Paris Saint-Germain appear close to finalising the appointment of Christophe Galtier after Nice announced his departure, with former Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre replacing him for a second spell at the club. 

PSG have been expected to dispense with the services of Mauricio Pochettino since falling to a dramatic Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid in March, despite wrapping up their 10th Ligue 1 title last season.

Galtier, who beat PSG to the title as Lille boss in 2020-21, emerged as their number one target after leading Nice to a fifth-placed finish and the Coupe de France final last term.

The 55-year-old also won the Coupe de la Ligue as Saint-Etienne coach in 2012-13, and has been named Ligue 1 Manager of the Season on three occasions - in 2012-13, 2018-19 and 2020-21.

Speaking to Le Parisien last week, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi confirmed the club's interest in Galtier, saying: "We are discussing with Nice, it is not a secret. I hope that we will find an agreement quickly."

 

That agreement now looks to be close after Nice confirmed Galtier's departure on Monday, revealing Favre will return to the club he led between 2016 and 2018.

"Christophe Galtier is no longer in charge of the first team at OGC Nice," read a statement on the club's website. 

"This Monday morning, the resumption of the Aiglons will be led by Lucien Favre, whose return the club is proud to announce.

"His first stint on the Cote d'Azur will go down in history. So when it comes to a future full of challenges, it is difficult not to mix ambition and sentiment. 

"The excitement felt by the whole red and black community at the simple mention of his name, for years now, illustrates wonderfully the attachment that is felt for him."

Favre led Nice to a third-placed finish in the 2016-17 season, Mario Balotelli top-scoring with 15 Ligue 1 goals as they sealed Champions League qualification, before departing for Dortmund in 2018.

Favre enjoyed a stunning start to his Dortmund tenure, going unbeaten through his first 15 league games, but failed to end Bayern Munich's dominance of the Bundesliga, finishing second in each of his two full seasons before departing in December 2020.

Although Cristiano Ronaldo's affection for Manchester United is without doubt, his return to Old Trafford has not gone as he might have planned.

Following Erik ten Hag's arrival, Ronaldo's reported concern over United's apparent lack of transfer activity has made other clubs explore possibilities to sign him.

Reports suggest that a couple of clubs have already made their interest indirectly known.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA, ROMA CIRCLING FOR RONALDO

Chelsea and Roma have expressed their interest in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United, according to reports.

The Athletic has reported Chelsea, with Todd Boehly installing himself as interim sporting director after his consortium's takeover of the club, met with Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes to discuss the possibility of his transfer.

Ronaldo has a year left on his contract, and the possibility of him leaving after only one season has grown with Erik ten Hag's arrival.

Meanwhile, Retesport are reporting the Giallorossi are keen to sign the 37-year-old, with the Friedkin group looking to reunite him with former boss Jose Mourinho and build on the team's Conference League triumph.

ROUND-UP

– In the background, United are increasingly confident they will be able to land Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong for a fee of £69million (€80.2m), Goal reports.

– Also, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has made contact with Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling, according to the Telegraph.

– Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have opened talks over a deal for Neymar amid Chelsea's interest, per AS.

– Leeds United are preparing a £26million (€30.2m) bid for Club Brugge's Charles de Ketelaere, the Daily Mail reports.

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was on Friday acquitted on appeal for a second time by a Swiss federal court of charges of corruption in the attribution of World Cup television rights.

Al-Khelaifi had been charged with inciting former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.

Valcke was accused of wanting to transfer the Middle East and North Africa television rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups to a media company headed by Al-Khelaifi.

Al-Khelaifi allegedly offered Valcke, who is serving a 10-year ban from football that was handed down by the Fifa Ethics Committee in 2018, exclusive use of a luxury villa in Sardinia in exchange.

The PSG president has been cleared again of a charge of incitement to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.

It is the second time Al-Khelaifi has been cleared of wrongdoing in the Swiss federal criminal court after prosecutors appealed against the original verdicts.

"The years of baseless allegations, fictitious charges and constant smears have been proven to be completely and wholly unsubstantiated – twice," Al Khelaifi's lawyer Marc Bonnant said in a widely reported statement.

Valcke was convicted of separate charges not involving Al-Khelaifi. He was given an 11-month suspended sentence and must also repay FIFA €1.75m (£1.58m) for forgery and passive corruption.

