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.

Barcelona are not considering an exit for Lionel Messi as a decision on the star's future nears.

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

But the star may yet remain at Barcelona.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA NOT CONSIDERING MESSI EXIT

Messi's rumoured departure from Camp Nou is not on the agenda at all for Barca, according to Mundo Deportivo.

The cover of the Spanish daily reads: "Untransferable".

Messi is contracted at Barcelona until 2021 and Sport reports a decision on his future is expected in the next few days, with the club beginning pre-season training on August 30.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner reportedly considers an exit difficult due to his €700million release clause.

 

ROUND-UP

- Another player who has been linked to Barcelona is Lautaro Martinez, but the Inter star could head elsewhere. The Sun reports Martinez is Manchester City's number one target.

- Chelsea may be getting closer to strengthening their defence. The Premier League giants are close to agreeing a £50m deal for Leicester City left-back Ben Chilwell, according to The Athletic. Meanwhile, Goal reports Chelsea have been offered Paris Saint-Germain centre-back Thiago Silva on a free transfer.

- At Manchester United, the talk has been around adding firepower in attack. The Manchester Evening News reports Lyon forward Moussa Dembele is not ruling out a move this close season, having been linked to United previously.

- More changes are expected at Juventus. Fabrizio Romano reports the Serie A champions want to terminate the contracts of Gonzalo Higuain and Sami Khedira, who both have a year left to run on their deals.

- Benjamin Pavard has impressed for Bayern Munich, leading to interest from his homeland. L'Equipe reports Paris Saint-Germain are interested in the France international defender.

- Linked with a move away from Tottenham, Serge Aurier could head to Italy. La Gazzetta dello Sport reports Milan want the right-back.

While the idea of seeing super clubs such as Bayern Munich and Paris Saint-Germain lose out to RB Leipzig or Lyon – in the semis or the final – was a tantalising, even amusing, prospect, it's fair to say that Sunday's finale is one that's certainly captured the imagination of the neutrals.

From Bayern's perspective, since the promotion of Hansi Flick to succeed Niko Kovac, a host of their players have elevated themselves to world-class levels, some even beyond that.

Alphonso Davies, David Alaba, Thomas Muller, Serge Gnabry – they have all benefited massively from Flick's management and, as a result, Bayern have been practically unplayable.

But Robert Lewandowski deserves special focus. His quality is nothing new – the Pole has been among the best strikers in the world for almost a decade.

This season, however, it is difficult to think of a player anywhere in the world who has been as impressive, as consistently deadly, as Lewandowski.

Bouncing back to emulate Ronaldo

When France Football announced a little over a month ago that the 2020 Ballon d'Or had been cancelled due to the "lack of a sufficiently level playing field" brought on by the coronavirus pandemic, much of the reaction focused on Lewandowski.

The 32-year-old was seen as the most hard done by following that decision – after all, he'd scored 40 goals in 36 matches en route to helping Bayern to Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal success, while he still had real shot at the Champions League.

Since then, he has taken his tally in Europe's elite competition to a remarkable 15 goals in nine matches, while he's also on five assists.

Lewandowski became only the second player after Cristiano Ronaldo to reach that goals tally in a single Champions League campaign, while in the remarkable 8-2 quarter-final demolition of Barcelona he reached 50 Champions League goals for Bayern in just his 60th outing for the club in the competition.

Again, only Ronaldo can better him in that regard, as he got to the landmark for Real Madrid in 50 games.

Even without Champions League success, it would have been difficult to look beyond Lewandowski for the Ballon d'Or this year.

Lewy way ahead of Ronaldo and Messi

Lewandowski's exploits in this season's Champions League have been mightily impressive.

His 15 goals have come from 49 efforts, giving him a shot conversion rate of 37 per cent. While that may not be as high as Erling Haaland (53 per cent) or Josip Ilicic (46 per cent), they had significantly fewer attempts at goal (21 and 15).

Lewandowski's shooting accuracy comes in at 78 per cent, dwarfing the respective records of Ronaldo and Lionel Messi at 56 and 68 per cent respectively.

Ronaldo's total goal involvements was just four, Messi's was six, Lewandowski's is 20.

Of course, football boils down to more than just the individual – these players are all directly influenced by the exploits of their team-mates, and few would claim Juventus and Barcelona have been more cohesive and structurally organised sides than Bayern.

Flick has turned Bayern into a team that presses effectively as a unit, which in itself helps to overload the opposition and create openings, while also making counter-attacking chances trickier to come by.

