Julian Draxler is hopeful Paris Saint-Germain will see the "best Draxler ever" after he signed a three-year contract extension with the club.

The attacking midfielder will remain with PSG until June 2024 having agreed to a deal following a season in which he has made only 12 league starts.

Despite being used in a rotational role behind the established front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria, Draxler has excelled as a creative force for PSG.

Indeed, he has created 30 chances in Ligue 1 in 2020-21, more than any other PSG player outside of their starting attacking trident.

Across Draxler's PSG career, that tally is only topped by the 41 chances he laid on for his team-mates in the 2018-19 campaign, when he provided seven assists.

And Draxler is hopeful of not only recapturing that form but improving on it after extending his stay with a PSG side that must better Lille's result on Sunday to avoid losing the Ligue 1 title for the first time since 2017.

 

"The club's ambitions have become a reality. We played in the semi-final of the Champions League this season and in the final last season," Draxler told PSG's official website.

"We have progressed a lot, and even though we have been through highs and lows, the project is a very attractive one and I am happy to be able to continue here.

"I have been playing a lot more in recent weeks, it's important for me to be able to maintain my rhythm and play matches.

"I feel very good and you can see that in the final weeks of this season.

"We will have a better pre-season this summer than we did last year, we hope that everyone will be ready and that Paris will see the best Draxler ever!" 

Europe's top five leagues all conclude this week and there are still plenty of matters to be resolved – not least who will be crowned champions in Spain and France.

Every division has something riding on the final days of the season, whether it be top spot, European qualification, or relegation.

Ahead of what is set to be a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga campaigns, we look at the state of play in each league.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title with three games to spare, making them the first team in the competition's history to win the title despite being as low as eighth on Christmas Day.

All three relegation places were also decided with three games remaining – a Premier League record – with Fulham joining Sheffield United and West Brom in dropping down a division.

That leaves just the European spots to fight for, and it is shaping up to be an entertaining end to the English top-flight season in that regard. Manchester United are guaranteed a top-four finish, but five other teams – Leicester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham – are in the mix for the two other Champions League berths with two rounds of games to go.

There is also the small matter of the Europa League places for the teams finishing in fifth and sixth, as well as a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League, which goes to the team in seventh, meaning everyone from 10th-placed Leeds United to Leicester in third have something to play for. That includes Arsenal, who have not missed out on European football of some sort in 25 years.

LALIGA 

The Spanish title race appeared to take a dramatic twist on Sunday as Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid at the summit for around 20 minutes. However, Atleti scored two late goals to beat Osasuna, meaning they are two points ahead of their city rivals heading into the final round of games.

Atleti, who have led the way at the top for 29 matchdays, now need to match Madrid's result against Villarreal when they travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on the final day of the season. It is worth noting that Los Blancos have the superior head-to-head record, so a draw would not be enough for Atleti if Madrid win.

Barcelona are officially out of the title race, meanwhile, but they are assured of a top-four finish along with Sevilla. Real Sociedad and Real Betis occupy the Europa League spots, while Villarreal are in a Europa Conference League berth, though just one point separates the three teams so that could all yet change.

To complicate matters, Villarreal could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Manchester United.

At the bottom end of the division, Eibar are already relegated and they will be joined by two of Valladolid, Elche or Huesca. Valladolid must beat Atletico in their final game to have a chance of staying up, while the onus is on Elche to better Huesca's result as they are level on points but have an inferior head-to-head record.

LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 title battle is also going right down to the wire in a three-way dogfight. After a thrilling race that has lasted the course of the season, underdogs Lille lead heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain by one point with one matchday left.

Monaco have won seven of their previous eight games and are three points off leaders Lille, though they require both Les Dogues and PSG to slip up on the final day, as well as beating Lens. Should it come down to goal difference, PSG hold a big lead over their two title rivals.

Incredibly, PSG are still not yet technically assured of a Champions League place as Lyon in fourth are only three points worse off, although it would take a defeat for the reigning champions and victory for Lyon, plus a goal swing of 16, for them to miss out.

Monaco's opponents Lens, incidentally, also have plenty to play for at the weekend as they are sixth – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but can still be caught by Rennes in seventh, while they could yet overtake Marseille in fifth if results go their way.

At the opposite end of the table, there may only be one spot left to be settled in the bottom three – Dijon and Nimes are both already down – but six teams are still very much in danger of the drop. Nantes occupy the relegation play-off spot, with Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg just a point better off, and Bordeaux and Reims only two points clear.

