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.

Barca's Dembele ignoring criticism says agent

Ousmane Dembele's agent Moussa Sissoko says the troubled Barcelona star is not affected by 'unfounded' criticism of his levels of professionalism.

Dembele has been making news in Spain for reportedly arriving late to team meetings and for matches for Barca.

The 21-year-old is said to have skipped training last week Thursday without first notifying club officials he was struggling with a stomach bug.

As such, the France international was left out of the 4-3 defeat to Real Betis last weekend as a result. In addition, coach Ernesto Valverde is said to be losing patience with the former Borussia Dortmund winger.

Sissoko told RMC: "Ousmane's not reacting too badly. He knows how to shut out that criticism, especially when it's unfounded. Having said that, he knows how to use it when it's not, to react in the best way possible on and off the pitch.

"Ousmane is [21], plays for Barcelona, one of the biggest clubs in the world. He's had a super start to the season scoring six goals and two assists.

"I don't understand all the criticism right now. We're aware there are things to improve, that's for sure. He's [21], it's normal. But Ousmane is very calm, he keeps working."

Butragueno: Real very happy with Solari

Santiago Solari is close to being named Real Madrid manager on a permanent basis, with director Emilio Butragueno praising the interim coach.

The former Real and Argentina midfielder is the current Real Madrid B coach, but has won all four of his games in charge of the first side, since the sacking of Julen Lopetegui.

Solari most recently secured a 4-2 La Liga victory over Celta Vigo on Sunday.

Butragueno told Movistar+: "The truth is that we are very happy with him.

"There is no doubt that he came at a very particular moment and has been able to achieve very good results.

"It was a very complicated game and we also had setbacks with injuries, [but] we had personality and character."

He added: "We have very good players and the team is getting better and better, we took advantage of our chances and we are very happy, we must continue in this way.

"The line-up that finished the game is a clear example that we have a competitive squad, as the team has the personality to aspire to everything."

Real have since moved up the table as a result of their improved form and are currently in sixth with 20 points - just four behind leaders Barcelona.

 

Report: Barcelona growing frustrated with Dembele

Barcelona manager Ernesto Valverde and his coaching staff are reportedly not pleased with Ousmane Dembele after he missed training on Thursday without notification.

According to reports, Dembele did not pitch up for training and he did not notify management that he would not be doing so at that time.

The report says that the embattled forward, who has struggled for form for Barca since his 105 million euro move from Borussia Dortmund in 2017, had a bout of gastroenteritis.

The club allegedly attempted to call the 21-year-old on his phone however could not get through as he did not answer.

The France international reported to the Ciutat Esportiva Joan Gamper training ground on Friday for medical tests to seemingly check his condition.

Nonetheless, it appears the Spanish champions are growing tired of the player's lax attitude as it is not the first time he has failed to arrive for official club duties.

Sport-English said: "He's had some issues when it comes to his diet as well as poor timekeeping. Ernesto Valverde has got angry at him on more than a few occasions for his lapses in concentration and with each passing day he appears more isolated from the main group.

"The next few weeks will be decisive in Dembele's future and what's clear to everyone is that he can't afford any more slip ups."

Witsel: If Real want Martinez he must go

Axel Witsel has backed Roberto Martinez to become the next manager of Spanish giants Real Madrid.

The 29-year-old Borussia Dortmund midfielder has been coached by Martinez since Martinez's appointment as Belgium boss in August 2016.

With Real out of a head coach since firing Julen Lopetegui last month, a number of names have come to the fore, including the former Swansea, Wigan and Everton boss, as well as Antonio Conte and Mauricio Pochettino.

Witsel told reporters: "It is not surprising after all the great work we've done with him the last years and for the last World Cup.

"It is not surprising to see a club like Real Madrid, if the reports are true, to be interested in him.

"No, we didn't call each other to talk about our head coach and Real Madrid. We'll all be together next week.

"As I said, we've done a great job so far and we keep doing it. All the players, we're all happy with the coach and his philosophy. If we lose him it would be a huge loss for all of us.

"If it is really the truth and he was meant to leave, he will be frank with us I think."

