Ronald Koeman claims there is a "possibility" he could become Barcelona's next coach, but not before presiding over Netherlands' Euro 2020 campaign should they qualify.

The 56-year-old spent six years at Barca as a player before later having a spell as Louis van Gaal's assistant from 1998 to 2000 and he has been strongly linked with a return since overseeing an impressive improvement of the Netherlands national team.

Koeman took over the Oranje last year after they had missed out on a spot at the 2018 World Cup, but he has since transformed them into a force, leading the team to the Nations League final and on course to qualify for Euro 2020.

It was recently confirmed Koeman has a clause in his contract that would allow him to leave Netherlands for Camp Nou if the situation arose after the Euros, and with Ernesto Valverde under increasing pressure it looks likely a change could be made in the next year.

Koeman insists he would not turn his back on Netherlands before Euro 2020, however.

"Joining [Barcelona] is a possibility," Koeman told reporters. "But only after Euro 2020.

"I don't know if I'll keep [speaking about the Barca job] in the future because it's a bit strange to speak about the possibility of going to the club while you're the Netherlands coach.

"There is no other side I would leave Netherlands for except for Barcelona."

Netherlands have two Euro 2020 qualifiers remaining against Northern Ireland and Estonia. They head into the double-header level on 15 points with Germany in Group C, but ahead of them by virtue of a better head-to-head record.

Persistent questions about Cristiano Ronaldo saw Portugal coach Fernando Santos reach the end of his tether at his pre-match news conference.

Ronaldo has been substituted in his past two appearances for Juventus and reportedly left the stadium before full-time against AC Milan last time out, as replacement Paulo Dybala struck the winner.

The suggestion Ronaldo was unhappy dominated the agenda as Portugal faced the media on Wednesday, with Ruben Neves insisting his team-mate was "fine".

But Santos was not willing to similarly answer questions on the forward, believing the profile of the player meant too much was being read into the Juventus substitution.

"Everybody wants to talk about Cristiano Ronaldo, everybody wants to give their opinion on Cristiano Ronaldo," he said ahead of the Euro 2020 qualifier against Lithuania.

"Because if this thing [the substitution] was with any other player, nobody would be talking about it. We are only talking about this because it's Cristiano Ronaldo.

"There are millions of players out there and it seems that this only happens to him and maybe another two or three players. To nobody else.

"Cristiano is here, he was called up, he's fine, he'll play, I have no doubts about it. So, for me, there's no issue here."

Santos clearly felt he had made his stance clear, as he replied to the next question on Ronaldo: "Cristiano Ronaldo again? No, sorry, sorry.

"On Cristiano Ronaldo again, I'm talking about Portugal. You are talking to me about Cristiano. Cristiano, no. I won't talk about Cristiano anymore.

"For me, the theme of Cristiano Ronaldo ends here."

Portugal will qualify for next year's European Championship finals if they beat Lithuania while Serbia fail to defeat Luxembourg.

Ruben Neves is not concerned about Cristiano Ronaldo's state of mind for Portugal despite a difficult week at club level with Juventus.

Ronaldo, 34, was substituted in each of Juve's past two matches before the international break and is reported to have left the stadium early when hooked in Sunday's 1-0 win over AC Milan.

Paulo Dybala came on for the Portugal talisman against Milan and went on to score the winner, with Ronaldo visibly annoyed as he headed straight down the tunnel when replaced by the Argentina international.

Juve head coach Maurizio Sarri put Ronaldo's withdrawals down to a bruised knee, though the forward still received criticism for his reaction.

Wojciech Szczesny said Ronaldo's anger was understandable, but he appears to have mellowed since linking up with Portugal.

Speaking ahead of Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Lithuania, Neves said: "Cristiano is fine, had a great training session, as always, and he has a great motivation for the match.

"He's fully prepared for the match. I guess he has no idea of what people are talking about.

"He had a fine training session, as I've already said, so I guess we can expect the Ronaldo we always see in the game tomorrow."

Wolves midfielder Neves has continued to impress this season after catching the eye in the Premier League last term, but it was put to him that he seems more reserved when wearing a Portugal jersey.

