Here are the latest stories for Friday.
ARSENAL: Arsene Wenger said there has been no change to his plan to decide his future in March or April but that he will still be a manager next season, “whether it is here or somewhere else.” He has also denied reports of a dressing room row after the 5-1 loss at Bayern.
– Alexis Sanchez is in Barcelona to deal with his court case over alleged tax fraud but will return to full training before Monday’s FA Cup game against Sutton United
– Mesut Ozil’s agent has hit out at critics blaming the Germany international for his team’s failings in a 5-1 Champions League thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich.
– Amid rampant speculation over Arsene Wenger’s future with the club, former Germany and Bayern Munich goalkeeper Oliver Kahn said it looks like the players don’t take their manager seriously anymore.
– Sutton United manager Paul Doswell has no sympathy for Wenger following Arsenal’s spectacular collapse against Bayern.
MAN UNITED: After scoring a hat trick in his team’s 3-0 Europa League win against St Etienne, Zlatan Ibrahimovic declared that United were in a “decisive moment” and all to play for over the course of the second half of the season across four competitions. The striker also says he is “like Indiana Jones,” succeeding wherever he goes.
– Despite the convincing victory away to the surprise package in Ligue 1, manager Jose Mourinho felt his team lacked focus and were too relaxed.
– Paul Scholes has said Manchester United should make an attempt to sign Atletico Madrid attacker Antoine Griezmann in the summer.
– An interesting footnote to the match: Paul Pogba faced his older brother Florentin, who plays for St Etienne. Their mother was in the stands wearing a half-and-half jersey, and the United midfielder called the experience “something magic.”
BARCELONA: The club will take their attempt to overturn the Copa del Rey final suspension of Luis Suarez to the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS).
– Lionel Messi is the exception to the rule that no player is bigger than their club, his Barcelona teammate Javier Mascherano has said.
– However, the Catalan powerhouse did receive some more bad news this week as rumoured target Maxime Lopez signed a new four-year contract with Marseille, the Ligue 1 side announced on Thursday.
REAL MADRID: Gareth Bale is set to return from injury in Saturday’s La Liga game at home to Espanyol, with Alvaro Morata also set to start the game but Sergio Ramos misses out with a knock.
– James Rodriguez says he is sure to stay at Real Madrid next season — and after thinking a lot about his future recently he has decided he does not want to leave.
– Cristiano Ronaldo and Pepe, along with Sporting Lisbon goalkeeper Rui Patricio, have been nominated for the 2016 Portuguese Player of the Year award.
CHELSEA: Antonio Conte is “confident” Diego Costa will stay at Chelsea but insists his new contract can wait until the summer.
MAN CITY: Pep Guardiola said Gabriel Jesus had undergone a successful operation on the broken bone in his foot and he could return before the end of the season.
TOTTENHAM: Harry Kane expects to be fit for Tottenham Hotspur’s FA Cup fifth-round match at Fulham on Sunday despite taking a knock to his knee in the Europa League defeat at KAA Gent on Thursday.
– Things didn’t go so well for Spurs in the Europa League despite starting a strong XI against KAA Gent in their round-of-32 clash. Mauricio Pochettino’s team lost 1-0 away from White Hart Lane and their manager admitted after the match that his side are “in a bad period.”
NICE: Mario Balotelli has responded positively to the “kick up the backside” of being benched, Nice teammate Yoan Cardinale has told media.
EUROPA LEAGUE: Edin Dzeko’s hat trick helped Roma run out 4-0 winners against Villarreal, while Federico Bernardeschi’s stunning free kick gave Fiorentina a 1-0 victory at Borussia Monchengladbach. FULL REVIEW
– UEFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against St Etienne in the wake of incidents involving the French club’s supporters during Thursday’s Europa League tie against Manchester United at Old Trafford.
AS ROMA: Alessandro Florenzi’s season is over after tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in the knee he first injured last October.
– Edin Dzeko laughed off suggestions that his torrid goalscoring for Roma would come as surprise. The Bosnia-Herzegovina international scored three times in his team’s 4-0 win..
LIVERPOOL: Daniel Sturridge will depart Liverpool’s warm-weather training camp in Spain due to illness, the club have confirmed.
– Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp insists he has “not one bit of doubt” about his team’s character despite a rocky run of form to start the year. The Anfield outfit have won only once in 10 tries, and have crashed out of both the FA and EFL Cups in 2017.
PREMIER LEAGUE: Mark Clattenburg is to quit his job as Premier League referee to move to the Saudi Arabian Football Federation.
BAYERN MUNICH: Carlo Ancelotti has been accused in some corners of not motivating his team enough. But the Wednesday performance against Arsenal has gone a long way to allaying those fears, writes ESPN FC’s Raphael Honigstein.
PSG: Xavi Hernandez has praised Paris Saint-Germain after their 4-0 thrashing of Barcelona in the Champions League round-of-16 first leg at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.
UNITED STATES: There’s a Klinsmann back in the mix for the national team, but it’s not deposed former manager Jurgen. His son Jonathan, however, is very much in frame as he has been confirmed as the starting goalkeeper for the under-20 team as they prepare to compete in the CONCACAF U20 Championship.
NY RED BULLS: Negotiations between Ali Curtis and the New York Red Bulls had been going on for weeks, yet when it was announced on Thursday that Curtis would be leaving his post as sporting director, it didn’t make the news any easier to take. Read more here about the fallout in Jeff Carlisle’s exclusive interview.
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