Brooklyn Nets guard Caris LeVert underwent thumb surgery on Thursday and is reportedly expected to miss up to six weeks.

The Nets announced LeVert had an operation in New York to repair ligaments in his right thumb, with ESPN claiming he will sit out four to six weeks.

LeVert has made nine appearances this season and averaged 16.8 points, 5.0 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game.

Brooklyn appeared set to be without Kyrie Irving due to a "right shoulder impingement" for their game against the Denver Nuggets on Thursday, but the six-time All-Star has been upgraded from questionable to probable.

The Nets improved the depth in their backcourt options on Wednesday by signing eight-year veteran Iman Shumpert.

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni says Mauro Icardi remains part of his plans and he will consider recalling the Paris Saint-Germain striker if he can maintain his goalscoring form. 

Icardi has not featured for Argentina since scoring in last November’s 2-1 friendly win against Mexico and is not part of their latest squad for the friendlies with Brazil and Uruguay. 

The 26-year-old was overlooked for Copa America selection earlier this year after a turbulent campaign with Inter that saw him stripped of the captaincy amid a breakdown in contract talks. 

However, Icardi has scored nine goals in 10 matches since joining PSG on loan in September and is knocking on the door for a return to the international stage. 

"He is a player we have in mind," Scaloni said at a news conference ahead of Friday's friendly with Brazil in Saudi Arabia. 

"He is playing again, picking up pace after not playing at the end of last season. 

"He is on our agenda, and not because other strikers are not doing well. At any time he can return. The doors are always open for the best."

Lionel Messi is back in Argentina's squad for their friendly double-header after serving a three-month suspension for accusing CONMEBOL officials of corruption following his side's semi-final loss to Brazil at the Copa America.

South American champions Brazil will be without Neymar for the high-profile friendly, however, as the PSG forward is yet to fully recover from a hamstring injury sustained on international duty last month.

"Having Messi is always a positive," Scaloni said. "I would have liked Neymar to be involved, too.

"For us it is a joy to have Leo because he is a big part of the group and gets along with all his team-mates. He is a player who has marked an era in football."

Sergio Ramos has reiterated his desire to represent Spain at the 2020 Olympic Games.

Captain for club and country, Real Madrid defender Ramos is Spain's most-capped player, with 168 appearances on the international stage. 

He has never participated at the Olympics, however, where the football tournament is comprised of under-23 squads allowed to select three over-aged players.

Ramos' long-time international centre-back partner Gerard Pique has also voiced his desire to take part at Tokyo 2020, despite having retired from duty with Spain after the 2018 World Cup

"It makes me excited to always represent Spain. Like Pique, all the players who could play an Olympic Games with Spain would do it," Ramos told a news conference ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Malta – Robert Moreno's side already assured of their place at the finals.

"First there is a Euro and then we will see, but I am excited because it is something I have never experienced."

Another of Ramos' colleagues during a glorious era with Spain, David Villa, announced this week that he will retire in January, concluding a career in which he became his country's all-time record goalscorer. 

"He is a legend, one of the best players in Spain and the world," Ramos said of the former Valencia and Barcelona forward, who was a key member of Spain's triumphant campaigns at Euro 2008, the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012.

"I congratulate him on his career and for everything he has given for Spain and the teams in which he has played."

Ramos will turn 34 in March but is not considering hanging up his boots just yet. 

In fact, he has designs on taking one more shot at World Cup glory in 2022.

"As long as football allows me and I am physically well and looking forward, I will not anticipate [my retirement]," he added.

"We have a wonderful Euro ahead of us. I would like to reach the World Cup. I want to win again with Spain."

Turkey ensured they and France qualified for Euro 2020 by holding out for a 0-0 draw against Iceland on Thursday.

Senol Gunes' side withstood substantial late pressure from their visitors, with Merih Demiral making a stunning goalline clearance to preserve parity in Istanbul.

The stalemate means Turkey edge to the top of Group H on 20 points, one ahead of France, who face an apparent formality at home to Moldova later on Thursday.

Didier Deschamps' world champions are three points ahead of Iceland in third and qualify by virtue of having a superior head-to-head record.

As things stand, a spot in the play-offs in March awaits Iceland.

Turkey and France join Belgium, Italy, Russia, Poland, Ukraine and Spain as confirmed participants at Euro 2020.

Spain head coach Robert Moreno insists he did not call up Wolves winger Adama Traore "on a whim" for this month's Euro 2020 qualifying matches.