He is convinced that is a misconception, however, adamant he feels just as productive for the Selecao as he does for Wolves.

"No, no," Neves said. "We have lots of matches with Wolves. If we compare my number of matches and goals for Wolves and the same for Portugal, the difference won't be big.

"So, I'm focused on helping my national team all the times I'm called up and don't have anything more to say about this."

Gareth Southgate can understand if Raheem Sterling is not "hugely enthusiastic" about him after dropping the Manchester City star for his part in an altercation with Joe Gomez, but is hopeful time heals any ill-feeling.  

England confirmed on Monday Sterling would not to be considered for selection when Montenegro visit this Thursday following a bust-up with Gomez.

The pair clashed during Sunday's Premier League match between Manchester City and Liverpool and were involved in an incident in a private area of England's St George's Park training base.

Details appeared in the media before England released a statement to confirm a row had taken place and that Sterling had been dropped as a consequence. 

Some former players have suggested Southgate had been too heavy-handed in his approach and the manager accepts Sterling may not be keen on him for the time being.

"Well, I wouldn’t imagine that he's hugely enthusiastic [about Southgate], but I can understand that," he told reporters on Wednesday.

"In the end, he's with the group, that's the most important thing. He's a massive part of what we do – has been, will be.

"He's with us for the game, he's back with the team on the training pitch enjoying his football. [He] trained superbly well, as he always does. So, for me, the thing is finished.

"I know, as a player, my relationship with my managers and how I felt about them changed day to day, and there were many occasions when I had the hump with them, usually when I wasn’t in the team.

"So, I understand that, I hope that time takes its course on those things. As a manager, you hope that you bring lots of good moments for players.

"There are those occasions where you give them their debut, you give them the chance to play, but there are inevitably occasions when you don't start them, where you have to take them off, and that will always be the landscape.

"I hope that all of my players know that, first and foremost, I care about them, that I want to be fair with them, that I want to do what's right for all of them, and that they can lean on me when they need me.

"And I also accept that, at times, they're not going to be bouncing with joy when they see my face walking through the meal room.

"So, that is part and parcel of being a manager, and if you're not up for that challenge, then [it's] better to go and do something else."

The Sterling and Gomez controversy comes just before a vital couple of matches, with England still to secure their place at Euro 2020.

Despite the poor timing of such a situation, Southgate insists life is rarely simple with England.

When asked if the past week had been the trickiest as England boss, Southgate said: "Most of them are pretty difficult weeks.

"I don't remember many… I don't know what a normal week with England would be, frankly. So, the key is always to go and win the football matches and that's where my focus has been for the last 48 hours and for the three weeks before that.

"So, any manager of any big club or big nation knows that all of those situations are difficult. We're under huge scrutiny for performance and everything else, so I haven't viewed this as any more or less difficult than anything else."

Harry Maguire insists there are "definitely no cliques" in the England squad despite the altercation between Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez this week.

Sterling has been dropped for Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro at Wembley after confronting England team-mate Gomez on Monday.

The two players had clashed the previous day, as Sterling's Manchester City were beaten 3-1 by Gomez and Liverpool, the Premier League leaders and the winger's former club.

Yet Manchester United defender Maguire is confident issues between players from rival clubs will not continue to dog England as they reportedly have in the past.

Asked at a pre-match news conference if there were any club cliques in the squad, Maguire replied: "No, everybody mixes.

"I think you've seen how good the unity in the squad is over the last couple of years. It's been a good two years and the group has grown together. We continue to keep on growing and that's really important.

"No, definitely no cliques. We all share tables and share jokes and laughs together."

England need just a point against Montenegro to qualify for the finals, where they would play a number of matches at their own Wembley home.

Maguire is hopeful, should the Three Lions' secure their progress, the home crowd can be a big factor next year.

"It would be really special to play in a major tournament and walking out at Wembley would be something that you dream of," he said. "People say it would give us a little advantage as well.

"We know that the crowd get right behind us at Wembley and the support over the last few years – especially since I've been playing – has been unbelievable.

"It's a big game [against Montenegro] and one that we're all looking forward to and we feel prepared for."