SERIE A

With Inter being crowned Scudetto winners for the first time in 11 years at the start of the month, the biggest storyline in Serie A regards Juventus' top-four fate. The dethroned champions, who had finished top nine years running before this season, are currently down in fifth.

Juve are one point behind Napoli and Milan in the two spots directly above them, while Atalanta are three points better off in second and have the better head-to-head record against the Bianconeri.

Andrea Pirlo's side are therefore in need of favours on the final day in what is poised to be a nail-biting finale in terms of those Champions League places. Lazio will finish sixth, so they are assured of Europa League football next term, while Roma hold a two-point advantage over Sassuolo in the Europa Conference League position.

Parma and Crotone are both down already and one of Benevento or Torino will join them, the latter currently three points outside of the relegation zone and with a game in hand to play on Benevento.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig provided Bayern Munich with some stern competition for a while, but the Bavarian giants' quality eventually told and they are Bundesliga champions for a ninth year running.

It's not only the title race that's done and dusted in Germany, in fact, as RB Leipzig are certain of second place, and both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League next season.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will finish in fifth and sixth respectively regardless of events later this week.

However, Union Berlin have work to do if they are to finish seventh for a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs as Borussia Monchengladbach are a point further back, while Stuttgart and Freiburg are two behind with a game to go.

Seven-time German champions Schalke will be competing in the second tier of German football next season, but Cologne and Werder Bremen are hanging on in there, sitting two and one point behind Arminia Bielefeld respectively in 15th place.

Where will Pau Torres play next season?

The Villarreal defender is reportedly wanted by Premier League giants Manchester United, who are set to face the LaLiga outfit in the Europa League final.

But Napoli are also eyeing the Spain international.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED FACE FIGHT FOR VILLARREAL DEFENDER

Manchester United could face a battle from Napoli to sign Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

United are looking to bolster their defence amid links to Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, as well as Sevilla's Jules Kounde.

Torres has emerged as a serious option, though Napoli are also reportedly interested, with star Kalidou Koulibaly's future uncertain.

 

ROUND-UP

- Lautaro Martinez and Inter have opened dialogue over a contract renewal, says the front page of Monday's Gazzetta dello Sport. Martinez has previously been tipped to join Barcelona, while Madrid have reportedly emerged as suitors.

- L'Equipe claims Lyon captain Memphis Depay will complete his move to Barca in June. It comes as Barca look to seal other free-transfer details for Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum. Barca have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and City's soon-to-be free agent Sergio Aguero.

Roma have no interest in signing Juventus goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon. The Italy great will leave Turin at the end of the season, but it will not be for the Italian capital, reports Calciomercato.

- According to Calciomercato, Mauro Icardi has been tipped to swap Paris Saint-Germain for Juventus. With Cristiano Ronaldo and Paulo Dybala linked with Juve exits, former Inter captain Icardi could return to Italy.

Atalanta are set to trigger their option to sign Cristian Romero from Juve, claims Fabrizio Romano. The defender has been scouted by United.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino said his team must believe in their chances after taking the Ligue 1 title race to the final day of the season.

PSG kept their hopes of retaining the league title alive thanks to Sunday's 4-0 rout of Reims, which moved the defending champions within a point of leaders Lille heading into the final round of the 2020-21 campaign.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were on target against Reims and PSG will – who face Brest on the last day – only get their hands on the title if they better the result Lille get against Angers, needing Christophe Galtier's team to slip up.

The one point separating Lille (80) and PSG (79) before the final matchday is the smallest gap between a leader and second-placed side at this stage of Ligue 1 since the 2001-02 season (Lens one point ahead of Lyon but the latter ultimately triumphed).

"The most important thing is to believe [in our chances]," Pochettino said post-game.

"But now we have to focus on Wednesday's [Coupe de France] final against Monaco. That's our first objective. Then after the French Cup final we will focus on our game against Brest.

"The important thing is that we still have a chance to win the league. We have to do our job and see what Lille do against Angers.

"Sometimes you need a little luck and think it was a penalty and unfortunately a red card for Reims. That's football, sometimes the luck goes your way, and tonight it went our way.

"I think we deserved the victory and the three points that put us in a position to fight with Lille until the very last game."

Neymar opened the scoring with a 13th-minute penalty before Mbappe doubled PSG's lead 11 minutes later, while Marquinhos and Moise Kean made sure of the points in the second half.

