Neymar must be given freedom to focus on his game rather than worry about leadership, Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel said on Saturday.

The French champions have an internal system whereby they have five captains, with on-field skipper Marquinhos supported by Presnel Kimpembe, Kylian Mbappe, Keylor Navas and Marco Verratti.

Although Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani left the club and that group at the end of last season, Neymar was not added to it.

Given his seniority, the Brazilian may have been an obvious choice, but Tuchel wants Neymar to keep all his attention on scoring goals and creating for others.

"I often speak to Neymar on his own and I'm always close to him. We speak a lot," said Tuchel, ahead of Sunday's Ligue 1 clash with Lyon.

"It's important that he is free to say what he thinks. We often talk about tactics and also personal matters. At the moment he has so much going on in his head.

"He takes responsibility on the pitch. He is an artist. He is creative. For that reason, I don't want him to think about organisational matters.

"If there are very important matters to discuss he is one of our key players of course.

"It is not to do with him because I want him to stay focused on the pitch so that he can play with all of his freedom and creativity."

With Tuchel declaring on Saturday that injured striker Mauro Icardi is unlikely to play again until the new year, the onus falls increasingly on the likes of Neymar and Mbappe to keep the goals flowing for PSG.

After a rocky patch of form, PSG have strung together three straight wins, beating both Manchester United and Montpellier by 3-1 margins before trouncing Istanbul Basaksehir 5-1 on Wednesday.

That game was delayed a day after racism allegations against a fourth official on Tuesday caused the game to be postponed.

A knock-on effect was that PSG's players were denied the two-day break that Tuchel had planned for them, and he knows Lyon, who missed out on this season's European competitions, have had a full week to prepare for their big clash at the Parc des Princes.

Tuchel identified Memphis Depay as a major threat to PSG, speaking of his ability to roam and find space, and said Lyon are a team who show "bravery" and "almost have the same quality that we do".

He pinpointed Lyon and Lille as the Ligue 1 sides who provide competition on a level comparable to the Champions League.

Lyon, however, have a miserable recent record against PSG in the capital, having not won any of their past 12 away trips, losing 10 of those games and drawing the other two.

Their last league win at the Parc des Princes came in October 2007, a 3-2 success in which Hatem Ben Arfa scored twice for Lyon.

Tuchel believes Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, linked with PSG among a host of clubs, has the quality to play for any team.

"We have respect for all clubs and players so we don't talk about other players, but it's clear that Houssem Aouar is a key player for Lyon and the national team," Tuchel said of the France star.

"It is obvious he could play in any team in the world. He's a fantastic player and has been key for Lyon so we need to prepare well to face him."

Providing cause for concern for Tuchel is the fact PSG, despite leading Ligue 1 going into the weekend, have already lost three times. Lyon, meanwhile, are unbeaten in their past 10 (W6 D4).

Tuchel said PSG's defeats were "not good news" and "purely our fault", and it means they have lost three times in their opening 13 league games for the second successive season.

Erling Haaland continues to dominate headlines.

Haaland's exploits for Borussia Dortmund has reportedly attracted interest from Europe's elite.

Will he decide between the two Manchester giants?

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND WANTED IN MANCHESTER

Manchester United and neighbours Manchester City are set to go head-to-head to sign Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland , according to the Daily Mail.

Haaland is one of the most sought-after players in Europe, linked with Real Madrid , Liverpool , Barcelona , Bayern Munich , City and United.

The Norway international snubbed United for Dortmund in January but the Red Devils remain interested, while City view Haaland as a long-term replacement for Sergio Aguero .

 

ROUND-UP

- The Guardian reports Salzburg sensation Dominik Szoboszlai  is poised to join sister club RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga. Arsenal , Milan , Inter and Napoli have all been linked to the 20-year-old, but Leipzig are set to pay his €25million release clause in January.

Inter are interested in Udinese duo Rodrigo De Paul and Juan Musso , claims Calciomercato. Musso is seen a long-term replacement for Inter goalkeeper Samir Handanovic, while the Nerazzurri must raise funds if they are to prise De Paul from Udinese.

- Marca says Bayern star David Alaba is edging closer to a move to Madrid . Alaba is out of contract at season's end, with the likes of Barca , City , Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain targeting the Austria international.

- Bild reports United midfielder Paul Pogba is putting pressure on agent Mino Raiola to find a new club, otherwise he will seek a new representative. Former club Juventus are reportedly favourites to lure Pogba back to Turin amid speculation of a swap deal involving either Paulo Dybala or Cristiano Ronaldo . Madrid are also a possible destination.

