Didier Drogba believes Paris Saint-Germain's "exceptional" strikers Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will both win the Ballon d'Or during their careers.

The pair have been instrumental in PSG's dominance of French football since linking up at the start of the 2017-18 season, scoring 115 goals between them across all competitions.

Luka Modric broke Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo's decade-long stranglehold on the Ballon d'Or last year and former Chelsea and Marseille striker Drogba has no doubt PSG's potent attackers will join that illustrious group.

He told Le Parisien: "Neymar and Mbappe will one day win the Ballon d'Or. They are part of this small group of exceptional players. There are very few in the world."

While Champions League winner Drogba thinks their individual talents will be recognised on the highest stage, he was keen to point out how impressively they work together in tandem.

"Neymar likes to create spaces and Kylian likes to move into those spaces. Neymar creates and Kylian profits. It works very well," Drogba said.

"Just watch them when they are together on the pitch. They are constantly looking for each other. It's almost the first thing they do when they touch the ball. It is obvious that when they are not on the pitch, PSG are not as strong."

Neymar has endured a mixed start to the campaign after an off-season transfer saga during which he reportedly pushed for a return to Barcelona.

He was booed by PSG's own supporters during a home clash with Strasbourg on September 14 before scoring a stunning stoppage-time winner. He followed that up last weekend with another decisive late goal against Lyon.

Drogba believes the Brazilian has been harshly treated and does not think it will not take him long to be accepted by fans again.

"At the moment, it seems like it's fashionable to criticise him for everything that happened [during the off-season]. But once he's on the pitch, who can seriously say they do not take pleasure in watching him play?" Drogba said. 

"The more matches he plays, the more things will change and he will become what he was before.

"I'm sorry, but what happened this summer is what happens in all the big clubs with all the big players. There are some who want to leave and some their clubs want to keep. It's the life of modern football."

Christian Eriksen appears set to leave Tottenham and Manchester United could make it happen in January.

The Denmark international was linked with a move away from Spurs during the close season amid reported interest from Real Madrid, but ended up staying in North London.

However, with his contract expiring at season's end, United are said to be weighing up a deal.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UNITED CONSIDER ERIKSEN MOVE IN JANUARY

Manchester United are considering a January move for Spurs midfielder Eriksen, according to Goal.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side are struggling this season and could look to strengthen to begin 2020.

Madrid are also reportedly still interested in Eriksen, but may want to wait until the end of the season to bring in the Dane.

 

ROUND-UP

- Pictured with Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar on Thursday, Arthur may have upset his club Barcelona. The LaLiga champions are unhappy with the midfielder after the night out, according to Marca.

- Staying at Camp Nou and Neymar seems to remain eager for a return to Barcelona. Cadena SER reports the forward would have dropped his lawsuit against the club if they promised to re-sign him next year. Neymar is in court against Barca fighting to be paid a bonus he believes he is owed from his contract signed in 2016.

- Jose Mourinho knows what he wants his next move to be. Having turned down numerous clubs since leaving Old Trafford, Mourinho wants a return to Real Madrid, according to Goal.

- Everton are apparently looking to sign Mario Gotze. The Borussia Dortmund attacker is out of contract at the end of the season and Augsburger Allgemeine says the Premier League club want to sign Gotze on a free transfer.

Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi are fit to play for Paris Saint-Germain against Bordeaux in Ligue 1 this weekend, Thomas Tuchel has confirmed.

PSG's attacking options have been stretched of late with record goalscorer Edinson Cavani having also been sidelined.

Mbappe and Cavani have been out since they were both hurt in a 4-0 home win over Toulouse a month ago, while PSG lost their last league match at home to Reims without the pair.

But ahead of Wednesday's Champions League trip to Galatasaray, which Neymar will miss due to suspension, Tuchel's squad has received a boost.

Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Tuchel confirmed Mbappe and loanee Icardi are both available.

Asked about the combination between Neymar and Mbappe, Tuchel said: "The relationship between the two is the key for us, they can bring us a lot of possibilities.

"Mbappe has been hurt for weeks, we have to be patient, and tomorrow it's impossible for Kylian to play 90 minutes.

"We have to adapt to the situation and the opponent. Tomorrow, we will be able to play Mbappe and Icardi."

Wednesday's loss to Reims was PSG's first home defeat in Ligue 1 since May 2018, before Tuchel took charge.

"It's a good thing to play quickly after the loss," said Tuchel.

"It's always hard to find a good mood after a setback; it's the challenge tomorrow against a good team from Bordeaux, to start winning again.

"It was a lack of intensity. It was a surprise for me because I made some changes to have intensity.

