Kylian Mbappe's future is in his own hands after showing the world what he is capable of while scoring a hat-trick in Paris Saint-Germain's 4-1 Champions League demolition of Barcelona.

With his contract in the French capital set to expire in June 2022, Mbappe ultimately has the choice of either signing a new deal or leaving his hometown team – and the World Cup winner has been non-committal so far.

Should the 22-year-old sensation decide to take his career abroad, there will be no shortage of suitors, with four European giants ready to swoop.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL, MANCHESTER CITY, REAL MADRID, JUVENTUS EYE IN-DEMAND MBAPPE

If PSG cannot persuade Mbappe to sign a long-term extension, they will not want to lose a world-class talent without a fee, so the Ligue 1 champions have placed a €200million (£173m) tag on his head, according to Le Parisien.

Le Parisien reports the price may not deter the Frenchman's admirers, who include Premier League rivals Manchester City and LiverpoolReal Madrid and Juventus.

While those clubs may want him, it is unclear if all of them would be able to afford Mbappe, who is set to make more than €30m per year gross on his next contract. Reports claim PSG will aim to price their Champions League rivals out of a deal.

Erling Haaland became the fastest player to reach 10 goals for one team in Champions League history as he played a leading role for Borussia Dortmund against Sevilla on Wednesday.  

The Norwegian was on target twice in the opening half as Dortmund impressively recovered after falling behind in the first leg of the last-16 tie.  

Suso's seventh-minute opener put Sevilla on top, only for Mahmoud Dahoud to equalise with a long-range attempt.  

Haaland bravely converted Jadon Sancho's throughball to put the visitors ahead at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan, then added another before the break as he clinically finished off a flowing counter-attacking move, placing in a shot from Marco Reus' pass.  

The two-goal salvo lifted him to double figures for Dortmund in the Champions League in just his seventh appearance. Roy Makaay was previously the quickest to do so for one club, managing it in 10 games for Bayern Munich.

For a third successive European game, Haaland managed to score a brace. He had also found the net twice in back-to-back fixtures against Club Brugge in the group stage. Only four other players have achieved the feat, with the 20-year-old joining illustrious company. 

Cristiano Ronaldo has managed it no fewer than three times, along with former Dortmund striker Robert Lewandowski, Bayern legend Giovane Elber and two-time Champions League winner Filippo Inzaghi.

Haaland now has 18 goals in 13 appearances in the competition – a tally that only Lewandowski can match since the start of the 2019-20 season.

To put his scoring exploits in perspective, Ronaldo failed to find the net in his first 13 Champions League games, while Lionel Messi managed three goals across the same number.

Manchester United are making plans for Paul Pogba's departure and may have already identified the Frenchman's replacement in Real Madrid's Federico Valverde.

The 22-year-old has struggled with injuries this season, while veteran midfielders Luka Modric and Toni Kroos have been in vintage form for LaLiga's champions.

Valverde has only started 12 games in all competitions this season, but the Uruguayan has impressed Ole Gunnar Solskjaer enough for United to step up their efforts to bring him to Old Trafford this off-season.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE VALVERDE TO PLUG MIDFIELD

Valverde has shown his class while featuring in 89 games during his three seasons in the Spanish capital and has turned heads at United.

The Red Devils are said to admire his energy and box-to-box qualities as they seek a long-term solution to lock down a place in the centre of Solskjaer's midfield, according to The Sun.

One snag in the recruitment drive could be the Uruguay international's buy-out clause of a staggering £148million, though United can offer him a major improvement on his current £120,000 per week wage.

David Alaba has confirmed he will leave Bayern Munich when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Versatile defender Alaba came through the youth ranks at Bayern but will end his 13-year association with the club after the 2020-21 campaign.

The 28-year-old announced his decision at a news conference on Tuesday, though he did not disclose what his next destination would be.

Alaba has been heavily linked with a switch to Real Madrid, while Premier League giants Liverpool, Manchester City and Chelsea have also been credited with an interest.

