Kylian Mbappe looks set to end one of the biggest transfer sagas of recent seasons by penning his deal with Real Madrid next week.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker will reportedly move to Santiago Bernabeu on a free transfer at the end of the season.

It will mark the end of a lengthy pursuit by Los Blancos, despite the Ligue 1 club's efforts to keep their star man.

 

TOP STORY - MADRID CLOSING IN ON MBAPPE

Mbappe will confirm his future in a matter of days by putting pen to paper on a contract with Real Madrid, claims Marca.

The France international was pursued by Los Blancos last year, but instead remained with Paris Saint-Germain to see out the rest of his contract.

That expires at the end of this campaign, and despite PSG's resistance, the forward will confirm his future at Santiago Bernabeu with a free move before the month is up.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester City have locked a deal in place for the capture of Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland, according to the Daily Mail. City look to have beaten off several European rivals for the Leeds-born Norway international, and are now set to discuss personal terms.

- Scotland international Kieran Tierney is set to be the subject of a move from Madrid, claims 90min. The Arsenal star has helped form the bedrock of a Gunners revival this term and his performances have not gone under-the-radar when it comes to Los Blancos and their interest.

- Antonio Conte is willing to consider an extension at Tottenham, providing the club can show that they have "vision", says the Guardian. The Italian has endured a topsy-turvy tenure so far in north London, but remains one of the most respected coaches in the game.

- Crystal Palace star Conor Gallagher is unsure where his future lies following his success on loan at Selhurst Park this season, according to ESPN. The Chelsea man is with the Eagles on a year-long deal, and has picked up England honours during his tenure.

- Atletico Madrid are thinking about a move for Barcelona's Sergi Roberto. According to Fichajes, the midfielder is frustrated at his lack of consistent game-time and LaLiga's champions could swoop for him.

Karim Benzema has hinted this could be his best season in a Real Madrid shirt, following his side's knockout win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League.

The talismanic Benzema scored a hat-trick in Madrid's epic comeback from a two-goal aggregate deficit, which meant he surpassed Alfredo di Stefano as the club's third-highest goalscorer with his total of 309, including 67 Champions League goals – now ahead of Raul.

While the 34-year-old was sceptical on whether Wednesday night's win was his best game for Madrid, this season is providing some individual enthusiasm.

"I don’t know if it's my best game because I also remember the Champions League final against Liverpool," Benzema told Real Madrid TV.

"If it is, it's because of the goals, because there are three in a very important game – a comeback, we trailed 2-0 in the tie. It was a very big game, but also for the players.

"It could be my best season because every year I want to do more than the previous one and I'm on a good path now.

"I am happy and proud, but it's for the whole team. It's everyone's effort. The team, the people who were on the field, the people who weren't but help their team-mates as well. Also the coaches, the fans, all of that, it was a magical night for everyone."

Only scoring five league goals in Cristiano Ronaldo's final season at Madrid in 2017-18, Benzema has cracked 20 in each season since, with 20 in 24 LaLiga appearances this season and 30 goals in all competitions.

This is on top of the sizeable role Benzema and Luka Modric's interplay has had in Madrid's build-up play, during and after Ronaldo's time at the Santiago Bernabeu.

With all this in mind, the magnitude of passing Di Stefano's goals tally is not lost on Benzema.

"It's a dream because [Di Stefano] is a Madrid legend," the forward said. "I remember my first day here when he was with the president, and he gave me a hug. He is a legend. Being in his place makes me very proud, very happy and gives me more strength to go higher.

"These are very important figures. I signed for this club, firstly, to win titles. I didn't plan to score goals like I'm doing now, but I always wanted to be inside the heads of people, of the Madridistas one day, and I think I'm on the right track."

The LaLiga leaders travel to the Balearic Islands this weekend, to face Mallorca on Monday, before next Sunday's Clasico with Barcelona.

Gianluigi Donnarumma will only grow stronger following his error against Real Madrid and remains one of the top three goalkeepers in the world, according to Gianluigi Buffon.

Paris Saint-Germain were eliminated from the Champions League in rather humiliating circumstances on Wednesday as they let slip a two-goal aggregate lead to lose 3-2.

PSG looked comfortable at the Santiago Bernabeu with an hour played, only for a Donnarumma mistake to gift Madrid the first of their three goals in a 17-minute comeback.

