Tag Archives: mbappe

“Signing Haaland or Mbappe will be HOT AIR” – Juan Laporta

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FC Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font was adamant that after the losses incurred by major clubs, the forthcoming summer market will be prohibitive for big money moves.


FC Barcelona presidential candidate Víctor Font was blunt in his assessment of major clubs talking about signing the likes of Erling Haaland or Kylian Mbappé as “irresponsible” due to the financial hit that all clubs have taken as a result of the impact of the covid pandemic.

Here at Barça, we can’t find a million and a half euro to sign Eric García, to talk about major name acquisitions is just ‘hot air’ and we need to treat our club members as adults. We simply won’t be able to make any big money signings this summer as the club has approximately between 150-200 million euro of new debt. Personally, I think Haaland is a wonderful talent and I speak as a fan. I can see things at Barcelona becoming slightly ‘Florentinizando’ as bolstering any team with the likes of Haaland or Mbappé is easy. It’s a trickier task to bring through young and unknown talents such as Pedri or Koundé. That would be our task ahead, creating the future stars of Barcelona”.

Font took a side swipe at Joan Laporta for the former president’s refusal to participate in open debates and deemed his actions as a ‘huge lack of respect’. Font also requested that club members avoid voting on whims and perceptions. He concluded by stating that he was determined in his task of convincing Leo Messi to remain at FC Barcelona and acknowledged that: “The result against PSG was a bitter pill and it showed up that, despite the good work by Ronald Koeman, we need to ensure there is a solid project at the club”.


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French sport minister: “Mbappe, we need you”

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The future of Kylian Mbappe is beginning to become a matter of importance at the highest level of French politics, with the country’s minister for sport suggesting that France needs the forward to stay in Ligue 1.


In the midweek Champions League clash against Barcelona, Mbappe showed both his importance to PSG and his value on the open market, in scoring a hat-trick at the Camp Nou.

PSG have already worked hard to secure Neymar to a contract extension at the Parc des Princes, but Mbappe really is the jewel in the crown, and it could be seen that they will find it far more challenging to come to an agreement with the World Cup winner.

“I tell him, Kylian, stay in France, we need you,” Roxana Maracineanu stated on Tele Loisirs.

“We want to continue seeing you play like this.

“The public needs you, PSG need you, young athletes and young footballers need to have role models and examples to look to.”

When quizzed on his own future after his magic night in Barcelona, Mbappe confirmed that he wasn’t even thinking about the contract dispute and a potential switch to Real Madrid.

“My future? It would be stupid to make a decision on that based on just one match,” Mbappe declared.

“This is something to think about in the long term.

“I’ve always said that I’m happy here and games like tonight make you very happy.”


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Mbappe speaks on his PSG future after defeat against Barcelona.

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Real Madrid are targeting him, but Los Blancos would need to sell a number of players to raise the cash and may still have to finance some of any prospective deal with a loan.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe insisted he is ‘happy’ with the French giants following his Champions League hat-trick against Barcelona on Tuesday night, but he also left his future wide open by suggesting one game won’t influence his decision to stay or go.

Mbappe will have only one year left on his PSG contract at the end of the season and intends to decide in summer whether he wants to sign a new deal or pursue a transfer. Real Madrid are heavily linked with the 22-year-old, while Liverpool are also never far away from the speculation.

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“It’s very good, I’m happy, I’ve always wanted to give the best of myself with PSG. It’s a shirt that is close to my heart,” the player told French broadcaster RMC after his Camp Nou masterclass.

“It would be stupid to play your future on a game, good or bad. If we had lost, to say ‘I will not extend because we lost’, would have been ridiculous.

Kylian Mbappe scored a Champions League hat-trick at Camp Nou | David Ramos/Getty Images

“You have to let [speculation go]. I don’t listen to what people say. It’s a long-term reflection, not a game or two. I always said I was happy here, and with this kind of game I’m even happier.”

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Speaking about the process last month, Mbappe explained: “We are in discussions with the club to try to find a suitable project. I said I was thinking about it because I think that…if I sign it would have to be a long-term commitment to Paris Saint-Germain.”

The 2018 World Cup winner reiterated then that he is happy with the club. Any decision he makes is not because he wants to leave PSG, but because he wants to test himself elsewhere.

“I will need to make a decision soon but I am thinking about it. If I had the answer right now, I would give it. I don’t want to sign a contract and say a year later that I want to leave. If I sign it is to stay and that deserves time to reflect on my decision,” he said.

It has been rumoured that PSG could sacrifice Mbappe if they are to pursue Lionel Messi. Real Madrid are targeting him, but Los Blancos would need to sell a number of players to raise the cash and may still have to finance some of any prospective deal with a loan.

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Liverpool would also need to sell before they could think about an approach for Mbappe.

Jurgen Klopp has confirmed in the past he admires the player but was equally adamant that the kind of numbers involved could never work for the Premier League club.

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#Newsworthy

PSG’s Neymar battles with injury, week to Barcelona’s clash.