"I've decided for me personally to do something new after this season," Alaba told a news conference.

"I will leave the club and it was not an easy decision, it was very difficult because I have been here for 13 years and I really identify with this club, it's close to my heart and I'm very grateful to the club for everything.

"I have not decided which club I'm going to join yet. This will happen in the future.

"In the 13 years I experienced incredibly beautiful moments, the treble in 2013, my debut, the treble last season. These are all moments that are very difficult to describe.

"The 13 years behind me are difficult to summarise in words. It's been an incredible, beautiful and intense time and I'm really grateful."

Alaba made his debut in a DFB-Pokal meeting with Greuther Furth in February 2010, becoming the club's youngest player in history at the time and setting up a goal for Franck Ribery within a minute of entering the pitch.

The Austrian was 17 years, seven months and 18 days old when he made his debut, but Jamal Musiala is now Bayern's youngest debutant.

Alaba has gone on to make 415 appearances for the Bavarian giants, scoring 33 goals and supplying 44 assists in all competitions.

He insisted his relationship with Bayern was still strong and rejected that money was his motivation for leaving despite whet became a public contract negotiation.

"No [it was not financial]," Alaba said. "I have four, five, six, seven years left and that's what I thought about. What is the next step going to be in my career? That's what I based my decision on.

"Internally I always had a good relationship with the responsible people and I still do. This club is my family.

"I didn't worry about that [my contract compared to senior team-mates] at all. We still had several talks following the withdrawal of the contract offer.

"Of course there was a development and the situation evolved, but I decided what I want my path to be.

"Everyone did [fight for me to stay]. Really. Everyone. That's why I'm so grateful. And that's why it was really, truly, a really difficult decision. 

"That's why I did want to take my time to make my mind up. You can't decide it on a whim. I've been here for 13 years and I've been at home here." 

Alaba has racked up 24 trophies, lifting the Bundesliga trophy nine times and winning the Champions League twice – both of those European successes forming part of trebles.  

David Alaba has confirmed he will leave Bayern Munich when his contract expires at the end of the season.

 

With Lionel Messi's future far from certain at the end of the season, his former team-mate Neymar has apparently reached out to the Barcelona captain about a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Brazilian superstar Neymar played alongside the six-time Ballon d'Or winner for four LaLiga seasons between 2013 and 2017, before sealing a world-record transfer to Ligue 1 giants

It is understood Pep Guardiola's Manchester City are ready to make a play to bring Messi to the Premier League, but Mauricio Pochettino's PSG appear to be taking the direct approach.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR PUTS IN A CALL TO MESSI

Lionel Messi's contract at his boyhood club expires in the off-season, less than a year after the Barcelona superstar sensationally tried to leave Camp Nou but found his exit plans blocked.

According to L'Equipe, Neymar – who is set to miss the Champions League trip to the Barcelona on Tuesday – has put in a call to convince Messi to join Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi will lead out Barca in the first leg of the last-16 tie, having stated he will wait until the end of the current campaign before making a decision on where he will play in 2021-2022.

ROUND-UP

- PSG star Kylian Mbappe has decided to stay put this off-season but is not planning on extending his current contract, which expires in 2022, claims ESPN.

Liverpool are looking for defensive reinforcements and they are monitoring Aston Villa's England Under-21 international Ezri Konsa, according to The Athletic.

- Bayern Munich's free-agent defender David Alaba has already agreed to join Real Madrid at season's end, reports Fabrizio Romano.

Hansi Flick admits he was satisfield to settle for a share of the points after the 'madness' of Bayern Munich’s 3-3 draw against Arminia Bielefeld in a snow-covered Allianz Arena.

Four days after the German champions lifted the Club World Cup in Qatar, Bayern found themselves in the midst of a snowstorm and 2-0 down at half-time against the Bundesliga strugglers after goals from Michel Vlap and Amos Pieper.