The Italy international effectively passed the ball straight to Vinicius Junior when under pressure close to his own goal and hat-trick hero Karim Benzema converted the cutback.

Donnarumma argued he was fouled by Benzema in the lead-up to his costly error in the last-16 second leg, but the goal was allowed to stand and Madrid did not look back.

But while the former Milan keeper has come in for heavy criticism for his display, Buffon insists his compatriot has the right mentality to respond.

"Mistakes like this will serve him; they are part of his growth path," Buffon told Corriere dello Sport. "I'm sure it won't have any negative repercussions, any problems for him.

"Besides, he's already shown he has the necessary strength to overcome delicate moments in his career. He's too solid to allow himself to be influenced by all this.

"He's one of the best in the world, among the top three along with Thibaut Courtois and Manuel Neuer. I have to say that otherwise I'm accused of being partisan!"

 

PSG have been eliminated from four of their nine Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg – only Madrid (six times) have a worse record in the competition.

Donnarumma played both legs of the tie, but he has had to share goalkeeping duties with Keylor Navas this season, starting 18 games compared to the latter's 21.

The 23-year-old, who starred for Italy in their triumphant Euro 2020 campaign last year, has conceded 14 goals and kept eight clean sheets across those 18 appearances.

His 4.9 goals prevented – worked out by taking away the number of goals conceded from expected goals on target conceded – is among the best in Europe's elite leagues.

Only eight others boast a better return when taking all competitions into account, a metric led by Chelsea's Kepa Arrizabalaga, who has prevented 9.8 goals.

Courtois has a slightly better record than Donnarumma with 5.5 goals prevented, while Neuer – the other keeper referenced by Buffon – has let in 2.9 goals more than expected.

 

Taking aim at Donnarumma's critics, Buffon added: "Errors from goalkeepers are normal. Gigi can still give a lot for PSG. One or two mistakes a season are psychological.

"He made an unpopular choice joining PSG, but it must be respected. He wanted to fuel his ambition, something many didn't like. 

"They're the people who were waiting for this mistake. The problem is not the French who are enjoying it, but the Italians who were waiting for that."

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo says now is not the time to discuss the future of head coach Mauricio Pochettino and the club do not need to "start all over again" after their Champions League collapse against Real Madrid.

PSG had looked set for a quarter-final spot when Kylian Mbappe doubled their aggregate lead at the Santiago Bernabeu with a first-half opener.

But Karim Benzema's 17-minute hat-trick saw the Ligue 1 leaders eliminated from the Champions League after a first-leg victory for the fourth time, with only Madrid themselves have gone out in such a fashion on more occasions (six times).

Whilst adamant that Benzema had fouled PSG keeper Gianluigi Donnarumma in the build-up to the first of his three goals, Leonardo conceded changes were needed but not a large-scale rebuild. 

"It's a blow," Leonardo told RMC Sport after PSG's 3-2 aggregate reverse. 

"We can't bury everything that has been done. It's difficult to analyse.

"The foul on Donnarumma was decisive, but we had difficulty managing this moment. We lost control, we have to look for solutions. It's a shame that a decision is decisive in this kind of moment, but we have to keep calm. 

"We made mistakes, we have to change things, but we don't have to review everything.

"We must not throw everything away and put everything in the trash. We must not start all over again from scratch with each defeat.

"The objective is to win the Champions League, and until half-time of this match we were good."

The defeat is certain to lead to renewed speculation regarding the future of Pochettino, who has been strongly linked with a move to Manchester United in the close season.

But Leonardo says the former Tottenham coach remains in their plans, at least for the time being.

"We must stay together. Pochettino is still in the project for this season," he added.

"This is not the time to think about that [the coach's future]."

Thibaut Courtois tipped Karim Benzema to challenge for the Ballon d'Or following his star performance for Real Madrid against Paris Saint-Germain.

Benzema struck a hat-trick to secure a 3-1 second-leg win over PSG at the Santiago Bernabeu and send Madrid into the Champions League quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.

The Ligue 1 leaders held a 1-0 lead from the first leg of the last-16 tie and, after Kylian Mbappe fired past Courtois in the first half, it looked as though the tie could be over.