The consequence is more goals and fewer concessions – Lewandowski has certainly benefited in this regard, but it is not all on him.

Better service?

Of Lewandowski's 34 Bundesliga goals in 2019-20, 27 were scored in the space between the six-yard box and the edge of the penalty area. A further five were from inside the six-yard box.

While many of these goals are certainly examples of Lewandowski's elite marksmanship skills – like when he showed the awareness to chest down a Jerome Boateng pass and finish clinically rather than taking it first time against Werder Bremen – hitting such numbers requires good service.

Lewandowski and Thomas Muller appear to have a particularly effective understanding, with the German setting up Bayern's talisman 10 times this season, with eight of those coming in the Bundesliga.

It seems unlikely that the increase in consistency both players have shown this season is a coincidence, though Flick's ability to get the best out of Muller is arguably the greater achievement given he appeared to be on a downward slide in previous years.

Muller set a Bundesliga record with 21 assists in 2019-20, 12 more than the previous campaign, while Lewandowski's goal haul increased by 12.

Similarly, Lewandowski's expected goals (xG) in the league in 2018-19 was 31, suggesting that he should have scored nine more than he did. This term Lewandowski has scored four more than he would otherwise expect to across the Bundesliga and Champions League – not only is the service better, the Poland star is also taking his chances like never before.

PSG will almost certainly offer a much greater threat than Lyon could, but a team like Bayern shall always create opportunities and at the moment there is no one better in Europe at converting them than Lewandowski, who is hoping to net in his 10th successive Champions League appearance.

The reigning Ligue 1 champions, Paris Saint-Germain, have bigger fish to fry as their domestic 2020-21 campaign begins.

As Thomas Tuchel's team prepare to face Bayern Munich in Sunday's Champions League final, a new season is dawning in France, with the Parisians targeting an eighth Ligue 1 crown in nine years.

It barely needs saying that they begin as firm favourites, with the rest of the league likely jostling for places behind the team of superstars from the Parc des Princes.

Lorient and Lens return to the elite for the new term, and using Opta data we look at key matters on the agenda as France's top flight returns.

It's been a long wait

Bordeaux and Nantes headed into Friday evening's league opener, contesting the first Ligue 1 games for 167 days. The final game of the 2019-20 season turned out to be Lille's clash with Lyon on March 8, with the league suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic and then abandoned in April, with final placings determined on a points-per-game basis.

The gap between games is the longest Ligue 1 has seen since World War II.

Why PSG are favourites

The immense wealth of their Qatari owners has allowed PSG to assemble an all-star team, and they are delivering at home, as treble winners, and now finally in European competition.

Kylian Mbappe shared top spot in the scoring charts with 18 goals last season, the same as Monaco's Wissam Ben Yedder, while Angel Di Maria was king of the assists, his haul of 14 twice as many as the next players on the list, Islam Slimani and Yoann Court (7).

Nobody completed more dribbles than Neymar's 90, with Lille's Jonathan Ikone second on the list with 73 - a total that might have been higher had Ikone not been substituted 21 times in his 28 appearances.

PSG have implemented a little quality control too, noticing the diminishing returns from Edinson Cavani and allowing the Uruguayan, their record scorer, to depart at the end of his contract. Cavani scored just four goals in Ligue 1 last season and missed 16 'big chances'. Those are defined by Opta as situations "where a player should reasonably be expected to score", and Cavani was repeatedly coming up short.

Mbappe missed the most 'big chances' of all players in the league - 19 - but his goal return suitably offset those squandered opportunities. And of players who scored more than two goals across the curtailed season, Mbappe's minutes-per-goal average was top of the league, as he netted every 84.11 minutes.

Where could a challenge come from?

Lyon feel they have a point to prove, having been dismayed by the curtailing of last season and the points-per-game ruling. They showed in reaching the Champions League semi-finals that they boast abundant talent, and it would be surprising were they not to finish significantly higher in the new campaign.

Marseille finished second last term and have succeeded in keeping head coach Andre Villas-Boas, perhaps their most important achievement in the off-season.

Lille lost Victor Osimhen to Napoli but look to have recruited well, with Jonathan David's 18 goals for Gent in the Belgian Pro League last season making him joint top scorer. The experienced Turkish targetman Burak Yilmaz has arrived from Besiktas too, and should do well.