Robert Lewandowski hit back three minutes after the restart with his 25th league goal of the season but, within a minute, Christian Gebauer restored the away side’s two-goal advantage in a chaotic start to the second half.

Bayern coach Flick was left breathing a sigh of relief after strikes from Corentin Tolisso and Alphonso Davies saved the leaders’ blushes and kept the Bavarians five points clear of title rivals RB Leipzig.

"A lot came together in the first half and we didn't defend well," Flick told broadcaster DAZN.

"In the second half the team again showed a mentality, that was madness. 

"Today you just have to say that we have to be satisfied with the 3-3."

He added: "We always had the feeling that we could still turn the game around. 

"We could have reacted differently after [going 2-0 down], but our team is not like that."

Bayern Munich battled back to claim a 3-3 draw against Arminia Bielefeld in a storm-laden Bundesliga thriller. 

Greeted by heavy snow on their return from Club World Cup glory, Bayern were caught cold by their relegation-threatened opponents as debutant Michel Vlap and Amos Pieper stunningly gave Arminia a 2-0 half-time lead. 

Robert Lewandowski scored his 25th Bundesliga goal of the season in sumptuous fashion three minutes into the second period, although substitute Christian Gebauer swiftly replied for Uwe Neuhaus' men. 

Corentin Tolisso and Alphonso Davies continued the flow of easy-on-the-eye goals, but Bayern could not find a winner. 

Manuel Prietl reacted quickest when Cedric Brunner's ninth-minute long throw was partially cleared and Vlap - a loan signing from Anderlecht - controlled his drilled pass superbly before emphatically smashing beyond Manuel Neuer. 

Bayern had the chance to regroup shortly afterwards as snow was swept off the pitch lines and the officials reverted to orange match balls. 

Tolisso almost capitalised when Leroy Sane swung a cross through the blizzard to cause confusion in the Arminia box. 

But Bayern were left with a snow-covered mountain to climb when Pieper was left unchallenged to head home Vlap's left-wing corner for his first ever Bundesliga goal. 

The groundstaff hurried along a half-time thaw, allowing Bayern to make their class tell early in the second half. 

Stefan Ortega Moreno got down sharply to thwart Sane before Lewandowski's exquisite chest control and volleyed finish from David Alaba's chip left the goalkeeper with no chance. 

Remarkably, Arminia restored their two-goal advantage within a minute - Andreas Voglsammer tearing past Bouna Sarr to deliver a pinpoint low cross that gave Gebauer - another man opening his account for the club - a simple finish. 

Sane and Tolisso combined again for the latter to head home before the hour, while Kingsley Coman was providing a similar threat from the other wing as he had a venomous drive tipped over. 

In the 70th minute Sane got to the byline and his right-footed cross was cleared only as far as Davies, who fizzed a magnificent half-volley into the bottom left corner.

Back came Bielefeld and a marginal offside against Fabian Klos denied Sergio Cordova a fourth, before they held out for the point their endeavours deserved.

Hansi Flick welcomed the signing of Dayot Upamecano but said "our task is to perform right now" as Bayern Munich prepare to return to Bundesliga action against Arminia Bielefeld.

On Sunday, Bayern announced that they have triggered a €42.5million release clause to land defender Upamecano from domestic rivals RB Leipzig.

The in-demand France international will join the newly-crowned FIFA Club World Cup champions on July 1 after agreeing terms on a five-year deal.

Flick is delighted to have beaten off competition to secure the services of the 22-year-old centre-back, who was linked with the likes of Chelsea and Liverpool

The Bayern head coach's focus for now is ensuring Bayern extend a seven-match winning streak by beating Bielefeld at Allianz Arena on Monday, when a victory would put the leaders seven points clear of Leipzig.

Flick said: "I'm pleased we've managed to sign Dayot. But our task is to perform right now, and the same goes for Dayot at Leipzig. But that's how I've got to know him."

