Kylian Mbappe would be a "stratospheric" signing for Real Madrid but a move is not financially feasible, according to the Spanish club's former president Ramon Calderon.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has been strongly tipped to link up with Zinedine Zidane at the Santiago Bernabeu at some point in his career, potentially as early as this transfer window.

However, Mbappe still has two years to run on his PSG contract and would command a huge transfer fee, which Calderon feels no team can justify in the current climate.

"No doubt Mbappe is a player who everyone would like to sign. He has great potential, and he is very young," he told Stats Perform News.

"He reminds me a lot of Ronaldo, the Brazilian, because of his strength and his capacity to score goals. No doubt, he would be a great transfer. 

"I don't know if Real Madrid are able to do it now. It would be a stratospheric transfer. He has a contract with PSG – they will not give him away for free.

"On the other hand, we are into a very expensive deal with the rebuilding of the new stadium. It is up to €1billion. So, it is difficult.

"But if the president thinks it can be possible, he will do it. However, I guess the economy will not be the best, especially at this time, when there will be financial issues at every club.

"The costs of transfers will totally change. They will go down, and also the salaries of the players will go down.

"So, it is basically an economic point. First, the player needs to ask for a transfer request and the financial agreement will come after.

"But, again, the financial agreement for Mbappe is not easy – it cannot be done by anyone."

Madrid's most recent marquee signing, Belgium forward Eden Hazard, failed to make much of an impact in his debut season after joining from Chelsea last year.

Hazard suffered from a series of injury issues and featured just 22 times in all competitions, but Calderon expects to see a lot more from the 29-year-old this coming season.

"We know he was a great player in the Premier League," Calderon said. "A fantastic player – so much talent and skill.

"But he did not play as regularly as Madrid demand of their players. Chelsea are a big team, but Chelsea players don't have to handle the pressure that Real Madrid players have.

"I have dealt with it. When they come here, you face the most difficult time of your career. You have to give 150 per cent and the fans are extremely demanding.

"So, we have to wait. It is only the first year, a year of adaptation. He also struggled with injuries. I believe he could show his talent the following year.

"It has happened before with other players when they couldn't perform the first season and the second one has been totally different. Hopefully, that will be the case."

Zinedine Zidane guided Madrid to their first LaLiga title in three years in 2019-20 – his 11th trophy in three seasons as head coach across two spells in the Spanish capital.

The Frenchman's future has sometimes been called into question, however, and Calderon has backed former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino to take over once Zidane does eventually move on.

"Pochettino is a very good manager. Of course he could manage Real Madrid," Calderon said.

"However, again, this is a very complicated club and so demanding of everyone. From that point, they have built their history.

"That demand makes every player know they need to be at 100 per cent in order to fight for all the trophies.

"I believe Zidane will stay, but it is true he already left once. He is not engaged to anyone, even though he has already shown his commitment to Real Madrid.

"I think he didn't plan at the beginning to become manager. But he finally decided to be manager and he has reached a point [that will be] very difficult to equal for many years.

"I hope he stays for many years, but nothing is forever. One day he will decide to leave and when it happens, it will be the time to think of another manager – and I think Pochettino would be really suitable."

Paul Pogba is absent from France's squad for their upcoming Nations League fixtures due to coronavirus, but his Manchester United team-mate Anthony Martial has earned a recall. 

Martial, 24, initially broke into France's senior reckoning as a 19-year-old shortly before he joined United in 2015, going on to win 18 caps. 

But, after a promising first season in England, Martial's form suffered and he found himself struggling to hold down a regular starting position, which in turn saw others usurp him in the pecking order for France. 

The versatile forward has seen his career at Old Trafford reinvigorated by Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, however, with the 2019-20 campaign seeing him finish with a career-best 23 goals across all competitions. 

United team-mate Pogba will not be joining him against Sweden and Croatia, though, due to the midfielder’s COVID-19 diagnosis – instead, he is replaced by 17-year-old talent Eduardo Camavinga. 