Santiago Solari is currently in interim charge of Real under a permanent manager is appointed.

Ramos sorry for Havel challenge

Sergio Ramos has apologised for leaving Milan Havel with a bloodied nose during Real Madrid's 5-0 Champions League thrashing of Viktoria Plzen on Wednesday.

Ramos caught Haval with a flailing arm before goals from Karim Benzema, Casemiro, Gareth Bale and Toni Kroos sealed a convincing win.

The 24-year-old Czech had to be treated on the field but was ultimately substituted before half-time. Ramos was not punished for the incident by referee Deniz Aytekin.

Tweeting after the game, Ramos posted: "A victory to build on and also to learn from.

"Football always teaches you things and tonight I shouldn't have gone into the challenge like that.

"Milan, it wasn't my intention to injure you. Get well soon."

The win saw Real advance to the knockout phase of the Champions League, as Viktoria Plzen ended the evening bottom of Group G with just one point from four games.

Coutinho sidelined for Barca

Barcelona have been dealt a blow with the news that creative midfielder Philippe Coutinho has been sidelined.

The 26-year-old former Inter Milan and Liverpool man is set to miss two and three weeks of the season with a bicep injury.

A brief statement from Spanish club read: "Tests performed on Thursday morning have confirmed that Coutinho has a small rupture in his left biceps femoris.

"He will be out for approximately two to three weeks."

Coutinho has five goals and four assists in all competitions for Barca this season.

They are top of La Liga with 24 points from 11 games, and next face Real Betis and Atletico Madrid in the league ahead of playing PSV in the Champions League.

 

Solari: This result will give us confidence

Interim Real Madrid manager Santiago Solari feels the 5-0 thrashing of Viktoria Plzen in the Champions League on Wednesday was important for the club to get back on track.

Goals from Karim Benzema (20', 37'), Casemiro (23'), K. Benzema, Gareth Bale (40') and Toni Kroos (67') sealed a comprehensive victory at the Doosan Arena.

Having seen previous head coach Julen Lopetegui sacked following the 5-1 defeat to Barcelona in October, Real have since won all three games played under Solari, without conceding.

Speaking after picking up three European points, Solari explained the importance of the win for his players.

He told UEFA: "It's impossible to win 5-0 away in the Champions League and not play a great game. I'm very happy but this was all about the players - we have some brilliant players here who have no limits.

"The players deserve this and focus now switches to the next match. We came into the game fully focused and it showed. We have the players here to score lots of goals and that's what we did."

He added: "It was an important night for us. We've scored five times and this result will give us confidence.

"On other days we created chances like tonight but didn't take them. Real Madrid is the most demanding club in the world and you always have to win here."

Real next play Celta de Vigo in La Liga on Sunday.

Solari hints at Vinicius Junior debut for Real in UCL

Real Madrid interim coach Santiago Solari has hinted that Brazilian prodigy Vinicius Junior could feature against FC Viktoria Plzen in Wednesday's UEFA Champions League Group G tie.

Junior recently made his debut for Madrid during a 4-0 Copa del Rey victory over Melilla during which he contributed two assists.

On 3 November the highly-rated 18-year-old then scored his first La Liga goal for Los Blancos in a 2-0 win over Real Valladolid.

As such, with Real's form showing improvement with two wins in a row under Solari since former boss Julen Lopetegui was sacked after a 5-1 loss to Barcelona on 28 October, it appears fans are hopeful to see the former Flamengo star display his talents.

Nonetheless, the Argentinean mentor hinted that Vinicius could play a part against Plzen and make his debut in Europe's most prestigious club competition.

He told reporters at a pre-match press conference: "I want Vinicius to be a fully-fledged first-team player but that process has to be given gradually.

"He has things to learn and he is very young, very fresh, but he has things that are not normal at his age. When it's inevitable, a player will end up playing.

"It's always very nice to play this competition which is linked and inseparable to the history of our club. When the anthem plays, we all get excited."

Currently, the reigning European champions top Group B on six points and could put their foot into the knockout stages with a victory over the side from the Czech Republic.