Putting chances away is where Lille fell short last season, with their goals return comparing unfavourably to their 'expected goals' (xG). They netted 35 times in 28 games, but their xG tally stood at 40.56, meaning they 'should' have scored five to six more goals. Opta statistics show that was the largest negative differential for a team currently in the top-flight.

Perhaps Monaco might mount a challenge, being the last side other than PSG to lift the title, when they surprisingly took the 2016-17 honours.

Their new coach is Niko Kovac, who lost his job at Bayern Munich last November, and Monaco will hope he leads them into an era of stability.

Wouldn't it be Nice?

Monaco's Cote d'Azur neighbours Nice may be likelier top-three finishers, with Patrick Vieira investing in plenty of young talent.

An experienced face in the Nice ranks is another new recruit - Morgan Schneiderlin. The former Southampton, Everton and Manchester United midfielder returns to Ligue 1 after 12 years and 200 games played in the Premier League, and should he play against Lens on Sunday, he will be back in French league action for the first time in 4,481 days, his last game having been for Strasbourg at Marseille in May 2008.

That would be the fifth longest gap between two French top-flight games for a same player since 1950.

Bayern Munich attacker Philippe Coutinho insisted he was "fully focused" on the Champions League amid talk about his future.

Coutinho will make his final appearance for Bayern against Paris Saint-Germain in the decider on Sunday before returning to parent club Barcelona.

However, the Brazil international is expected to make a permanent move from Barcelona, linked with a switch to Arsenal.

But Coutinho, who arrived at Barcelona from Liverpool in January 2018, said his focus was on the Champions League final.

"My mind is fully focused on the competition," the playmaker told Esporte Interativo.

"It's a unique opportunity for us. I'm very happy to be in the Champions League final.

"On my future, I haven't thought about it because I'm only thinking about the final."

Coutinho has scored 11 goals and provided nine assists in 37 games in all competitions for Bayern in 2019-20.

Neymar's agent has suggested a sensational forward line of Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo and the Brazil star could be possible at Paris Saint-Germain.

Messi's future has come under scrutiny again in the wake of Barcelona's 8-2 thrashing by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

There has also been speculation Juventus could look to sell Ronaldo, who has won two Serie A titles in two seasons in Turin but been unable to fire them to European glory.

Neymar has previously been linked with a return to Spain with Barca or Real Madrid and Wagner Ribeiro admits the player had considered such a move.

However, he is now confident the forward will stay in France until at least 2022 and even thinks Messi and Ronaldo could join him at Parc des Princes if PSG's Qatari owners make the funds available.

"There was a time when he was sad because of his injuries," Ribeiro told Placar.

"At that time, he was inclined to leave, to return to Barcelona or go to Real Madrid. Not today - you can see how happy he is.

"Living in the 'City of Light', where everyone wants to go for a stroll, enjoying French cuisine, living in a beautiful house, friends and family nearby, playing for one of the best clubs with everything a person could need or like... what reason would he have to leave PSG today?

"Neymar is happy and I think he'll stay at PSG for at least two more years. Today, without any doubt, it's easier for Messi to go to PSG than for Neymar to return to Barcelona.

"Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. I'm serious: you can't doubt the economic power of Qatar."

Neymar and PSG are preparing for Sunday's Champions League final against Bayern Munich, having beaten RB Leipzig 3-0 in their semi-final.

The transfer saga that is Jadon Sancho-Manchester United continues to roll on.

Sancho has long been tipped to join United, though Borussia Dortmund are adamant the England star will not return to his homeland this off-season.

United, however, are reportedly not giving up.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED HELD UP BY PERSONAL TERMS

Manchester United remain keen on signing Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho but personal terms and an agent fee are holding up their pursuit, according to ESPN.

Dortmund have insisted Sancho will not be sold, though United continue to target the former Manchester City youngster in a blockbuster transfer.

United have reportedly been given the green light to speak to Sancho and his representative but there has been an impasse with the player's camp over salary demands.

ROUND-UP

- Journalist Fabrizio Romano says Chelsea and Bayer Leverkusen are still negotiating a deal for star Kai Havertz. While Chelsea are confident, there remains a difference between the two clubs as Leverkusen hope to conclude a deal by the end of the month.

Jack Grealish to United? The Aston Villa captain continues to be linked with a move to Old Trafford and ESPN reports United goalkeeper Sergio Romero could be included in a deal to sign Grealish. Romero is United's number two behind David de Gea and the Argentina international's future is unclear, with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer reportedly keen for Dean Henderson to challenge for the number one spot.