England's hopes at the Euros would also depend on improved defensive showings, though, with a number of individual mistakes hampering their qualification campaign so far.

Maguire added: "Obviously, we're coming off the back of a clean sheet [in a 6-0 win in Bulgaria], but we've conceded a few sloppy goals recently. I'm not proud of it and we're working hard on the training pitch to make that better.

"We know the firepower we have in our squad. We've got to a stage now where we're scoring near enough in every game, and we're creating problems for other people's defences.

"So my job and I'm sure all the rest of the defenders and the keepers as a group, we'll try to shut the shop up and start keeping clean sheets a lot more regularly."

Manuel Neuer would not be drawn on a potential reunion with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, saying only that "things are going very well" under Hansi Flick.

Bayern are without a permanent head coach following Niko Kovac's sacking, with former assistant Flick in caretaker charge for impressive wins over Olympiacos and Borussia Dortmund.

Manchester City manager Guardiola, Bayern coach from 2013 to 2016, could potentially make an incredible return, according to Sport Bild.

Thomas Tuchel, at Paris Saint-Germain, and Erik ten Hag, at Ajax, have each reiterated their commitment to their current clubs, while the report claims Guardiola "does not seem happy" at City, where he has won back-to-back Premier League titles.

The seemingly unlikely prospect of Guardiola linking up with Bayern again was put to goalkeeper Neuer while on international duty with Germany.

The Bayern stalwart preferred to focus on Flick's fine start, though, saying: "Of course, I can't comment on the rumours.

"We are now here with the national team, I hear [about Guardiola] for the first time. You will see what happens and how those responsible decide.

"At the moment, things are going very well. In the last six days, Hansi Flick has invested everything with his coaching team. We have been very successful twice.

"The people in charge will take a stand [by appointing Guardiola instead] if they want to."

Guardiola won the Bundesliga title in each of his three seasons with Bayern but, having twice triumphed in Europe at Barcelona, failed to deliver the Champions League.

Bayern had been European champions when he arrived in Munich in 2013, replacing Jupp Heynckes.

Neuer was speaking ahead of Germany's Euro 2020 qualifying double-header against Belarus and Northern Ireland, where they will hope to secure their place in next year's finals.

Various scenarios could see Germany through after the first match but Neuer said: "Of course, we want to win the home games and get six points. That's our clear goal."

Julian Brandt feels Borussia Dortmund lacked courage during their humbling 4-0 loss to Bayern Munich in Der Klassiker on Saturday.

Robert Lewandowski continued his prolific form against his former employers with a brace, while Serge Gnabry was also on target before a Mats Hummels own goal completed the rout.

A close-season arrival from Bayer Leverkusen, Brandt found his first experience of the iconic Bundesliga fixture tough to take.

"It happens that we've lost. That's okay. But the way it happened was difficult for me," the forward said at a news conference ahead of Germany's concluding Euro 2020 qualifiers against Belarus and Northern Ireland.

"It's hard to digest it like that. For everyone it's okay to lose games. It's human. Every team is not perfect and that you have bad days is okay. But that wasn't so good."

Brandt saw attacking colleague Jadon Sancho hauled off before half-time for a sub-standard display and added: "We just weren't there that day. Everything was missing.

"The courage to go up front, the aggressiveness to go into the duels. If you don't have that in the end, then something like that happens."

Bayern's interim head coach Hansi Flick was the mastermind of Dortmund's downfall, taking charge of two matches heading into the international break following Niko Kovac's sacking.

Germany boss Joachim Low knows Flick well after he served as his assistant from his appointment in 2006 up to and including Die Mannschaft's 2014 World Cup triumph.

"I know Hansi by heart," Low told reporters. "We worked together for eight years. The players also profited a lot from him.

"I talked to him on the phone last week. He was very calm and very balanced.

"Of course, Hansi has a clear idea of what he wants to convey to the team. So it was clear to me that he would have a good start.

"He has so much experience in so many areas. He has great competence and empathy. I believe Bayern will give him confidence."

Raheem Sterling will continue to be an influential figure for England despite the fallout from his spat with international team-mate Joe Gomez, says Three Lions left-back Ben Chilwell.

