Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino said star Kylian Mbappe asks about England and Spain amid speculation over his future.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, as well as Premier League holders Liverpool previously.

The France international is out of contract in 2022 but Ligue 1 champions PSG remain hopeful of re-signing the 22-year-old forward.

Pochettino was asked about his relationship with Mbappe ahead of Wednesday's Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City.

"Kylian loves football, he loves to talk about football," Pochettino said. "He asks about England – how is the game, the mentality and the culture there? – and also Spain and Argentina. He will watch, every day, games from England, France, Italy, Germany.

"He's only 22 but very mature, confident in his talent and open. He can speak French, of course, but also perfect English and Spanish. I speak in English and Spanish with him – more English than Spanish.

"I said to him the other day: 'I need to practise my French with you, to improve', and he said: 'Sure, but it's better for me to talk in English'. He loves to practise different languages.

"Before the [Champions League last 16] first leg in Barcelona, I told him that I'd won there one time with Espanyol and he said, very seriously: 'OK, tomorrow will be the second time'. I said: 'Are you sure?' And he said: 'Yes, don't worry. We are going to win'. He was laughing after the game and he said to me on the pitch: 'I told you, I told you, I told you'."

Pochettino spoke glowingly of fellow PSG star Neymar, who has also been linked with a move away from the French capital – a return to Barcelona continually discussed after he left Camp Nou in a world-record deal in 2017.

Neymar, who appears set to extend his PSG contract, has either scored (three) or assisted (one) in each of his previous three Champions League semi-final appearances, while he has had a direct hand in nine goals in his 12 matches against English sides in the competition (five goals and four assists).

"It's so easy with Neymar because you don’t need to do too much," Pochettino added. "From day one, he's been very open to work. He's very humble, he listens and always accepts all the instructions in a very good way.

"Brazilian players have something special inside. They love to play football because it's like a dance. They play like they are dancing. Ronaldinho was my team-mate when I was a PSG player and now Neymar. They need to feel good, to feel happy to perform in the best way."

PSG are just the third French team to reach the semi-finals of the European Cup/Champions League in consecutive seasons, after Saint-Etienne in 1975 and 1976 and Marseille in 1990 and 1991.

Pochettino's PSG are also looking to reach their second consecutive Champions League final, following their defeat to Bayern Munich in last season's showpiece.

PSG would be just the ninth side to do so in back-to-back campaigns, while only Atletico Madrid and Valencia failed to lift the trophy in either of their first two final appearances.

"The target in the last 10 years has been to win the Champions League and the club is working really hard to try to be there and win," said Pochettino, who upstaged Pep Guardiola's City en route to Tottenham's Champions League final appearance in 2019.

"It is that last step, which is always the most difficult. If you remember at Tottenham, it was always about the last step being the most difficult thing. But Paris Saint-Germain is there and now it is about winning. I love to feel this. I love to feel that you need to win every single game."

Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain swatted Angers aside 5-0 in the quarter-finals of the Coupe de France.

Striker Icardi recently returned form a spell on the sidelines with a thigh injury and showed what a useful asset he can be to Mauricio Pochettino with Ligue 1 and the Champions League up for grabs, converting a pair of sharp finishes.

Neymar, back in action after a completing a domestic suspension, also got in on the act midway through the second period, having prompted a 23rd-minute own goal from Vincent Manceau.

Icardi then claimed the matchball with the final act of the game, lashing home a looping ball with an unstoppable volley.

Kylian Mbappe rested up on the bench but PSG's other attacking options showed themselves to be in fine order, as Icardi slotted home to crown a slick ninth-minute move on the end of Julian Draxler's cute throughball.

Jimmy Cabot tested Sergio Rico, who was again deputising for the injured Keylor Navas in goal for PSG, before the hosts doubled their advantage in fortuitous fashion.

Full-back Colin Dagba made hay down the Angers left and his cross was clipped towards goal at the near post by Neymar. Ludovic Butelle saved well but the rebound hit Manceau and spun into his own net.

