Dimitri Payet has overcome a muscle problem to take his place in Marseille’s starting XI for the Europa League final against Atletico Madrid in Lyon.
The playmaker’s fitness is a big boost for Rudi Garcia, who was forced to leave his captain out of last Friday’s 3-3 Ligue 1 draw with Guingamp.
Meanwhile, Diego Simeone has partnered Diego Costa in a two-man attack with Antoine Griezmann, while fellow France international Lucas Hernandez starts at left-back ahead of the fit-again Filipe Luis.
Griezmann could be playing in his final European match for Atleti, with reports suggesting he could leave for Barcelona at the end of the season.
Fernando Torres, who has already flagged his intention to depart Atleti at the end of the campaign, is named among the substitutes.
— #UELfinal (@EuropaLeague) May 16, 2018
Diego Simeone has rejected talk of the Europa League final being an opportunity for Atletico Madrid to banish the ghosts of Champions League heartache suffered at the hands of Real Madrid.
Atletico take on Marseille in Wednesday’s decider in Lyon, returning to the last stage of a competition they won under Simeone in 2012, having become more accustomed to the Champions League in recent years.
The Rojiblancos were beaten in the final of that tournament by arch rivals Madrid in 2014 and 2016, but Simeone gave little thought to suggestions a Europa League triumph could heal those wounds.
He told a media conference: “We are not thinking about these situations and only what happens today. What happened before gives you experience and moments.
“There is a new moment that we are waiting on. Reality will dictate if we are worthy of the title.”
Simeone will again watch from the stands after UEFA rejected his appeal against a touchline ban, with assistant coach German Burgos set to oversee things from pitch level.
— Atlético de Madrid (@atletienglish) May 15, 2018
Asked if his absence will have any impact, he replied: “We lived it with Arsenal, at home, when German was [watching] over the team.
“Aside from the sadness that it gives me to not be there from the start in the final, I have a great feeling with German. We know each other for a lifetime, we have similar feelings and understanding of football.”
And Simeone anticipates a tough challenge from a Marseille side reinvigorated under Rudi Garcia, despite Atletico’s status as the clear favourites.
He said: “They can play in different ways. They have offensive full-backs. [Dimitri] Payet imposes the rhythm, it’s a team with a manager who has done really well. It will be an intense game and we will take it to where it suits us.
“We will play in a new final, where there are many feelings, emotions, belief, but above all there is humility.
“When you get here, you need to have humility, to work. We have to minimise their offensive assignments. They are a team with a lot of belief. It will be a lovely game, a beautiful final.”
Wilfried Zaha insists he will not pursue reported interest from several Premier League heavyweights as he reaffirmed his desire to stay at Crystal Palace.
The Ivory Coast winger netted his ninth goal of the season in the final-day 2-0 win over West Brom that secured an 11th-place finish for Roy Hodgson’s men.
His prominent role in the Eagles’ revival from a poor start to the campaign has sparked speculation linking him with a big-money move to the likes of Manchester City and Tottenham.
But the 25-year-old, who had an unsuccessful stint at Manchester United between his two spells with Palace, appears set on remaining at Selhurst Park.
“I have no plans on leaving. I’m enjoying my football, you can see how much I’m enjoying it,” Zaha said.
“This is my home and there’s no reason for me to leave.”
— Crystal Palace F.C. (@CPFC) May 13, 2018
While champions City certainly boast the resources to make a compelling offer, Roy Hodgson says money will have no bearing on Zaha’s future.
“He is an important figure for us and he knows how much we value him,” the Palace boss told reporters.
“He has a long-term contract and is one of our best-paid players, and the last thing on anyone’s minds is letting him go. We don’t need to sell him.”
Zaha’s 70th-minute opener on Sunday and a quick second from Patrick van Aanholt consigned the already-relegated West Brom to a first defeat under caretaker boss Darren Moore.
The result did little to undermine the steadying presence Moore has provided since replacing Alan Pardew, although the former Baggies defender would not be drawn on his chances of a full-time appointment.
“For me to comment on my position is not right at this point. It is not for me to decide that. Everyone has been speculating and I will leave it as that,” he said.
Manchester United assistant manager Rui Faria will leave the club at the end of this season following 17 years as Jose Mourinho’s right-hand man.
Faria served as a prominent member of Mourinho’s backroom staff during his spells with Porto, Chelsea, Inter, Real Madrid and over the past two seasons at Old Trafford.
The 42-year-old Portuguese coach was recently linked to the vacancy created by Arsene Wenger’s imminent departure from Arsenal, with Mourinho describing his long-time ally and friend as a “good fit” for the Emirates Stadium job.
However, in a statement on United’s official website, Faria stated a desire to spend more time with his family as his primary motivation for departing.
“After a lot of consideration, and with a very heavy heart, I have decided the time is right for me to move on,” Faria said.
“I have had 17 years of incredible and unforgettable experiences. However, I have felt for some time that I would like to spend much more quality time with my family before pursuing any new challenge in my professional life.”
Faria went on to thank Mourinho for his guidance and friendship.
He added: “My heartfelt thanks go to the manager, Jose Mourinho, for the belief he had in me, all those years ago, when it all was just a student dream.
“I would like to thank him for the opportunity and confidence, for the knowledge and experience, but most importantly for his friendship.”
#MUFC announces that assistant manager Rui Faria is to leave the club at the end of the season. We wish him all the best for the future.
— Manchester United (@ManUtd) May 12, 2018
Michael Carrick will join Mourinho’s backroom team after a farewell appearance against Watford at Old Trafford on Sunday, although there has been no announcement over who will serve as Faria’s direct replacement.
“Seventeen years… in Leiria, Porto, London, Milan, Madrid, London again and Manchester. Training, playing, travelling, studying, laughing and also a few tears of happiness,” said Mourinho, who was in a similarly reflective mood to his compatriot.
“Seventeen years and the kid is now a man. The intelligent student is now a football expert, ready for a successful career as a manager.
“I will miss my friend and that is the hardest thing for me, but his happiness is more important and, of course, I respect his decision, especially because I know that we will always be together. Be happy, brother.”
United take on Chelsea in the FA Cup final at Wembley next weekend, having already secured a second-place finish in the Premier League behind champions Manchester City.
Brazil full-back Dani Alves has been ruled out of the World Cup due to a knee ligament injury, the Brazilian Football Confederation has confirmed.
The 35-year-old hurt his anterior cruciate ligament in the Coupe de France final win over Les Herbiers last Tuesday.
The Paris Saint-Germain star had hoped to be declared fit in time for the tournament in Russia, but doctors from the CBF say he will require surgery, making his participation in the finals impossible.
The news is a major blow to Brazil head coach Tite, who in February named Alves as one of the 15 players guaranteed a place in his final 23-man squad.
The former Barcelona man had also been tipped to be made captain for the tournament in Russia.
Brazil’s remaining options at right-back are limited, with Manchester City’s Danilo and Bayern Munich’s Rafinha the most likely alternatives to start their opening game against Switzerland on June 17.