Those charges relate to Valcke exploiting his position to influence the awarding of media rights for Italy and Greece for various World Cup and other tournaments scheduled between 2018 and 2030, in exchange for payments from Greek businessman Dinos Deris, who has also been charged.

The Frenchman was cleared of the most serious charges involving accepting bribes and aggravated criminal mismanagement.

Neymar's former agent Wagner Ribiero believes the Brazilian is not about to leave Paris Saint-Germain as he is still dreaming of Champions League glory with the French champions.

The 30-year-old is contracted in Paris until 2025, but there have been rumours that PSG could look to offload him, having signed Lionel Messi in 2021 and recently renewing Kylian Mbappe's contract.

A return to Barcelona has long been muted for Neymar, with whom he won the Champions League with in 2014-15, while he has also previously spoken about his desire to play in the United States. 

However, when quizzed about Neymar's future, Ribiero made it clear his understanding that the former Santos starlet is not considering an exit and has his eyes firmly set on ending PSG's wait for Champions League glory.

"Neymar has a dream: to be champion of the Champions League with PSG," he told Goal.

"Despite all the rumours regarding a possible exit, he is very motivated and will not stop until he achieves it."

 

Asked whether Neymar likes the project at PSG, he added: "Of course. Every year that passes Nasser Al-Khelaifi (club president) improves the team in every way.

"They just finished the training centre, which will be one of the best. And now he wants to have the best French players at PSG."

Since Neymar joined PSG in 2017, the French giants have been eliminated at the quarter-final stage in three of the five seasons – finishing runners-up in 2019-20 and falling at the semi-finals the following year.

During that period, Neymar has scored 20 Champions League goals and secured 13 assists – with the only player to have more assists in the same period being team-mate Mbappe.

Zinedine Zidane has not ruled out taking over as head coach at Paris Saint-Germain or following Didier Deschamps as France's national team coach, amid growing speculation over his future.

Mauricio Pochettino's departure from PSG has not yet been finalised, but reports have linked both Zidane and Nice boss Christophe Galtier to the job, with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi even confirming talks with the latter.

Stepping down in 2021 as a two-time LaLiga and three-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, Zidane would assume either role as a highly-decorated coach, having also enjoyed an exceptional playing career.

In an interview with L'Equipe to mark his 50th birthday, the Marseille native indicated he would not turn down the opportunity to coach the fiercest rivals of the club he supported as a child, citing a lack of realistic options in both personal and logistical senses.

"Never say never," he said. "Especially when you are a coach today, but the question is moot. This is absolutely irrelevant. When I was a player, I had a choice, almost every club.

"As a coach, there are not 50 clubs where I can go. There are two or three possibilities. This is the current reality. As coaches, we have much less choice than players. If I go back to a club, it's to win. I say this with all modesty. That's why I can't go anywhere. For other reasons, too, I might not be able to go everywhere.

"The language, for example. Some conditions make things more difficult. When I'm asked: 'Do you want to go to Manchester?' I understand English but I don't fully master it. I know there are coaches who go to clubs without speaking the language, but I work differently. To win, many elements come into play."

From leading France to the World Cup in 1998 as a player – propelling him to his sole Ballon d'Or award in the process – to his straight red card in the 2006 World Cup final after headbutting Italy's Marco Materazzi, Zidane experienced both the highs and lows with Les Bleus.

Punctuating his stellar international career with that sending off in Berlin leaves him with unfinished business at international level, but Zidane insisted his ambition will be with respect to current France boss Deschamps and his preparations for this year's World Cup in Qatar.

"I want to [be head coach of France], of course. I will be, I hope, one day," Zidane said. "When? It's not up to me, but I want to come full circle with the France team. I knew this French team as a player, and it's the most beautiful thing that's ever happened to me.

"But really, this is the pinnacle. And so, as I experienced that and today I am a coach, the France team is firmly rooted in my head.

"When I say that I want to take the France team one day, I assume it. Today, a team is in place, with its goals. But if the opportunity comes next, then I'll be there.

"Again, it's not up to me. My deep desire is there. The France team is the most beautiful thing there is."

Former Bayern Munich striker Ivica Olic has admitted he is "surprised" with wantaway forward Robert Lewandowski.

The Poland international is pushing for an exit from Bavaria in the current transfer window, with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain reportedly among those vying for his signature.