The Angers defender should have atoned for that misfortune two minutes before half-time when he was left unmarked in the PSG box, only to blaze wide on the volley.

Angers continued to probe for a way back into the contest but PSG effectively made sure of their semi-final spot in the 65th minute – Butelle darting out to deny Draxler and the loose ball spinning up for Neymar to head into an unguarded net.

Three minutes later, the visitors were cut apart again, this time down their right flank as Angel Di Maria brilliantly engineered space to cross, with compatriot Icardi the beneficiary.

Rico denied Angers a consolation, pushing over when Farid El Melali fired a centre from fellow substitute Lois Diony towards the roof of the net, before Icardi emphatically had the final word.

For a long time, Neymar had been tipped to re-join Barcelona after leaving Camp Nou in a world-record transfer in 2017.

But Neymar's future is close to being finalised.

Paris Saint-Germain are set to retain the Brazil international.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR AND PSG POISED FOR RENEWAL

Neymar is close to signing a new contract with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, according to Canal+.

PSG star Neymar has been in contract negotiations and publicly pledged his long-term future to the club following their progress to the Champions League semi-finals.

Previously linked with a return to Barcelona, Neymar could sign his renewal before the Champions League tie against Manchester City.

 

ROUND-UP

- Erling Haaland's future remains up in the air, reports Diario AS. The in-demand Borussia Dortmund sensation has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester City, Manchester United, Liverpool, PSG, Juventus, Chelsea and Bayern Munich. Speculation over his next move intensified as he followed Barca captain Lionel Messi on Instagram amid the Camp Nou club's interest.

- Diario Sport claims Ousmane Dembele's contract talks with Barcelona have stalled. Dembele, who is contracted until 2021-22, has been linked with United and Liverpool.

United and Liverpool are both eyeing Sevilla star Youssef En-Nesyri, says Estadio Deportivo. Sevilla are reportedly demanding in the region of £40million (€46m) for the forward.

- Russian powerhouse Zenit are interested in signing Barca defender Samuel Umtiti, reports Fabrizio Romano. Liverpool, United and Chelsea have been linked previously.

Gianluigi Donnarumma and Milan remain at an impasse regarding contract talks, according to Gianluca Di Marzio. The star Milan and Italy goalkeeper is out of contract at the end of the season and the likes of PSG, Chelsea, Juve and United have emerged as possible destinations.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino said he will "fight with all my energies" to keep Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe in the French capital.

Mbappe has long been tipped to join LaLiga champions Madrid, though PSG remain in contract negotiations with the star forward.

The World Cup-winning France international is contracted to PSG until 2022 and Pochettino is confident Mbappe will remain in Paris, where team-mate Neymar has been linked with a return to Barcelona.

"Mbappe to Real Madrid? I'll fight with all my energies to keep Kylian here at PSG," Pochettino told El Larguero.

"PSG are doing everything possible to keep Neymar and Mbappe.

"I am equally optimistic that Mbappe will stay. They both have a huge commitment."

While there are long-term doubts over Mbappe and Neymar, PSG have been linked with blockbuster moves for superstar Barca captain Lionel Messi and Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos.

Messi and Ramos are both out of contract at the end of the season and their futures remain uncertain.

PSG – through to the Champions League semi-finals against Manchester City after eliminating holders Bayern Munich – have reportedly emerged as strong suitors for six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi and Spain centre-back Ramos.

"Surely soon it will be known what happens with Leo Messi future and contract," Pochettino said.

Pochettino added: "Sergio Ramos? I don't like to talk about players who are not in my team.

"There are a lot of rumours... here at PSG we're working to improve the team."

Neymar said his contract renewal with Paris Saint-Germain is "no longer an issue" as the star pledged his future to the Ligue 1 giants following their Champions League progress.

PSG forward Neymar – who arrived from Barcelona for a world-record €222million in 2017 – is contracted until 2022 but both parties have been in negotiations regarding a fresh deal in the French capital.

Neymar has continually been linked with a return to LaLiga powerhouse Barca, but the Brazil international confirmed his intentions to re-sign with PSG.