- According to Cadena Ser's El Larguero, Luis Suarez is aiming to stay at Barcelona. Linked with a return to former club Ajax, Suarez is reportedly one of a number of players who could be forced out following Ronald Koeman's arrival. However, Suarez, Lionel Messi, Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets and Sergi Roberto all want to speak to Quique Setien's replacement.

- Amid doubts over Pique's long-term future with Barca, Libero claims newly promoted Premier League side Fulham have made an offer for the Spain international star.

United remain interested in signing Barca teenager Ansu Fati, reports Marca. The 17-year-old reportedly switched agents to Jorge Mendes, having previously been represented by Messi's brother.

- The Telegraph says Chelsea are considering a move for Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva. The 35-year-old will become a free agent following the Champions League final and he has already been linked with former club Milan and fellow Serie A side Fiorentina.

Juventus are negotiating with United for Federico Bernardeschi and Douglas Costa, claims La Gazzetta dello Sport. The report also says the Serie A champions are speaking to City regarding Alex Sandro, while new boss Andrea Pirlo is eyeing Roma striker Edin Dzeko and Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli.

- Tuttosport's frontpage on Thursday suggests a merry-go-round of strikers. Inter have reportedly told Real Madrid that Romelu Lukaku is not for sale, Juve are in talks with Wolves to sign Raul Jimenez and Inter are challenging the Bianconeri for Dzeko. Meanwhile, Napoli's Arkadiusz Milik is heading towards Roma.

- The countdown is on for Madrid to sell outcasts Gareth Bale and James Rodriguez, according to Marca.

For 15 minutes or so the "farmers" were making hay at Estadio Jose Alvalade, granted plenty of open field to harvest by their well-heeled opponents.

As they did in their stunning 3-1 quarter-final victory over Manchester City, Lyon made a mockery of the derisory labels attached to Ligue 1 as they repeatedly scooted past Bayern Munich's high wire high line.

Pep Guardiola's uncharacteristic caution against Lyon has been rightly castigated, but how that game might have looked had City "just gone for it" was illustrated by an uncomfortable opening for Hansi Flick's in-form Bundesliga champions.

For all the enviable attacking gifts of Bayern's wide defenders Joshua Kimmich and Alphonso Davies, it was Lyon's more unheralded wing-backs Leo Dubois and Maxwel Cornet roving into space.

Cornet might have added to his quarter-final goal after Memphis Depay should have opened the scoring. Karl Toko Ekambi then hit the post. Were we really heading for an all-French final on Sunday? Were we ready to confront the imminent butter mountain of farmers' league gags?

Handily for Bayern, Serge Gnabry answered both those questions with an emphatic "no" 60 seconds after Ekambi tested the base of Manuel Neuer's left post.

Paris Saint-Germain will contest their maiden Champions League final on Sunday, when Bayern go for their sixth title in Europe's top competition. When it comes to the crunch moments, such historical weight feels like it can propel a side when it has no logical right to do so.

Gnabry made a particularly literal contribution to this phenomenon in the 18th minute in Lisbon by turning into Arjen Robben – cutting in from the right wing, opposition shirts in scattered pursuit, and rifling home with his trusty left boot, just like Bayern's hero of 2013 and European title number five.

For his next impression, the Bavarians' brilliant winger opted for a current team-mate as opposed to a former one. Robert Lewandowski inexplicably failed to add to his vast goal haul when he slid in at point-blank range to meet the ball with his backside. Gnabry was on hand to smuggle home and disprove the impression that Thomas Muller has a monopoly on such goals for Bayern.

If only Flick's back four were doing a similarly passable impersonation of a solid defence. When Lyon's weekend hero Moussa Dembele came on for Depay in the 58th minute he quickly wrought havoc – launching a move that concluded with Ekambi wilting under the whites of Neuer's eyes.

On Sunday, those chances will be falling to Angel Di Maria, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar – even if the latter's finishing in the Portuguese capital has been no cause for celebration up until this point.

Benjamin Pavard might return if passed match fit, allowing Kimmich to revert to a central midfield role and give a little more protection to the heart of defence, where Niklas Sule replaced Jerome Boateng at half-time and proved an at times plodding companion to David Alaba.

Lyon's great favour to their compatriots here was showing Bayern are far from infallible. On the other hand, the men from Munich have now won 20 in a row and are unbeaten in all competitions since December 7. The parade of talent following Sule from the bench – Kingsley Coman, Philippe Coutinho, Corentin Tolisso and Pavard – was frankly ludicrous.