Lewandowski has enjoyed eight trophy-laden years with Bayern, lifting the Bundesliga in every season and winning the Champions League in 2019-20.

Given the 33-year-old scored 50 goals in 46 games for Bayern in all competitions in 2021-22, the most in Europe's top five leagues, Olic believes the club will face a tough task landing a replacement.

"Lewandowski has played at a high level for years, has been one of Bayern Munich's main brands for years and has raised the bar with his goals over several seasons," he told Stats Perform.

"It's about a striker that I was hoping would stay longer and it really surprised me how it all turned out and that he really wants to leave.

"Just as I was a bit surprised at the moment, I think the people at the club were just as surprised.

"Because at the moment there isn't really a player like Lewa that you could get for a normal price.

"It's really not easy to get a real striker these days. There aren't many at the top level like Lewa or anything like that.

"So, I think it's the main concern for Bayern right now and I'm sure that if there is a transfer they will do everything they can to find an adequate replacement for Lewa. 

"[Erling] Haaland, who was in Dortmund, was often associated with Bayern, but he has now gone to England."

Sadio Mane is poised to arrive from Liverpool, but Olic believes he does not quite fit the profile of the player Bayern will need to replace their talismanic striker.

"I don't know who else is there. Mane has been mentioned a lot, but for me he's not a classic number nine and he's not a classic striker. But he's certainly one of the more attractive players," Olic added.

Gianluigi Buffon hopes his former club Juventus sign Angel Di Maria as he likened the Paris Saint-Germain attacker to Argentina great Diego Maradona.

Di Maria joined PSG from Manchester United in 2015 but is to leave the French capital at the expiration of his deal at the end of June.

Juve have reportedly offered Di Maria a one-year contract with the option of an additional one-season extension.

Reports suggest Di Maria is intent on staying in European football for just one more season, though, before playing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and returning to compete in his native Argentina.

That is said to have led to a delay in negotiations between the 34-year-old and Massimiliano Allegri's side.

Former Juve goalkeeper Buffon encouraged the Bianconeri to push the deal through for Di Maria, with the Italy legend suggesting he would be as influential in Serie A as the late, great Maradona was with Napoli.

"Di Maria in Serie A is like Maradona," Buffon said to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Footballers must be valued considering where they play. Serie A, today, is technically poorer and Angel has so much technique.

"He is decisive in front of goal, he dribbles past his opponents. He is good at making assists and runs up and down on the pitch. He can play in different roles."

Buffon is speaking from experience, having crossed paths with Di Maria at PSG in the 2018-19 campaign.

The Parma goalkeeper also suggested Di Maria is talented enough that age should not be a factor as Juve aim to secure the winger.

"I am 44, but I still play, age doesn't matter. Motivation and passion are more important and so is determination," he added. "If Di Maria joins Juventus, it means that he's ready to do so.

"He is an exemplary professional, one who never gives up and fights during games and training sessions. For today's Serie A, he'd be like Maradona.

"At PSG, I played with Neymar, a young Kylian Mbappe, Marco Verratti… but Di Maria was not inferior to no one.

"When he won the Decima [the 10th Champions League title] at [Real] Madrid in 2014, he was playing with Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

"He was always a step back from them but knew how to play as a winger, attacking midfielder and even 'Mezzala' [a wide central midfielder in a diamond or three-man midfield].

"Whoever signs him, and I hope it's Juve, it will be a good deal. We are talking about a champion."

Zinedine Zidane says he still has the "flame" to continue his managerial career, despite a year out of the game after his departure from Real Madrid last year.

The Frenchman departed Santiago Bernabeu for a second time at the end of the 2020-21 season, having guided the club to a hat-trick of Champions League triumphs during his first term in charge and won 11 trophies in all during his time there.

Zidane has since been linked with a number of jobs, including in his home country where he was touted as the frontrunner to succeed Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain, as well as Didier Deschamps' possible successor as France head coach beyond Qatar 2022.

With Nice boss Christoph Galtier now in the driving seat to take the reins at Parc des Princes, Zidane's time in the wilderness looks set to continue.

But the former World Cup winner, who turns 50 this month, hopes to return to the dugout, while admitting he remains satisfied without having to leap straight into any job that becomes available.

"I want to continue," he told Telefoot. "I still have this flame. Football is my passion.