PSG's Neymar has scored 18 goals from penalties in Ligue 1 since his debut in 2017-18 (19 penalties taken) – at least five more than any other player over the period. He has been involved in five of PSG's last seven goals in the top flight (three goals and two assists).

Mbappe scored his 40th goal for PSG in all competitions this season (26 in Ligue 1), his best tally in a single campaign.

PSG have earned 79 points after 37 games in Ligue 1 this season, only Monaco (79 in 2013-14) and the Paris side (86 in 2016-17) have claimed at least that many points without standing at the top the table at this stage of the season.

Lille head into their final Ligue 1 match of the season with a slender one-point lead after they could only draw 0-0 at home to Saint-Etienne as nearest challengers Paris Saint-Germain were victorious.

Les Dogues were three points clear at the summit heading into Sunday's fixtures, knowing they could potentially seal the title on the day.

But their performance lacked lustre almost from start to finish, with Christophe Galtier's men unable to get a single shot on target in the first half.

Out of necessity Lille were rather more forceful in their attacking after the break, though their desperation translated to Zeki Celik appearing to dive in an attempt to win a penalty.

They then thought Jonathan David had been fouled in the box a few minutes later, though replays showed the contact was minimal.

A winner almost arrived in the 90th minute as Yusuf Yazici's free-kick went all the way through a crowd of players and appeared to be heading into the bottom-left corner, but Etienne Green in the Saint-Etienne net produced a remarkable save to tip it on to the post.

That was to be their last opportunity, meaning Lille go to Angers on the final day next Sunday with the title race in the balance, just a point ahead of PSG.

It is the smallest lead held by the first-place team ahead of the final matchday of a Ligue 1 season since 2001-02, when Lens were a point clear of Lyon. The latter went on seal the title.

On the final day of the season, PSG will go to Brest while third-placed Monaco – who can still technically win the title as well – head to Lens.

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were on target as Paris Saint-Germain kept alive their hopes of retaining the Ligue 1 title with a 4-0 victory over Reims on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino's side will go into next weekend's final round of the season against Brest one point behind leaders Lille, who were held to a 0-0 draw by Saint-Etienne.

PSG will only get their hands on the title if they better the result Lille get against Angers next weekend, needing Christophe Galtier's team to slip up.

Neymar opened the scoring early on with a penalty after Yunis Abdelhamid had been dismissed for handling an Mbappe shot. World Cup winner Mbappe, Marquinhos and Moise Kean wrapped up the most routine of victories.

Any hopes Reims had of securing back-to-back wins at the Parc des Princes were all but extinguished in the 13th minute.

Abdelhamid received his marching orders for handling Mbappe's goalbound effort, with Neymar nonchalantly slotting home his ninth league goal of the campaign from the resulting penalty.

Mbappe was not to be denied 11 minutes later, sliding home from close range after Thomas Foket had inexplicably rolled the ball across the face of his own goal.

France international Mbappe then fired wide after being played in by a sumptuous Neymar flick as PSG failed to add the third goal their dominance deserved before the interval.

Mbappe went close on a number of occasions at the start of the second period, while Neymar saw an effort ruled out for offside after Ander Herrera had struck the post from distance.

Neymar turned provider for PSG's third after 68 minutes, his corner from the left headed past Predrag Rajkovic by Marquinhos from six yards.

Substitute Kean fired into the bottom-right corner from 15 yards a minute from full-time as PSG inflicted a first defeat in six away games on Reims.

The uncertain future of Kylian Mbappe means Paris Saint-Germain's off-season plans remain unclear.

The big-spending French powerhouse could enter the market to make a splash if the superstar 22-year-old forward exits.

PSG are currently in a Ligue 1 title fight and fell in the Champions League semi-finals.

 

TOP STORY - PSG TO TURN TO BAYERN'S LEWANDOWSKI

L'Equipe claims that PSG have put Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski firmly on their radar, should Kylian Mbappe leave.

Mbappe has been heavily linked with Real Madrid along with Liverpool and Manchester United.

L'Equipe reports that PSG will want to be proactive and land a major signing if Mbappe exits and the Bundesliga top scorer is top of their list, even if Bayern are determined to keep him.

Lewandowski is contracted with Bayern until 2023 although there have been some rumblings about entertaining a move elsewhere.