Traore was surprisingly named as a replacement for the injured Rodrigo Moreno only for a hamstring issue to force him to withdraw from the squad.

It had been suggested Traore was only called up so that he would make a competitive appearance for Spain and therefore no longer be eligible to represent Mali, the country of his parents.

However, Moreno - who worked with the player at Hospitalet and Barcelona, where he made his senior debut - says he has long considered calling up Traore due to his ability to unsettle deep-lying defences.

"I'm looking for players who can create an imbalance. Adama Traore has that and is very different from others," he told a news conference.

"He suffered a little problem on Sunday. I spoke with him and he told me he couldn't come.

"Adama is very well-known because he came out of La Florida, my local club. He was at Hospitalet, where I was, and we gave him his debut at Barcelona. Nobody knows him like I do.

"He wasn't called up on a whim. We've been following him for a long time and he has been on two preliminary squad lists."

Spain, who have already qualified for the Euro 2020 finals, face Malta and Romania in their final two games in Group F.

Moreno is eager to see a more clinical edge in attack from his players given they were held by Norway and Sweden in their most recent games.

"We lacked aim in the last two games against Norway and Sweden. We create chances, but you still have to create more," he said.

"This week, we've emphasised working against teams who close things down, as I think that's how the games against Malta and Romania will be."

Moreno also suggested he could give Roma goalkeeper Pau Lopez a chance to impress, as the battle for the number-one position continues between Kepa Arrizabalaga and David de Gea.

"I said I wanted to try everyone and I'm a man of my word. It could be that Pau Lopez plays one of the next two games," he said.

Sheffield Wednesday have been charged by the EFL following alleged breaches of financial rules relating to the sale of their Hillsborough stadium.

The Championship club say they are "vigorously defending" the charges, which under EFL regulations could result in penalties including a points deduction or a fine if proven.

The EFL launched an investigation into Wednesday's 2017-18 financial submission under profitability and sustainability rules following the reported sale of Hillsborough to owner Dejphon Chansiri.

Wednesday's accounts showed income of £61.27million "from related parties", which resulted in the club posting a profit.

The league body said in a statement on Thursday: "The EFL has reviewed a large number of documents obtained from the club as part of this process and concluded there is sufficient evidence to justify issuing charges of misconduct.

"The charges are in respect of a number of allegations regarding the process of how and when the stadium was sold and the inclusion of the profits in the 2017/18 accounts."

Wednesday responded by saying: "Sheffield Wednesday note the statement issued today by the EFL and the charges contained within. These charges will be vigorously defended and the club will be making no further comment at this time."

Leonardo Bonucci will be glad to see Cristiano Ronaldo back on the pitch for Portugal and is not concerned by the forward's recent tough stretch at Juventus.

Juve superstar Ronaldo has been substituted in his past two club matches, reportedly leaving the stadium before full-time last time out against AC Milan.

Coach Maurizio Sarri attributed the former Real Madrid forward’s early withdrawal down to a bruised knee, yet he is in line to start for Portugal against Lithuania in Euro 2020 qualifying on Thursday.

Club colleague Bonucci is keen not to dwell on the events of recent weeks, though, happy to instead back Ronaldo to return to Turin determined to lead the Bianconeri going forward.

"I like to look forward, not back," Italy international Bonucci told a news conference. "There will be time to talk but now we are with the national teams.

"He will play with Portugal - that means he is physically better and mentally great. And I am here to represent Italy. In Turin, we will talk.

"There are still many games in which we will need the best Ronaldo. I am convinced that, for him, too, the goal is to be better than the past to achieve team and personal goals."

Ronaldo has scored six goals in 14 matches in all competitions for Juve this season.

Sarri's men are a point clear of nearest rivals Inter at the top of Serie A, while they have secured their place in the Champions League knockout stage with two group matches to spare.

Both the San Francisco 49ers and the New England Patriots will be hungry to show a positive response to their first defeats of the NFL season in Week 11.

Inspired by Russell Wilson, the Seahawks ended San Francisco’s perfect record with a 27-24 overtime victory at Levi's Stadium on Monday, Jason Myers settling it with a field goal.

The 49ers will look to take their frustration out on the struggling Arizona Cardinals, who have lost three in a row, on Sunday

The Patriots are also 8-1 after going down 37-20 to the Baltimore Ravens at the start of November - they return to action following a bye week with a trip to the Philadelphia Eagles.