"This [renewal with PSG] is no longer an issue," Neymar told ESPN Brazil after PSG eliminated holders Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

"Obviously I feel very comfortable and at home here at PSG. I feel happier than I was before."

PSG lost 1-0 in the return leg on Tuesday, but they still advanced on away goals after the blockbuster tie ended 3-3.

Neymar was named man of the match after he had more shots (six), more shots on target (three) and made more key passes (three) than any other PSG player, hitting the crossbar and then the post during the first half.

After PSG moved through to their second successive Champions League semi-final, Neymar celebrated with team-mate Leandro Paredes in front of Bayern star Joshua Kimmich.

"It's funny because I didn't even celebrate to mess with him, it was more with Leo and I ended up celebrating with him. It was fate that put me close to [Kimmich]," Neymar said.

"He said that their team was better, that they would win. He was sure that they would go to the semi-finals."

PSG's elimination of Bayern is the first instance in Champions League history of the previous season's losing finalists eliminating the holders in the knockout stages.

French giants PSG have reached the semi-finals for the second season in a row, after managing to reach the final four only once in their previous 11 campaigns in the competition before that – their first in 1994-95.

PSG, though, failed to score at home in the Champions League for the first time in 24 games, since a 0-0 draw with Madrid in October 2015.

Mauricio Pochettino said Paris Saint-Germain felt like "a real team" after they edged out Bayern Munich to reach the Champions League semi-finals.

With "geniuses" such as Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria, there has never been any doubting the quality of the individuals in the PSG ranks.

They reached last season's Champions League final, and on Tuesday they completed a revenge mission against the Bundesliga giants who beat them in that Lisbon showpiece match.

A 1-0 home defeat saw the Ligue 1 outfit through on away goals following their 3-2 win in Munich last week.

"It was a real tough match," Pochettino said on BT Sport. "I'm really happy because the players deserve big credit. I'm so happy for them, the club, the president, for [sporting director] Leonardo who trusts in us.

"After three months working here, we are here and we are enjoying the moment. If you win and you qualify for the semi-final that is an amazing moment for us."

Asked directly about his three thrilling front players, Pochettino shone a light on what he wants them to deliver, which is not only the frequent moments of solo magic.

"They are fantastic players and the capacity and the quality is there and you can appreciate it, and of course they work so hard," the former Tottenham boss said.

"I am so happy because our job is to try to put this type of talent, they are geniuses, to work like a team, to bring the effort without the ball. Of course with the ball they are fantastic, but to feel that we are a real team that is a challenge for us and at the moment we are so happy about that."

PSG had won all four of their previous home matches against Bayern in Europe, with those games all coming in the Champions League from 1994 to 2017, and the slender defeat felt like another victory this time.

Pochettino said he tried to enjoy a contest in which PSG played delightfully at times, repeatedly opening up the Bayern defence with thrilling interplay between the front players.

Neymar had five shots in the first half, three of which drew fine saves from Manuel Neuer, hitting the crossbar and post with the other two attempts prior to the break.

In all, he had a team-high 85 touches, played the most passes in the opposition half (28) of any PSG player, and was involved in more duels (30) than anyone on the pitch.

The Brazilian was sensational on a night when Mbappe, who scored twice in the first leg, was a little erratic, being flagged offside six times. On one of those occasions, the flag looked to have gone up too early and Mbappe might have had a chance to score or set up a team-mate. On another, he raced through and thrashed a ferocious shot beyond Neuer, only for the goal to be disallowed.

It was a tie that was tense through to the final whistle in the second leg, as Pochettino got the better of Bayern boss Hansi Flick.

"Every time I am calm outside," said Pochettino. "But inside always you are always a little bit with the stress of the competition, adrenaline that we love to feel, but tonight was a fantastic game."

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi insists Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have "no excuses to leave" as the French giants mount another Champions League challenge this season.

PSG reached their second successive semi-final after eliminating holders Bayern Munich on away goals on Tuesday after the tie ended 3-3.