 

ROUND-UP

- Goal are reporting that Zinedine Zidane has informed his Real Madrid players that he will leave at the end of this season. The Sunday Mirror claims the club are already considering Everton's Carlo Ancelotti and ex-Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri as his replacement.

- Arsenal have joined Manchester City in the race to sign departing Southampton defender Ryan Bertrand reports the Mail on Sunday.

- West Ham are reportedly front of the queue to sign West Brom goalkeeper Sam Johnstone according to Football Insider.

- Bayern Munich are targeting Inter defender Achraf Hakimi according to Mundo Deportivo.

- Marca claims Real Madrid are interested in Rennes teenage midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

Mauricio Pochettino hopes his Paris Saint-Germain side are able to make Lille feel the heat on the final day of the Ligue 1 season.

PSG's title defence will be over on Sunday if surprise leaders Lille get a better result at home to Saint-Etienne than Pochettino's men are able to manage when Reims visit the Parc des Princes.

If Lille win, the best PSG can hope for heading into the final weekend is having a three-point deficit to overturn.

Following the midweek penalty shootout triumph over Montpellier in the semi-finals of the Coupe de France, Pochettino believes his players have got last weekend's disappointing 1-1 draw at Rennes, that handed Christophe Galtier's side an advantage they appear unlikely to relinquish, out of their system.

"We don't want to repeat the problems that we made last week with Rennes. I think that is key," he told a pre-match news conference.

"We need to stay in control of the game to go after a victory and get three points that would keep us in the title race until the last day of the season

"We are motivated, nobody needs motivation. We are motivated to win tomorrow and put the pressure on Lille. We are not thinking about following their game

"We are focused on our match and getting three points because that would give us a chance. Our fate is not in our hands, but we need to make sure that we get our job done."

As is now customary at Pochettino briefings, Kylian Mbappe's future was raised.

The former Tottenham boss offered no updates on any potential new contract, choosing instead to make light of the France superstar's boisterous midweek goal celebrations.

"Thanks to that celebration I have some back pain, which I am having physio treatment for," he chuckled.

"Paris Saint-Germain have an ambitious project in place and keeping a player like Kylian is a key priority for all of us."

PSG will be without Neymar in the cup final after he collected a booking during an at times fraught encounter with Montpellier, subject to an appeal

"This is something the club is handling over the next few days," Pochettino confirmed. "We will see what the decision is and what we can do. But it is something we are thinking about."

Even without Neymar or Mbappe in the short or long term, PSG do not lack for attacking options, although Argentine striker Mauro Icardi has been off colour of late.

The former Inter captain is without a goal in his past four appearances, with a particularly lacklustre showing during the Champions League exit to Manchester City seeing him restricted to 16 touches at the Etihad Stadium.

Nevertheless, Pochettino believes his countryman can still contribute within his preferred high-octane style of play.

"At Tottenham we had different options in terms of style of play, transitions and playing high at different stages," he explained.

"They depend on how well the team was doing, this depends on how you build a team over time, getting to know your players very well and their attributes.

"Mauro Icardi can adapt to any style. He is a top player and that doesn't just apply to transitions, he is dangerous in the box and a clinical finisher.

"These are things we can all work on together and we need to build it over time with the team, bearing in mind the players' attributes so you can create the right dynamics in the team to give you the flexibility that the game requires."

Neymar has questioned French football's lawmakers after being banned for Paris Saint-Germain's Coupe de France final against Monaco next week.

The Brazil international was booked four minutes after being brought off the bench in Wednesday's eventful 2-2 semi-final draw with Montpellier, which PSG won 6-5 on penalties.

Neymar, who sat out two matches after being sent off against Lille last month, has triggered a one-game suspension linked to his punishment for that previous offence.

The league's disciplinary committee met and it has been confirmed Neymar will not be available for the showpiece against Monaco at the Stade de France.

Reacting to the news on his personal Instagram page, Neymar posted: "I would like to understand the reasoning of the guy who takes care of bookings in France! 

"That deserves applause. What a mess."

Neymar's outburst could land him in further trouble with disciplinary chiefs, having also hit out at referee Jeremie Pignard following the win against Montpellier.

"I play five minutes, I commit a foul and he gives me a yellow without even thinking," Neymar posted on social media earlier this week.

"Thank you for suspending me for the final. I think it was personal."

Mauricio Pochettino's PSG may be relying on next Wednesday's Coupe de France final to salvage their campaign.