Report: Spurs' Pochettino turns down Real Madrid

Tottenham Hotspur manager Mauricio Pochettino has reportedly turned down a 15 million pound-a-year contract to take over at struggling Real Madrid.

The club have started the 2018/19 La Liga season in poor fashion and recently coach Julen Lopetegui was sacked after a 5-1 defeat to fierce rivals Barcelona.

Currently, Santiago Solari is in charge on an interim basis and Los Blancos are trying to find a new coach to take over on a permanent basis.

Former Chelsea boss Antonio Conte has been linked with the job, whereas, Pochettino is said to have turned down the Spanish giants. In addition, reports suggest that Conte also has no interest in the role.

The Sun report that 'constant disruption behind the scenes' at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium meant it was not a challenge he wanted to take on, and he still had work to do with the Lilywhites.

The Argentine has earlier claimed he is not happy with delays in the construction of the team's new stadium, though Spurs are still in good form in the English top flight in fourth spot.

Pochettino's men are next in action on Tuesday in a crucial UEFA Champions League Group B clash with PSV Eindhoven.

Spurs need a victory as they have just one point from their opening three games, whereas Barcelona lead on nine points while Inter Milan are in second on six points.

Montoya: Neymar wants Barcelona return

Former Barcelona star and current Brighton & Hove Albion right-back Martin Montoya believes that Neymar wants a return to Barca due to his connection with the club.

Neymar spent four seasons with the Spanish giants from 2013 until 2017 where he scored 105 goals in 168 appearances.

However, he moved to Paris Saint-Germain in 2017 for a fee of 222 million euros and has scored 40 goals in 44 appearances during his time with the Parisians in Ligue 1.

Nonetheless, recent reports speculate the Brazil superstar wants a return to Camp Nou as he desires to link up again with Luis Suarez and Lionel Messi.

Speaking to Goal, Montoya said: "I think Neymar wants to go back to Barcelona because he felt comfortable and adapted during the three years he was at the club. He had a wonderful connection with Luis Suarez and Messi.

"PSG are also a great team and I do not think they'll let him go easily. They paid a lot of money for him and I do not think Barcelona will pay the same price to bring him back.

The former Inter Milan defender added that Barca were favourites in Tuesday's clash with I Nerazzurri in a UEFA Champions League tie at the San Siro Stadium.

He concluded: "Barca is always Barca. They are one of the best teams and can beat you whenever. They have fantastic players.

"Look at Tottenham, they're a great team and they were beaten at Wembley. The game is very close, but I think Barcelona is the favorite."

Xavi backs Neymar to reach Messi's level

Barcelona and Spain legend Xavi believes that Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar has the potential to reach the level of Lionel Messi if he matures.

The 38-year-old, who now plays his club football for Al Sadd in Qatar, takes the view that it is the Brazil forward that is more likely to emulate Messi rather than PSG striker Kylian Mbappe.

Both players scored in the Parisians 2-1 victory over Lille as the French Ligue 1 giants became the first team in history to win their opening 12 matches across Europe's top five leagues.

Speaking to Catalunya Radio, the playmaker said: "He's a very superior player physically. It's impressive that at his age he has those differences, but he could also get stuck, it's very difficult to predict.

"He still has no football maturity but, he could be one of the good ones. He is so strong, but that does not always work in elite football, he has to learn to think.

"Neymar is the player that I have seen, if he manages to acquire that maturity, that could be more like Messi."

The Thomas Tuchel-coached outfit are next in action on Tuesday when they face Napoli in what appears to be a must-win clash in Group C for the reigning French champions.

Samper sidelined again for Barca

Sergi Samper has been hit with another injury blow as he struggles to get his season up and running.

The 23-year-old former Spanish youth international has been sidelined with knee and ankle problems with term already.

Now the defensive midfielder, who has previously spent time on loan with Granada and Las Palmas, has a problem with his right calf.

Samper was playing in his first Barcelona appearance of the season in the Copa del Rey tie away to Cultural Leonesa on Wednesday but only lasted half the game.

A Barca Tweet read: "Sergi Samper has a problem with his right calf. Tomorrow he will have more tests to find out the extent of the injury."