Having seen Lewandowski head his 55th – that's fifty-fifth – goal of the season to crown a 3-0 win, Flick might just to let his flying machine soar and let PSG deal with it. Unleash Kimmich and Davies, let Leon Goretzka and Thiago purr from midfield and care not a jot what goes on behind them.

Had Lyon taken their early chances, we might have had a repeat of July's Coupe de la Ligue final, which finished 0-0 before PSG won on penalties.

It is impossible to see anything similar unfolding at Estadio da Luz on Sunday, with the cream of Europe's 2020 crop giving every indication we are in for a classic.

Lionel Messi reportedly has Barcelona in "suspense" amid talk over his future.

Messi, 33, has been linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants amid chaos at the club following their capitulation in the Champions League.

Contracted until 2021, Messi's future has become a major talking point.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA IN 'SUSPENSE' OVER MESSI FUTURE

Barcelona are in suspense amid uncertainty over Messi's future, according to Marca.

Club president Josep Maria Bartomeu said on Tuesday he expected Messi to lead the club into the future under Ronald Koeman.

TuttoMercatoWeb reports only Manchester City, Paris Saint-Germain or Inter would be able to afford the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reports Koeman wants a two-year deal at the club and Henrik Larsson as one of his assistants at Camp Nou.

- Chelsea continue to chase Kai Havertz. Sport Bild claims negotiations between the Premier League club and Bayer Leverkusen started last week and Havertz will become the most expensive German player of all-time.

- Will Kalidou Koulibaly leave Napoli? The Mirror reports City are being invited to make a £60million (€66.6m) move for the defender, who Napoli want to replace with Lille's Gabriel Magalhaes. ESPN says Arsenal are hopeful of sealing a deal for Gabriel for around £22m (€24.4m).

- Leeds United could be preparing to strengthen on their return to the Premier League. The Evening Standard reports Leeds are interested in Chelsea striker Michy Batshuayi.

- Benfica could be nearing two big signings. Gianluca Di Marzio says the Portuguese giants want Inter midfielder Joao Mario, while Record reports Benfica are close to completing a deal for former Paris Saint-Germain star Edinson Cavani.

- Having signed Blaise Matuidi, Inter Miami may add some firepower. DIRECTV Peru says the MLS club have started talks to sign former PSV and Schalke forward Jefferson Farfan.

After four gripping quarter-final ties, the Champions League semis have quickly come around. 

Bayern Munich thrashed Barcelona 8-2 to create the biggest story in Lisbon last week, but there was still plenty of drama elsewhere. 

Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig and Lyon all scored late goals to advance, the latter upsetting Manchester City in the process. 

PSG face Leipzig on Tuesday, while Lyon have the unenviable task of taking on favourites Bayern 24 hours later. 

Using Opta data, here are some of the key facts heading into the games. 

 

RB LEIPZIG V PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

1 - Both Leipzig and PSG are aiming to reach their first ever European Cup or Champions League final.

3 - PSG have progressed from each of their three prior European knockout ties against German opponents, including eliminating Borussia Dortmund in the last 16 this year.

16 - It is 16 years since a French team last reached the Champions League final. Of the past seven Ligue 1 sides to make it to this stage, only Monaco (2004) have gone a step further.

34 - PSG are aiming to score in a 34th consecutive Champions League match, tying Real Madrid's record from 2011 to 2014.

33 - Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann could become the youngest coach to reach a Champions League final - at 33 - taking the record from Didier Deschamps, who was 35 with Monaco in 2004.

23 - Since debuting in the competition for Barca in 2013-14, Neymar has provided more Champions League assists than any other player. He set up PSG’s equaliser against Atalanta in the quarter-final, too.

10 - Kylian Mbappe is enjoying his best Champions League campaign for goal involvements, registering five goals and five assists in just eight appearances. He has been involved in a Champions League goal on average every 48 minutes this term.
 

LYON V BAYERN MUNICH

10 - Lyon and Bayern are meeting for the first time in 10 years, with their previous tie also a Champions League semi-final. Bayern were 4-0 aggregate winners in 2009-10 and have won four of their eight previous match-ups in all.

12 - In the Champions League era, only Madrid (13) have reached the last four on more occasions than Bayern.

2 - After Deschamps with Monaco, Rudi Garcia is aiming to become just the second French coach to lead a French team into a Champions League final.

10 -  With a victory, Bayern can equal the longest winning run in Champions League history - matching their own 2013 streak which Madrid also tied in 2015. Bayern's nine-match sequence is already the joint-best - along with Barcelona in 2002-03 - from the start of a campaign.