We take a look at the Week 11 schedule using Stats Perform data.

 

THURSDAY (all times Eastern)

Steelers (5-4) at Browns (3-6), 8:20pm

- Pittsburgh have won four in a row despite averaging 299 yards per game. The only other time in the last three years that a team won four straight despite averaging less than 300 total yards was the Bears in November 2018 (291 per game).

- The Browns have not committed a turnover in back-to-back games for the first time since December 2016.

- Mason Rudolph is the ninth player in the Super Bowl era to throw at least one touchdown pass in each of his first seven NFL games – injured team-mate Ben Roethlisberger is also on that list.

 

SUNDAY

Jets (2-7) at Redskins (1-8), 1pm

- The Jets have won their last two games against Washington after losing eight of the first nine clashes between the franchises.

- Washington, coming off a bye week, have failed to score 10 points in any of their last three outings.

- The Jets are averaging 164.0 net passing yards per game this season, the lowest mark in the NFL. Their opponents are only fractionally better at 169.7 yards.

 

Saints (7-2) at Buccaneers (3-6) 1pm 

- The Saints earned a 31-24 home win over the Buccaneers in Week 5 and will attempt to record the first season sweep by any team in the series since New Orleans won both in 2014.

- Tampa Bay will be bidding to score 30 points or more in three consecutive games for the second time in franchise history.

- With his season-high 13 catches in the Saints' Week 10 loss to the Atlanta Falcons, Michael Thomas surpassed Odell Beckham Jr. (61 games) for the fastest player in NFL history (56 games) to reach 400 career receptions.

 

Broncos (3-6) at Vikings (7-3) 1pm 

- The two franchises have won seven games apiece in their 14 previous meetings, with the last 10 contests decided by a margin of eight points or less.

- Kirk Cousins is three touchdown passes shy of 150 for his career after throwing for 15 in six games since the beginning of October. 

- Denver have not forced a single turnover in six different games this season, already tied for the most zero-takeaway outings in any season in franchise history.

 

Bills (6-3) at Dolphins (2-7) 1pm 

- In their last three meetings, Miami have a +13 point differential in the first half while Buffalo are +44 after the interval.

- Buffalo rushed for a season-low 84 yards in a 19-16 loss in Cleveland last week. Since 2017, the Bills are 1-13 when gaining less than 100 yards on the ground, tied for the worst record in such games over that span.

- Miami had three takeaways in a 16-12 win over the Colts last time out, nearly doubling their season total (four to seven), and 13 points off takeaways nearly tripled their season total (seven to 20).

 

Jaguars (4-5) at Colts (5-4) 1pm

- The Jaguars have posted two shutouts over the previous three seasons – and both came against the Colts.

- Nick Foles, named the starter again on his return from injury, has posted a 10-2 record as a starter in November or later since 2016, the best in the NFL (including postseason - minimum 10 starts).

- Each of Indianapolis' nine games have been decided by seven points or fewer, the second-longest streak to start a season in NFL history (Lions had 11 straight in 2016).

 

Cowboys (5-4) at Lions (3-5-1) 1pm

- Dallas have won three in a row against the Lions (regular and postseason), dating back to their 24-20 win in the 2014 Wild Card game.

- The Cowboys were held to just 50 yards rushing in a 28-24 loss to the Vikings last weekend and did not gain a single first down on a run play for the first time since a defeat to Washington 12 years ago.

- Detroit's 20-13 defeat to the Bears last week saw all three Chicago scores coming on passing touchdowns. That was Detroit's fifth consecutive game allowing multiple passing scores, the longest single-season streak for the Lions since the first six games of the 2016 season.

 

Falcons (2-7) at Panthers (5-4) 1pm

- Atlanta have had the better results in this divisional series in recent years, having won three straight and six of the last seven between the teams. 

- Last week's 26-9 victory at New Orleans was Atlanta's third straight on the road in NFC South play, dating back to last December's win at Carolina.

- Christian McCaffrey will be attempting to become the first player with a rushing touchdown in eight consecutive games in the same season since another Panther, DeAngelo Williams, did so in 2008.

 

Texans (6-3) at Ravens (7-2) 1pm

- The Texans are 0-5 in road games against the Ravens, including their 20-13 loss in the 2011 postseason. 

- Houston are one of two teams that have not lost by more than seven points over the last two seasons, along with the Chiefs.