Bayern won the second leg 1-0 in Paris, but PSG exacted some revenge after moving through to the final four, having lost last season's final to the Bundesliga champions.

Neymar – named man of the match – has been linked with a return to Barcelona following his world-record €222million exit in 2017, while star team-mate Mbappe has long been tipped to join Real Madrid.

Al-Khelaifi was asked about the future of the duo amid ongoing contract negotiations as PSG look ahead to a semi-final showdown with either Manchester City or Borussia Dortmund.

"We have invested a lot in this club to win the Champions League and all the trophies at stake," Al-Khelaifi told RMC Sport.

"Neymar and Kylian Mbappe have no excuses to leave. We really have everything to win all tournaments. We're a great team today. 

"We have respect for others but we are there with them. We work. And it's not over. We need to keep going, to stay calm because the Champions League is not over. 

"We need to work more every day. The confidence is there. The secret is work. The details also make the difference."

PSG's elimination of Bayern is the first instance in Champions League history of the previous season's losing finalists eliminating the holders in the knockout stages.

Mauricio Pochettino's PSG have reached the semi-finals for the second season in a row, after managing to reach the final four only once in their previous 11 campaigns in the competition before that – their first in 1994-95.

PSG, though, failed to score at home in the Champions League for the first time in 24 games, since a 0-0 draw with Madrid in October 2015.

Neymar felt Paris Saint-Germain's team spirit and willingness to work for one another was key to their Champions League quarter-final triumph over holders Bayern Munich.

Former PSG forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting scored the only goal of the thrilling contest at Parc des Princes, but a 1-0 win on the night for Bayern saw them go out 3-3 on away goals.

Neymar was named man of the match after he had more shots (six), more shots on target (three) and made more key passes (three) than any other PSG player, hitting the crossbar and then the post during the first half.

"I am very happy, despite the defeat. We faced a great team. We are also a great team and we showed it," Neymar told RMC Sport after a moment of sweet revenge for last season's final defeat at the hands of Bayern.

"We eliminated the European champion. Now we are in the semi-finals and we still have to work more, improve and we hope to have a good half.

"We are really a team, we talk to each other a lot. Marquinhos [the centre-back who was absent through injury] spoke to us during the match to help us organise ourselves.

"We are a really competitive team, all together. We saw that [Angel] Di Maria ran a lot, we must congratulate everyone."

In Marquinhos' absence, Presnel Kimpembe took the captain's armband and excelled at centre-back.

A product of PSG's youth system, Kimpembe echoed Neymar's sentiments and singled out Colin Dagba for praise after his display at right-back marking last season's final match-winner Kingsley Coman.

"A lot of joy, emotion, because this was a very difficult match. We lost but the game was characterised by a great team performance," he told RMC Sport.

"I want to say, I am proud. Even though we lost, it remains very positive. For me, it means a lot to be able to have PSG youth products on the pitch, it shows that there is soul in this club.

"Colin showed what he was capable of, I am very proud of him. Collectively we did the job, but I would like to congratulate him because he was hyper-focused."

Kimpembe believes some of PSG's painful Champions League defeats over recent years make success over Bayern a little sweeter, focusing particularly on their 2019 reverse against Manchester United when he was controversially penalised for handball and Marcus Rashford netted a decisive penalty.

"The club never stops growing, day by day, year by year. I am the proof, I struggled to rebound after what happened two years ago. When you fall, you need to figure out how to get back up again.

"Tonight was a battle, a war but we fought well. The most important thing is the qualification and now we are going to try and savour this a bit, even though we have to quickly get back to it in Ligue 1.

"We have a big message for our supporters. We want to thank them. Our thoughts are with them, we want to thank them."

Neymar has credited Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe for helping him adapt to Ligue 1 saying he taught him 'to be French'.

The 29-year-old Brazil international has been with PSG since 2017, winning numerous honours including three Ligue 1 titles and reaching last season's UEFA Champions League final.

Neymar has formed a close bond with 22-year-old Mbappe, who he's played alongside since his move from Monaco in 2017.