They trail Ligue 1 leaders Lille by three points with two games to go - the first of those is at home to Reims on Sunday - and were knocked out of the Champions League by Manchester City at the semi-final stage.

Neymar penned a new four-year deal with PSG last week and has featured 29 times for the French giants in all competitions this season, scoring 16 goals.

Lille winning Ligue 1 would be "something huge for French football" according to their former striker Eder.

Christophe Galtier's side could be crowned champions on Sunday when they host Saint-Etienne, if their result in that match betters Paris Saint-Germain's efforts against Reims.

Even if the race goes to the final weekend, a three-point lead with two games to play and the title race being in Lille's hands represents a phenomenal achievement.

PSG have won seven of the past eight top-flight titles in France, but Eder has observed a competition reborn this season – something he feels would be validated by Lille completing an unlikely march to glory.

"I think it's amazing for the championship because a lot of people have been saying that the French championship is PSG and no others," he told Stats Perform.

"I think that a lot of people, a lot of teams this year have been proving that they are there to compete with PSG, like Lyon and Monaco. They are having a great season.

"Lille have been doing amazingly well and I think that this is going to be something huge for French football."

Eder represented Lille between 2016 and 2018, a span that took in his undoubted career highlight – a goalscoring turn off the bench to snatch a 1-0 extra time victory for Portugal over hosts France in the final of Euro 2016.

The Portuguese link at Lille remains strong, with veteran centre-back Jose Fonte and playmaker Renato Sanches team-mates of Eder's in Fernando Santos' Euro 2016 squad.

Fonte and Sanches are joined by countrymen Tiago Djalo and Xeka in Galtier's side.

"We have groups of chats, and we are always cheering for Jose Fonte," Eder added. "We have our fingers crossed and we hope that he is going to win."

Fonte has played 35 of Lille's 36 Ligue 1 games this season.

Of defenders to have played more than 20 times in the division, none can better the 37-year-old's 68.7 per cent duel success rate.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp said he expects a subdued transfer market this off-season amid speculation regarding Kylian Mbappe, Erling Haaland and Jadon Sancho, with the German wary of spending.

Paris Saint-Germain's Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund duo Haaland and Sancho – both reported Liverpool targets – have been linked with big-money moves at the end of the season.

The coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc on and off the field, with clubs counting the financial cost of COVID-19.

Liverpool could be further impacted by their failure to qualify for next season's Champions League – the Reds are sixth in the Premier League table and seven points behind fourth-placed Chelsea with two games in hand.

Klopp, whose Liverpool were dethroned by Manchester City in the Premier League this season, played down talk of a spending spree in a bid to revive the club's fortunes.

"Not playing Champions League doesn't help, obviously, but it is not our biggest problem because the market will be really strange," Klopp said of Thursday's showdown against rivals Manchester United at Old Trafford.

"I hear a lot about big-money moves – is Kylian Mbappe going or not, Haaland, Sancho – I don't see that happening because the football world is still not in the same place it was before.

"We will see how the market develops but it will not be an early market, for sure.

"If we don't go to the Champions League it is not good but there is still a chance and as long as we have a chance we should not speak about it as if we have no chance. And if it is not then we have to deal with that."

"Do I know what we have to work with? Yes, not a lot, anyway," Klopp said. "We cannot speak for years and years about our structure or whatever, it is always how it is.

"It depends to the business, what happens, if someone wants to leave or if players want to go, if we sell, so we can never really plan early.

"… Getting the injured players back makes us already better. These are our first transfers. We don’t know exactly when that will happen but it will happen at one point. All the rest we have to see."

Klopp has managed away at United without ever winning more times than any other opponent in his managerial career (six – D4 L2).

Liverpool have won just two of their six midweek (Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday) Premier League games this season (D1 L3), with both of those victories coming against Tottenham. The Reds have failed to score in the four games they did not win.

Klopp added: "Can we challenge Man City next season? And Chelsea. And Manchester United.

City and Chelsea have always had [financial] advantages in this and we still won the league and the Champions League, so it is our situation to work like we work and I never look at other clubs and say 'we can't do this' or 'we can't do that'.

"The only thing I am interested in, and I said this earlier when I arrived here, I am not interested in being the coach of the best team in the world. I am interested in being the coach of the team who can beat the best team in the world.

"If two or three of them play in our league then we will try to beat them and some others as well so we have enough points to win something. It is absolutely not the situation to moan or cry. I am not going to cry about our situations. Our situation is fine.