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Despite Neymar’s absence for the final half an hour, PSG ran out 1-0 winners over Caen thanks to Moise Kean’s 49th minute effort.

Neymar was forced off with injury after an hour during PSG’s French Cup victory over Caen on Wednesday evening – just six days before his side’s Champions League clash with Barcelona.

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The Brazil forward – who has 13 goals in 17 appearances in all competitions this season – is due to face his former side Barcelona on Tuesday 16 February in the first leg of the pair’s Champions League last 16 tie. No time scale has yet been given for his return.

As reported by journalist Jonathan Johnson, Neymar went down with a left adductor problem on the 60 minute mark with PSG leading 1-0.

He was replaced by Kylian Mbappe, before heading straight down the tunnel towards the dressing room.

Despite Neymar’s absence for the final half an hour, PSG ran out 1-0 winners over Caen thanks to Moise Kean’s 49th minute effort.

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PSG play Niice in Ligue 1 on Saturday 13 February, before the trip to Camp Nou to face Barcelona three days later. Their last 16 second leg against Ronald Koeman’s side at the Parc de Princes is not until 10 March.

Neymar has been prolific in the Champions League this season, netting six goals in five appearances.

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Kylain Mbappe scores his 100th goal as PSG defeats in-form Montpelier

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The Italy international was then replaced by Mbappe, who wrapped up the victory in stoppage time as he brought up his century of goals in his 137th game for PSG, tapping in a Layvin Kurzawa cross.

Kylian Mbappe scored his 100th goal for Paris Saint-Germain after making a late appearance as a substitute for the Ligue 1 leaders in Saturday’s 3-1 victory at in-form Montpellier.

With Neymar preserved ahead of next week’s crucial Champions League clash against Istanbul Basaksehir and Mbappe rested from the start, Colin Dagba’s first career goal gave PSG the lead on 33 minutes.

English forward Stephy Mavididi levelled before half-time at the Stade de la Mosson, the ball just crossing the line despite the best efforts of Dagba and Keylor Navas.

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Moise Kean restored the advantage for PSG on 77 minutes after Rafinha triggered a quick counter, hitting a magnificent solo goal for his fifth in seventh league games.

“I’ve been wanting to score for a few matches, it’s a bit of a release,” Mbappe told Canal Plus.

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“When I signed here I wouldn’t even had thought of scoring three goals,” he beamed. “(A hundred) was part of a distant goal.”

Mbappe is joint-fourth on the list of PSG’s all-time top scorers, level with Dominique Rocheteau and trailing Pauleta (109), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) and Edinson Cavani (200).

“I’m feeling better and better, stringing matches together is going to allow me to get fully fit,” he said.

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“When I came here, I said that I wanted to get a lot better and you don’t do that in a year.

“It’s been three and a half years, I’ve experienced a lot of things here. I’ve had some less good moments, but the club has always supported me.”

Defending champions PSG pulled four points clear of Marseille at the top as they avoided going three league games without victory for the first time since April 2019.

Montpellier, without top scorer Andy Delort after he tested positive for coronavirus for the second time in three months, saw their hopes of dislodging the leaders dashed as their four-match winning run came to an end.

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Earlier, Rennes crashed to a sixth defeat in seven matches as they lost 2-0 at home to Lens, three days being dumped out of Europe.

Teenage striker Arnaud Kalimuendo, on loan from PSG, hit the opener on 27 minutes and Ignatius Ganago sealed the victory late in the second half.

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Reports claims Zidane’s departure from Madrid will not affect Mbappe’s move

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Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane potentially leaving the club would not impact any deal to sign PSG star Kylian Mbappe next summer, according to reports.


Zidane, who as recently as July won LaLiga in this his second stint as Madrid boss, is suddenly under-pressure after two consecutive losses at home to Cadiz in the league and Shakhtar Donetsk in Europe.

Madrid face fierce rivals Barcelona in El Clasico on Saturday and amid a poor run of form, speculation is building about a potential departure from the Bernabeu for the French manager – yet according to Spanish outlet AS, that would not affect Madrid’s pursuit of Mbappe as a marquee signing in 2021.

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The report details that though Mbappe has spoken glowingly about Zidane in the past, his apparent desire to move to the Spanish capital does not hinge on Zidane being in the managerial hotseat.

Mbappe said of Zidane in May: ‘My first idol was Zidane for everything he achieved with the national team. Then it was Cristiano [Ronaldo]. He has won a lot and is still a winner after so much success.

‘Both have left their mark on the history of football and I want to leave my own chapter in the books.’

Mbappe’s contract at PSG runs until the summer of 2022 and so far he has resisted talks of an extension.

The 21-year-old, who signed for the Ligue 1 champions in 2017 from Monaco, sees his long-term future at Real Madrid according to sources close to the player.

On the other hand, Madrid president Florentino Perez sees the French World Cup winner as the ‘cornerstone of the next project at Real Madrid’.

Madrid will reportedly consider appointing Mauricio Pochettino or former star Raul as their next manager if they decide to sack Zidane.