"He taught me a lot about the way 'to be French'… He explained to me the French mentality," Neymar told France Football.

"I owe a large part of my adaptation to him, and, therefore, my happiness to be here."

Neymar lavished praise on Mbappe from both a personal and football side, labeling him PSG's 'golden boy'.

"First of all, I was very touched by the man he is," he said. "Kylian is very considerate, always happy, polite and kind to everyone.

"He is a very beautiful person. That’s why we’ve got along so well since our first contact.

"Then, of course, I had the opportunity to watch him train, to observe his speed, his dribbling repertoire, his intelligence and to see his humility to keep evolving. There, I said to myself: ‘he is our golden boy!’.

"Speed alone doesn't mean anything. You have to be smart to use it properly, and Kylian is. He is not only very smart and fast, but he also has a huge repertoire of dribbling."

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo hopes to have happy news soon regarding contract extensions for star duo Kylian Mbappe and Neymar.

PSG have been in negotiations with both Mbappe and Neymar – who are contracted to the Ligue 1 champions until 2022 – amid reported interest from LaLiga.

Mbappe has long been tipped to join Real Madrid, while speculation continues to link Neymar with a return to Barcelona, where he left for PSG in 2017.

Asked about the pair after Mbappe's brace guided PSG to a 3-2 win at holders Bayern Munich in the opening leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie, Leonardo told Sky Italy on Wednesday: "I think we'll have some news that will make us all happy soon.

"We will soon get to a more concrete situation for Mbappe and Neymar contracts."

Mbappe has scored eight Champions League goals this season – the joint-most in a single campaign in the competition by a Frenchman, along with Wissam Ben Yedder in 2017-18 and David Trezeguet in 2001-02.

Since making his Champions League debut in the 2013-14 campaign, Neymar has assisted 26 goals, the most of any player in this time. The Brazilian has now been directly involved in 67 goals (41 goals and 26 assists) in 66 appearances in the competition.

Mbappe and Neymar have combined for 10 Champions League goals since their first season together in 2017-18, at least three more than any other duo over this period.

Leonardo, meanwhile, was also quizzed on Milan and Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, whose contract is set to expire at season's end.

Donnarumma – who worked with Leonardo before the Brazilian returned to PSG in 2019 – has been linked with PSG, Manchester United and Chelsea previously.

"I don't talk about transfers now, [Keylor] Navas is great," said Leonardo.

Neymar will be banned for Paris Saint-Germain's next two Ligue 1 matches, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has announced.

The Brazil superstar was sent off following an altercation with Lille defender Tiago Djalo, who was also dismissed.

Neymar and Djalo were each handed three-match bans, but with one of those games suspended.

Saturday's 1-0 defeat left PSG three points behind Lille at the Ligue 1 summit and only one better off than in-form Monaco in third.

Mauricio Pochettino's side will be without Neymar for the weekend trip to Strasbourg and a home match versus Saint-Etienne on April 18 which comes after the second leg of their Champions League quarter-final against Bayern Munich.

PSG midfielders Leandro Paredes and Idrissa Gueye will also be unavailable to face Strasbourg due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Lionel Messi's future is a popular topic.

Messi wanted to leave Barcelona at the start of the season but opted to remain at Camp Nou.

With his contract expiring at the end of 2020-21, the Barca superstar is continuing to make headlines.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WAITING ON BARCA

Barcelona have yet to make a move to re-sign superstar captain Lionel Messi, according to the front page of Wednesday's Marca.

Messi is out of contract at the end of the season and his future is far from certain, having been tipped to join either Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City.

Led by new president Joan Laporta, Barca are determined to retain the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- Mundo Deportivo reports Ousmane Dembele wants to continue with Barca, but speculation is mounting that Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar could return to Camp Nou. Neymar – who left Barca for PSG in a world-record €222million deal in 2017 – has been negotiating a new contract in the French capital. Dembele has previously been linked with Manchester United.