The Rennes prospect will become the youngest player to represent France since World War Two, should he feature in either match. 

There are also maiden call-ups for RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano and Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, while Adrien Rabiot - like Martial - is included for the first time since March 2018. 

Bayern Munich trio Benjamin Pavard, Corentin Tolisso and Kingsley Coman are rested following their team's Champions League success, though club colleague Lucas Hernandez is included. 

Nabil Fekir, Thomas Lemar and Tanguy Ndombele are also among those left out. 

France face Sweden in Solna on September 5, then host Croatia three days later at the Stade de France in a repeat of the 2018 World Cup final.

France squad in full:

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Mike Maignan (Lille), Steve Mandanda (Marseille); Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Clement Lenglet (Barcelona), Ferland Mendy, Raphael Varane (both Real Madrid), Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig); Eduardo Camavinga (Rennes), N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Steven Nzonzi (Rennes), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Houssem Aouar (Lyon); Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Jonathan Ikone (Lille), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain). 

Lionel Messi looks set to leave Barcelona and a select few clubs are preparing to make a move.

Manchester City? Paris Saint-Germain? Inter?

Keep an eye on this saga…

 

TOP STORY – PSG TALKING TO MESSI

Paris Saint-Germain have opened talks with wantaway Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, according to Ole.

Messi has handed in a transfer request at Barca, and the six-time Ballon d'Or winner has already been linked with Manchester City, Manchester United, Inter, Juventus and PSG.

The frontpage of Thursday's Mundo Deportivo claims City are circling to bring Messi to the Premier League with the 33-year-old believed to be keen on reuniting with former Barca boss Pep Guardiola. Meanwhile, Marca claims City have offered a three-year deal.

However, Ligue 1 champions PSG are also eyeing Messi as they look to add him to a squad that already boasts former team-mate Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano reports Inter have re-opened talks with Barca for midfielder Arturo Vidal. Antonio Conte, who will remain Inter head coach in 2020-21, wants to bring the Chilean to San Siro.

- It comes as Gazzetta dello Sport reports Inter have struck a deal to sign Brescia star Sandro Tonali. Milan have also been eyeing the Italy midfielder.

- Serie A champions Juventus are set to sign Schalke midfielder Weston McKennie, says Sky Sport Italia. The United States international is poised to arrive on loan with the option to buy. Juve have also been linked with Sassuolo's Manuel Locatelli.

Manchester United are still chasing Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish, according to the Daily Mail. Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho has been United's top priority, though the Red Devils remain in contact with Villa over a potential transfer.

- Sport Bild says Liverpool will make an approach for Bayern Munich midfielder Thiago Alcantara in the coming days.

Milan are poised to sign Real Madrid's Brahim Diaz on loan, reports Gianluca Di Marzio. Brahim has struggled for game time since arriving from City in 2019.

- Signing Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is a priority for PSG, claims Le10 Sport. The Serbia international has previously been linked with Madrid, United, Juve, Inter and Chelsea.

Kylian Mbappe has offered a fond farewell to Thiago Silva and Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting ahead of their departures from Paris Saint-Germain.

Centre-back Silva, who turns 36 next month, has been in talks with clubs including Chelsea and Fiorentina after deciding to leave Paris at the end of eight hugely successful seasons.

Choupo-Moting, whose winning goal sent PSG into the Champions League semi-finals at Atalanta's expense, is also leaving Parc des Princes after two years since his arrival from Stoke City.

Mbappe described Silva as a "legend" of the club and said Choupo-Moting had been "like a big brother" and underappreciated for his abilities.

In an Instagram story post on Wednesday, PSG forward Mbappe said: "This is the end. I'm very sad to say goodbye to you and that your adventure has come to an end, but I'm also very proud to have been able to play with you.

"Thiago Silva: captain, you're a legend, you have marked the history of this club. One of the best I've seen and have played with.

"Choupo-Moting: you were like a big brother for me for two years. It took a long time for people to realise what a great player you are. But, above all, you're a great guy.

"Thank you so much, guys, I will miss you."