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According to a separate report in AS, Raul, who won 16 trophies in 16 years at the Bernabeu, is the ‘ideal option’ for Perez.

Another option is former Tottenham boss Pochettino who has previously been linked with the job.

The Argentine has been without a club since he was sacked by Spurs last November and would be a ready-made replacement for Zidane.

Meanwhile, Zidane has received a big boost ahead of El Clasico with news that captain Sergio Ramos will be fit for the clash at the Camp Nou.

Ramos went off at half-time in Madrid’s 1-0 defeat by minnows Cadiz last weekend and was also absent as they crumbled on Wednesday in the Champions League – however, he took a full part in training on Friday.

‘He’s our captain, our leader. He’s over his injury, but obviously we won’t take any risks. He’ll be with us, you need players who are 100 per cent fit and Sergio is,’ Zidane told a news conference.


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PSG wants Messi and doesn’t wanna loose either Neymar or Mbappe

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Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo was asked about Lionel Messi, as well as PSG stars Neymar and Kylian Mbappé.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo says the club were tempted to sign Lionel Messi, and has insisted Neymar and Kylian Mbappé must stay at the club.

Messi linked with PSG before opting to stay at Barcelona
Barcelona captain Messi dropped a bombshell when he handed in a transfer request but the six-time Ballon d’Or winner will remain at Camp Nou for the 2020-21 season.

Manchester City were heavily linked with Messi, while PSG also emerged as a possible destination for the 33-year-old attacker.

“Today when you think about the financial situation it’s complicated,” Leonardo told Canal+ program Canal Football Club when asked if PSG were interested.

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“When we are told Messi wants to leave, we are tempted. You say to yourself, will it be f possible? They are players completely out of any discussion.

“I don’t know, David Beckham ended up at Paris Saint-Germain, Messi ending up in Paris? I don’t know.

“It’s football, in the end, everyone’s sitting at the table, everyone knows everything, and it’s moving forward.”

On Neymar, Mbappé: “We must continue with them”
There has also been speculation regarding PSG’s star duo Neymar and Mbappé following their memorable run to the Champions League final.

Neymar has often been linked with a return to Barça, while Real Madrid have made no secret of their admiration for Mbappé.

However, Leonardo said: “We want to continue with them. Everything is clear to everyone. We must continue with them.

“To have two players like that on the same team is huge. Messi and Ronaldo were each in their own club. We have the two best players in the world after Messi and Ronaldo.”

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Despite leading PSG to their first Champions League final, there has been uncertainty over Thomas Tuchel’s future in Paris.

Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri has been linked with a move to PSG, but Leonardo said the French powerhouse plan to continue with Tuchel.

“He did something fantastic. It’s the best season in the club’s history. We have time to talk about that,” he added.

“We share a lot of things, we talk about the transfer market all the time. There is always a conversation about signing a player. Tuchel always validates the choice of players.

“We have a 10-month contract. Honestly, when I arrived, I could keep him or not. We spoke very clearly. I never contacted Allegri. I know him. We hope to do better this year.

“Every club today needs to sell. We made a big investment in Mauro Icardi. We have to be creative. The departures of the players were planned.

“We finished playing in August and not in May. We have until October 5 to recruit. But we have to look at the exit side before then.”

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Mbappe urges PSG to sign more Stars

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Mbappe has warned Paris Saint-Germain that they must spend money on new recruits in order to win the Champions League next season.

The Ligue 1 champions fell short in the Champions League final last month in a 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in Lisbon. PSG graduate Kingsley Coman score the only goal of the game, as Mbappe struggled to have much impact.

Whilst Neymar confirming that he will stay in the French capital is a big boost to their Champions League hopes next season, Mbappe believes there is still a need for more additions to their squad.

‘Of course I am optimistic that we will win the Champions League. We have to because, if we don’t believe it, no one is going to believe it for us,’ Mbappe told Telefoot.

‘It’s football and you have to get over it. Lots of teams lost a final and won the year after. Obviously, PSG grew up with this final. Before, we had this block of the quarter-finals, now we broke that.

‘You have to recruit well, you have to buy players. I hope we will have good recruits and that we can restart the season with the aim of doing better.’

Paris Saint-Germain were one of the club’s linked with a remarkable move for wantaway Barcelona star Lionel Messi before he confirmed he will stay at the Nou Camp.

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The speedster featured for France and scored the winning goal in their Nations League match with Sweden, but continues to fight through the pain of an ankle injury he suffered in the French Cup final.

He is likely to miss out on France’s match against Croatia, but admitted he has already been playing through the injury and it hasn’t fully healed.

‘My ankle still hurts, but it’s going to be like that for many weeks,’ he added.

‘I wanted to play the Champions League final at all costs. The staff have taken care of me, it’s a matter of time now.

‘I’m still getting ready to play but the coach will decide [if I can play on Tuesday]. If the coach wants me to play, it will be with great pleasure, there is nothing better than a game with your country.’

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Neymar and Mbappe looses more chances than ever

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Paris Saint-Germain can only blame themselves for their Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich.