"But I am [almost] 50 years old and fulfilled. I am happy, and that's the most important thing."

 

Zidane also addressed his infamous World Cup final headbutt on Marco Materazzi at Germany 2006, which saw him sent off for France as they went on to lose to Italy on penalties.

"I'm not proud of what I've done, but it's part of my journey," he reflected. "Even in a person's life, not everything is done perfectly."

Kylian Mbappe considered retiring from France duty after being criticised for his displays at Euro 2020, according to French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet.

The 23-year-old failed to score in any of his four outings in last year's competition, with France surprisingly being eliminated by Switzerland in the last 16.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe missed the decisive spot-kick as the reigning world champions suffered a shock defeat on penalties following a 3-3 draw after extra time.

Mbappe was subjected to much of the criticism at the time, and FFF chief Le Graet has revealed just how much that affected the former Monaco star.

"I met with him after the Euros. He felt that the Federation had not defended him after his missed penalty and the criticism he faced," Le Graet told Le Journal du Dimanche.

"We met for five minutes in my office. He was angry, he didn't want to play for the French team any more – which he obviously didn't mean.

"You know how it is; he's a winner, he was very frustrated, like all of us, by the elimination. He's so media-friendly. He's a great guy, much more collective than people think."

 

Mbappe has gone on to play a further nine times for France since last year's disappointing Euro 2020 showing, helping his country to qualify for this year's World Cup in Qatar.

He has scored 27 goals in 57 senior caps, placing him 11th on Les Blues' all-time record goalscorers, a list topped by Thierry Henry (51 goals).

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez thinks Kylian Mbappe will already be regretting staying at Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe was widely expected to move to Madrid when his PSG contract expired in June, but agreed to a three-year extension in the French capital.

Perez previously stated the Mbappe who snubbed the LaLiga and European champions is not the same character he wanted to bring to Los Blancos.

The Madrid chief, speaking during a meeting with the club's fans, again commented on Mbappe's decision as he declared the World Cup winner will be wishing he had moved to Los Blancos.

"The poor guy, Mbappe must already be sorry," Perez said when signing autographs after a fan had asked him about the France international.

 

Mbappe was in scintillating form in the 2021-22 campaign as he scored 28 league goals, a tally only bettered by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (35) across Europe's top five divisions.

The 23-year-old also added 17 assists, with no player in Europe's biggest leagues managing more direct goal involvements (45) – France team-mate Karim Benzema ranked second with 39.

Mbappe will hope to deliver further success for PSG in the 2022-23 season as the French giants bid for their ninth Ligue 1 title in the last 11 seasons.

Barcelona president Joan Laporta has committed to giving Lionel Messi some sort of tribute at the club, stating he deserves "eternal recognition" for his illustrious career.

The club's all-time record goalscorer left on a free transfer to join Paris Saint-Germain last year upon the expiration of his contract, with Barcelona unable to secure a renewal due to the club's financial issues.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions, Messi could not bid farewell to Barcelona fans in person and admitted in November he was "hurt" following his exit.

Laporta admitted during Barca's Extraordinary General Assembly that he was "sad" at the sequence of events but vowed to still pay tribute to the club legend somehow, who won 45 trophies during his stint with the Blaugrana.

"I will support, lead and back anyone that finds solutions that lead to a tribute to Messi, for all that he has given to Barca," he said.

"We have to give him an eternal recognition for all that he has done.

"For me, Leo will always be at Barca. Circumstances made us do what we did but that can't spoil the recognition we have to give him and sooner or later, I hope sooner, we can pay tribute to this player who has given us so many years of glory.

"Without him, the last 20 years of Barca would not be understood."

Barcelona may choose to honour Messi in 2024, the club's 125th anniversary, which could also coincide with the player's exit from PSG as he penned a two-year deal with the option of a further year in the French capital.

Paris Saint-Germain will be expected to make a winning start to their Ligue 1 title defence, while each of the newly promoted teams will receive a tough examination of their credentials on the opening weekend.

It may not be clear who will be managing PSG when the new season starts, but PSG know the identity of their opponents, with the champions set to travel to face Clermont Foot on the weekend of August 6 and 7.

That same weekend will see Auxerre, the 1995-96 champions back in the top flight after 10 seasons in the second tier, visit the team PSG deposed, Lille.