Leipzig chief executive Oliver Mintzlaff expressed his disappointment that Upamecano will be departing, but knew his exit was inevitable.

He told the club's official website: "Of course, we would have liked to keep Dayot Upamecano at RB Leipzig.

"However, Dayot indicated to us very fairly and in good time that he would like a new challenge this summer and take the next step. The talks with Dayot and his agent as well as with FC Bayern were transparent and constructive at all times.

"It was well-known that Dayot's contract contained a buy-out clause. Our task was therefore to prepare for the situation that he would one day leave us, and we've done our homework in that regard.

"Dayot has shown outstanding development during his time in Leipzig, which is exemplary for our philosophy of finding young talents and consistently bringing them to the top level.

"Dayot has been and remains an important factor in our success and FC Bayern can look forward to an outstanding footballer and great person. We are now looking to the tasks ahead and want to give Liverpool a great fight on Tuesday in the Champions League last 16."

Flick expects to be without Leon Goretzka (calf) when the champions face Bielefeld, while Thomas Muller and Javi Martinez will be monitored.

Bayern Munich have confirmed the signing of Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig.

Upamecano, 22, had long been linked with a move away from Leipzig after developing into one of Europe's most-promising centre-backs.

While Liverpool and Chelsea were both thought to have designs on purchasing the France international, Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic signalled his imminent capture on Friday.

Salihamidzic claimed Bayern had committed to paying Upamecano's €42.5million release clause, with the defender agreeing a five-year contract.

Bayern have now made that official with a club statement.

It read: "Dayot Upamecano (22, RB Leipzig) will play for FC Bayern Munich from July 1, 2021.

"The defensive player and the record German champions agreed on a five-year collaboration until June 30, 2026."

Salihamidzic added: "We are happy that we were able to win Dayot Upamecano for FC Bayern. Dayot will be a very important building block for our team in the coming years, we are convinced of that."

The transfer will see Bayern once again strengthen themselves while seemingly weakening a direct domestic rival.

Nevertheless, Leipzig have been expecting Upamecano's departure for a while and are preparing for life without him.

They secured a deal last year for highly rated Croatia Under-21 international Josko Gvardiol, who returned to former club Dinamo Zagreb on loan for the 2020-21 season.

Leipzig are also reportedly close to agreeing a deal for Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan in a deal that is said to be worth up to €18m.

Bayern Munich have confirmed the signing of Dayot Upamecano from RB Leipzig.

Dayot Upamecano will join Bayern Munich from RB Leipzig next season having agreed a five-year contract, the German champions' sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic has confirmed.

Upamecano has long been linked with a move away from Leipzig after emerging as one of Europe's most highly-rated defenders.

In recent weeks the speculation had ramped up, with Liverpool, Chelsea and Bayern said to be the three clubs in the hunt for him.

Upamecano's agent recently confirmed the presence of a €42.5million release clause in the defender's contract, which he only signed last year.

And that is the figure Bayern are preparing to pay, with Salihamidzic revealing conversations reached their conclusion in the past week.

When asked by Sport Bild if he could confirm the transfer, Salihamidzic said: "I can do that, and we are very happy about that at FC Bayern.

"We had very good, intensive and professional discussions with Dayot and his advisor Volker Struth for many months.

"We knew we had very tough competition. Upamecano is a young player, 22, whose qualities are already exceptionally developed.

"I was always convinced that we came up with a good concept. We presented him with our vision of his career at FC Bayern.

"During the past week in Doha, I spoke to everyone involved again. At the end of a long process, the players, family and management were convinced that FC Bayern was the right partner."

It was then put to him that Bayern were committed to paying the release clause and giving Upamecano a five-year deal, to which he replied: "Correct. Dayot Upamecano will play for FC Bayern for the next five years."

The transfer will see Bayern once again strengthen themselves while seemingly weakening a direct domestic rival.