That was until Benzema led a stirring fightback in the final half-hour, scoring his first after forcing an error from goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma and then steering home a deflected strike.

The France striker then flicked in Vinicius Junior's pass to send the home fans into jubilations and mark his 500th start for the club in supreme style by surpassing the great Alfredo Di Stefano in Madrid's all-time scoring charts with 309 in all competitions.

Courtois now thinks Benzema, who became the oldest player to score a hat-trick in Champions League history at the age of 34 years and 80 days, could be in line for the game's top individual honour in 2022.

"I think he's one of the greatest players in the world, the best number nine, maybe with Lewandowski right now," Courtois told RMC Sport.

"I think he showed why he should, maybe, win the Ballon d'Or this year. He's a great player, a real captain. He led the team to victory with his goals and his class."

Mbappe twice saw a goal ruled out for offside prior to Madrid's fightback as PSG again suffered a Champions League second-leg collapse in Spain, five years on from their famous 6-1 loss to Luis Enrique's Barcelona.

"In the end, it was a complicated match with Kylian and Neymar on the counter-attack," said Courtois.

"That was how the first goal came about. Just before then, they had a few chances without much danger.

"We had a nice shot from Karim, I think Donnarumma made a good save from a header. Then Karim pressed the goalkeeper well, he made a mistake, we got back to 1-1. From there, I think the whole stadium was behind us.

"We went for the win after going 2-1 up, the third goal was key, and you felt that for the PSG players, it was harder after this goal."

Carlo Ancelotti hailed Karim Benzema as a "fantastic leader" after the Real Madrid striker's sensational hat-trick dumped Paris Saint-Germain out of the Champions League on Wednesday.

PSG looked on course of the last eight when Kylian Mbappe put them 2-0 up on aggregate late in the first half.

Los Blancos roared back in the second period, though, thanks to Benzema's hat-trick – the second and third of which came within the space of just 106 seconds.

It saw him become the oldest scorer of a hat-trick in Champions League history (aged 34 years and 80 days), 17 days older than Olivier Giroud in December 2020 for Chelsea against Sevilla.

The treble also saw him move above Alfredo Di Stefano into third on Madrid's all-time top goalscorer list with 309.

Ancelotti was full of praise for the talismanic striker as Madrid overturned a first-leg deficit in a Champions League knockout tie for only the fourth time.

"Karim Benzema is a fantastic leader, a fantastic centre forward," he told reporters. 

"I'm very happy with what he's doing and his attitude.

"After the first goal, we got into a good dynamic, we pressed and controlled the ball better. We had fewer difficulties in the second half compared to the first. 

"At half-time, we said to ourselves that we had to stay in the game, even if it was difficult, thinking that something could happen.

"PSG are a great team with great players, but that's football, every little thing can change everything like that first goal."

PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino was adamant Madrid's first goal should have been ruled out for a foul by Benzema on goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, but Ancelotti did not agree with his opposite number. 

Asked if it was a foul, the Italian said: "I don't think so.

"We suffered a lot, but we held on. It was difficult to hold the ball, we tried to press then Karim's good pressure gave us the opportunity to win the game. During the last half hour, there was only one team on the field."

Benzema's third sparked jubilant scenes at the Santiago Bernabeu, with Ancelotti describing the stadium as "magic". 

"I have played many games in this competition and many difficult ones like this," he added. "This stadium has magic; it has a very beautiful history and that is what happens. Hopefully it will not be the last night like this."

Madrid return to domestic action on Monday when they visit Real Mallorca. 

Mauricio Pochettino slammed the officials and asked why VAR was not used to rule out Real Madrid's first goal as Paris Saint-Germain were dumped out of the Champions League in sensational circumstances on Wednesday.

The Ligue 1 leaders looked set for the last eight after Kylian Mbappe had put them 2-0 up on aggregate with a cool finish in the first half.

Madrid, and Karim Benzema in particular, had other ideas, though.

The France international scored a breathtaking hat-trick – the second and third of which came inside the space of just 106 seconds – to book Los Blancos' quarter-final berth.

PSG have now been eliminated from four of their nine Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg, with only Madrid having done so more often in the competition's history (six times).

Pochettino will be under intense pressure after the defeat, but the former Tottenham boss believes the result only came about due to the officials' decision not to penalise Benzema for a foul on goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma during the build-up to the first goal.