Sterling has been dropped for Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro after an altercation with Gomez at England's St George's Park training base on Monday.

Manchester City forward Sterling and Liverpool defender Gomez clashed on the field during the Reds' 3-1 win over the reigning Premier League champions at Anfield on Sunday and the 24-year-old conceded his "emotions got the better of me" in a social media post relating to the incident.

Gomez and Sterling both trained with England on Tuesday, the latter remaining with Southgate's squad for Sunday's trip to Kosovo.

Leicester defender Chilwell spoke at a news conference after the session and alluded to Sterling's growing stature as an influential figure on and off the field for club and country of late.

"It's very easy to forget how much Raheem's done positively for English football over the past year or two," he said.

"Yeah, he's made a mistake but he's still a very big character in the dressing room and a very important character for us in the dressing room."

Chilwell revealed Sterling and Gomez both spoke at a team meeting on Monday and insisted the squad were behind Southgate's decision.

"Gareth obviously spoke about the situation and spoke about what he thought. He also wanted to know what we thought of it as well," he said.

"Joe and Raheem got the chance to talk as well, which they both wanted to do.

"Raheem was apologetic. He said it's not in his nature - which it's not - but we all know as football players that emotions can run high.

"There's no one trying to make excuses for him, including himself, but two days ago was a very emotional game. Two great sides battling it out. Things are going to get heated. They've both moved on and both squashed it.

"Gareth didn't want to make the decision himself. He wanted to come to the right decision with the leadership group.

"Obviously it got spoken about between the leadership group and Gareth, and the decision has been made and we're all very on board with that."

This flashpoint comes on the back of the far more serious matter of England players, including Sterling, being subjected to racist abuse during last month's 6-0 win in Bulgaria.

Chilwell believes Southgate's squad will be able to draw strength from such moments of adversity.

"I think it does help us a lot," he added. It's very easy to look at it in a negative light - with the Bulgaria game and what's gone on over the last few days.

"But with how close we are as a squad, I think it's very easy to spin it into a positive.

"It's going to make us stronger hopefully going into [Euro 2020] if we can win these next few games."

Clement Lenglet says Antoine Griezmann is happy at Barcelona and is confident his team-mate will become a Camp Nou success.

Griezmann has failed to find his best form in Catalonia since joining Barca from Atletico Madrid in a €120million transfer during the close season.

The 28-year-old has been used predominantly in a wide role and has four goals in 15 matches in all competitions, failing to find the net in his past five outings.

However, Lenglet - also a colleague at international level with France - believes Griezmann is still learning to adapt to a new style of play following five seasons under Diego Simeone at Atleti.

"It's not simple to fit in at a club like Barcelona," Lenglet told a news conference on Tuesday. "Some players are already there and have a history together.

"Like in the French national team, there is a very specific way of playing - how we're positioned is different than what Antoine knew at Atletico, where he was starting from far back.

"You need time to adapt to feel better on the pitch and play as well as possible. 

"At Barcelona, we're trying to recover the ball as high as possible on the pitch with a lot of efforts on 20 to 30 metre runs. With Atletico, it was a bit different, they were falling back, and it was 50 to 60 metre runs. So you have to learn that, you need time. 

"Physically it's different, and mentally as well, you need to prepare. Antoine is working on that every day during training, and it's going to be better and better during games, I'm sure of it."

Asked if Griezmann performs differently for his country, speaking ahead of Euro 2020 qualifiers against Moldova and Albania, Lenglet added: "'Different' is a big word, but when he's with the national team, he's having a lot of fun.

"He's been there for a long time, he played a few big tournaments with the team, and he won a really beautiful one. Of course, he knows this place very well, he's very happy to be here, he has a strong history with the team. 

"But he's also very happy to be at Barcelona, even if you're saying otherwise. He's smiling every day and likes to be happy on and off the pitch."

Griezmann admitted last month he had found it "difficult" connecting with Barca superstar Lionel Messi as neither of them are naturally big talkers.

Messi later played down suggestions of any issues, and Lenglet has praised the Argentina superstar for the way he helps new players to adapt at Camp Nou.