Toulouse are back after two seasons away and will open their campaign at home against Nice, who finished fifth last season.

Fellow new boys Ajaccio, playing at this level for the first time since 2013-14, will be on the road against seven-time champions Lyon.

Marseille will have ambitions of narrowing the 15-point gap to arch rivals PSG from last season and begin that quest at home to Reims. Another of PSG's potential challengers, Monaco, visit Strasbourg.

The first Classique between PSG and Marseille will take place at the Parc des Princes on October 16, the return fixture at the Stade Velodrome scheduled for February 26.

Lille host PSG on the third weekend of the season before Monaco take the trip to the capital a week later.

Marseille face Lyon and Monaco in their only two fixtures in November before the World Cup. The second Choc des Olympiques of the season between Lyon and Marseille will be held at the Groupama Stadium on April 23.

PSG's final game before the World Cup seems them welcome Auxerre.

Having opened their campaign at Clermont, a home clash for PSG against the same opposition will round off a season which most anticipate will be a procession to an outright record 11th league title for Lionel Messi, Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Co.

Paris Saint-Germain eased to a record-equalling 10th Ligue 1 title in the 2021-22 campaign, with Lille and Monaco the likely contenders to challenge the French giants in the following campaign.

Mauricio Pochettino's future remains uncertain at PSG despite securing the French top-flight title with four games to spare last season, with Nice's Christophe Galtier linked with the potential vacancy.

PSG have to wait until the ninth matchday to face Nice on October 2, but visit Lyon the game before on September 18 and face early clashes with Lille and Monaco on matchday four and five respectively.

The Ligue 1 champions host Marseille in the season's first Le Classique meeting on October 16, while PSG will have to negotiate a tricky period in February.

PSG visit Monaco on February 12 and Marseille two weeks later, either side of a home clash with Lille, who were the last side to deny Les Parisiens the championship in the 2020-21 term.

Away trips to AJ Auxerre and Strasbourg then precede a final matchday home clash with Clermont as PSG search for their ninth Ligue 1 crown in the last 11 seasons.

PSG's Ligue 1 fixtures in full:

07/08/2022 - Clermont (a)
14/08/2022 - Montpellier (h)
21/08/2022 - Lille (a)
28/08/2022 - Monaco (h)
31/08/2022 - Toulouse (a)
04/09/2022 - Nantes (a)
11/09/2022 - Brest (h)
18/09/2022 - Lyon (a)
02/10/2022 - Nice (h)
09/10/2022 - Reims (a)
16/10/2022 - Marseille (h)
23/10/2022 - AC Ajaccio (a)
30/10/2022 - Troyes (h)
06/11/2022 - Lorient (a)
13/11/2022 - AJ Auxerre (h)
28/12/2022 - Strasbourg (h)
01/01/2023 - Lens (a)
11/01/2023 - Angers (h)
15/01/2023 - Rennes (a)
29/01/2023 - Reims (h)
01/02/2023 - Montpellier (a)
05/02/2023 - Toulouse (h)
12/02/2023 - Monaco (a)
19/02/2023 - Lille (h)
26/02/2023 - Marseille (a)
05/03/2023 - Nantes (h)
12/03/2023 - Brest (a)
19/03/2023 - Rennes (h)
02/04/2023 - Lyon (h)
09/04/2023 - Nice (a)
16/04/2023 - Lens (h)
23/04/2023 - Angers (a)
30/04/2023 - Lorient (h)
07/05/2023 - Troyes (a)
14/05/2023 - AC Ajaccio (h)
21/05/2023 - AJ Auxerre (a)
27/05/2023 - Strasbourg (a)
03/06/2023 - Clermont (h)

LaLiga has called for Kylian Mbappe's contract at Paris Saint-Germain to be ripped up, demanding French government officials act and league chiefs take a closer look at the capital club's spending.

France striker Mbappe signed a new three-year deal with PSG in May, turning down Real Madrid who had been courting him for the past year.

The terms of the contract have not been officially disclosed, but Mbappe is widely reported to have received a staggering signing-on fee as well as extraordinary wages. Figures of €100million for signing and €50m per season have been suggested.

Lawyer Juan Branco, representing LaLiga, told a news conference in France on Friday that Spanish league chiefs are ready to go to court to challenge PSG's finances.

