Chelsea’s Ross Barkley (left) fights for the ball with Barcelona’s Frenkie de Jong during their friendly match in Saitama on Tuesday. Agence France-Presse
Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic accepts his days at the Nou Camp may be numbered, but for now he is concentrating on preparing for next season with the Spanish champions.
Frank Lampard was appointed Chelsea head coach on Thursday, confirming a dramatic return for one of the club’s greatest ever players.
Into the final of the Copa del Rey and with a comfortable 11-point lead at the top of La Liga, Barca coach Ernesto Valverde is expected to give a number of fringe players a chance when they visit bottom side Huesca on Saturday.
Cross-code star Sonny Bill Williams was benched and fellow centre Ryan Crotty missed out altogether as New Zealand named their team for Saturday’s Rugby World Cup quarter-final against Ireland.
Bottom club Ittihad Kalba will look to bounce back to give their new coach a winning debut when they take on Fujairah in the fourth round match of the Arabian Gulf League (AGL) on Friday.