"I hate to lose, it was super hard. We can do better and we'll improve."

First reports of interest from Real Madrid. Now Manchester United…

Mauricio Pochettino's future is dominating headlines amid Tottenham's struggles this season.

A switch to Old Trafford could be on the cards for Pochettino.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED READY TO SPLASH CASH FOR POCH

According to The Sun, Manchester United are willing to make a move for Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino.

Tottenham have struggled since reaching the Champions League final last season, and Pochettino is reportedly unhappy in London.

Speculation has linked to Pochettino to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and United, who are prepared to meet his £32million buyout clause, having reportedly considered the Argentinian before appointing Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United star Paul Pogba will make another attempt to leave Old Trafford in January, claims The Sun. Pogba was tipped to depart United during the previous transfer window, however, a proposed move to either Real Madrid or Juventus did not materialise.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo already has an idea for who could replace head coach Thomas Tuchel. After a shock loss to Reims in Ligue 1, Calciomercato says Leonardo only wants former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri if Tuchel leaves the French champions.

- Tuttosport says Juventus striker Mario Mandzukic is waiting for Manchester United in January after turning down a move to Qatar. It comes as the Daily Mail reports United have sent scouts to watch Lyon's Moussa Dembele.

Barcelona are continuing to heavily monitor Napoli star and Spanish midfielder Fabian Ruiz, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Premier League champions Manchester City and Southampton are scouting Hearts left-back Aaron Hickey, reports the Daily Record.

Pablo Sarabia insists injury-enforced changes were no excuse for Paris Saint-Germain's surprise 2-0 loss to Reims in Ligue 1.

The champions lost a home league match for the first in 16 months as their visitors capitalised upon a lacklustre display – substitute Boulaye Dia sealing the points in stoppage time after Hassane Kamara's first-half opener.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel made five changes to his starting XI and was without the likes of Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi, but former Sevilla winger Sarabia felt there was still ample quality to get the job done.

"It was a game in which we could not find any space, we were unable to knock the ball about with the right pace, and then they penalised us on the break," he told reporters.

"They [Tuchel's rotations] are top-level changes as every player coming in can do very well. Unfortunately, today we were not able to find the way to hurt our opponents."

An injury to Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting saw Sarabia pressed into action as an emergency number nine.

"I will play wherever the manager decides," he said. "The team needed me to play there so I tried to do my best, by playing on the spaces and trying to stretch our opponents. I tried to do my best."

It meant Sarabia was flanked in the front three by Neymar and Angel Di Maria – somewhat underlining his point that PSG should have made their quality tell.

"It makes me feel honoured and excited as we have a fantastic quality on the pitch," he added.

"We need to learn how to hurt the opponents as that is why we all are here."

PSG remain top of Ligue 1, although only by virtue of goal difference from Angers, and travel to Bordeaux on Saturday.

Real Madrid could complete a deal for Christian Eriksen in the new year, while Barcelona have big plans of their own.

Eriksen was heavily linked with a move away from Tottenham in the close season, only for no switch to materialise as he entered the final year of his contract.

But that could change at the start of 2020, while Barca are also looking to the Premier League for a big signing.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WANT ERIKSEN SIGNED IN JANUARY

Real Madrid are hoping Eriksen will sign a pre-contract in January, according to the Mirror.

The LaLiga giants want the Denmark international signed before joining for free when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The report says Madrid are also targeting Spurs manager Mauricio Pochettino with Zinedine Zidane under some pressure at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Meanwhile, the Daily Mail reports Tottenham are worried Eriksen will reject attempts to sell him in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Ernesto Valverde under pressure, Barcelona great Xavi – the Al Sadd boss – sees Manchester City star Raheem Sterling as a perfect signing if he takes over as coach, according to the Daily Mail. Real Madrid are also reportedly interested in the England attacker.

- If Pochettino leaves Tottenham, it appears there are several managers interested in moving to Spurs. The Sun reports former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is waiting in the wings if Pochettino leaves, while the Daily Mail says former Spurs forward Jurgen Klinsmann also wants the job.

- Amid uncertainty over his future at Camp Nou, Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic has ruled out moving to Qatar, according to Fox Sports. The Croatia international has previously been linked to Paris Saint-Germain.

- Barcelona are pressing for Spain not to take 16-year-old forward Ansu Fati to the upcoming Under-17 World Cup, according to AS. Fati has been a revelation for Barca this season, scoring two goals in six games.

- Linked with a move to MLS side Chicago Fire, Andres Guardado is set to stay at Real Betis. The Mexico international will sign a two-year contract with the LaLiga outfit, according to Estadio Deportivo, with his current deal ending at season's end.