3 - Bayern have 39 goals in the Champions League so far this season, a tally only three teams have ever beaten across an entire campaign.

8 - It has been eight years since Lyon won back-to-back Champions League matches in the same season, beating Dinamo Zagreb in the 2011-12 group stage before edging their last-16 first leg against APOEL.

15 - Moussa Dembele and Philippe Coutinho both scored twice as 75th-minute substitutes in the quarter-finals. They now jointly hold the record for the fewest minutes played in a Champions League knockout match while scoring at least twice.

Is Ronald Koeman the chosen one?

Quique Setien was sacked by Barcelona on Monday, following the club's Champions League horror show.

And Netherlands head coach Koeman – a former Barca defender – is reportedly on the verge of being appointed.

 

TOP STORY – KOEMAN TO LEAD STRUGGLING BARCA

Ronald Koeman is set to become Barcelona head coach, according to widespread reports.

Netherlands boss Koeman is reportedly the man Barca want to appoint following Quique Setien's sacking in the aftermath of their 8-2 Champions League humiliation against Bayern Munich.

Tuesday's frontpages of Marca and Sport say former Barca defender Koeman will replace Setien.

Voetbal and Sky Sports claim LaLiga giants Barca are holding talks with the Dutch Football Federation (KNVB) as they seek to appoint Koeman.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Koeman set to vacate his position, Fox Sports presenter Jan Joost van Gangelen claims former Arsenal boss Arsene Wenger has offered to take the Netherlands job. Wenger has been out of work since leaving Arsenal in 2018.

- The Guardian reports Premier League champions Liverpool are unwilling to pay the €30million (£27m) fee Bayern Munich are asking for star midfielder Thiago Alcantara. The Spaniard has also been linked to Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

Inter remain in talks with Brescia to sign star midfielder Sandro Tonali, reports Fabrizio Romano. Inter will reportedly try to finalise a transfer following the Europa League final. Tonali has also been linked to champions Juventus.

- Alfredo Pedulla says Napoli want to sign Arsenal defender Sokratis Papastathopoulos but are still trying to negotiate a fee. It comes as Arsenal reportedly close in on Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes, who has also been targeted by Napoli.

City are preparing a new and improved offer for Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly, says Sportitalia's Pedulla. Napoli are reportedly keen to sell Koulibaly in order to raise funds for Gabriel.

- According to Sky Sports, Manchester United are monitoring Juve winger Douglas Costa. The future of Costa in Turin is in doubt as new boss Andrea Pirlo rebuilds and with United struggling to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, they could turn to the Brazilian.

- Cadena Ser claims Barca plan to force pay cuts on players who refuse to leave Camp Nou. Luis Suarez, Jordi Alba and Ivan Rakitic are among three of the highest earners who the club are hopeful of selling this off-season.

Milan are hopeful of re-signing Gianluigi Donnarumma and Zlatan Ibrahimovic before the end of the month despite negotiations dragging on, according to Calciomercato.

- AS reports RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano could join Real Madrid in 2021. Due to the financial situation amid the coronavirus pandemic, Madrid are reportedly holding off on major transfers until next year.

RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann does not believe Pep Guardiola made a mistake by making tactical tweaks to his Manchester City side in their surprise defeat to Lyon.

City exited the Champions League on Saturday, with Lyon progressing to the last four – where they will meet an imperious-looking Bayern Munich – with a 3-1 win.

Raheem Sterling missed a glorious opportunity when City were 2-1 down, with Moussa Dembele subsequently making sure of Lyon's progression with his second goal.

Seemingly in an attempt to match Lyon's system, Guardiola switched to a 3-4-3 shape for Saturday's clash.

But his tinkering backfired, with Guardiola coming in for some criticism for altering the system, while Lyon coach Rudi Garcia claimed his side "won the tactical battle."

Nagelsmann, however, insists it was individual moments, rather than the tactics, which ultimately cost City.

"The idea he basically had was not too complicated," Nagelsmann, who often alternates between using a back three and back four, told a news conference ahead of Leipzig's semi-final against Paris Saint-Germain.

"Whether 3-4-3 or 4-3-3, I don't think that is that crucial for a Kevin De Bruyne.

"In the end, it's individual situations. In my opinion, it is a bit too easy to always blame the formation for something like that.

"If City had won, everyone would have said 'world-class tactics!' Now he has surprised everyone.' It's a tightrope.