Erling Haaland will reportedly cost a suitor €75million next year, while Dele Alli could be set for a Tottenham exit.

Haaland is linked with a move away from Borussia Dortmund after dominating with the Bundesliga giants.

And the 20-year-old could be available for an affordable fee next year.

 

TOP STORY – HAALAND AVAILABLE FOR €75M NEXT YEAR

Haaland can leave Dortmund for €75m next year, according to Esport3.

Real Madrid have been most heavily linked with a move for the forward, while Manchester United and Liverpool are also credited with interest.

Haaland, who is sidelined with a hamstring injury, has scored 33 goals in 32 games since arriving at Dortmund from Salzburg in January.

 

ROUND-UP

- Struggling for game time at Tottenham, Dele Alli could make a move in January. The Daily Mail reports Paris Saint-Germain are set to make another loan bid for Alli next month. Alli has played just 67 Premier League minutes this season.

- Amid inconsistent form and with injury worries, Barcelona may also be looking to strengthen in January. Sport reports Eric Garcia wants to join the club from Manchester City but may have to wait until the club's presidential election, which is due to be held on January 24. Garcia and Lyon star Memphis Depay feature on the cover of Mundo Deportivo, which says Ronald Koeman wants signings in January for Barca, who are ninth in LaLiga.

- Manchester United are considering their defensive options. The Manchester Evening News reports United are huge admirers of Brighton and Hove Albion defender Ben White, who is among their options alongside Real Madrid's Raphael Varane and RB Leipzig's Dayot Upamecano.

- A player who could exit Manchester United is Marcos Rojo. The Sheffield Star reports Sheffield United are interested in the defender.

Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font believes he can convince disgruntled superstar Lionel Messi to remain at Camp Nou beyond this season.

Messi's future remains an important topic at embattled LaLiga giants Barca after he handed in a transfer request following a tumultuous 2019-20 campaign.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner was tipped to join Premier League powerhouse Manchester City before opting to remain in Spain, though he has since been linked to Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain and Inter.

Font, who is in the running for the presidential election which takes place on January 24 following Josep Maria Bartomeu's resignation in October, talked up the importance of re-signing Messi.

"I'm convinced that with a competitive, exciting and, especially in Messi's case, long-term project – one that could even go beyond the day that Messi retires – we will convince him to stay," Font told ESPN.

"Messi is the best player in the history of the number one sport in the world. Imagine what that means.

"For that reason, the Messi-Barca association is a strategic one and we must do everything possible to guarantee the association lives on.

"Keeping in mind he can speak with other clubs in January, phoning Messi [if I win the election] must be one of the priorities."

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, which has hit Barca hard financially, Font added: "Messi, above all else, is a person that loves Barca and what he wants is to win.

"Of course, the best player in the world and the best of all time has to be compensated competitively. But I think his priorities are competing and winning.

"[His salary] is one of the realities that has to be adjusted. The level of revenue in the short-term and for next season is up in the air. It depends on what happens with fans coming back to the stadium.

"Based on that, we will have to structure the wage bill appropriately. Once we are clear on that situation; we will know what the club can afford.

"Messi is a Barca fan and he loves Barca as we all do. He's been here for a lot of years, since he was 13, and I am sure that regardless of what he wants to do [with his career] to keep winning, his passion and love for the club is more than anything else."

Messi has scored four LaLiga goals in 10 appearances this term, while the 33-year-old has managed seven across all competitions.

Barca have endured a forgettable start to the season under new head coach Ronald Koeman, who has overseen back-to-back defeats.

Messi's Barca are ninth in LaLiga and 12 points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid ahead of Sunday's clash with Levante – the Catalan giants have lost four of their 10 opening league games, their worst return at this stage of a season since 2000-01.

Barca's all-time leading scorer Messi has been involved in at least one goal in each of his past nine LaLiga games against Levante (12 goals and 10 assists).

Paris Saint-Germain and Marseille will contest the Trophee des Champions in Lens on January 13, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) has confirmed. 

It will be the first time since 2008 that the match has been held in France, with previous editions having been hosted in North America, Asia and Africa. 

An LFP statement read: "The 2020-21 edition of the Trophee des Champions will pit Paris Saint-Germain against Marseille on January 13, 2021. 

"Due to health reasons, the match cannot be organised abroad this season. After a consultation, the board of directors decided to organise this edition at Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens." 

PSG have won the trophy in each of the past seven seasons, though the last team to beat them in the fixture was Marseille in 2010 – OM winning 5-4 on penalties after a goalless draw in Tunis. 