The French side had plenty of chances to score at the Estadio da Luz, especially during the first half.

Neymar was presented with one of those opportunities, but wasn’t able to slide his shot past Manuel Neuer.

The Bayern goalkeeper also denied Kylian Mbappe, who perhaps should’ve done better with a shot from inside the area after a one-two with Ander Herrera.

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Tuchel’s future at PSG in doubt


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Coman compares Alphonso Davies to Mbappe

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Ahead of the 2020 Champions League final between Bayern Munich and PSG, Kingsley Coman assured that his team mate is faster than his compatriot.

On Sunday, Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain F.C. will battle for the Champions League in Lisbon. The two teams have met eight times previously – all during the group stages. PSG won five of those games and Bayern winning the remaining three, including the most recent one in December 2017.

For PSG, this is their first time in a Champions League final, while the German giants are looking for their sixth trophy. Even though Bayern go into the game with more experience, PSG’s young players are no strangers to the big stage, Neymar won the Champions League with Barcelona in 2015 and Kylian Mbappé won the 2018 World Cup with France.

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Need for speed

Kylian Mbappé is one of the fastest players in the game but Alphonso Davies has also shown his pace since joining Bayern Munich. Kingsley Coman, who has played with both players, compared them ahead of Sunday’s final.

“Mbappé is very fast, don’t get me wrong, but Alphonso Davies is even faster. He is the fastest,” said the French winger.

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No hard feelings for PSG
The 25-year-old started his career at PSG in 2013 and made the jump to the first team a year later. However, after playing just three games he was sold to Juventus where he stayed for three seasons. One year before his contract ended with the Italian team, Coman was sent on loan to Bayern.

“My time in Paris is a thing of the past. I grew up there, and I played there – but that was long ago. My head and heart are 100 percent with Bayern,” the French international said.

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Real Madrid targets Upmecano declining Neymar and Mbappe

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RB Leipzig are on the verge of the Champions League final, but may have to rely on Dayot Upamecano to keep PSG’s star names quiet.

RB Leipzig’s rapid rise to prominence in the Champions League has left them on the brink of a European final, with Paris Saint-Germain standing in the way.

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Though star striker Timo Werner has departed for Chelsea, Julian Nagelsmann still has plenty of quality players at his disposal, and chief among them is Dayot Upamecano.

The centre-back, who has a brilliant turn of pace and plenty of power, has drawn interest from some of Europe’s biggest clubs in recent seasons.

However, for the time being at least, Leipzig have fended off any approaches, with Upamecano having signed a new deal, which runs until 2023, in July.

With his immediate future settled, Upamecano has the chance to prove he truly is worth the hype as Leipzig take on PSG – spearheaded by two of the world’s greatest attackers in the form of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar – in Lisbon.

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The story so far

Despite supposed interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal at the time, Upamecano opted for Salzburg in 2015 and soon got a taste for first-team football at feeder club Liefering.

Given the links between the clubs, it came as little surprise when the centre-back chose Leipzig in January 2017, quickly adapting to a new country and league with 12 Bundesliga appearances over the rest of the campaign.

Upamecano’s displays over the next year saw him nominated for the 2018 Golden Boy award, won by then-Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, but his game has since gone up another level under the stewardship of Nagelsmann.

He has been a mainstay at the back, making 37 appearances in all competitions so far in 2019-20.

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What have they said?

A number of current and former stars have heaped praise on the 21-year-old, with former team-mate Werner comparing him to Bayern Munich’s Jerome Boateng, and during the enforced break in action amid the COVID-19 outbreak, German football legend Lothar Matthaus talked up the youngster.

But for now, Upamecano seems perfectly happy where he is.

“I feel right at home here in Leipzig – the overall package is perfect,” said Upamecano after signing his new contract.

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“We had good conversations with [chief executive] Oliver Mintzlaff, [sporting director] Markus Krosche and [head coach] Julian Nagelsmann, which showed to me that extending my contract was the right decision for me to make.

“Our young and hungry team is part of an ambitious club. I want to take the next step with Leipzig and reach our aims, because I’m convinced by the way we play our football.

“I have been in Leipzig for over three years and I have continued to improve alongside the team’s development. I want to carry on developing personally, and I think Julian Nagelsmann is a coach that can bring me to the next level.”

Areas of weakness?

Upamecano is quick and strong, a fine player to progress the ball out of defence – he has made more vertical runs with the ball in the Champions League this season than any other player left in the competition – and is excellent in the air.

The Frenchman is still developing, though, and there is certainly room for improvement in terms of his temperament.

This was evidenced in June, when Upamecano allowed frustration to get the better of him and he received a second booking two minutes before half-time in a Bundesliga clash with Paderborn.

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Leipzig were in front at that stage yet Paderborn ultimately claimed a dramatic point when captain Christian Strohdiek struck in the 92nd minute, and team-mate Kevin Kampl was far from happy.

“It was completely unnecessary,” Kampl said to Sky Germany about defender Upamecano’s sending off. “We lead 1-0, have the game under control and then we weaken ourselves.”