"In a knockout game you often have to make tactical adjustments that you might not make in the league. If necessary, you can take a point with you. That doesn't work in the Champions League. Every coach has to be there to find your own way."

Leipzig booked their place in the semi-finals with a 2-1 win over Atletico Madrid, while PSG overcame Atalanta in dramatic fashion.

Nagelsmann is expecting a stern challenge, especially with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe both likely to start for PSG, yet believes his side are playing with more verve and resilience than they showed in the closing stages of the Bundesliga season.

"I think that in the Bundesliga the players were tired and struggling to catch up," he said. "They were strange times. 

"They are hungry for victory and against Atletico Madrid it was possible to see that. We are happy, but we still want to take more steps and the players are prepared.

"[PSG's] quality is very high, so it will be a collective effort. We will try to impose our game and be brave. We want to try to put them under pressure, we have this potential, with many young players, and we are going to show it."

RB Leipzig's rapid rise to prominence in the Champions League has left them on the brink of a European final, with Paris Saint-Germain standing in there way.

Though star striker Timo Werner has departed for Chelsea, Julian Nagelsmann still has plenty of quality players at his disposal, and chief among them is Dayot Upamecano.

The centre-back, who has a brilliant turn of pace and plenty of power, has drawn interest from some of Europe's biggest clubs in recent seasons.

However, for the time being at least, Leipzig have fended off any approaches, with Upamecano having signed a new deal, which runs until 2023, in July.

With his immediate future settled, Upamecano has the chance to prove he truly is worth the hype as Leipzig take on PSG – spearheaded by two of the world's greatest attackers in the form of Kylian Mbappe and Neymar – in Lisbon.

The story so far

Despite supposed interest from Manchester United, Manchester City and Arsenal at the time, Upamecano opted for Salzburg in 2015 and soon got a taste for first-team football at feeder club Liefering.

Given the links between the clubs, it came as little surprise when the centre-back chose Leipzig in January 2017, quickly adapting to a new country and league with 12 Bundesliga appearances over the rest of the campaign.

Upamecano's displays over the next year saw him nominated for the 2018 Golden Boy award, won by then-Ajax defender Matthijs de Ligt, but his game has since gone up another level under the stewardship of Nagelsmann.

He has been a mainstay at the back, making 37 appearances in all competitions so far in 2019-20.

What have they said?

A number of current and former stars have heaped praise on the 21-year-old, with former team-mate Werner comparing him to Bayern Munich's Jerome Boateng, and during the enforced break in action amid the COVID-19 outbreak, German football legend Lothar Matthaus talked up the youngster.

But for now, Upamecano seems perfectly happy where he is. 

"I feel right at home here in Leipzig - the overall package is perfect," said Upamecano after signing his new contract.

"We had good conversations with [chief executive] Oliver Mintzlaff, [sporting director] Markus Krosche and [head coach] Julian Nagelsmann, which showed to me that extending my contract was the right decision for me to make.

"Our young and hungry team is part of an ambitious club. I want to take the next step with Leipzig and reach our aims, because I'm convinced by the way we play our football.

"I have been in Leipzig for over three years and I have continued to improve alongside the team's development. I want to carry on developing personally, and I think Julian Nagelsmann is a coach that can bring me to the next level."

Areas of weakness?

Upamecano is quick and strong, a fine player to progress the ball out of defence – he has made more vertical runs with the ball in the Champions League this season than any other player left in the competition – and is excellent in the air.

The Frenchman is still developing, though, and there is certainly room for improvement in terms of his temperament. 

This was evidenced in June, when Upamecano allowed frustration to get the better of him and he received a second booking two minutes before half-time in a Bundesliga clash with Paderborn.

Leipzig were in front at that stage yet Paderborn ultimately claimed a dramatic point when captain Christian Strohdiek struck in the 92nd minute, and team-mate Kevin Kampl was far from happy.

"It was completely unnecessary," Kampl said to Sky Germany about defender Upamecano's sending off. "We lead 1-0, have the game under control and then we weaken ourselves."

Fortunately for Leipzig, the draw did not ultimately cost them a place in the Bundesliga's top four.

The biggest challenge yet?

Though Upamecano has faced the fearsome attacks of Bayern and Borussia Dortmund, he is about to come up against two of the world's finest forwards.

Neymar missed some golden opportunities in PSG's quarter-final tie against Atalanta, but ultimately played a key part in both of their goals as the Ligue 1 champions snatched a late win.