Lionel Messi wants to leave Barcelona, but where will he go?

Manchester United, Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus are possible destinations.

But, both Manchester clubs are believed to be targeting the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE MESSI, BUT LIONEL WANTS CITY

Manchester United are in position to sign wantaway Barcelona captain Lionel Messi, according to Deportes Cuatro.

Messi wants to sensationally leave embattled LaLiga giants Barca and United are reportedly one of the clubs capable of signing the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

However, The Athletic claims neighbours Manchester City and Messi have held talks, with the superstar open to playing for Pep Guardiola again.

Paris Saint-Germain, Inter and Juventus have also been linked.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Telegraph reports Real Madrid outcast James Rodriguez is close to joining Everton. James has previously worked under Carlo Ancelotti at Bayern Munich and Madrid.

Chelsea will complete the signing of Leicester City full-back Ben Chilwell, says Fabrizio Romano. The transfer will be announced soon as Chelsea also look to bring in Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz and PSG captain Thiago Silva.

- Calciomercato claims Zlatan Ibrahimovic is close to signing a new deal with Milan. The 38-year-old is out of contract after returning to Milan for a second spell in January.

Barca want City's Gabriel Jesus to replace veteran forward Luis Suarez, according to Globo Esporte. Suarez has been told he can leave Camp Nou, and former club Ajax are reportedly trying to re-sign the Uruguayan.

Napoli president Aurelio De Laurentiis said Manchester United, Manchester City or Paris Saint-Germain should answer questions regarding star defender Kalidou Koulibaly.

Koulibaly has been heavily linked with a move to City, while Premier League rivals United and Ligue 1 champions PSG have also been touted as possible destinations.

The future of the Senegal international has dominated headlines, with Napoli reportedly looking to raise funds in their pursuit of Gabriel Magalhaes, though the Lille defender appears set for Arsenal.

Asked about Koulibaly, De Laurentiis deflected questions on Tuesday.

"You should ask Manchester United, City or PSG this question," he said. "In other words, those who can afford to pay certain amounts."

With midfielder Allan also in demand, De Laurentiis added: "I see many buzzards on the transfers market. You know who they are, they seem to be waiting to swoop in, but we have impenetrable armour and they won't get what they want or at the prices they want."

Koulibaly has established himself as one of the world's best defenders since joining Napoli from Genk in 2014.

The 29-year-old has helped Napoli to Coppa Italia (2019-20) and Supercoppa Italia (2014) glory.

Koulibaly made 25 Serie A appearances as Gennaro Gattuso's Napoli finished seventh in 2019-20, while they trumped Juventus in the Coppa Italia final.

Lionel Messi, one of the greatest football players of all time, has stunned Barcelona by telling the club he wants to leave. 

The Argentina superstar has spent his entire career at the Catalan giants, but now looks likely to start the 2020-21 campaign with a new club. 

Where Messi goes remains to be seen but any deal for the 33-year-old will rank as one of the most dramatic in the history of sport. 

Here, we look at a selection of other sporting deals that shocked the world. 

 

Neymar: Barcelona to Paris Saint-Germain, 2017

The Brazilian had formed a potent attacking trio with Messi and Luis Suarez at Camp Nou but a move to PSG was inevitable when the French side met his world-record buyout clause of €222million. He has played an important role in their continued dominance of domestic football, but has so far been unable to guide them to Champions League glory. He was reduced to tears by his side's 1-0 defeat to Bayern Munich in the 2020 final last week. 

LeBron James: Cleveland Cavaliers to Miami Heat, 2010

Basketball icon James announced that he would sign with the Miami Heat instead of returning to his hometown team, the Cleveland Cavaliers. Then a two-time NBA Most Valuable Player and a six-time All-Star, James added to the spectacle of the stunning move by announcing it on a special television broadcast called The Decision. He enjoyed four years in Miami, where he won a pair of NBA titles, before returning to the Cavaliers in 2014. 