Fortunately for Leipzig, the draw did not ultimately cost them a place in the Bundesliga’s top four.

The biggest challenge yet?

Though Upamecano has faced the fearsome attacks of Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, he is about to come up against two of the world’s finest forwards.

Neymar missed some golden opportunities in PSG’s quarter-final tie against Atalanta, but ultimately played a key part in both of their goals as the Ligue 1 champions snatched a late win.

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Meanwhile, his partner in crime Mbappe is sure to start after coming on as a substitute in that win – with the youngster, who had been recovering from an injury sustained in July, going on to provide the assist for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting’s winner.

Leipzig switched to a back four against Atletico Madrid, with Upamecano tasked with marking Diego Costa and, subsequently, Alvaro Morata – and putting in a brilliant display.

But with the trickery and guile of Neymar, and the pace of Mbappe – not to mention the poaching ability of Mauro Icardi – PSG will present an altogether different challenge.

However, if he manages to marshall Leipzig’s defence against some of world football’s most clinical finishers, then Upamecano may well confirm his status as one of the best defenders in world football.

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Mbappe to start against Leipzig – Tuchel confirms

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After making a big impact from the bench against Atalanta, Kylian Mbappé is in line to start Paris Saint-Germain’s clash with RB Leipzig.

Kylian Mbappé could start PSG’s Champions League semi-final meeting with RB Leipzig, coach Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.

The France international was a major doubt for what proved to be a dramatic 2-1 quarter-final win over Atalanta last week but made a telling difference from the bench.

After coming through the final 30 minutes of that match unscathed, Tuchel is prepared to throw Mbappé in from the start at the Estadio da Luz on Tuesday.

“He played 30 minutes against Atalanta and had no problems with his ankle,” he said.

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“So he will train and, if there is the possibility for him to start, we will see if he can play the 90 minutes.”

Mbappé set up Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting for PSG’s last-gasp winner against Atalanta as the French champions completed a remarkable late comeback.

Tuchel hails Neymar’s leadership
Fellow forward Neymar played a big part in both of PSG’s goals and Tuchel has hailed the leadership qualities shown by the Brazil international.

“When I arrived he was the leader on the field. Everyone expects a leader who speaks, but he is different,” Tuchel said.

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“He leads by his quality, his hunger on the field, his fighting spirit. He likes to fight on the field.

“This season, we created a group with players like [Ander] Herrera, [Pablo] Sarabia or [Keylor] Navas. They are players who know how to play together and know how to create an atmosphere.

“It’s a team sport and Neymar cannot win alone. We are very happy to have created a special atmosphere.”

Between them, Mbappé and Neymar have scored 59 goals in all competitions this term for PSG, who are still on course for an unprecedented quadruple.

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“That’s our strong point,” Tuchel said when asked about the partnership between the attacking pair. “They make the difference.

“It’s the mix between Neymar who dribbles and Kylian who brings his speed. Of course that’s our strong point. In each team there are connections between players – the two together are exceptional.”

Tuchel’s side were crowned Ligue 1 champions in April after the season was curtailed by the coronavirus pandemic, before going on to win both domestic cup competitions.

And the German coach insisted his players remain motivated to create some club history, with Bayern Munich or Lyon to come in the Lisbon final should they overcome Atletico Madrid’s conquerors Leipzig.

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“We live in the present moment, we deserve to be here, we have had an extraordinary journey and season,” he said.

“If we got this far, it’s because we worked for several months, at the best level. The players are calm and happy to be together. On the pitch they are strong, especially in training.

“The players are focused and smiling. We are ready, we are hungry, but we do not think about the historical side, because we are in the semi-finals and we are there to win.

“We cannot control the result, but we will fight.”

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‘Neymar and Mbappe will never leave PSG’ – Al-khelaifi

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Nasser Al-Khelaifi has suggested that Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will see out their careers at Paris Saint-Germain.

The pair were key as PSG completed a late comeback against Atalanta to reach the semi-finals of the Champions League on Wednesday evening.

“Ney, with Kylian, is one of the best players in the world,” Al-Khelaifi told a source known to NobleSports after the game when asked about his stars.

“He’s in the top three.

“Neymar was the man of the match, he was great.

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“He and Kylian will never leave.

“They’ll stay with PSG.”

PSG had fallen short several times in the knockout rounds, but they’ve made it to the final four for the first time since 1995.

“We’re going to celebrate tonight, but tomorrow we’ll be thinking about the semis,” the club president added.

“We have to change the mentality of the players, the team and the media because everyone doubts PSG.

“This is a special day for us, I’m very proud of the players and the staff.

“It wasn’t easy after the league was suspended.”

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Atalanta to face their Doom ‘Neymar-Mbappe-Icardi’

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By mid-February, supporters of Atalanta were growing rather fond of this new normal.

After decades on the fringes of Italian football, the Serie A club had muscled their way on to Europe’s top table. And in their maiden Champions League adventure, Gian Piero Gasperini’s ragtag squad made history.