"A year ago people didn't know exactly how football would go on. Only one year later we speak about what we can do in the transfer window. People talk about changing the football structure completely, the German model, I can tell you the budget will go down massively.

"So changing the structure of the ownership model and [then] signing Haaland for £150m or whatever, that doesn’t work together. We have to use our situation better than we did this year."

Moise Kean was the shoot-out hero for Paris Saint-Germain as they edged into the Coupe de France final by beating Montpellier on penalties after a Kylian Mbappe masterclass was not enough to finish the job in normal time.

Smarting after seeing their Champions League challenge ended by Manchester City and their Ligue 1 title defence severely dented by Rennes, two wonderful Mbappe goals, which sandwiched a similarly admirable Gaetan Laborde strike for Montpellier, appeared to have secured PSG's place in a sixth Coupe de France final in seven seasons.

But Andy Delort scored a late leveller to make it 2-2 in a dramatic finale to send an absorbing contest to penalties.

Five players from each team all delivered in a high-quality shoot-out, but the pressure proved too much for Junior Sambia, who blazed over the bar to give Kean the opportunity to seal a spot in the final against Monaco or fourth-tier Rumilly Vallieres as he fired into the top-left corner.

Gianluigi Buffon has called time on his second spell at Juventus, concluding a defining playing association with the Serie A giants.

There may only be three clubs on the goalkeeping great's resume but sustained excellence over more than two decades has filled his trophy cabinet with individual and team honours. 

The former Parma prodigy has rubbed shoulders with the very best in world football throughout that time, forming part of Serie A, Ligue 1 and World Cup-winning sides.

In honour of Buffon's stellar career, we have compiled a star-studded group of former team-mates for a dream XI.

 

GOALKEEPER: GIANLUIGI BUFFON

Who else has the pedigree to don the gloves in such a side?

A five-time member of the UEFA Team of the Year, he boasts more Serie A clean sheets than any other player and, as captain of his country from 2010 until his retirement in 2018, would have no trouble bringing this team together.

RIGHT-BACK: LILIAN THURAM

Having been joined by Buffon at Parma after his switch from Monaco in 1996, Thuram followed his team-mate in making the move to Turin ahead of the 2001-02 campaign.

The 142-time France international, part of the side that tasted glory at the 1998 World Cup on home soil and won Euro 2000, spent five seasons at Juve before rounding out his career with a spell at Barcelona.

CENTRE-BACK: FABIO CANNAVARO

Buffon's inheritance of the Italy armband from Cannavaro in 2010 completed the striking symmetry of their careers.

They both made their Parma debuts in 1995, did the same for Italy in 1997 and were reunited at club level when Cannavaro, one of few defenders to win the Ballon d'Or, joined Juve in 2004. They also lifted the World Cup together in 2006.

CENTRE-BACK: ALESSANDRO NESTA

A long-time rival at club level, Nesta was part of the famous Milan defence that beat Juve in the 2002-03 Champions League final – he scored his penalty against Buffon in a 3-2 shoot-out victory – and triumphed again four seasons later.

He was named in the Team of the Tournament at Euro 2000, which Buffon missed through injury, but the 2006 World Cup success will undoubtedly be the highlight of his career.

LEFT-BACK: PAOLO MALDINI

With admirable longevity, loyalty and leadership, classy defender Maldini set the path that Buffon has so impressively followed.

The long-time Rossoneri skipper, a seven-time Scudetto winner who also lifted the European Cup on five occasions, Maldini was the only player to have managed more Serie A appearances than the veteran keeper until his Juve return.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: ANDREA PIRLO

Has there been a more iconic duo of the modern era?

Pirlo was already at the top by the time he swapped Milan for Juve, but he saved plenty of his play-making brilliance for Buffon and friends as the Bianconeri re-asserted themselves as Italy's top club with a run of successive Scudetti that stretched to nine before being ended by Inter this season as their reunion as player and head coach did not yield similar results.

CENTRAL MIDFIELD: PAVEL NEDVED

Nedved's blend of athleticism, tenacity and well-rounded technical ability made him close to the complete midfielder.

He helped Czech Republic to the final of Euro 1996 and his value to Juve was summed up by a Ballon d'Or victory in 2003.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: ROBERTO BAGGIO

Less than two years after a 17-year-old Buffon held Baggio and Milan scoreless on his senior debut for Parma, the pair were sharing the same shirt for Italy.