Nevertheless, Leipzig have been expecting Upamecano's departure for a while and had been preparing for life without him.

They secured a deal last year for highly rated Croatia Under-21 international Josko Gvardiol, who returned to former club Dinamo Zagreb on loan for the 2020-21 season.

Leipzig are also reportedly close to agreeing a deal for Strasbourg defender Mohamed Simakan in a deal that is said to be worth up to €18m.

Serge Gnabry is set for a spell on the sidelines after suffering a muscle tear in his left thigh, Bayern Munich have confirmed.

Germany international Gnabry was taken off in the 64th minute of Bayern's 1-0 Club World Cup final victory over Tigres UANL on Thursday.

No time frame for the 25-year-old's return was provided by the Bundesliga champions, who are already without Thomas Muller after he tested positive for coronavirus in Qatar.

An official club statement read: "For the time being, Bayern will have to do without Serge Gnabry.

"The attacker suffered a muscle tear in his left thigh in yesterday's Club World Cup final against Tigres. This was the result of an examination by the medical department of Bayern."

After winning the Club World Cup, Bayern return to Bundesliga action at home to Arminia Bielefeld on Monday.

They take on Lazio in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie on February 23 and face Borussia Dortmund in Der Klassiker on March 6.

Gnabry has scored six goals and supplied two assists in 28 appearances in all competitions for Bayern this season.

Robert Lewandowski (106) is the only Bayern player to have had more efforts on goal than Gnabry (63) this season, but his shot conversion rate of 9.5 per cent is one of the worst in the squad.

Among players for the Bavarian giants to have attempted at least 20 shots, Corentin Tolisso (8.3 per cent) is the only player with a worse shot conversion rate than Gnabry.

Bayern Munich completed a year of dominance by collecting the Club World Cup on Thursday, beating Tigres UANL 1-0 in the final.

Victory in Qatar, courtesy of Benjamin Pavard's scrappy second-half goal, clinched a sixth trophy in under 12 months.

Bayern started a 23-match winning run in all competitions this time last year, winning the Bundesliga, DFB Pokal, Champions League and UEFA Super Cup in this time.

They added the DFL-Supercup immediately after seeing that streak ended in September, then completed the set by beating Tigres.

Hansi Flick's side went one better than Bayern's 2013 team, who collected five titles - losing to Borussia Dortmund in the domestic Supercup.

The Bavarian giants were dominant last season and have continued to collect results this term, led by a star-studded cast, as we can see with Opta data.
 

FLICK'S MEN ALMOST FLAWLESS

Going back 12 months to the start of that remarkable winning stretch, Bayern have played 53 matches in all competitions, winning 46 of them.

In fact, they lost games just twice in the last year, to Hoffenheim 4-1 and Borussia Monchengladbach 3-2, both in the Bundesliga, although there was also a penalty shootout defeat to Holstein Kiel that ensured they will not defend their Pokal crown this season.

While dominating, Bayern have mainly been a great watch, scoring 157 goals (2.96 per game) and conceding 51 (0.96 per game). Indeed, those 53 games yielded only 21 Bayern clean sheets.

The standout results were obvious, scoring eight in games against both Barcelona and Schalke, but they also netted six versus Hoffenheim and Salzburg, plus five in clashes with Eintracht Frankfurt (twice), Fortuna Dusseldorf and Mainz.
 

OLD GUARD THE STANDOUT STARS

Bayern have a wealth of exciting young talents, but they relied heavily on their experienced campaigners over this glorious stretch.

Thomas Muller (51), Manuel Neuer (50) and David Alaba (48) led Bayern in appearances over the past year. Neuer was named in the starting XI on the most occasions - every time he played.

Robert Lewandowski has been unsurprisingly the leading marksman with his 49 goals in 45 games, but Joshua Kimmich came to the fore in terms of assists, his 23 - along with nine goals - coming from 43 matches.

Kimmich had one more assist than Muller, despite the forward creating 141 chances to his team-mate's 108.