"What a shame, there is a foul on Donnarumma for the first goal," he told Canal+. "It is not possible to not talk about this gross mistake. It is not possible for this to happen in 2022.

"Real Madrid's first goal changed the game. I wonder what the VAR does because there is a foul. It's a shame. When you see the action, it's a foul. 

"After that, the match changed. For 60 minutes we dominated and that goal changed everything.

"It's not easy to explain the defeat. After the goal, the nervousness and the feeling of injustice hurt us a lot. The little details mark these games. We felt the impact of the equalising goal."

With a 13-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit, PSG look likely to reclaim the domestic title, but Pochettino concedes the final months of the campaign could be challenging given they are no longer in European football's premier competition. 

"The rest of the season is going to be very difficult," he added. "The Champions League has been PSG's goal for years, everyone knows it. Te fans are going to be upset, we know it.

"At a time like this, we will still have to analyse and remember the good things we have achieved against this excellent Madrid team. But what happened tonight is not normal."

PSG return to domestic action on Sunday when they host Bordeaux. 

As soon as the December draw for the Champions League round-of-16 threw out Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, all eyes were on a certain French striker.

And for a long time Kylian Mbappe looked set to be the difference-maker between two European giants who are also in a tug-of-war for the forward's future.

His excellent goal in the first leg at the Parc des Princes was decisive then, and he terrorised Los Blancos further in Madrid.

But almost out of nowhere the tie was turned on its head, with Karim Benzema once again proving his master status with a truly exceptional display of ruthlessness as Madrid won 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu to secure their passage to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.

This was anything but predictable. After all, the tie was all set up perfectly for 'The Narrative' to settle things in this clash of titans.

For months, maybe years, Madrid have flirted with the idea of bringing Mbappe to the Spanish capital, even going as far as submitting huge bids for him last August.

Carlo Ancelotti is asked about him at pretty much every pre-match news conference, such is the obsession in the Spanish press, but PSG's resolve in August seemed to be paying dividends just over six months later, with Mbappe crucial last time and in the mood here.

Ahead of the trip to Madrid, PSG communicated how the Frenchman was a doubt due to a training knock. Whether that was the truth or subterfuge can only be confirmed by Mauricio Pochettino, but one thing's for certain, Mbappe looked as sharp as ever.

The warning signs were there – twice – inside the first 13 minutes. On both occasions, Mbappe managed to get in behind Madrid's riskily high defence, but he let the hosts off the hook each time.

Despite worrying signs for Madrid, at no point did you expect a tactical change from Ancelotti given Madrid's desperate need to get at least one goal.

As such, the Mbappe 'cheatcode' was seemingly always going to be a possibility for PSG as long as the other 10 remained focused. For all the obsession over tactics, Pochettino's approach seemed to resemble that of millions of FIFA video game players from down the years: kick the ball beyond the defence for the really, really fast chap.

And that was exactly how the breakthrough came. PSG defended a corner and Neymar picked up possession deep inside his own half. Mbappe was already on the charge and the Brazilian clipped a first-time ball over Dani Carvajal.

Mbappe surged forward, shaped to curl his shot around Eder Militao and then picked out the near corner instead, usurping Zlatan Ibrahimovic as PSG's all-time leading scorer in the process.

The offside flag then cruelly, but crucially correctly, denied Mbappe what would have gone down as a classic Champions League goal early in the second, latching on to a throughball and beating Thibaut Courtois with an exquisite stepover before he'd even touched the ball and slotting into an empty net.

And almost instantly PSG's performance went stunningly awry.

Gianluigi Donnarumma's dawdling on the ball gifted Madrid an equaliser as Benzema charged down his clearance and then stabbed in from Vinicius Junior's cut-back.

Suddenly Madrid were like a pack of rabid wolves. Donnarumma's hesitancy and indecision began to overcome the rest of his back four, with PSG almost in a flash going from in control to utterly terrified.

Just 15 minutes later, 1-1 turned into 2-1, with Luka Modric doing brilliantly in midfield to pick out Vinicius, who had the presence of mind to patiently wait for the Croatian to appear on the edge of the box, and he slotted the ball through to Benzema to steer home.