- The Ravens have rushed for at least 130 yards in 16 straight games, tied for the longest streak in the Super Bowl era with the 1975-76 Steelers.

 

Cardinals (3-6-1) at 49ers (8-1) 4:05pm

- The Cardinals suffered a third successive loss when going down to the Buccaneers last week - their fifth game decided by three points or less this season.

- San Francisco's loss to the Seahawks was their first in which they forced at least four turnovers since 2016 – when the opponents were Arizona.

- The Niners had a season-low 87 rushing yards against the Seahawks, but still rank second in the NFL in rushing yards per game at 161.8, behind only Baltimore (197.2).

 

Patriots (8-1) at Eagles (5-4) 4:25pm

- The 37 points conceded by New England in the loss to Baltimore were 20 more than they had had yielded in any other contest this season.

- Over their last eight games, the Eagles have alternated either winning two in a row or losing two in a row. They will be looking for a third victory on the spin this weekend.

- After scoring 41 points in the Super Bowl win over the Patriots two seasons ago, Philadelphia have not scored as many as 35 points in any game since.

 

Bengals (0-9) at Raiders 5-4) 4:25pm

- The Bengals are 4-1 in games played in California since 2010. 

- All five of the Raiders' wins this season have come by one possession (eight points or fewer). The only team in the NFL with more one-possession wins this year is Seattle (seven).

- The Raiders have not turned the ball over in their previous three games, only the second time in franchise history they have gone three straight without a giveaway (also in 1979).

 

Bears (4-5) at Rams (5-4) 8:20pm

- Chicago have won six of the last seven games against the Rams, allowing just 10.7 points per game in the six wins but 42 points in the one loss (21-42 in 2013). 

- The Bears snapped a four-game losing streak with a 20-13 win over the Lions despite putting up just 226 yards of total offense.

- The Rams and Bears have both allowed 18 rushing plays of 10 or more yards, tied for the fewest in the NFL. Offensively, the Bears have just nine rushing plays of 10+ yards, fewest in the NFL, while the Rams have 22.

 

MONDAY

Chiefs (6-4) at Chargers (4-6) 8:15pm

- The Chargers snapped a nine-game losing streak against the Chiefs with a 29-28 road victory in Week 15 of last season. 

- The Chiefs have lost four of their last six after starting the season 4-0, including a 35-32 loss in the final seconds against the Titans last time out. 

- Tyreek Hill caught 11 passes for 157 yards and a touchdown against the Titans after putting up 140 yards and a score in Week 9 against the Vikings. He is the first player in franchise history with at least 140 receiving yards and one receiving touchdown in back-to-back games.

Marcello Lippi has resigned as China head coach after taking responsibility for a 2022 World Cup qualifying defeat to Syria.

China remain in the hunt for the third round of AFC qualification, having thrashed Guam and the Maldives while drawing with Philippines, but they were beaten 2-1 by Group A leaders Syria on Thursday.

Zhang Linpeng scored an own goal 14 minutes from time to settle the match, leaving Lippi dismayed by both the result and the performance, swiftly announcing his departure.

"I don't want to talk about this game," he told a news conference.

"A team should give everything on the pitch. The tactics of the head coach should be carried out. If the player is afraid of losing the game, then there is no fighting spirit, desire, guts.

"It is my responsibility, the head coach's responsibility – although we defeated Guam and the Maldives. But the team we played against today is better, more coordinated and more organised than us. 

"My annual salary is very high, and I am fully responsible for this loss. Now I declare that I have officially resigned."

Veteran coach Lippi, who guided Italy to World Cup glory in 2006, had only been appointed China boss for a second time in May.

Lippi was coach from October 2016 to January 2019, before returning when replacement Fabio Cannavaro ​– his World Cup-winning captain – promptly left.

Sonny Bill Williams is determined to "turn some heads" with Toronto Wolfpack after revealing he took "stick" from team-mates over another cross-code switch.

Fresh from representing New Zealand at the Rugby World Cup, Williams has given up the 15-a-side game for another dabble in the 13-player code.

It will be a third stint in rugby league for the 34-year-old, who has also competed in professional boxing, and he has vowed to make an impact with the Super League newcomers.

He comes in on a salary worth a reported £2.6million per year, unprecedented money for a single player in the sport, with his signing a statement of intent by his new employers.

"As Toronto players, I think we're going out there to turn some heads," Williams said on Thursday. "But then also the amount of support the lads have back in Toronto, it sounds crazy.