Tom Brady: New England Patriots to Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 2020

Few people expected Brady to leave the Patriots after 20 years and six Super Bowl victories. Not only did one of the game's greatest ever quarterbacks leave, but he joined one of the least successful franchises in NFL history. Time will tell if his decision to sign with a highly promising Buccaneers team proves to be a masterstroke. 

Luis Figo: Barcelona to Real Madrid, 2000

Should Messi ever return to Camp Nou as an opposition player it is unlikely he will be on the receiving end of the kind of abuse that greeted Figo. Barca fans threw bottles, lighters and even a pig's head at the Portuguese star when he went back to Camp Nou with Los Blancos in the seasons following his controversial move. 

Wayne Gretzky: Edmonton Oilers to Los Angeles Kings, 1988

In 1988, the Edmonton Oilers and Los Angeles Kings agreed a deal that shook the NHL to its core. The trade left Canada in disbelief, with a member of the country's parliament even proposing the federal government block the trade or buy Gretzky's contract and sell it to another Canadian team. "The Great One" would go on to enjoy eight successful years in Los Angeles before spells with St. Louis Blues and New York Rangers.

Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave, setting in motion a move that will rank as one of the most seismic in the history of football.

Barca's surrender to Real Madrid in LaLiga's title race and the 8-2 thrashing at the hands of Bayern Munich in the Champions League proved the final straw for Messi.

A meeting with new head coach Ronald Koeman last week was not enough to convince the six-time Ballon d'Or winner to remain at Camp Nou.

We consider what Messi's next destination could be.

Newell's Old Boys

Messi's relationship with the public in Argentina has often been strained due to the fact he moved to Barca at the age of 13 and was moulded in their famous La Masia academy. But he started out at Newell's five years prior to that and a return to his hometown of Rosario would be an understandable move as he enters the latter stages of his career.

Manchester City

While the 2019-20 season may have been a disappointment, Messi undoubtedly still has the quality to play at the highest level. City, managed by former Barca boss Pep Guardiola, are said to be looking into the feasibility of bringing the Argentina superstar to the Etihad Stadium, having in July won their appeal against a two-year Champions League ban for breaches of Financial Fair Play regulations.

Paris Saint-Germain

"Which coach says no to Messi?" said PSG boss Thomas Tuchel following their Champions League final defeat to Bayern on Sunday. The Ligue 1 champions have never shied away from splashing the cash – they paid Barca a world record €222million for Neymar and shelled out €180m on Kylian Mbappe. If Messi wants to win another Champions League title before retiring, few clubs are better positioned to help him achieve that.

Inter

Even before there was any doubt about Messi's future at Barca, Inter were the main club linked with an audacious attempt to sign the 33-year-old. The Suning Holdings Group ownership makes them one of the few clubs alongside City and PSG that have the financial capacity to offer him a sizeable contract, and they have secured a return to Champions League football next season. The chance to battle old foe Cristiano Ronaldo in Serie A could prove an enticing prospect too.

Inter Miami

They may be bottom of the Eastern Conference in their debut MLS season, but Inter Miami still have a designated player spot free and there could be no bigger name to fill it than Messi. Club owner David Beckham said in February of this year he would relish the chance to sign a player of the calibre of Messi or Ronaldo.

Al-Sadd

Things could have gone very differently for Barca had club legend Xavi been handed the reins in January. A link-up with his former team-mate in Qatar could be an option for Messi, though there is every chance former midfielder Xavi finds himself back at Camp Nou in the not too distant future.

Paris Saint-Germain have been granted an extended break before starting their 2020-21 Ligue 1 campaign after their trip to Lens was postponed.

The reigning champions had been due to begin their title defence at Stade Bollaert-Delelis on Saturday, six days after their 1-0 Champions League final defeat to Bayern Munich in Lisbon.

Thomas Tuchel's men played three Champions League games in 12 days in Portugal - where the competition was concluded having been halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic - and PSG wanted to give their players more time to recover before beginning the new season.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) confirmed that PSG's request has been approved by both Lens and local broadcaster Canal +, with the fixture rearranged to Thursday, September 10.