Then, within seconds of PSG restarting the game, Marquinhos panicked in his own area, flicking the ball into the path of Benzema who unleashed an impossibly cool finish into the bottom-right corner, picking it out with the outside of his foot without breaking stride.

It sparked bedlam in the stands of the Santiago Bernabeu as it quickly dawned on the Madrid faithful and players that the tie was theirs. While PSG had the best part of 15 minutes to fight back, their mystifying lack of composure since the hour mark had already sapped them of belief.

Mbappe looked on, having gone from unstoppable to helpless in the space of just a few second-half minutes.

Of course, a key difference between the goalscorers was their respective supporting casts. While Lionel Messi, Marco Verratti and Neymar looked impressive in the first half, they were nowhere to be seen after half-time.

Madrid, on the other hand, had already looked a threat with Vinicius up top alongside Benzema. The Brazilian excelled where his compatriot Neymar could not – the young winger was relentless, working exceptionally hard throughout to ensure Benzema didn't have to do it alone, even if the headlines will suggest it was all him.

There is a school of thought that this tie will ultimately determine where Mbappe ends up next season. On the evidence of this, a front three of him, Benzema and Vinicius will be mouthwatering.

Mbappe has so far been very calm and unequivocal when asked about his future, but Madrid have given him a glimpse of what awaits.

Karim Benzema scored a sensational hat-trick as Real Madrid fought back to beat Paris Saint-Germain 3-1 on Wednesday and secure a scarcely believable 3-2 aggregate victory in their Champions League last-16 tie.

Kylian Mbappe, who is widely expected to join Madrid on a free transfer at the end of the season, gave PSG a two-goal lead in the tie with a breakaway goal late in the first half – a goal that moved him clear of Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the Ligue 1 side's second all-time top scorer with 157 goals.

Benzema led a stirring Los Blancos fightback in the second half, though, grabbing his first in the 61st minute after a big mistake from Gianluigi Donnarumma.

He then sealed their progress into the quarter-finals with two goals in the space of two minutes to leave Mauricio Pochettino's side stunned.

Kylian Mbappe moved beyond Zlatan Ibrahimovic to go second outright on the list of Paris Saint-Germain's leading all-time goalscorers when he struck against Real Madrid on Wednesday.

The France striker took his tally to 157 with a cool finish in the second leg of PSG's Champions League last-16 clash against Los Blancos. 

It was the prolific 23-year-old's 25th goal of the season in all competitions and means he has bettered Ibrahimovic's haul of 156 during his time in the French capital.

Edinson Cavani is the only player to have scored more goals for PSG, the Uruguay international finding the back of the net 200 times.

Mbappe has now netted 44 goals for the club in the Champions League, as well as 105 in Ligue 1, with the remainder coming in domestic cup competitions.

Kylian Mbappe has overcome a training injury to be named in Paris Saint-Germain's starting XI to face Real Madrid in the Champions League on Wednesday.

World Cup winner Mbappe suffered a knock on Monday as PSG prepared to defend their 1-0 aggregate lead in the last-16 second leg at the Santiago Bernabeu.

PSG said the following day that Mbappe's progress had been "reassuring", with a further assessment to be made closer to kick-off after travelling to Madrid.

He then took part in a training session at the Bernabeu on Wednesday and was later confirmed to be leading the line for PSG.

Mbappe was the star of the show and scored the decisive goal in the first leg at the Parc des Princes last month.

He has been strongly linked with a move to Madrid at the end of the season, with his PSG contract set to expire in June.

Mbappe is joined in attack by Neymar and Lionel Messi, who has not scored in 695 minutes against Los Blancos in all competitions.

Madrid named their starting XI early.

While there were few surprises, Carlo Ancelotti is without the suspended Casemiro and Ferland Mendy, meaning Federico Valverde and Nacho Fernandez deputise in their respective places.

The two games in the Champions League round of 16 on Wednesday both feature favourites to go all the way in this season's competition. One is finely poised, the other... not so much.

Paris Saint-Germain nicked a one goal advantage late on in the home leg against Real Madrid but travel to the Santiago Bernabeu with plenty of work still to do.

Manchester City dispatched Sporting CP with ease in Lisbon to make the return fixture surely nothing more than a procession.

Here are some Opta facts ahead of both encounters to leave the mouth watering further ahead of the clash in Spain, and maybe even give the most optimistic of Sporting fans the slimmest glimmer of hope.