- Claudio Ranieri is set for a return to coaching. The 67-year-old, who left Roma at the end of last season, could take over at struggling Ligue 1 club Saint-Etienne, according to Calciomercato.

Dimitri Payet has been handed a four-match suspension after he insulted a referee during the Ligue 1 game between Marseille and Montpellier.

The France international has already served a one-game ban but will be unavailable to Marseille for matches against Rennes, Amiens and Strasbourg, the Ligue de Football Professionnel confirmed.

Payet had been booked for a foul on Montpellier's Hilton and he responded angrily towards referee Amaury Delerue, who produced a second yellow card.

The 32-year-old, who has scored two Ligue 1 goals this season, will be back to face Paris Saint-Germain in Le Classique at the Parc des Princes on October 27.

There were three red cards in the game and Marseille defender Boubacar Kamara has been banned for two matches for his sending-off against Montpellier.

Jordan Ferri was also sent off after a scuffle with Kamara in the closing stages and the Montpellier midfielder will serve a three-match suspension.

Marseille will also be without Kevin Strootman for their Ligue 1 match against Amiens due to an accumulation of yellow cards.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel was critical of a poor performance from his players after their 2-0 home defeat to Reims in Ligue 1.

Goals from Hassane Kamara and Boulaye Dia secured a surprise victory for Reims at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday as PSG slipped to their second defeat of the season.

PSG remain top of the table after seven matches but are only ahead of second-placed Angers on goal difference.

The underwhelming manner of the defeat was what irked Tuchel as they lost at home in Ligue 1 for the first time since May 2018 – a run of 22 matches.

"I'm disappointed with our performance," Tuchel said.

"Playing in the Parc with the Parisian jersey is always special, and it is true that the performance was insufficient.

"The first 10, maybe 15, minutes went well but then every minute that passed was worse and worse.

"We did not show what we are capable of doing – so defeat is deserved."

PSG were without the attacking qualities of Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and the on-loan Mauro Icardi – all absent through injury – while Marco Verratti was suspended.

Tuchel made five changes to his starting line-up as he rotated his injury-hit squad and PSG lacked rhythm and creativity with much of the impetus in the final third placed on Neymar's shoulders.

The Brazil forward, who had scored the winning goal in consecutive 1-0 wins in Ligue 1 for PSG, was not able to perform the feat again.

Tuchel, though, defended his decision to make so many changes to the team which started against Reims, despite the result.

"I regret nothing," he added. "Because I have to manage my team and we lack players and we cannot use too few. And it's easier to analyse afterwards. 

"We have to make decisions and I have made them. Now these are the consequences, but I do not think we lost because we changed players too much. It's more due to the way we played. 

"We lost logically because Reims was closer to its optimal shape than we were. 

"I'm disappointed with our performance, but we are always together and we remain united in defeat."

Paris Saint-Germain suffered their first home league defeat since May 2018 as goals from Hassane Kamara and Boulaye Dia gave Reims a shock 2-0 victory at the Parc des Princes.

The Ligue 1 champions, deprived of a host of key players, were well below their best and a spirited Reims side took advantage.

Kamara powerfully headed in the 29th minute and, even though PSG piled on the pressure in the second half, the visitors' defence stood firm.

Dia added a second in the fourth minute of injury time with a spectacular bicycle kick.

PSG were without the attacking qualities of Julian Draxler, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and the on-loan Mauro Icardi – all absent through injury – while Marco Verratti was suspended.

It meant much of PSG's impetus in the final third fell to Neymar, whose knack of scoring late goals secured back-to-back 1-0 wins against Strasbourg and Lyon in Ligue 1.

However, Reims packed midfield and swarmed around the Brazilian whenever he received the ball, stifling Neymar's impact, although he did go close with a free-kick that curled narrowly over the crossbar.

The visitors took a surprise lead just before the half-hour mark when Kamara netted his first top-flight goal.

PSG goalkeeper Keylor Navas almost kept out Kamara's header, from Marshall Munetsi's cross, with a spectacular one-handed diving save but the Reims midfielder's effort had too much power and it went in off the post.

Thomas Tuchel's side dropped points in an away defeat to Rennes last month, and they only threatened sporadically in their quest to avoid a second league loss of the campaign.

PSG had not been beaten at home in league since a 2-0 reverse at the hands of Rennes in May 2018, and they went down by the same margin when Dia got on the end of Thomas Foket's cross and volleyed home in stunning fashion.