"It's a journey, there's a bit of pressure there but it's so exciting."

He was speaking in London at a news conference to announce his arrival in the UK-centred league, with Toronto the ambitious Canadian outfit who played their first match less than three years ago.

Next term will be their first in the top tier, and Williams said he felt "really grateful and blessed for this opportunity but I understand what I'm coming into".

He is confident the level of pressure that will be on him and Toronto is something he can thrive on, explaining he was offered the chance to join coach Brian McDermott's team "around the World Cup time".

Speculation linking him to Toronto had been bubbling along for months, and Williams decided the time was right to leave Auckland-based Super Rugby side the Blues when a deal was tabled.

"Obviously the lads in the teams I've been playing for were giving me stick but I hadn't heard anything from the club. Once it all came about it came to fruition really quickly," Williams said.

"But I just go back to the conversations that I had with Brian. Yes, I'm a sportsman, but I need to have that purpose, something I really believe in, and just his philosophy, how he wants to play the game, I feel like the way I strive to play the game, I could be really suited to their style of play."

McDermott knows the new acquisition will raise the profile of Toronto's team, and Super League as a whole, after pointing to the huge numbers of television viewers that saw Williams in World Cup action.

"They're going to follow where he's gone to and take interest," McDermott said. "Now they may have no interest whatsoever to start with in Super League or the Wolfpack, but they are now going to do that."

Australia made it four wins from four in the second round of World Cup qualifying as Adam Taggart secured a 1-0 win away to Jordan.

The Suwon Bluewings striker scored the only goal of the game after 13 minutes in Amman to put the Socceroos five points clear at the top of Group B.

Graham Arnold's men were given a scare in the second half, most notably when Tareq Khattab headed wide from close range, but they held firm to take a significant step towards claiming the automatic qualifying spot for round three.

Australia went ahead from their first shot of the match, with Taggart running on to Jackson Irvine's throughball and finishing past the onrushing Amer Shafi.

Irvine spurned a good chance for a second when he side-footed over the bar after Aaron Mooy's corner was flicked on at the right-hand post.

The Socceroos were fairly comfortable until the break but suddenly came under pressure early in the second half, with Mousa Suleiman shooting narrowly wide and Mat Ryan making a good block to deny Yaseen Al Bakhit from a tight angle.

Khattab then spurned a glorious chance to equalise, heading wide of the left-hand post when left completely unmarked by a static Australia defence.

Ryan produced a brilliant save to keep out Hamza Al-Dardoor's header before Al Bakhit shot straight at the keeper in injury time, as Jordan suffered their first Group B defeat and missed out on the chance to leapfrog Australia at the top.

What does it mean? Socceroos bounding clear

Victory puts Australia five points clear of Jordan at the top of Group B, with a perfect 12-point return.

They are firmly on course to secure a place in the next phase of qualifying ahead of their meeting with Kuwait in March.

Clinical Taggart the difference

This was far from the free-scoring Australia that dismantled Chinese Taipei 7-1 last month, but Taggart made no mistake with his one goalscoring opportunity, and he completed all four of his attempted passes before being taken off 20 minutes from time.

Khattab miss costly

Khattab was caught out for the goal by Irvine's fine throughball and missed the best of Jordan's chances to equalise in the second half..

What's next?

Australia's next scheduled outing is a home qualifier against Kuwait on March 25. Jordan are in action on November 19 at home to Chinese Taipei.

Kane Williamson has been passed fit to captain a New Zealand Test squad to face England and Australia that includes uncapped paceman Lockie Ferguson.

A hip injury kept Williamson out of the five Twenty20 internationals on home soil against England, with the tourists earning a 3-2 series victory thanks to a Super Over triumph at Eden Park on Sunday.

The 29-year-old batsman has recovered in time to lead the Black Caps in the inaugural Test at his home ground of Bay Oval in Mount Maunganui, which begins next Thursday.

New Zealand will then face England again at Seddon Park from November 29 before a trio of Tests against trans-Tasman rivals Australia, the first of which takes place at Optus Stadium in Perth.

"Kane's made good progress over the past fortnight and we're delighted to welcome back a player of his class and experience," said selector Gavin Larsen.

"It's obviously going to be a very special Test for him and Trent Boult being such passionate locals - we know there's already a lot of excitement in that part of the Bay of Plenty."

Williamson will be joined by Ferguson, who has earned his maiden Test call-up after becoming a key cog for the Kiwis in white-ball cricket.