With Neuer playing all but three of the 53 matches, he accounted for 20 of Bayern's 21 clean sheets - Alexander Nubel earned the other - and made 139 saves.

Niklas Sule, at 91.9 per cent of 1,656, was the most accurate passer to start a game, although he trailed the team's most prominent passers by some distance; Alaba played 3,743 at 88.2 per cent accuracy.

Alaba (4,210) also led the way in terms of touches ahead of Kimmich (4,089), who was beaten in terms of tackles by the slightly surprising figure of Serge Gnabry (76).

For 12 months, Bayern Munich have won and won again.

This time a year ago, Bayern were just a point clear at the top of the Bundesliga with the knockout stages of the Champions League still to negotiate.

But an outstanding, record-breaking 23-match winning run – the longest by a German club since the formation of the Bundesliga – took in four titles: the league, the DFB-Pokal, a sixth European crown and the UEFA Super Cup.

Since the conclusion of that remarkable stretch, which started on February 16 and ended with defeat on September 27, Bayern have added the DFL-Supercup, three days after the Hoffenheim loss, and now, with victory over Tigres UANL on Thursday, the FIFA Club World Cup.

Hansi Flick's side have bettered the efforts of their class of 2013, who won a meagre five trophies, losing Pep Guardiola's first game in charge to Borussia Dortmund in the domestic Supercup.

Indeed, this Bayern team, beaten 5-1 at Eintracht Frankfurt last season prior to Flick's appointment, have set a standard never previously seen in German football.

Champions of Germany, of Europe and on top of the world, the challenge now is to stay there.

David Alaba would appear set to leave and there is uncertainty, too, surrounding Flick, while the team have not evolved on the pitch.

It has been easy, of course, for Flick to set his side out to do the same again, having swept past Tottenham, Chelsea, Barcelona and Lyon before edging Paris Saint-Germain in last season's Champions League.

They lost Thiago Alcantara and signed Leroy Sane, who started and struck the crossbar with the best effort of the first half on Thursday – Joshua Kimmich's disallowed goal aside – but Bayern might well have shown only one change from the win against PSG if not for Leon Goretzka's recent coronavirus battle, Thomas Muller's positive test and Jerome Boateng's grave personal matters.

Even then, Benjamin Pavard, only absent due to injury last term, would have replaced Thiago, with Kimmich now back in midfield.

Bayern are attempting to repeat last season; they have three trophies to their name, boast a seven-point advantage in the Bundesliga and are through in Europe, but the swagger is not quite there at this stage.

Falling short of the level of dominance in 2019-20, Bayern are averaging 16.8 shots per match, 6.7 shots on target, 615.8 passes and 62.2 per cent of the possession – across the board the lowest marks since Guardiola arrived in Bavaria.

Continuing at the helm, unlike Jupp Heynckes after Bayern's previous Champions League triumph, Flick has not followed Guardiola in boldly transforming the team.

The Catalan coach shifted Philipp Lahm into the middle of the pitch, where he was joined by a fit-again Toni Kroos and new signing Thiago. Bayern averaged 572.2 passes per game and 61 per cent of the possession in 2012-13 and 727.9 passes per game and 71 per cent of the possession the following year – complete control.

This time, Sane was supposed to take Bayern to another level but has struggled to build on a fine debut against former club Schalke. Alaba's exit would rob them of a more valuable asset.

And given the swashbuckling style of last season's success, even with their trophy haul still growing, anything other than a serious tilt at the Champions League would surely be considered a failure. The bounce of a ball in one of sport's most unpredictable competitions could well dictate the mood music in Munich.

Bayern were value for their victory on Thursday, even if it ultimately relied on a scruffy Pavard strike, and have enjoyed a truly historic year.

However, if they are to prolong their peak and make this more than a 12-month merriment, they might need to again show a little more. Another 23-match winning run ought to ease any concerns.

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