 

Paris Saint-Germain's injury problems continue to mount after Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting limped out of their Ligue 1 match with Reims on Wednesday.

The 30-year-old forward, who had made little impact on the game, received a knock and was replaced by Angel Di Maria three minutes before half-time.

PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel's frustration on the touchline was clear with Choupo-Moting potentially joining a lengthy list on the sidelines.

Tuchel is already without a number of key players, including forwards Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi.

 

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is the standout player for the first FIFA 20 Ultimate Team Team of the Week since the new game's full release.

While Bernardo Silva got a hat-trick in City's 8-0 demolition of Watford on Saturday, De Bruyne was still the best player on the pitch.

The Belgian got the eighth goal, a pair of assists and generally ran the show, as City swept their visitors aside with remarkable ease.

Leicester City midfielder James Maddison and Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold are the other Premier League representatives in the starting XI, while the latter's former Reds team-mate Philippe Coutinho is also included after getting a goal and an assist in Bayern Munich's 4-0 win over Cologne.

Find out the full squad of 23 below.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Benjamin Lecomte (Monaco) – 84

RB: Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool) – 85

CB: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain) – 88

CB: Willi Orban (RB Leipzig) – 84

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma) – 84

CDM: Marcelo Brozovic (Inter) – 84

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – 92

CM: James Maddison (Leicester City) – 82

CAM: Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich) – 87

ST: Willian Jose (Real Sociedad) – 84

LW: Youcef Atal (Nice) – 81

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Ruben Blanco (Celta Vigo) – 81

LB: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham) – 81

CM: Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow) – 81

LM: Carlos Eduardo (Al Hilal) – 81

LM: Amine Harit (Schalke) – 81

ST: Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 81

LW: Francesco Caputo (Sassuolo) – 81

RESERVES

CB: Chey Dunkley (Wigan Athletic) – 78

LM: Tarique Fosu (Burton Albion) – 76

LW: Casimir Ninga (Angers) – 79

ST: Ismael Sosa (Leon) – 79

ST: Erik Exposito (Slask Wroclaw) – 75

After requesting a move away from Paris Saint-Germain, who would have thought Neymar could be in line to sign a contract extension?

Neymar was determined to return to LaLiga champions Barcelona but a deal did not materialise prior to the transfer window closing.

Now, Neymar's long-term future could be in Paris…

 

TOP STORY – PSG HOPEFUL OF EXTENDING NEYMAR CONTRACT

Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of signing superstar Neymar to a new contract, reports Le10Sport.

LaLiga champions Barcelona were in talks to re-sign Neymar from PSG after the Brazilian's world-record €222million transfer in 2017, however, an agreement could not be reached.

Neymar, though, has reportedly held talks with PSG over extending his contract in the French capital.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Sun says Manchester United will target Juventus veteran Mario Mandzukic in January. The 33-year-old Croatian was linked with a move to Old Trafford before the window shut. But with United facing a crisis following injuries to Marcus Rashford and Anthony Martial after Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez's exits, the Red Devils are believed to be weighing up Mandzukic.

AC Milan turned down the chance to sign Chelsea sensation Tammy Abraham, according to Tuttomercatoweb. The 21-year-old has already scored seven Premier League goals this season. However, Milan reportedly pulled the plug on the deal due to his apparent inexperience at the top level.

United and Juventus are reportedly scouting Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali. According to Gazzetta dello Sport, a United scout was in attendance for Tuesday's Serie A clash between Brescia and Juve. Bundesliga outfit Borussia Dortmund are also reportedly eyeing the 19-year-old.

Napoli are in talks with centre-back Nikola Maksimovic over a new long-term contract, reports Corriere dello Sport.

- Sky Sports claims Atletico Madrid are tracking Boca Juniors sensation Agustin Almendra. LaLiga rivals Sevilla and Valencia have also reportedly inquired about the 19-year-old.

Thomas Tuchel indicated he will rotate his depleted Paris Saint-Germain squad against Reims in Ligue 1 on Wednesday as he balances an ongoing injury crisis.

Forwards Mauro Icardi, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani are all unavailable, as well as defender Thilo Kehrer and midfielder Julian Draxler, while Marco Verratti is suspended.

Neymar and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting are therefore the only senior attackers available to PSG, who are three points clear at the top of the table after six matches.

After sitting out the opening weeks of the season due to injury and uncertainty over his future, Neymar has hit late winners in consecutive league defeats of Strasbourg and Lyon.

Tuchel, though, suggested the Brazil forward could sit out the visit of Reims to ensure he is kept fresh for PSG's busy upcoming schedule.