Real Madrid v Paris Saint-Germain

PSG were on top for much of the first leg in Paris, but it took a moment of genius from Kylian Mbappe in stoppage time to seal a 1-0 win.

That might be enough though as Madrid have been eliminated from nine of their last 10 knockout ties in the Champions League when losing the first leg, with the exception being a 3-2 aggregate victory over Wolfsburg in the 2015-16 quarter-finals.

However, PSG have been eliminated from three of their eight Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg – only Barcelona (four) and Madrid (six) have been eliminated in this fashion more often.

Lionel Messi has failed to score in his last 695 minutes of action against Los Blancos in all competitions since scoring for Barcelona in May 2018. The Argentine had his penalty saved against them in the first leg, which was his fifth penalty failure in the Champions League (from 23 taken, excluding shoot-outs).

Mauricio Pochettino's men are winless in their last four away matches in the Champions League (D2 L2). They last had a longer run without a win on the road in the competition between September 2000 and October 2012 (10 games).

Karim Benzema, meanwhile, has scored 12 goals in his last 11 Champions League home games for Madrid. Overall, he has netted 64 goals for the Spanish side in the competition, behind only Cristiano Ronaldo (105) and Raul (66).

Mbappe, who has been linked with a move to Madrid and may well be an injury doubt for Wednesday, has been directly involved in 18 goals in his last 13 appearances in the Champions League, scoring 13 and assisting a further five.

 

Manchester City v Sporting CP

City eased to a 5-0 win in Portugal, the joint-biggest winning margin away from home in the knockout stages in Champions League history. The largest first-leg deficit to be overturned in the competition is four goals (PSG 4-0, Barcelona 6-1 in 2016-17).

Pep Guardiola's team have won their last six home matches in the knockout stages of the Champions League, and could tie a record that has been reached on five occasions previously (Bayern Munich – April 2002, Milan – April 2006, Manchester United – March 2009, Bayern – February 2017 and Madrid – February 2018).

Kevin De Bruyne – who scored twice in a 4-1 win over Manchester United on Sunday – could make his 50th Champions League appearance for City. The Belgian has been directly involved in 27 goals in his previous 49 (10 goals and 17 assists).

Riyad Mahrez has scored six Champions League goals this season and needs one more to set a record for most goals in a single season in the competition by a City player.

 

Sporting, on the other hand, have lost all three of their matches in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, conceding 17 goals in total (5.7 per game).

Ruben Amorim's side have failed to keep a clean sheet in any of their last 13 away matches in the Champions League, conceding 31 goals in the process (2.4 per game). This is already the longest run of away matches without a clean sheet by a Portuguese side in the competition.

Antonio Rudiger's future at Chelsea has been the topic of plenty of speculation.

The 29-year-old centre-back has been with the Blues since 2017 when he joined on a five-year deal.

Rudiger is yet to extend his contract with Chelsea, with plenty of interest in the Germany international.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE AND MAN UTD IN FOR RUDIGER

Newcastle United are ready to compete in the race to sign Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, claims the Telegraph.

The Germany international has drawn interest from Real Madrid while the Express reports that Manchester United are also considering a move for the defender.

Rudiger's contract with Chelsea expires at the end of this season, although he has not ruled out staying at Stamford Bridge.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Express claims Harry Kane has informed his Tottenham team-mates that he will remain with the club should they clinch a top-four spot and Champions League football.

Arsenal may move to re-sign Serge Gnabry from Bayern Munich, who previously spent four years with the Gunners, according to Football.London. Gnabry is valued at €75million (£63m).

Arsenal, along with Leicester City, have sent scouts to track Sassuolo forward Domenico Berardi, according to Nicolo Schira. The Italians are asking for €30m for their club captain, with interest from Napoli and Milan also.

- FootMercato claims Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are considering moves for Manchester City's Algerian winger Riyad Mahrez.

Luka Modric hopes Kylian Mbappe will join him at Real Madrid next season, as speculation continues over the forward's future.

Mbappe's contract expires at the end of June and the Paris Saint-Germain forward continues to be strongly linked with a move to Madrid.

The prolific 23-year-old has been included in PSG's squad to face Los Blancos in the second leg of their Champions League round of 16 tie on Wednesday and looks set to play despite suffering a knock in training on Monday.

