA to Real officials, seen by the German publication, said that it was likely an admin error had been made.

It read: "In the future, we ask you and your team doctor to be utmost cautious when completing the doping control form and more precisely the declaration of medication."

Suarez tells Dembele to be more responsible

Luis Suarez says Ousmane Dembele must learn from his teammates if he is to live up to his potential at Barcelona.

The 21-year-old joined the Catalan club for a hefty fee from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 in the wake of Neymar's departure to Paris Saint-Germain.

While the France international has talent in abundance, he has not started a La Liga game since September.

Reports suggest that Dembele, who failed to even make the squad against Real Betis, has been given an ultimatum to improve his attitude.

Ahead of Uruguay's friendly with France on Tuesday, Suarez told reporters: "It's not that [Dembele] has not adapted to the dressing room - the relationship he has with his team-mates is very good. He is happy.

"But as some of my team-mates have said, and Ousmane himself knows, being a footballer is a privilege. I think maybe he should focus more on his football and be more responsible.

"He is very young and can take inspiration from the exemplary professionalism in the Barcelona dressing room. He deserves to be there and to triumph with Barca."

Marcelo thanks Real fans and...Sergio Ramos

Marcelo says he wakes up 'very happy every day' as a result of playing for Real Madrid.

The Brazil international defender, who joined Los Blancos from Fluminense in 2006, has gone onto play over 450 times in all competitions for Real.

After revealling his joy to play for the 33-time La Liga champions, Marcelo also thanked Sergio Ramos for his contribution to his 12 years at the club.

The 30-year-old told Diario AS: "Throughout my time here I have received lots of advice and help.

“Sergio Ramos is the individual who has stood out in terms of that since I arrived, it has been very helpful and I am hugely appreciative of it all.

“This club is wonderful, I wake up very happy every day because I play for the best club in the world, it is a massive privilege.

“Everything I have achieved here remains in my head and in my heart, to show my family all my medals from here makes me very proud.

“I want to thank everyone at the club and with their fans who have helped me achieve the best days of my life.”

Ferdinand gets involved in Lovren spat with Ramos

Former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand believes Liverpool's Dejan Lovren has no basis to criticise Real Madrid's Sergio Ramos due to the amount of trophies he has won.

Recently, Lovren said in a press interview that Ramos makes plenty of mistakes however he does not get slammed by critics because Real often win by a big scoreline.

In addition, the Croatia international added that he believed Raphael Varane was a more accomplished central defender for Los Blancos.

Ramos then responded diplomatically by partly saying he did not want to get in a public spat with the Reds centre-back.

However, after Croatia beat Spain 3-2 in a Nations League clash last Thursday, Lovren again fueled the fire as he was recorded saying: "Ha, ha! 3-2. Go ahead and talk now buddy. Buddy!"

Nonetheless, Ferdinand takes the view that the 29-year-old has no right to speak badly about a player that has won virtually everything available in European and international football.

Taking to Instagram, he said: "You man out here starting needs within the centre back union. This ain't even meant to be an argument.

"Ramos has too many trophies for Lovren to be coming like this...with all due respect."

Hamstring injury sidelines Rakitic

Ivan Rakitic will miss Croatia's UEFA Nations League clash with England with a hamstring injury, Barcelona have confirmed.

The midfielder was withdrawn from his country's 3-2 win over Spain on 68 minutes on Thursday.

After the match, Croatia boss Zlatko Dalic explained that Rakitic would return to Spain to assess the damage sustained.

A statement from Barcelona read: "The player has returned to Barcelona after picking up an injury in last Thursday's game between Croatia and Spain.

"Test carried out on Saturday at the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper have confirmed that the player Ivan Rakitic has a strained semimembranosus muscle in his right hamstring. His recovery will dictate his return."

Solari aiding Vinicius Junior's Real development

Vinicius Junior says he is benefiting from the decision to appoint Santiago Solari as Real Madrid first team coach.

The Brazil under 20 international officially joined the Spanish side from Flamengo this season and started in the 'B' or Castilla side before joining the first team set-up.

With Solari having been the Castilla coach ahead of his appointment to the senior side following the sacking of Julen Lopetegui last month, the change in coaches has worked out well for the 18-year-old.

Vinicius was only a bit-part player under Lopetegui but started Solari's first match in charge in the Copa del Rey.

Speaking to Marca, the young forward said: "Solari has always helped me since I arrived in Madrid.

"Thanks to him, I have a clear mind and I concentrate only on the game. That's what he has done with me in the first team, and I'm happy."

Vinicius has now played in a five games in all competitions for Madrid this season.

Ramos refuses to hit back after Lovren criticism

Real Madrid central defender Sergio Ramos says he will not respond to Liverpool's Dejan Lovren over comments that he makes errors at the back and is overrated.

Lovren recently slammed Real's skipper in an interview with Copa90 where he claimed that Ramos' mistakes get painted over by the fact that Los Blancos score so many goals at the other end.

The Croatia international told the publication: "If you look, Ramos has many more mistakes than me. But he plays for Real Madrid, when you do a mistake you win 5-1 or 5-2, nobody cares."

He added that in his opinion Madrid teammate and France star Raphael Varane was a better defender. However, Ramos has not taken the bait by hitting back at Lovren.

He told Four Four Two: "I've said it many times. I don't know if these things are said out of frustration or for other reasons.

"I'm not going to answer Lovren or whoever wants to win three front pages or start the news bulletin. Everyone wins things for himself on the pitch."

It appears the Croatian's comments may not be on the mark as the Spain supremo has won everything there is to win in football at the highest level including four Champions League titles, the World Cup and two European Championships.

In addition, he has scored an incredible 81 goals for Real which is a extremely high number for a player in his position.

Report: Liverpool seek January move for Barca's Dembele

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is reportedly eyeing a 85 million pound bid for Barcelona's troubled foward Ousmane Dembele in the January window.

Dembele has made headlines in recent days for a reported lack of discipline and professionalism for Barca. It has been said the player comes late to team meetings and last week on Thursday did not report to training without notifying the club he was sick.

As such, it is claimed that Klopp wants to sign the 21-year-old winger to add to his team's talented front line of Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane.

It is believed the German mentor can give the Reds a boost in their ambitions to challenge for the Premier League title in 2018/19.

According to the Sun, the 51-year-old is prepared to break the team's record transfer fee to bring in the France international during January.

Dembele endured a tough first season with the Spanish giants after his move from Borussia Dortmund in 2017 largely due to injury.

With that said, his agent, Moussa Sissoko, believes his future remains with Barca.

Speaking to RMC Sport, Sissoko said: "I am convinced that [Ernesto] Valverde wants Dembele. He's with France right now because he deserves to be.

"I have also spoken to [former France defender and current Barca technical secretary] Eric Abidal and he is very happy with Ousmane, he told me that he's training very well."

Solari named Real Madrid manager

Santiago Solari has been appointed Real Madrid manager with a contact stretching until 30 June 2021.

The 42-year-old former Argentine international midfielder takes up the role on a full-time basis having impressed during a caretaker spell where he turned around a run of poor form with four straight wins.

Solari made a seamless transition from the club's 'B' side where he had been coaching since 2016, while he spent five years as a Real Madrid player, winning La Liga on two occasions.

A very brief statement from the Spanish giants read: "The board of directors of Real Madrid C.F., which met today, 13 November 2018, has agreed to appoint Santiago Solari as first-team coach until 30 June 2021."

Up next for Real is a trip to Eibar in the league before facing Roma away in the Champions League next week.