"It's not possible to pick the same players," he told a news conference. "I'm responsible for the team, we only have two days of rest.

"Then we play in Bordeaux, then in Istanbul [against Galatasaray in the Champions League] two days later, we cannot overuse the players."

Neymar reported late to training on Tuesday but Tuchel confirmed this was authorised as the forward had a "personal thing".

The 27-year-old has yet to be forgiven by some PSG fans after making it clear he wanted to leave the club during the transfer window.

Thomas Meunier, though, feels supporters need to move on from that saga and give Neymar their backing.

"Whistling is not the answer, I'm happy with what he brings in," he told a news conference.

"Professionally he did the right thing, he did not make a story, he's convinced himself that he can still play a role in the club."

Vicente del Bosque prefers Neymar to Kylian Mbappe at Paris Saint-Germain, even though he thinks the Brazil star's behaviour can cause problems.

Neymar has made an impressive return to first-team action with the Ligue 1 champions, having missed five of their opening seven games in 2019-20 in all competitions.

The forward's pre-season was blighted by an ankle injury that saw him miss the Copa America, and he was then kept out of the PSG side by head coach Thomas Tuchel during an uncertain transfer window.

The 27-year-old failed to secure a return to Barcelona before the transfer deadline, though, and has scored exceptional late winning goals in his performances against Strasbourg and Lyon since.

Despite raising concerns over whether he could ever be considered an "example" in the game, former Real Madrid and Spain boss Del Bosque would gladly have Neymar at his disposal.

Speaking to Cadena SER, he said: "Between Neymar and Mbappe, I like Neymar right now. He does a lot of b******t and he's not an example for anything, but as a player he's terrific.

"Mbappe has qualities to be the successor to Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, but he still needs to refine things a little. It's a little like it is with Vinicius [Junior]."

Del Bosque was speaking after Barcelona captain Messi was awarded The Best FIFA Men's Player prize for 2019, ahead of Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk and Juventus forward Ronaldo.

"For me, yes, Messi is the best ever, but that's not to detract from Ronaldo," was Del Bosque's assessment.

"Last year, someone dared to claim that Cristiano Ronaldo was finished, that it didn't matter if he left [Madrid]. Messi and Cristiano have no limits."

Del Bosque has been out of football since leaving his Spain post following Euro 2016, where they lost to Italy in the last 16.

The 68-year-old won the 2010 World Cup and Euro 2012 with the national team, having previously won two LaLigas and two Champions Leagues in a four-year spell as Madrid head coach.

Given those achievements, he has no desire to come out of retirement.

"I don't miss the dugout. Would I come back? No way - not a chance. I don't miss anything. I've already been in the two best places I could be," Del Bosque said.

Real Madrid have set their sights on Mauricio Pochettino to be their next coach and they are also interested in a Premier League star, according to reports.

Pochettino has regularly been linked with a move away from Tottenham, where he has impressed since taking charge in 2014.

And the LaLiga giants are said to be eyeing the Argentinian amid pressure on Zinedine Zidane.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYEING POCHETTINO, STERLING

Real Madrid are ready to make an approach for Pochettino, according to The Mirror.

The Tottenham manager will be Madrid's top target if they decide to replace Zidane, the report says.

Madrid eased the pressure on Zidane with a 1-0 win at Sevilla on Sunday, moving them level on points with LaLiga leaders Athletic Bilbao.

Meanwhile, The Athletic reports Madrid met with Manchester City star Raheem Sterling's representatives during the off-season and the attacker is keen to play for the LaLiga giants one day, while the Premier League champions are confident the England international will stay.

 

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United have made a poor start to the season, but Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is set to get backing in January. The Daily Mail reports United will back Solskjaer if he wants to strengthen his team, who are eighth in the table.

- Needing to bolster their defence, Juventus could make a move for Paris Saint-Germain full-back Thomas Meunier in January, according to Tuttosport. A deal could include midfielder Emre Can heading to Paris.

- Previously linked with Manchester United, Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is set to renew his contract at Lazio, according to Il Messaggero. The deal, to be worth €3m per season, will reportedly be done by December.

- Mario Mandzukic is still unsure about his future. Tuttosport reports clubs in Qatar are still trying to sign the Juventus striker, but the Croatian may instead wait for a move to the Premier League in January.

- Italy youth international Sandro Tonali is catching the eye at Brescia. AC Milan and Manchester United are monitoring the 19-year-old midfielder, according to Calciomercato.

- Staying at Milan, Calciomercato says the Serie A giants are still looking at PSV forward Donyell Malen. The 20-year-old Netherlands international has scored seven goals in six Eredivisie games this season.

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