Mbappe was the difference in the first leg, scoring a stunning late winner to give PSG a 1-0 advantage in the tie after Lionel Messi had seen a penalty saved by Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

Modric is also coming towards the end of his contract but has spoken of his desire to extend his stay with LaLiga leaders Madrid, and the 2018 Ballon d'Or winner says any player in the world would want Mbappe as a team-mate.

"We want to play with great players, Kylian is one of those. Of course, I'd like to play with him, let's see," the midfielder told reporters.

"It's difficult to talk about other players, clubs get angry, can interpret it badly, but I don't think a player exists that doesn't want him on their team."

Mbappe has been directly involved in 18 goals in his last 13 appearances in the Champions League, scoring 13 goals and assisting a further five.

His winning strike in the first leg was his latest goal in the competition to date, coming after 93 minutes and 14 seconds.

A big part of PSG's resolve to keep Mbappe despite bids from Madrid last year was their desire to win the Champions League.

However, PSG have been eliminated from three of their eight Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg – only Barcelona (four) and Madrid (six) have been knocked out in this fashion more often.

Neymar is relishing the chance to create more happy memories at the Santiago Bernabeu after declaring himself fully fit for Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 second leg with Real Madrid.

The Brazil international spent four seasons with Madrid's bitter rivals Barcelona prior to joining PSG in 2017, winning eight trophies – including the European Cup in 2014-15 – during his time in Spain.

He has found the net three times in 11 appearances against Los Blancos with PSG and Barca, two of those goals coming at the Bernabeu, including in a 4-0 LaLiga victory for the Catalans in November 2015.

Neymar had been considered a major doubt for the first leg with Madrid three weeks ago, but he made his return from a near-three-month injury lay-off to play the final 17 minutes of his side's 1-0 victory in Paris.

Having started PSG's three league matches since then, the 30-year-old is ready to make an impact in Wednesday's return fixture in the Spanish capital.

"I feel 100 per cent fit," he said at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday. "My injury lay-off was longer than expected, and it was a very tough injury to recover from.

"But I'm 100 per cent mentally and physically ready to help the team, help my team-mates and play a great game. It's a match where you have to all be ready.

"I had targeted this fixture for my return. It's a game that the players want to play, you have to enjoy every minute of these games. These are minutes that will not be repeated. 

"I focused and I worked to help the team. I'm going to give everything and do everything tomorrow. You have to have a very strong mentality to play a great game.

"I have a lot of good memories at this ground. I have scored goals and made assists here. Playing here is always special and not just for me."

 

Neymar is not the only former Barca player set to feature at the Bernabeu, with fellow forward Lionel Messi also expected to start against a team he inflicted a number of painful defeats on across 17 years in the Blaugrana's first team.

"It's a special match for me and Lionel because we played at Barca," Neymar said. "We are motivated. We want to play well tomorrow and to make some history for PSG.

"I feel good to help PSG. We're ready to play on Wednesday. This is a very strong team in front of us, with players with a lot of quality. But we're not going to give up or hide. We're going to give everything to try to win the game.

"I'm happy to play and I'm sure my team-mates have the ambition to play on Wednesday and go home with a victory."

Kylian Mbappe's late strike at the Parc des Princes leaves PSG as slight favourites heading into the second leg, but the visitors have been eliminated from three of their eight Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg.

Only Barcelona (four) and Madrid (six) have a worse such record, while PSG have won just one of their previous five away games against Los Blancos in European competition.

But with this year's final being switched from Saint Petersburg to the Stade de France in Paris, Neymar is extra motivated to ensure that PSG get the job done.

 

"The final being in Paris is incredible for us," said Neymar, who has provided more assists (27) than any player in UEFA's primary club competition than any other player since his debut in September 2013.

"It makes us want to reach the final even more, more than ever. But we have to start on Wednesday. We've been working for a long time and Wednesday is a step towards our goal.

"It's a match between PSG and Real, which is always 50-50. There are no favourites as they are two strong teams. We have an advantage after winning 1-0 in the first leg, but we have to think about winning and playing even better.

"We have to attack and defend together. These are things that can help us win the Champions League if we play together. If we play together, we have the possibility of winning the match, but not only that."

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