Paper News and Gossip: Cristiano Ronaldo UCL Worry, Van Gaal Wants Man Utd Job
Real Madrid suffered double agony in the draw with Real Valladolid on Wednesday, with Cristiano Ronaldo now a doubt for the Champions League final, according several newspapers.
Valladolid scored a late equaliser to dent Real's La Liga hopes, while the Ballon d'Or winner limped out of the match to spark fears over his participation in the Lisbon final against Atletico Madrid.
But Bernabeu head coach Carlo Ancelotti is playing down concerns that the Portugal international will miss the final.
Elsewhere, Louis van Gaal has voiced his desire to become the next Manchester United manager, while neighbours Manchester City stand on the brink of Premier League glory.
But who else is making the headlines on Thursday? Read on to find out more.
Carlo Ancelotti Plays Down Cristiano Ronaldo Fears as Real Madrid Hopes Dented
Cristiano Ronaldo is rated doubtful for the Champions League final after limping out of the draw with Real Valladolid with a suspected hamstring injury, reports the Daily Telegraph.
Real were stunned when Humberto Osorio leveled for the La Liga strugglers with five minutes remaining after Sergio Ramos had opened the scoring in the 35th minute.
The result leaves Real's hopes of landing the La Liga title hanging by thread, although head coach Carlo Ancelotti played down fears Ronaldo would miss the rest of the season and the UEFA showpiece in Lisbon.
The Telegraph quotes Ancelotti as saying:
I don't think Cristiano's problem is a big thing.
But Pepe didn't end the game in good shape and we will see with [Angel] Di Maria, although that shouldn't be too serious either.
Louis Van Gaal Voices Desire to Take Manchester United Job
Louis van Gaal has expressed his desire to succeed David Moyes at Manchester United, reports David McDonnell of the Daily Mirror.
The Netherlands head coach is expected to be named as the next Old Trafford boss after the sacking of Moyes, notes the article.
Van Gaal is quoted as saying:
I would love the job. I hope that I shall be the one.
For every coach who takes the job, it’s a fantastic challenge. It’s the biggest club in the world.
You are thinking, I’m the man, but the most important thing is whether Manchester United are thinking that.
And Jeremy Cross of the Daily Star claims that interim United boss Ryan Giggs will be an assistant to Van Gaal.
Meanwhile, United defender Phil Jones is bracing himself for World Cup heartache following his shoulder injury in the win over Hull City on Tuesday, reports Martin Lipton of the Daily Mirror.
James Wilson Hoping to Build on Debut with Manchester United
Manchester United striker James Wilson is hoping his dream debut against Hull City can spark a successful career with the club, reports David Anderson of the Daily Mirror.
The 18-year-old scored twice in the 3-1 win over the Tigers after being handed his debut by interim manager Ryan Giggs.
And now the teenager has his attentions turned to the future.
Wilson is quoted as saying:
If you're getting on in the club, you have to be progressing so obviously scoring for every age group is a good sign.
I've got where I am now, but I have to kick on.
I feel like I can deal with the physicality and pace of the game. I just need to try to get as many games as possible under my belt for the experience.
Manchester City Have Learned Lesson of 2012 Premier League, Says Edin Dzeko
Manchester City moved to within a point of claiming the Premier League title with a 4-0 win over Aston Villa on Wednesday night.
The Etihad Stadium club will clinch a second championship in three seasons with a point against West Ham United on Sunday.
But City striker Edin Dzeko, who scored twice against Villa, insists there will be no repeat of the late drama of 2012, when a last-gasp Sergio Aguero winner against QPR claimed the title, as Dan Ripley of the Daily Mail reported.
Dzeko is quoted as saying:
We did our job today, now we have to rest and take it more than seriously last game.
We will do our best. I want to say thanks to our fans and I hope they are as good as today on Sunday.
We have experience from two years ago when everyone thought we would win against QPR.
Now we go into that game differently and hope to win early.
Arsenal Make Transfer Move for Bayern Munich Midfielder Javi Martinez
Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has made an approach to Bayern Munich over the availability of midfielder Javi Martinez, reports Jeremy Wilson of the Daily Telegraph.
According to the article, the Gunners are keen to strengthen their central midfield, and they also maintain an interest in Bayer Leverkusen's Lars Bender.
But the Emirates Stadium club are also now considering a move for Spain international Martinez, who has failed to command a regular first-team spot in Munich under Pep Guardiola this season.
Lionel Messi Calls on Barcelona to Sign Sergio Aguero from Manchester City
Barcelona star Lionel Messi has called on the Camp Nou club to target Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero in the summer, reports Jonny Fordham of The Sun (subscription required).
Argentina international Messi is currently in discussions with the La Liga giants over a new contract, but wants to see his compatriot and close friend added to the squad next season, claims the report.
Fordham also claims that Chelsea defender David Luiz remains on Barcelona's radar for a summer transfer.
Adam Lallana Hints at Southampton Stay and Rejection of Liverpool
Southampton midfielder Adam Lallana has hinted at remaining at the club and rejecting Liverpool in the process, reports Liam Prenderville of the Daily Mirror.
According to the article, the England international has been strongly linked with a move to Anfield in the summer, with Chelsea and Manchester United also credited with an interest.
But Lallana, 25, is quoted as saying:
The club means the world to me.
I've been here since I was 12 and I want to keep progressing with the club.
I've got a great relationship with the fans. We've been on a journey, and this is the icing on the cake.
Sunderland Manager Gus Poyet Hails the 'Miracle' of Surviving Relegation
Sunderland manager Gus Poyet has hailed his team for their "miracle" escape from relegation, reports Simon Bird of the Daily Mirror.
The Black Cats looked destined for the drop throughout the season, but a run of 13 points from their last five Premier League games, including wins at Chelsea and Manchester United, have seen them steer clear of the bottom three.
And the win over West Bromwich Albion effectively relegated Norwich City, whose goal difference is far worse than the Baggies.
Poyet is quoted as saying:
I said a few times we needed a miracle and I’m going to start believing in them now. It’s one of the best days of my life.
It will be remembered forever. Sunderland did it. It is possible. Managers will tell players in the future, even with seven points adrift, you can do it.
The miracle happened. You need time in any job. We worked and worked. We needed it to click and got it. Same team five times in a row.
No one could stop me celebrating on the pitch today, not to show off though.
Can we have another season like this? No. I don’t want a heart attack. Or any more grey hair.
Petr Cech Undergoes Shoulder Surgery as Sami Khedira Linked with Chelsea
Chelsea goalkeeper Petr Cech has undergone successful shoulder surgery, reports Jack Wilson of the Daily Star.
The 31-year-old suffered the injury during the Champions League semi-final first leg against Atletico Madrid last month.
But Wilson notes that the Czech Republic international will now be sidelined for eight to 10 weeks after the operation.
Meanwhile, Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho is weighing up a summer move for Real Madrid midfielder Sami Khedira, reports Ben Jefferson of the Daily Express.
And Neil McLeman and Darren Witcoop of the Daily Mirror claim that Blues midfielder John Obi Mikel is a target for Inter Milan.