Meanwhile, his partner in crime Mbappe is sure to start after coming on as a substitute in that win – with the youngster, who had been recovering from an injury sustained in July, going on to provide the assist for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's winner.

Leipzig switched to a back four against Atletico Madrid, with Upamecano tasked with marking Diego Costa and, subsequently, Alvaro Morata – and putting in a brilliant display.

But with the trickery and guile of Neymar, and the pace of Mbappe – not to mention the poaching ability of Mauro Icardi – PSG will present an altogether different challenge.

However, if he manages to marshall Leipzig's defence against some of world football's most clinical finishers, then Upamecano may well confirm his status as one of the best defenders in world football.

Lionel Messi reportedly has no plans to hang around at Barcelona, while Neymar could be targeted for a return.

Amid the chaos at the LaLiga giants, there is fresh speculation over Messi's future.

The superstar is contracted at Barca until 2021 – but perhaps he could make a move sooner.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI WANTS IMMEDIATE BARCELONA EXIT

Messi wants to leave Barcelona immediately, according to Esporte Interativo.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked to Premier League giants Manchester City and Serie A side Inter recently.

Contracted until next year, Messi was expected to re-sign at Barcelona, but their capitulation in the Champions League has led to chaos at the club.

 

ROUND-UP

- With Barcelona moving on from Quique Setien, where to next for the LaLiga giants? Sport reports Ronald Koeman and former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino are the main candidates, while AS says the Netherlands head coach is the frontrunner.

- Moves are also expected at Camp Nou. According to Sport, Barcelona are preparing a deal for Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar, ready to offer Antoine Griezmann and €60million to bring the Brazil international back to the club. AS says Barca are also prepared to sell Arthur, who is joining Juventus, Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Martin Braithwaite, Junior Firpo, Samuel Umtiti and Ousmane Dembele.

- Pochettino is reportedly an option for Barcelona, but the Argentinian may have options. The Sun reports City are eyeing Pochettino amid doubts over Pep Guardiola's future as manager.

- It looks like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang is staying at Arsenal. The Telegraph reports Arsenal have agreed terms with the forward over a new deal.

- Chelsea are expected to sign at least one defender this close season. According to the Mirror, they are preparing a move for City defender John Stones – even if they land Brighton and Hove Albion's Lewis Dunk.

- Another Brighton and Hove Albion defender is apparently attracting interest. The Sun says Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Tottenham and Leicester City are interested in Ben White, who spent 2019-20 on loan at Leeds United.

Goodbye Quique Setien?

Barcelona's Champions League horror show against Bayern Munich is reportedly the final straw for the club's hierarchy.

Who will replace the former Real Betis boss at Camp Nou?

 

TOP STORY – BARCA TO SACK SETIEN

Barcelona have decided to sack head coach Quique Setien, according to journalist Fabrizio Romano.

LaLiga giants Barca were humiliated in the Champions League quarter-finals on Friday following an 8-2 defeat to Bundesliga holders Bayern Munich.

Barca have already decided Setien – who replaced Ernesto Valverde in January – will not continue in 2020-21, and former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino has already been linked, while club great Xavi and Massimiliano Allegri are other possible options.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Star reports Manchester United are eyeing Atletico Madrid star Saul Niguez. United have been linked to the Spain international previously and are believed to be ready to revive their interest.

- Staying at Old Trafford and the Evening Standard says United remain in talks with Borussia Dortmund regarding Jadon Sancho. Dortmund insist Sancho will not leave the Bundesliga side, though United are reportedly still in negotiations for the England international. Meanwhile, Outlet Republika in Serbia claims United have agreed to sign teenage sensation Filip Stevanovic from Partizan Belgrade before loaning him back to the capital club.

- Hella Verona defender Marash Kumbulla wants to join Inter, Sky Sport Italia claims. Kumbulla has been linked to Napoli, Lazio and Juventus.

Bayern Munich want to keep loanee Ivan Perisic, according to Sky Sport Italia. Perisic has spent the season on loan from Inter and Bayern are hoping to negotiate a permanent deal.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic wants to remain at Milan and could soon sign a new contract with the Rossoneri, reports Calciomercato.

- Foot Mercato claims Barca could consider re-signing Thiago Alcantara from Bayern. Thiago, who left Barca in 2013, has been tipped to join Liverpool, while Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City have emerged as possible destinations.

Arsenal are planning to sign Thomas Partey from Atletico following the arrival of William, reports The Daily Star.

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