Totti: Messi is world's best... just don't tell Ronaldo


Francesco Totti believes Lionel Messi is the best player in the world despite Cristiano Ronaldo pulling level on five Ballons d'Or apiece earlier this month.

Real Madrid's dual La Liga and Champions League triumphs last season set Ronaldo up to claim world football's premier individual prize but Messi has also blazed a familiarly impressive trail.

The mercurial Argentinian inspired a 3-0 win for Barca at the Santiago Bernabeu last Saturday, with Ronaldo a largely becalmed presence in the latest edition of the Clasico.

Although he now sees events such as Neymar's world-record move from Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain as an example of football breaking distastefully with its past, the former Italy forward is happy to marvel at the two greats of this generation.

"There are players like Ronaldo and Neymar, but Neymar is an example of this big price, it is too much to pay €250m for a player. This goes beyond reality.




Reports: Mourinho clears the way for Barcelona to sign Griezmann





Barcelona have received one of their biggest boosts in their transfer planning as it emerged that Jose Mourinho's Manchester United will not join a bidding war for Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann, according to Spanish publication MARCA.

The Catalan club are still looking at ways to improve their squad in the upcoming transfer windows and one option the technical staff have picked out is Griezmann, who they were previously linked to after Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain.

Since then, Griezmann's reluctance to leave Atletico Madrid whilst they were under a transfer ban made a deal impossible.

Nor would it have been easy to bring him to Camp Nou if he had been ready to move, as Manchester United were keen on the French international last summer.

In fact, the situation in the summer was matter of United being more interested than Mourinho.

Mourinho likes the idea of having Griezmann in his side, but was not convinced by the price at which he would come, unlike many other staff behind the scenes.
That is part of why the Red Devils will not return to the bidding, either this January or in the summer, if Griezmann does leave Atletico.



Conte: I'd always want Vidal with me



Antonio Conte would be keen to work with Arturo Vidal at Chelsea, but refused to comment on rumours the Premier League club will make a move in January.

Vidal and Conte won three successive Serie A titles during their time together at Juventus, and reports in Chile have suggested there could be a reunion in 2018.

The 30-year-old still has 18 months left on his contract at Bayern Munich, though, and remains a regular first-team player under Jupp Heynckes - Vidal scoring five Bundesliga goals in 14 appearances this season That has not stopped the speculation linking him with a switch to Stamford Bridge and, although Conte is a fan, he refused to be drawn on talk of a transfer.

"I must be honest, it's not right to talk about a player of another team," he said after Chelsea's 2-0 win over Brighton and Hove Albion on Tuesday.

"Arturo is a fantastic player. I have great respect for Arturo, and we spent many years in Juventus together.


Coutinho won't regret ditching Liverpool for Barcelona - Paulinho




Philippe Coutinho will not regret leaving Liverpool for Barcelona should he make the move in January, according to Paulinho.

Barca are expected to make another bid for the 25-year-old in 2018, and Paulinho has urged him to hold on and make the right decision if he gets the opportunity to move.

The speculation surrounding Coutinho and Barca remains as intense as ever, and Paulinho believes the former Inter star's quality and technique would make him an excellent signing for Ernesto Valverde's Liga leaders.

"I would advise him to be calm, to leave any anxiety aside. I also went through that when I was in China," he told Mundo Deportivo.

"You have to think about the decision you are going to make. I think that if he has the opportunity to come, he won't regret it."

The speculation surrounding Coutinho and Barca remains as intense as ever, and Paulinho believes the former Inter star's quality and technique would make him an excellent signing for Ernesto Valverde's Liga leaders.

"He has a way of playing that everyone can see, both for Liverpool and Brazil. He is a very fast player, very agile, with a different technique, which gives many options for those who play in the centre of the field.

"He also looks for the free space to place the ball into and go for goal. His quality technique is what makes the difference."




Arsene Wenger says Jack Wilshere Arsenal deal depends on financial terms


Arsene Wenger says financial considerations are key to the discussions over Jack Wilshere's new Arsenal contract.

The midfielder is out of contract in the summer but has impressed Wenger this season after gradually returning to the first team after a season-long loan at Bournemouth.

Wilshere told Sky Sports News last week he wanted to sign a new contract and after the 3-3 draw against Liverpool last Friday, he spoke of his determination to target a long run in the Gunners' starting line-up.
When asked about any updates on the midfielder's future, Wenger said: "We will sit down with him."

However, when pressed whether he believed Wilshere wanted to stay, he added: "I believe if he can meet a point of agreement financially, he will want to stay."


Mourinho claims United don't spend enough to match City



Jose Mourinho has claimed Manchester United have not spent enough in the transfer market to match Manchester City, who "buy full-backs for the price of strikers".

United made it three games without a win in all competitions as they drew 2-2 with Burnley on Tuesday, with Jesse Lingard scoring twice in the second half to salvage a point after strikes from Ashley Barnes and Steven Defour before the break.

The result means City can move 15 points clear at the top of the table if they beat Newcastle United on Wednesday and leaves Mourinho's side facing what looks to be an impossible task in the Premier League title race.

"When you say a club like Manchester United, do you think [AC] Milan is not as big as us?" he told a news conference. "You think they are not as big as we are?
"Do you think Real Madrid are not as big as we are? You think Inter is not as big as we are? There are many big clubs and you say big clubs, I know what is a big club. One thing is a big club and another thing is a big football team that you know is not one of the best teams in the world, so when you speak about responsibilities to win the Premier League, Tottenham does not have that responsibility. Tottenham is not a club with the same history as us. Arsenal doesn't have the responsibility to win it, Chelsea doesn't have the responsibility to win it.

"Manchester City buy full-backs for the price of the strikers, so when you speak about big football clubs, you are speaking about the history of the club."




Forget Virgil van Dijk transfer fee, says Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp



Jurgen Klopp has told Liverpool fans to forget about the £75m transfer fee they paid for Virgil van Dijk and instead focus on his quality.

Van Dijk will complete his move to Anfield on January 1 after Liverpool agreed to pay Southampton a world-record sum for a defender.

When asked what the 26-year-old will bring to the club, Klopp told Sky Sports: "Quality. That's why we got him, that's why we were interested in him. It's quite difficult at the moment because technically he's still a Southampton player.

"We don't make the prices, the market does. Liverpool supporters should forget about the price.

"We only talk about the player and what he can bring in; the quality, the mentality, the character. That is why we are really happy about it."





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