Two of the Azzurri's greatest were in the same squad at the 1998 World Cup, although Buffon would ultimately go one better than the 1993 Ballon d'Or winner, who suffered final heartache against Brazil at USA 94.

ATTACKING MIDFIELD: ALESSANDRO DEL PIERO

He stands as an equal in the pantheon of Juve luminaries.

Buffon and the majestic Del Piero combined to help the Bianconeri finish top of Serie A on five occasions, while they lined up for Italy together for over a decade and experienced World Cup glory together

FORWARD: CRISTIANO RONALDO

Ronaldo joined Juve as Buffon embarked upon his hiatus with Paris Saint-Germain. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner was supposed to add Champions League glory to domestic dominance and now Juventus have neither.

Nevertheless, Ronaldo's individual form has remained imperious. In 127 appearances for the Bianconceri, he has 97 goals at a rate of a goal every 113 minutes.

FORWARD: KYLIAN MBAPPE

They were only together for a year but the France phenomenon is a performer to compare with many of the greats to have shared a dressing room with Buffon.

Fresh from 2018 World Cup success with France, Mbappe scored 39 goals in 43 appearances for PSG in 2018-19, averaging 90.25 minutes per goal and boasting a shot conversion rate of 22 per cent.

Lionel Messi and Erling Haaland together at Camp Nou?

Barcelona are among a host of clubs interested in Borussia Dortmund's Haaland.

Joan Laporta is reportedly fighting to bring Haaland to Spain.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA NOT GIVING UP ON HAALAND

Erling Haaland remains Barcelona's number one transfer target, according to Diario Sport.

Borussia Dortmund star Haaland has been linked with Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester CityChelsea, Manchester United, Liverpool, Bayern Munich, Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain.

Despite their financial problems and cheaper alternatives, Barca are determined to prise Haaland to Camp Nou, though Inter's Lautaro Martinez and Tottenham star Harry Kane remain possible options.

 

ROUND-UP

- Le10Sport claims Arsenal are desperate to lure Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga to London. Camavinga is in demand amid reported interest from Madrid, United and PSG. Mundo Deportivo, meanwhile, reports Barca are eyeing the France international as a replacement for Sergio Busquets.

- Milan intend on signing Fikayo Tomori on a permanent deal from Chelsea, reports Fabrizio Romano. Tomori has impressed since arriving at San Siro on loan. It comes as Chelsea work to extend Thiago Silva's contract.

- FT says Bayern star Kingsley Coman wants to double his wages in a contract extension. The France international has previously been linked with United.

- Liverpool have shown interest in Leeds United forward Patrick Bamford, according to The Athletic.

- Calciomercato reports Serie A champions Inter and Lazio are targeting Chelsea veteran Olivier Giroud, who is set to leave Stamford Bridge amid the Blues' links with Bayern star Robert Lewandowski and City free agent Sergio Aguero.

As the 2020-21 season comes to an end, Jadon Sancho's future is dominating headlines.

Having been tipped to leave Borussia Dortmund at the start of the campaign, the England international is once again in the spotlight.

A move could be on the cards but remaining in Germany is also an option.

 

TOP STORY – BAYERN TO SWOOP FOR SANCHO?

Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich are considering a move for Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to The Telegraph.

Sancho has long been linked with Premier League giants Manchester United, as well as Liverpool and Chelsea in the past.

But Bayern are believed to be ready to prise Sancho from Dortmund as they also reportedly wait to prise in-demand team-mate Erling Haaland to Bavaria.

Haaland, who has a release clause that is not valid until 2022, is wanted by Bayern, Liverpool, Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, United, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

- After re-signing Neymar, PSG are on the right track to lure Madrid captain Sergio Ramos to the French capital, claims ParisFans. Ramos is out of contract at the end of the season and yet to renew with Madrid.

Leicester City are set to sign Lille star Boubakary Soumare for less than £26million (€30m), reports Fabrizio Romano. He has previously been linked to United.

- Romano and L'Equipe say Julian Draxler has signed a contract extension with PSG. Arsenal and Bayern had reportedly been eyeing the German.

- Telefoot continues to link PSG with Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga, who has a host of admirers, including United, Barca and Madrid.

Roma and Juventus are eyeing former Inter captain Mauro Icardi as ParisFans says the PSG striker's future could be away from Paris at the end of the season.

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