Ligue 1 champions PSG have strenuously denied being in breach of financial fair play regulations, but the Spanish authorities have expressed doubts about the legitimacy of their vast recent outlay on players. PSG have been owned by the Doha-based Qatar Sports Investments since 2011.

LaLiga wants the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) and the DNCG, the body that oversees football club finances in France, to examine in detail whether the Mbappe deal should have been given the green light.

"We are going to request the repeal of the approval of Mbappe's contract from the minister of sports, because that is the supervisory authority of sports administration," Branco said.

"Subsequently, we will appeal to the LFP so that it acts via its legal commission the DNCG in order to operate a monitoring report on the accounts of PSG. This is a legal step which will allow us to establish whether Mbappe's contract is within the economic parameters which are imposed by the regulations of the DNCG and UEFA financial fair play."

PSG signed Lionel Messi last August after Barcelona ran out of money to hand their captain a new contract, and also acquired former Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos at the end of his Santiago Bernabeu stay.

Real Madrid were optimistic about landing Mbappe, but hopes in Spain that he would move to LaLiga were dashed.

Branco said LaLiga was prepared to take action via the administrative court of Paris to seek the quashing of Mbappe's contract.

The lawyer added: "We are going to proceed in the form of a graduated response. We are going to see little by little what is the capacity of the French professional footballing bodies and also regulatory and administrative authorities to react to our appeals and our requests.

"As time goes by, we will increase the pressure."

LaLiga has also complained to UEFA, European football's governing body, about PSG, as well as Manchester City.

Javier Tebas, the Spanish league's president, this week claimed the agreement between PSG and Mbappe was "an insult to football".

Branco said LaLiga would "go upmarket... harden our game" if necessary, saying it considers the French capital giants to be spending on a "fraudulent" scale.

That accusation has been consistently denied by PSG.

Lionel Messi is "on Olympus" as one of the greatest players in history, and former Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo cannot believe he brought the star to Ligue 1.

Leonardo departed at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, with former Monaco and Lille transfer guru Luis Campos joining the Ligue 1 champions as a football advisor.

Coach Mauricio Pochettino is also widely expected to be heading for the exit door after failing to deliver in the Champions League, which is the crown jewel in the eyes of PSG owners Qatar Sports Investments (QSI).

However, Pochettino and Leonardo did manage to bring Argentina great Messi to Paris at the start of the season, ending a 17-year spell with Barcelona.

Messi ranked only behind Kylian Mbappe (45) for goal involvements for PSG in Ligue 1, with the former's 20 one more than Neymar, who was the final part of an incredible frontline trio.

Only Mbappe (70) created more chances than Messi (63) as well, but the Blaugrana legend's first year in the French capital was largely viewed as somewhat underwhelming, with just six top-flight goals scored.

Nevertheless, Leonardo reflected gleefully on securing the services of the 34-year-old along with his own achievements with PSG.

"We had thought about it a lot, yes. We had talked about it, but Messi had never thought too much about leaving Barcelona," he told L'Equipe.

"It was the last moments before his arrival that were decisive. Afterwards, everything becomes a bit more normal but, you made Messi's only transfer in his career!

"Chronologically, there is Pele, Maradona, Messi. He is on Olympus.

"So when I take stock of my last three years, I see a Champions League final, a semi-final, the 10th league title, seven national trophies and I signed Messi.

"There are two very significant moments for me, even if I don't like to pick out the best. The first is the signing, on the same day, of [Marco] Verratti and [Zlatan] Ibrahimovic [in 2012].

"It was no coincidence that a youngster from the Italian second division and a world football star arrived at the same time. The second is Messi. These are two huge dates."

 

Mbappe rejected the advances of Real Madrid to extend his stay with PSG, signing a lucrative three-year agreement.

Reports indicated the World Cup winner was offered assurances relating to matters on and off the pitch.

While Leonardo has departed and Pochettino appears set to follow, the former suggests he did not know whether the Mbappe agreement held such clauses.

"It was the end of the season and maybe it was the time to decide things for the future," he added. "I wasn't told that, but I don't want to get into that kind of thing.

"The fact that they've managed to hold on to that player, a Frenchman and a Parisian, is important for PSG and for Ligue 1.

"Certain things which are said internally should stay that way. It's what I've experienced with the club. When the club wants to get rid of you, there's no nice way to say it's over."

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