In addition, this weekend's clash between Strasbourg and Nice has been brought forward a day, to the Saturday evening timeslot originally occupied by Lens' home game against PSG.

The Lens fixture, which now comes after the international break, will still be PSG's first match of the new season and they are due to host rivals Marseille three days later.

Marseille had been set to begin their campaign last Friday but their trip to Saint-Etienne was postponed after OM confirmed they had four positive COVID-19 cases in their squad.

On Tuesday, Marseille revealed "three new suspected cases of COVID-19 were detected" and said the LFP had been informed.

Given the LFP's directive that more than three positive cases would likely lead to a postponement, Marseille's trip to Brest this weekend would also appear to now be in doubt.

Jurgen Klopp has suggested Bayern Munich took advantage of some fortunate circumstances to win the Champions League.

Bayern completed a treble on Saturday when Kingsley Coman's second-half header secured a 1-0 victory over Paris Saint-Germain in Lisbon.

Hansi Flick's side had already won the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal, with their domestic season concluding at the start of July, a whole month before the Champions League campaign resumed.

PSG and semi-finalists Lyon had four months without a game as the Ligue 1 season, which was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, did not resume, while clubs such as Barcelona and Manchester City picked up their Champions League campaigns after hectic endings to their domestic seasons.

Liverpool boss Klopp therefore thinks the stars were aligned for Bayern in Europe's premier club competition, which his club won the previous year.

"It is difficult to write more history in eight months," he told ZDF of Flick's remarkable period in charge.

"[Bayern were] a little lucky that, amid all the chaos with schedules, their schedule was best suited to the Champions League.

"At the moment, definitely, one of the absolute, absolute top teams. They are sensationally well equipped.

"They have absolute world-class players in every position and all at the right age."

Flick was handed the Bayern job, initially on an interim basis, in November when Niko Kovac was sacked.

He then presided over a remarkable end-of-season run, with Bayern winning each of their final 21 games in the 2019-20 campaign.

"Hansi was lucky enough to have done such a good job as assistant coach to Niko Kovac that he was allowed to stay, and that worked quite well," Klopp added.

"Both finalists had an absolutely top team available. But Bayern wanted it more - although Paris wanted it very much. Paris really wanted it, you could see it.

"Bayern were lucky, but they didn't need much. And that's why they deserved to win. It would be nice if you could play the best game of the season in a final, it's just very unlikely."

Manchester City are reportedly looking at signing Lionel Messi, while Barcelona's rebuild does not include Luis Suarez.

Messi, 33, has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants after a trophy-less 2019-20 season.

Barca are preparing for a rebuild and while Messi is part of their plans, Suarez is seemingly not.

 

TOP STORY – MAN CITY CONSIDER MESSI MOVE

Manchester City are working out if they would be able to sign Barcelona star Messi without breaching Financial Fair Play (FFP) rules, according to ESPN.

The report says the Premier League giants are preparing should Messi become available.

Messi is contracted at Barcelona until 2021, but has been linked with a move.

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- Also at Barcelona, Ronald Koeman is preparing his rebuild. Mundo Deportivo reports the club no longer want Luis Suarez, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal or Samuel Umtiti, but have plans for Philippe Coutinho, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba. The report also says Suarez's departure will open up a move for Inter star Lautaro Martinez.

- Ansu Fati is seemingly close to committing his future to Barcelona. The 17-year-old forward, who has been linked to Manchester United, will sign a new deal that will include a €400million release clause, according to Mundo Deportivo.

- A former Bianconeri striker could help Juventus land Edin Dzeko. Tuttosport reports Mario Mandzukic could join Roma as a replacement for Dzeko, who is being linked to Juve.

- Milan are reportedly looking at Brahim Diaz. Fabrizio Romano reports the Serie A giants have opened talks with Real Madrid about a loan move, with an option to buy, for Brahim.

- Hector Bellerin has been linked with a move away from Arsenal. RMC Sport reports the defender has been offered to Paris Saint-Germain.