They became the first team to lose their first three group games and still reach the knockout stage. All while playing the fearless, attacking football that has characterised this modern miracle.

And so on February 19, more than 40,000 supporters left the city of Bergamo and the wider region, travelling 35 miles to the San Siro — Atalanta’s adopted home — for their last-16 first-leg win over Valencia. The tremors of that night are still being felt around Europe.

In Milan a ‘biological bomb’ exploded and by the time Atalanta returned victorious from the second leg in Spain, Bergamo was in the grip of a coronavirus epidemic. It would become one of the world’s hardest-hit cities.

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Hospitals and cemeteries were overwhelmed, with military vehicles soon carrying bodies to be burnt elsewhere. The city’s news-paper’s obituary section swelled from less than a page to more than 10. Every day. It is now widely believed that the crowning glory of a footballing fairytale helped cause the devastation.

On Wednesday night, Gasperini’s side rise from the ashes to resume their European adventure — the only Italian team still standing — when they meet Paris Saint-Germain in Lisbon in the first of the quarter-finals. And the winds of change are swirling once more.

‘People here are defined as cold people. Now I think it’s different,’ explains local reporter Carlo Canavesi. ‘The people are more united.’ And for Atalanta, a sense of destiny is bubbling — maybe death and devastation can give way to an historic triumph.

‘The people here are now saying nothing is impossible,’ Canavesi adds. ‘They believe they can win the Champions League.’

A big screen would usually be erected in Bergamo city centre. On Wednesday night, though, most are expected to watch from home. Normality is returning but scars of the virus remain.

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Bergamo is a city of only 120,000 people, its team a blend of young talent, journeymen and signings from the shadows. Their stadium failed to meet UEFA standards and their wage bill (around £30million) is less than Neymar’s yearly salary. But under Gasperini they have become one of the continent’s most exciting teams.

Not much embodies Atalanta’s abandon better than their 8-4 aggregate victory over Valencia, when they scored four home and away. On Wednesday, however, they will miss Josip Ilicic. The 32-year-old scored all four goals in the second leg. He auctioned off the match ball to help the fight against Covid-19 and is the club’s top scorer.

But he will not feature in Lisbon, with reports suggesting he has returned to Slovenia amid struggles with his mental health. ‘We miss Ilicic very much,’ said coach Gasperini.

Nothing illustrates the grim spread of Covid-19 better than the three weeks between those two legs against Valencia. Before the San Siro meeting on February 19, Italy had only three cases. By the time Atalanta flew to Spain on March 9, Bergamo was part of a quarantine zone and the second leg was behind closed doors.

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After that 4-3 win at a deserted Mestalla, Atalanta’s squad held up a shirt which read: ‘Bergamo, this is for you. Never give up.’ That day, the number of cases in the wider Bergamo province reportedly reached 1,472. ‘As soon as we touched down in Bergamo, that happiness vanished almost completely,’ said defender Mattia Caldara. ‘To find the streets empty was a blow to the heart.’

Over the following months, around 6,000 excess deaths in the area could be attributed to coronavirus. Meanwhile, more than a third of Valencia’s playing and backroom staff later tested positive and Spain’s total cases soon outstripped Italy’s.

By April, when Bergamo should have been preparing for a first Champions League quarter-final, sirens and church bells had become the soundtrack to the city. It is claimed that at one point the virus was taking lives at a rate of nearly one every 30 minutes.

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But a strong bond exists between Atalanta and its city, where every baby is sent a kit and two bottles of milk. So as the virus spread, Bergamo came together. Among the gestures, Atalanta bought equipment for a new field hospital. Ultras helped build it in 10 days.

And then, 103 days after that first leg, football returned. Some Atalanta supporters chanted ‘shame’, opposing the return at a time when there were not enough tests for medical staff.

Now, though, the mood has changed. Last month, for the first time in 137 days, the intensive care unit of Bergamo’s main hospital was Covid-free. And, given the horror of recent times, the biggest game in Atalanta’s history now carries even more weight.

‘Everyone wants to cancel the past,’ Canavesi says. ‘And Atalanta is an important way to do this.’

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Mbappe’s champions league in doubt after Harsh Injury

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The PSG forward was on the wrong end of a reckless challenge from Saint Etienne’s Loïc Perrin and could be out for the match against Atalanta in Lisbon.

Kylian Mbappé left the pitch in tears in the first half of the Coupe de France final against Saint Etienne after a reckless challenge from Les Verts captain Loïc Perrin, who flew in on the PSG star’s ankle and was rewarded with a red card after a VAR review of the incident. The incident places Mbappé’s availability for the Champions League quarter-final against Atalanta in Lisbon on 12 August in doubt and could spell the end of the France international’s season.

Perrin initially received a yellow for his tackle but after the VAR room advised referee Amaury Delerue to take a second look the match official did not hesitate to upgrade the colour of the card to red in the Saint Etienne defender’s final game before retirement.