"[Messi] is very clam, very relaxed, very normal," he said. "When you arrive at Barcelona, you're careful about what you're doing but it's not Leo who's coming over to tell you off when you make a mistake. 

"He's very simple, he lets you play. This is how it went with Antoine and I. Step by step, you talk to him. 

"He gets along very well with Luis [Suarez] but he's very open with the others, so you can talk about many things, not only football. He's a simple man and he helps us every day."

Gareth Southgate is concerned by the information being leaked to the media from the England camp in the wake of the incident involving Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez.

Manager Southgate dropped Sterling from the squad for Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifying match with Montenegro after a bust-up between the Manchester City star and Liverpool defender Gomez.

Sterling insisted afterwards that the confrontation, which took place in a private team area of St George's Park, was quickly forgotten about and both players were seen training on Tuesday.

Details of the clash initially appeared in the media shortly before England released an official statement, while specifics about the nature of the confrontation have since continued to emerge.

Southgate suggested he would prefer such information did not find its way out of closed camps and into the public.

"There seems to be all sort of information being passed from so many different areas," he told reporters.

"This is a consequence of the England football team at the moment. That is a very difficult situation and something we have to think about getting forward.

"The team getting out, information getting out – there seems to be so many voices in the background. That's something I have to accept and deal with. Every player has had an opportunity to speak to me if they want to and my view was the group is ready to move forward."

During the World Cup, an apparent England team sheet was leaked ahead of the group game against Panama, after assistant coach Steve Holland was photographed during an open training session with notes referring to a possible line-up.

At the time, Southgate was not hugely concerned by the information on the notes, although he did suggest the decision to publish the photograph was potentially to his team's detriment.

"It doesn't bother me in the slightest," he said in Nizhny Novgorod. "There's a squad of 23 names on the sheet, the next sheet has different players in different positions because we swap people in and swap people out.

"For me, no drama but obviously any time if we were to give the opposition the opportunity of having our team is a disadvantage to us. So, of course, our media has to decide whether they want to help the team or not. But, given that was just a squad list, it doesn't make any difference really."

Defender Ben Chilwell, meanwhile, suggested such leaks are to be expected in modern football – although he admits it is key to have the "full trust" of all players and staff.

"We're a very tight squad but it's not just the team in there," he said on Tuesday. "There's a lot of people who work at the [St George's Park Hilton] hotel involved as well.

"It's not just an England team thing, it happens in club football as well. Stuff does always seem to come out.

"As long as we have full trust that the stuff that needs to stay confidential between the team does then we're happy."

Gareth Southgate presented a united front within his England camp – declaring "I love all of my players" – after his dramatic decision to drop Raheem Sterling over a bust-up with Joe Gomez.

Late on Monday, Southgate confirmed the decision to omit Manchester City forward Sterling from this week's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro after the altercation at England's St George's Park training base.

Sterling and Liverpool centre-back Gomez clashed on the field during City's 3-1 defeat at Anfield in a highly charged Premier League encounter on Sunday, and the 24-year-old conceded "emotions got the better of me" in a social media post regarding the confrontation the following day.

Southgate credited his senior players for their influence in a resolution that saw Sterling remain with the England squad for training on Tuesday, and he was keen to defuse the situation when he faced a media conference afterwards.

"I think I'm dealing with a very young squad and we're in a sport where emotions often run high," Southgate said.

"I think Raheem in his post last night explained that, for a very brief moment, his emotions ran over.

"It would be correct to say that's not the same for Joe. These things happen in football. Then you have to find a way for the group to move forward.

"That needed some time, it needed time for emotions to calm down across the board. We have some excellent senior players who played a part in bringing everyone together. You need, as a manager, to see that everyone is ready to work together moving forward.

"My priority is always the care and wellbeing of all of my players – all of my players."

When asked whether he was disappointed by Sterling's actions, Southgate added: "I love all of my players. We're like a family and all families have disagreements.

"The most important thing for any family is that you communicate through those disagreements and you work through them."

Ivan Rakitic has left the Croatia squad to return to Barcelona with an Achilles injury.