- Also at PSG, Leandro Paredes could make a move. Gianluca Di Marzio says Juventus are interested in the midfielder.

Robert Lewandowski would deserve the Ballon d'Or if the award were being given in 2020, former Portugal striker Nuno Gomes says.

Lewandowski scored a remarkable 55 goals in all competitions, including 15 in the Champions League, to propel Bayern to a treble of Bundesliga, DFB-Pokal and Champions League triumphs.

France Football elected not to award the Ballon d'Or this year due to the disruption of the season caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

Gomes believes that decision is particularly unfair on Lewandowski, who has spent the past 24 hours celebrating Bayern's 1-0 win over Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League final.

"I think he deserves to [win] the Ballon d'Or if the prize were happening," Gomes, speaking at the Nissan UCL Final Watch Party, told Stats Perform News.

"He is a striker that is lethal if you're playing against him. You have to also keep an eye on him because, if you give him a little bit of space, he will score.

"One of the best strikers at the moment, for sure."

Kylian Mbappe, another future Ballon d'Or hopeful, endured a frustrating outing in Sunday's final in Lisbon and spurned an excellent chance to put PSG ahead in the first half.

Still, Gomes has no doubt the 21-year-old will become at least one of the top three players in the world.

"Mbappe has a lot of room to grow," he said. "I believe that, if things develop in his career normally, he will be one of the best players that the next generation will hear about for the next years.

"He has a lot of potential, he's a pure talent, he has speed, he decides the game sometimes. So, I think in the next years we will hear about his name in the top three footballers in the world."

Premier League giants Chelsea and Arsenal appear close to strengthening their defences.

After conceding more league goals than any other side that finished in the top eight in 2019-20, the two clubs have been linked to defensive reinforcements.

It seems both are close to making additions.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA CLOSE TO SIGNING SILVA

Chelsea are close to signing Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Thiago Silva on a one-year deal, according to Sky Sports.

Silva, 35, confirmed after Sunday's Champions League final loss to Bayern Munich that he had played his last game for the Ligue 1 giants.

The Brazil defender has been linked to Chelsea and Fiorentina, but looks set to join the former.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea's rivals Arsenal have almost landed a centre-back of their own. RMC Sport reports a deal taking Lille defender Gabriel Magalhaes to the club is done, with the sides agreeing a £27million (€30m) fee and the 22-year-old opting for Arsenal over Napoli and Everton.

- On the outer at Real Madrid, just whether Gareth Bale leaves this close season remains to be seen. AS claims there have been no offers for the attacker and MLS seems the only way out due to his salary.

Hansi Flick joked that Thiago Alcantara told him he was staying at Bayern Munich after winning the Champions League.

Thiago helped Bayern beat Paris Saint-Germain 1-0 in the final on Sunday to clinch a sixth European Cup/Champions League title.

The Spain international is contracted until 2021 but is widely expected to leave the club, linked heavily with a move to Premier League champions Liverpool.

Bayern head coach Flick joked the midfielder would stay, but said he simply wanted to thank Thiago.

"No, [Thiago] told me he's staying. No, I'm joking," he told a news conference.

"No, quite simply I wanted to thank him. Just as I thanked all of the players.

"I don't know, he doesn't know either because we were all focused on the Champions League final.

"Now we need to see what goes on over the coming days."

Thiago has won seven Bundesliga titles and a Champions League among numerous other trophies since joining Bayern from Barcelona in 2013.

Kingsley Coman headed in Bayern Munich's 500th Champions League goal to open the scoring in the final against Paris Saint-Germain.

Winger Coman nodded in Joshua Kimmich's inviting cross to put Bayern in front after 59 minutes of the showdown in Lisbon on Sunday.

His goal put the Bundesliga champions on course to be crowned champions of Europe for a sixth time and seal a treble.

Coman also ensured Bayern reached the 500-goal landmark in the Champions League, a tally only Barcelona (517) and Real Madrid (567) have also achieved.

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