Manchester City are eyeing a new striker but they are unwilling to spend "crazy" money, claims Fabrizio Romano. With Sergio Aguero – linked with Chelsea, Inter, PSG and Barcelona – leaving on a free transfer, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland has emerged as City's prime target, while Tottenham star Harry Kane is another option.

- Goal says Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli and Juventus' Federico Bernardeschi could swap clubs. Both players have struggled this season and they could reportedly be involved in an exchange deal. Romagnoli has attracted interest from Barca and Chelsea.

- Eurosport reports United and Liverpool could go head-to-head in a battle to sign RB Leipzig defender Ibrahima Konate. The 21-year-old has been heavily linked with Liverpool, but United are also interested. Sevilla's Jules Kounde, Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, Villarreal's Pau Torres and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly are also reportedly being monitored at Old Trafford.

- Romano claims there are "huge chances" for Hector Bellerin to leave Arsenal. The Spaniard was previously linked with PSG and Barca.

Mauricio Pochettino hopes Neymar can show his talents against Bayern Munich on Wednesday after the Brazilian was sent off on his return to the Paris Saint-Germain starting XI.

Having appeared for 20 minutes as a substitute at Lyon ahead of the international break, Neymar started for the first time since February's Coupe de France trip to Caen when PSG hosted Lille on Saturday.

But the top-of-the-table Ligue 1 clash turned sour for the superstar as he was controversially dismissed in the closing stages of a 1-0 defeat.

Neymar, who tried to retrieve the ball from Lille defender Tiago Djalo before both players were sent off, has earned four red cards since his Ligue 1 debut in August 2017, a tally only topped in this time by Nantes midfielder Andrei Girotto.

The forward's latest misdemeanour is set to keep him out of league action as PSG aim to overturn the three-point advantage Lille secured at the weekend.

But Neymar can for now channel his energy into avenging last season's Champions League final defeat to Bayern when PSG face the reigning European and world champions in a two-legged quarter-final.

The world's most expensive footballer has played only six knockout games in the competition since moving to PSG, although he was ever-present in the five during last season's run.

Now, he is fit again and ready to take on Bayern on Wednesday with coach Pochettino's backing.

"After six weeks, he was very excited to start a game," Pochettino told a news conference on Tuesday, explaining Neymar's red card.

"He's an emotional player, he likes to play, he likes to fight, he's a competitive player. He didn't deserve this red - he was sent off for various reasons - but he knows he has to channel himself.

"I hope that tomorrow everything will be fine, that we can play a very good game, and that the whole team will get the performance we hope for."

Compatriot and captain Marquinhos also came to Neymar's defence.

"I've known Ney for years," he said. "We know he's a very competitive player. If you look at the action, he got a foul, he came to get the ball, he showed a lot of commitment.

"He's a great player, he's very motivated; what happened happened. Tomorrow we need great players to make a great game.

"We're not going over history again. Tomorrow is the Champions League, we learn from our mistakes and we think about what we have to do tomorrow."

Yet PSG, who beat Barcelona in the previous round, are determined not to rely on Neymar (13 goals this season) and Kylian Mbappe (30) alone against Bayern.

"I always preferred to talk about the collective, especially before these kind of games," Marquinhos said.

"When we see our performance in Barcelona, the collective was really strong; we saw it before the individualities.

"If everyone plays their part on the field with the right mindset, the individuals will then get away with it.

"I prefer to put the team forward, we can't always talk about specific cases."

Pochettino added: "We focus a lot on Mbappe and Neymar, but the 11 players who will start tomorrow will have the responsibility to do everything to help us get the win."

The PSG coach will at least be able to call on his superstar duo while Robert Lewandowski (knee) and Serge Gnabry (coronavirus) are out for Bayern.

Lewandowski and Gnabry shared six goals on the only previous occasion Pochettino took on Bayern, then as Tottenham manager on the end of a 7-2 humbling.

"Bayern's strength is its collective, its squad," Pochettino said. "When you win the Champions League and the Club World Cup, you have a very good group, not just 11 successful players.

"We are talking about Lewandowski and Gnabry, who are very good players, but we also have absentees like [Mauro] Icardi and [Marco] Verratti.

