Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.


Villa demands Champions League football

Valencia's star striker David Villa has dropped a major hint that he will leave the club if they fail to secure a Champions League spot.

The 27-year-old Spain international has been linked with a host of top clubs across Europe, with Los Che still suffering financial problems that could enforce the sales of the likes of Villa and midfielder David Silva.

However, Villa's latest statement is likely to mean an end to interest from Manchester City, leaving the likes of Chelsea and Real Madrid as the favourites to seal a deal.

Villa told AS: "Next year I will be in the Champions League.

"There are many rumours, but I ignore them. I will decide what is best for my future.

"But Valencia fans should not be upset that other clubs want their players. They should be proud."

Barcelona ace Lionel Messi has slammed the door firmly shut on any potential big-money move to Real Madrid this summer.

Real presidential candidate Florentino Perez is expected to launch major moves in the transfer market if he regains control at the Bernabeu, but Messi is adamant that he is going nowhere.

He told AS: “Yes, I would take his call, but I am not waiting for him to ring.

“I do not think he would call me anyway, because he is after other players.

“I want to stay with Barca. My plan is to stay here. I came to Barcelona as a child and they have given everything to me. I am one of the people here.

“So, no, I do not believe Florentino Perez will call, because he knows this about me.”

Veteran Sevilla defender Javi Navarro has announced his retirement from the game after a two-year battle with a knee injury.

The 35-year-old has made just one appearance since June 207 and has finally admitted defeat in his attempts to get back on the field of play.

Navarro is, however, hopeful of remaining at the Sanchez Pizjuan in a coaching capacity.

He told AS: “The club have helped me through the good and the bad times.

“It would be a pleasure for me to stay here and continue to work for Sevilla.”