Mbappé’s Champions League fitness in doubt

If Mbappé is forced to miss the final stages of the 2019-20 Champions League in Lisbon it would represent the third consecutive year that PSG have been dealt a blow to one of their superstar players at the business end of Europe’s elite club competition after Neymar was forced to sit out decisive games during his first two seasons in Paris.

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‘Relax Madrid, I’m not leaving PSG for you’ – Mbappe

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PSG superstar Kylian Mbappe has declared that he will not leave the French champions this summer ‘no matter what’.

The striker is one of the most sought-after talents in world football and has been previously linked with Real Madrid and Liverpool.

But Mbappe has pledged his immediate future to PSG and confirmed that he will be their player next season.

The 21-year-old told BeIN: ‘I’m here. I am in the project for a fourth year.

‘The 50th year of the club is an important year for the club, the supporters, everyone, so I will be there no matter what.

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‘I will try to bring back trophies with the team and give the best of myself.’

There has been plenty of speculation around Mbappe’s future throughout his time with PSG having joined from Monaco in 2017 on loan and then a £163million fee.

He is known to be a long-term target for compatriot Zinedine Zidane at Real but it seems any transfer away from the French capital will have to wait.

Mbappe had scored 30 goals in all competitions before coronavirus brought an end to the Ligue 1 campaign.

PSG are back playing friendlies as Mbappe and Co gear up for the French Cup final and Champions League in the coming weeks.

He was among the scorers on Tuesday evening as PSG took Celtic apart in front of 5,000 supporters.

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Madrid are optimistic that Mbappe will not renew PSG’s contract

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Real Madrid are reportedly hopeful of landing Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe next summer.

The World Cup winner has been frequently linked with a move to the Bernabeu with Real boss Zinedine Zidane a long-term admirer of the striker.

Real are optimistic that Mbappe will not sign a new deal at the French champions, according to Marca.

The prolific forward’s current contract at the club expires in the summer of 2022, meaning that if he does not put pen to paper on new terms he could depart the club for free that year.

Real are therefore reportedly hopeful that they can snap him up at a potentially cheaper price in the summer transfer window in 2021 with the risk PSG face of losing him for nothing the following year.

Mbappe, who made the switch to PSG for £166million in 2017, has notched 90 goals in 120 matches in the French capital.

The 21-year-old said last summer that he is open to ‘a new project’ away from the Parc des Princes.

Zidane has previously said that he is aware it is Mbappe’s ‘dream’ to play for the LaLiga giants.

Real could be crowned league champions on Thursday night should they secure victory over Villarreal at home.

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PSG players shocked by Neymar’s nutmeg to Mbappe

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Paris Saint-Germain are back in training as they prepare for the Champions League quarter-finals, where they’ll face Atalanta.

During Friday’s session, there was one moment that went viral as Neymar nutmegged Kylian Mbappe during a rondo session.

Neymar couldn’t believe it and neither could the rest of the PSG players.

The Brazilian blew kisses to the camera that was filming, while the Frenchman was teased by his teammates.

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PSG to Equalise Neymar and Mbappe’s salary

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PSG decided months ago to focus their efforts on keeping Kylian Mbappe rather than Neymar.

Although it doesn’t mean the French side want to lose the Brazilian, they don’t hate the idea of him going to Barcelona if the numbers add up. However Mbappe is a ‘must-keep’ under any circumstance.

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According to NS ,PSGwants to tie down Mbappe in the months to come.

They are willing to offer him a contract basically equal to that which Neymar signed with PSG. They think that would be enough to make sure he doesn’t leave when his deal expires in 2022.

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It will take a while to get it all sealed, and until then Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez can continue to dream.

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After failure to impress Haaland and Mbappe, Madrid Joins Man u in Sancho’s purchase


Real Madrid are keeping tabs on Borussia Dortmund forward Jadon Sancho after a lack of progress in their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland.

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Despite the coronavirus crisis, Standard Sport understands Los Blancos have money available to make a big signing this summer and Sancho’s spectacular season has not gone unnoticed at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The England attacker, who is wanted by Manchester United, has scored 20 goals in 39 appearances for BVB this term and returned to the starting line-up with a hat-trick against SC Paderborn in the Bundesliga on Sunday.

Sancho, who turned 20 in March, is on a list of secondary targets for Real Madrid and according to AS, he turned down an offer to sign for Los Blancos when he left Manchester City in 2017.

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Real’s two main objectives in the transfer market are Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe and Sancho’s Dortmund team-mate Haaland as Madrid look for a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo (who left in 2018) and a successor to Karim Benzema.

As things stand, Los Blancos are prepared to stick with what they have for another year, but their plans could change if the team’s goalscoring problems are exacerbated when LaLiga resumes.

Dortmund head coach on Jadon Sancho’s tribute to George Floyd
Also, with rivals Barcelona set to bring in a new attacker (probably Inter Milan’s Lautaro Martinez), Madrid may feel obliged to follow suit.

A move for Sancho is also likely to be dependent on the future of Gareth Bale, who is no longer in the plans of coach Zinedine Zidane and will be available again in the next transfer window.