"That being said, for sure, for them, these are absences that weigh heavily."

Neymar has been compared to fellow Brazilian Ronaldinho, with Ludovic Giuly believing the Paris Saint-Germain star will never reach his potential.

Like the great Ronaldinho, Neymar has played for both Barcelona and PSG, albeit he moved from Catalonia to Paris, rather than the other way around.

One of the main motives behind Neymar's switch to PSG was reportedly his desire to win the Ballon d'Or, which has been dominated by Cristiano Ronaldo and his former Barca team-mate Lionel Messi.

Yet despite helping to secure three straight Ligue 1 titles, Neymar has been unable to propel PSG to Champions League glory – coming closest when the Parisians reached the final last season – and at 29, his chances of winning football's most coveted personal prize look to be getting slimmer.

He has also suffered several lengthy injury lay offs during his time at the Parc des Princes, while Kylian Mbappe has perhaps overtaken him as PSG's standout superstar.

Having returned from the groin strain that saw him miss PSG's Champions League last-16 tie victory over his former club Barca, Neymar saw red in a 1-0 defeat to title rivals Lille on Saturday.

Giuly, a former France international who also played for both PSG and Barca – where he was a team-mate of Ronaldinho – suggested Neymar's application is the reason why he will perhaps never hit the full heights that he has the talent for.

"I'm going to compare Ronaldinho and Neymar on a career level. They have everything, but they don't give everything to be even higher," Giuly told Telefoot.

Despite his concerns over Neymar's work ethic, however, Giuly is hopeful the forward will agree to extend his PSG contract.

Giuly added: "Of course that is an important message for us, for his team-mates and for the supporters. [That] he shows his love and commitment to the club, it is something very important."

NEYMAR'S 2020-21 CAMPAIGN

In what has been another stop-start season, Neymar has managed only 20 appearances across all competitions for PSG, starting on 16 occasions, with his overall game time 1,142 minutes.

He has netted 13 goals, averaging a strike every 111 minutes, while five of those have come from the penalty spot. These goals have come from 73 attempts – the second-most in PSG's team behind Mbappe (114).

Creatively, Neymar also ranks highly. He has crafted 44 chances, including four assists, with 35 of them coming from open play. 

This tally puts him second in PSG's squad, behind Angel Di Maria, who has registered 10 assists from 69 chances created, while Mbappe has teed up an impressive nine goals from 43 opportunities, again indicating that the youngster is perhaps overshadowing the world's most expensive footballer.

Can Borussia Dortmund keep a hold of Erling Haaland for another season?

Europe's elite are queuing up to sign the Norway sensation.

Dortmund's disappointing season could be about to force their hand.

 

TOP STORY – DORTMUND TRYING TO RETAIN HAALAND

Borussia Dortmund will try to keep Erling Haaland for another season but their hopes are fading amid the club's struggles to finish in the Bundesliga's top four, according to Fabrizio Romano.

As it stands, Dortmund are set to miss out on Champions League qualification, with the German side fifth and seven points adrift of fourth-placed Eintracht Frankfurt following Saturday's loss.

Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Real Madrid, Manchester City, Barcelona, Manchester United, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mirror reports United are set to part with star goalkeeper David de Gea. The Red Devils are reportedly prepared to pay a large chunk of De Gea's remaining contract, with Dean Henderson pushing to become the club's first choice.

Haaland is ahead of Lionel Messi on City's transfer list, claims The Mirror. Pep Guardiola's City have been heavily linked with Barcelona superstar Messi, who is out of contract at season's end. But City now appear determined to prise Haaland from Dortmund as Sergio Aguero prepares to leave. Aguero has been linked with the likes of Chelsea, InterBarca, PSG and Juventus on a free transfer.

Neymar has put contract talks with PSG on hold, according to Ara, which claims he is willing to return to Barca.

- It comes as Marca says PSG are eyeing Madrid forward Vinicius Junior amid Kylian Mbappe's links with the LaLiga champions.

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