The midfielder had been called up by head coach Zlatko Dalic for Saturday's final Euro 2020 qualifying match against Slovakia, in which a draw will be enough for the World Cup finalists to progress from Group E.

Croatia then meet Georgia in a friendly match next week.

However, Rakitic has gone back to Catalonia due to a heel problem and has not been named in the Barca squad for a charity game against Cartagena, the club confirmed on Tuesday.

He told Novi List in his homeland: "I'm afraid I cannot help the team, but I'm convinced my team-mates will have success without me."

The 31-year-old has struggled for regular football this season, starting just once in LaLiga for Ernesto Valverde's side.

The former Sevilla star has been linked with a possible January move, with Juventus, Inter and AC Milan among the clubs said to be interested.

Raheem Sterling and Joe Gomez trained with England on Tuesday after their altercation rocked the build-up to Thursday's Euro 2020 qualifier against Montenegro.

Sterling will not be considered for selection when England play their 1,000th international at Wembley this week after an incident in a private team area at St George's Park.

Manchester City forward Sterling clashed with Liverpool defender Gomez during the closing stages of his club's 3-1 defeat at Anfield on Sunday and, in an Instagram post, he conceded he let his emotions get the better of him when the pair were reunited on international duty.

Despite saying he and Gomez had since put the flashpoint behind them, England manager Gareth Southgate decided to take action.

Nevertheless, Sterling is still with the England squad and will be expected to return to the fray for the subsequent trip to Kosovo.

It meant he was in attendance to train at St George's Park alongside Gomez, wrapped up in a snood and woolly hat to guard against the elements.

Gary Neville has backed Southgate's decision to remove Sterling from England's next game, but Rio Ferdinand, the ex-Manchester United defender's team-mate for club and country, accused the Three Lions boss of hanging the 24-year-old "out to dry".

Sterling has scored 18 goals in 21 appearances for City and England in 2019-20.

Scott McTominay and Andrew Robertson have left the Scotland squad ahead of the final Euro 2020 qualifiers with Cyprus and Kazakhstan.

Bournemouth winger Ryan Fraser has also withdrawn, while Leeds United's Liam Cooper pulled out on Monday.

Midfielders Lewis Morgan and Graeme Shinnie have been added to the squad.

Manchester United midfielder McTominay damaged his ankle in the 3-1 Premier League win over Brighton and Hove Albion and had to be substituted.

The 22-year-old is expected to have tests on the problem later this week.

Scotland cannot qualify for Euro 2020 through Group I as they are 12 points behind top two Belgium and Russia with two games to play.

However, they will be involved in the play-offs in March after finishing top of Nations League C, Group 1.

Anthony Martial is still very much part of France's plans going forward despite missing out on selection this time around, says head coach Didier Deschamps.

Manchester United forward Martial has been in fine form for the Red Devils since returning from the thigh injury that ruled him out for two months three weeks ago.

The 23-year-old has scored three goals in his past six outings and has linked well with Marcus Rashford and Daniel James at Old Trafford.

However, Martial – whose last international appearance came in a friendly against Russia in March 2018 – has again been omitted for the upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers with Moldova and Albania.

Deschamps, though, says he is likely to be included in the future.

"He was part of the French team on a regular basis, but recently he was often injured," he said. 

"He came back not so long ago and it's going well in his role as a central striker with Manchester United.

"But for a long time he's been part of the players likely to be called." 

Olivier Giroud is included despite the experienced striker's limited game time for Chelsea this season.

The 33-year-old has made just six appearances and played just 120 minutes of Premier League football.

Giroud continues to be selected regularly by Deschamps, the former Arsenal forward having earned his trust.

"Maybe that means something but it's mostly what happened on the pitch that means something," he added. 

"If he is the one I used the most, do not forget either the ratio of matches and goals. 

"There are not many in front of him in terms of goals in the history of the France team. He did the right thing, he answered the trust."

Deschamps also expects Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe to be fit to feature even though he missed the 2-1 Ligue 1 win at Brest on Saturday with a muscular issue.

"He [Mbappe] has not arrived yet, [but] will be there," Deschamps said. "There was a communication between the two doctors on the fact it was a precaution.

"There was no particular concern compared to our deadline of Thursday."

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