The 28-year-old paceman has claimed 153 wickets in 42 first-class matches at an average of 24.30.

"There's no doubt Lockie has been knocking on the door for a while now and we're delighted to finally bring him into the Test fold," Larsen said.

"It's well documented he has raw pace, but he also possesses a quality bowling skill set and has proven durability to stay on the park.

"He showed good form against England in the recent T20 series and backed that up with a solid outing for the Auckland Aces in the Plunket Shield where he claimed 4-23 against the Wellington Firebirds.

"Our pace bowling stocks are strong at the moment and we feel Lockie will add another dimension to the picture which will create some great competition."

 

New Zealand Test squad: Kane Williamson (c), Todd Astle, Tom Blundell, Trent Boult, Colin de Grandhomme, Lockie Ferguson, Matt Henry, Tom Latham, Henry Nicholls, Jeet Raval, Mitchell Santner, Tim Southee, Ross Taylor, Neil Wagner, BJ Watling.

The Premier League and refereeing body Professional Game Match Officials Limited (PGMOL) have outlined plans for greater communication with supporters in stadiums regarding VAR decisions.

VAR was introduced at the start of the 2019-20 season but has increasingly been the subject of controversy.

Ahead of the ongoing international break, notable decisions aided by the system saw Sheffield United denied a goal at Tottenham for a marginal offside, while there was an unpunished handball by Liverpool defender Trent Alexander-Arnold in his own penalty area immediately before the league leaders opened the scoring in their 3-1 win over Manchester City.

VAR was discussed at a Premier League shareholders' meeting on Thursday, with the 20 clubs represented to debate the issue.

One of the key matters up for discussion was how decisions are communicated to fans within stadiums, and changes are coming in December 2019.

There will be greater written detail to checks on big screens, although it was explained International Football Association Board protocol meant imagery of the incidents could not be shown live and referees could not communicate with supporters via microphones.

The Premier League offered an example of how changes would come into effect next month, with a handball check in the penalty area displayed on the screen as: "Checking Penalty – Possible Handball".

Prior to December, the screen would simply read: "Checking Penalty".

The Premier League released a statement following Thursday's meeting which promised improved consistency with the implementation of VAR.

It read: "The implementation of VAR was discussed at length and the Premier League and PGMOL committed to improving the consistency of decisions, speeding up processes and increasing communication to fans.

"Mike Riley, managing director of PGMOL, addressed the clubs and accepted improvement is required."

Riley described VAR as "an ongoing process" and said the system "has corrected a significant number of on-field errors" but added "speed and consistency of decision-making are priority areas of work".

It was reported decisions were now made with 91 per cent accuracy - up from 82 per cent prior to VAR.

Timo Werner acknowledges he has little hope of outscoring Robert Lewandowski in the Bundesliga this season, as the Bayern Munich forward's form can only be matched by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

RB Leipzig striker Werner has scored an impressive 11 league goals so far in 2019-20, yet he lags behind the remarkable Lewandowski.

The Bayern and Poland superstar has struck 16 times in the Bundesliga and leads the way among players in Europe's top leagues this season, with 23 goals in 18 games in all competitions – including in each top-flight and Champions League match.

Indeed, Werner believes only all-time greats Messi and Ronaldo can reach the extraordinary standards set by Lewandowski.

"It's hard [to be top-scorer]," Werner told a news conference on Thursday.

"When you score two goals against Hertha Berlin and then watch the game evening game, having scored four or three goals less than Robert Lewandowski this season, and he scores twice against Borussia Dortmund...

"Against whom is he not going to score? That's very hard.

"How he is playing at the moment, maybe only one or two players on the planet are on this level. That's the category of Messi and Ronaldo."

Werner was speaking alongside Germany team-mate Joshua Kimmich on international duty.

The duo each came through the Stuttgart academy before moving on to Leipzig, but Werner claimed he was not discussing a next move with Bayern's Kimmich, despite repeated talk of him switching to the Allianz Arena.

"We don't really talk about it at all," he said. "It was also a coincidence that I came to Leipzig when he was there. I don't imitate everything that Joshua Kimmich does.

"If he goes to Real Madrid, I'm not going to Real Madrid also. Leipzig was the perfect step for me as well as for him.

"He took the step to Bayern Munich relatively early, which was also a good step. Now I'm still a player at Leipzig. That was the right step for me.

"I don't know what the future will bring. But I won't imitate Joshua and go wherever he is."

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