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Mbappe’s play style doesn’t suits Liverpool – Jason


Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe is not a good fit for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool, according to Jason McAteer.

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The Reds have been strongly linked with a move for the 21-year-old forward, who has been prolific in French football since breaking through at Monaco back in 2016.

Mbappe has also shone in the Champions League and was part of France’s World Cup-winning squad in Russia two years ago.

Signing Mbappe would be regarded by many as a statement of intent from runaway Premier League leaders Liverpool, but McAteer is not so sure – with RB Leipzig’s Timo Werner and Borussia Dortmund’s Jadon Sancho higher on his wish list.

“You can’t stand still, you need to evolve. From a manager’s perspective, always trying to stay two, three moves ahead,” the former Reds midfielder told Stats Perform News.

“It’s Jurgen’s job to visualise what he sees next season, preparing for upcoming seasons.

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“PSG are a unique club, desperate to win the Champions League, put a fantastic squad together, [but] players want a bigger challenge.

“The Mbappe one for me doesn’t sit quite right – a superstar in his own right, [but] not the right time to come to Liverpool.

“[I’m] not sure he’s Jurgen’s kind of player. At the minute, just not for me.

“I’d rather see Werner or Sancho. We could see him [Mbappe] at Liverpool because he fits for different reasons, but for football, I just don’t know that he fits at this current time.”

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Klopp’s side sit 25 points clear at the top of the Premier League table after 29 fixtures, with action in England set to resume on June 17 as the Reds close in on a first top-flight title in 30 years.

Liverpool need just two more wins to be confirmed as champions, having already established a commanding 25-point lead over current holders Manchester City, who pipped them to the finishing post by a single point last term.

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Ligue 1, meanwhile, was ended in April with leaders PSG awarded the championship for a third successive year on a points-per-game basis.

Mbappe was subsequently awarded the Golden Boot ahead of Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder, who matched the Frenchman’s tally of 18 but missed out on the award due to the fact three of his efforts came from the penalty spot.


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Klopps Interest? Mbappe Shattered

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Paris Saint-Germain and France superstar Kylian Mbappe is reportedly ‘very flattered’ by the interest Liverpool have shown in him.

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The high-flying Reds have long been linked with the France superstar, with manager Jurgen Klopp making no secret of his admiration for the 21-year-old.

French outlet Le10Sport claimed last month that Klopp had reached out to Mbappe’s father, Wilfried, regarding a potential blockbuster transfer next summer.

And they are now reporting that it was a move the World Cup winner appreciated.

The Reds are said in the market for a huge name in the event that Senegalese talisman Sadio Mane departs for pastures new.

Still, any such move for Mbappe would likely have to shatter the world record transfer fee paid for a footballer.

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The record still currently stands at the eye-watering £198million Paris Saint Germain paid to trigger the release clause of Neymar in 2017.

Figures around the £250m mark have been mooted for Mbappe, but the market has become distorted amid the coronavirus pandemic and big name stars could now move at lower figures.

As reported by Sportsmail, Liverpool did make contact with the representative of Mbappe in the summer of 2017, when the then Monaco star was preparing to make his first big move on the European stage.

Such has been the rise of Premier League champions elect Liverpool in recent seasons, Klopp now feels the world’s best players see Anfield at the ultimate destination.

Despite this, however, the German has previously admitted the chances of putting together a deal for a player like Mbappe remains increasingly difficult.

‘(Buying) this calibre of player is difficult. I don’t see any club at the moment who can buy Kylian Mbappe from PSG,’ said Klopp when asked about the Frenchman in November 2019.

‘I don’t see any club, that is how it is. We are involved in the clubs that cannot do it – it is as easy as that.

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‘OK, from a sporting point of view, there are not a lot of reasons to not sign him – what a player he is! It is about the money, of course. No chance. Absolutely no chance.’

Klopp added: ‘The club is in a very good position. Image-wise, it maybe (always) was but now I think it is easier to live the life of a Liverpool supporter and that means automatically being in a situation to sign the players you want to sign.’


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Emery Believes Mbappe Would Make Better History In Madrid Than PSG

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Kylian Mbappe is capable of marking an era at Real Madrid and could be somewhat unfulfilled at Paris Saint-Germain, according to Unai Emery.

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“Of course he has the ability to mark an era in Madrid,” former Arsenal coach Emery told AS.

“Advise which league to play in? When I was in France, I love that he was there because I enjoyed it. When I went to England, I would have liked him to play in the Premier League.

“And if I return to Spain, I want him to be here.”

Mbappe has already won three Ligue 1 titles with PSG – and another with Monaco – while he helped France to their World Cup success in 2018.

While Emery believes the attacker can be happy at PSG, he said there may be aspects that left Mbappe unfulfilled.

“Look, surely there will be things from PSG that fill you up and maybe some will not, and there may be Real Madrid,” he said.

“We are lucky to have and export the two best teams in the world, which are Real Madrid and Barcelona, and I would like them to continue having the best players in the world.”


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