The Trophee des Champions is traditionally contested by the Ligue 1 champion and the winner of the Coupe de France, but with PSG claiming both titles last season, top-flight runners-up Marseille will be their opponents. 

The LFP board of directors also confirmed the next transfer window for French clubs will run from January 2 until February 1.

Paul Pogba could reportedly leave Manchester United as early as next month, while Zinedine Zidane is said to be eyeing a Real Madrid exit.

Pogba's future has again become a talking point at United after his agent, Mino Raiola, said the midfielder wanted to leave.

And the Premier League giants may be ready to make it happen.

 

TOP STORY – MAN UTD WANT TO SELL POGBA IN JANUARY

Manchester United want to sell Pogba in January after Raiola's latest outburst, according to The Sun.

It comes after ESPN reported the Premier League giants doubted whether Juventus or Real Madrid – the clubs the France international has been most heavily linked to – could afford the 27-year-old.

Pogba came off the bench as United were knocked out of the Champions League with a 3-2 loss to RB Leipzig on Tuesday.

 

ROUND-UP

- Real Madrid managed to reach the last 16 to ease the pressure on head coach Zidane. However, Diario Gol reports Zidane has made it clear to Madrid president Florentino Perez he is likely to leave at the end of the season, regardless of what happens. The report says Zidane was promised the signings of Pogba, Liverpool star Sadio Mane and Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga.

- Under pressure, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's future at Manchester United is uncertain. But the Daily Mail reports United will back the manager despite their Champions League exit and the availability of Mauricio Pochettino. Meanwhile, Sky Sports says United are interested in Atletico Madrid right-back Kieran Trippier.

- David Alaba seems certain to leave Bayern Munich at the end of his contract after the 2020-21 season. Bild reports Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are on the shortlist of destinations for the defender.

- Could Frenkie de Jong leave Barcelona after just two seasons at the club? Mundo Deportivo reports Bayern Munich are in contact with the midfielder's agent regarding a possible move. De Jong joined Barca from Ajax for a reported initial fee of €75million in 2019, and he re-signed with the club in October until 2026.

- Eric Garcia has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, but it seems there is also interest from elsewhere. The Sun reports Arsenal are tracking the defender, who is out of contract at Manchester City at the end of the season.

- Arsenal and Wolves are monitoring Maxi Gomez's situation at Valencia, according to the Daily Mail, which says Valencia could sell the forward in January or at season's end as they look to raise funds.

Is a blockbuster swap deal on the horizon?

Paul Pogba is unhappy at Manchester United, and Juventus are believed to be keen on re-signing the Frenchman.

Juve's Paulo Dybala could be used as a makeweight to prise Pogba back to Turin, where he played between 2012 and 2016.

 

TOP STORY – DYBALA OUT, POGBA IN AT JUVE?

Juventus want to swap Paulo Dybala for wantaway Manchester United star Paul Pogba, according to Tuttomercatoweb journalist Tancredi Palmeri.

Pogba appears set to leave United after his agent stated the star midfielder's time at Old Trafford was "over" prior to Tuesday's Champions League defeat to RB Leipzig.

The World Cup-winning France international has been heavily linked with a return to Juve, while LaLiga champions Real Madrid are long-term admirers.

But Juve – looking to re-sign Pogba without paying a transfer fee in January – hope to tempt United with attacker Dybala, who has also been linked to Inter, Paris Saint-Germain, Arsenal, Tottenham, Chelsea, Manchester City and Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Madrid are set to choose between Pogba and Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga. Los Blancos head coach Zinedine Zidane prefers Pogba, while president Florentino Perez would rather Camavinga move to the Santiago Bernabeu due to the difference in salary demands. United and PSG are also believed to be eyeing Camavinga.

Juventus, Milan and Atletico Madrid are looking to sign Lazio's Joaquin Correa, reports Calciomercato. It will reportedly take between €50m-€55million to prise Correa away from the Italian capital.

- According to Calciomercato, Serie A duo Milan and Juve are battling Barcelona to sign Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger.

Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League clash with Istanbul Basaksehir was delayed on Tuesday amid allegations of racism against the fourth official.

The game was stopped after 13 minutes at Parc des Princes, with both sets of players gathering on the sidelines for more than 10 minutes before Basaksehir's players walked down the tunnel. They were followed by PSG's players.

Basaksehir's English Twitter account posting a message saying the club's assistant coach, Pierre Webo, had been called a racist word by fourth official Sebastian Coltescu. 

The Turkish side also posted an image on its official Twitter account stating 'No To Racism' soon after the incident, with Galatasaray posting the same graphic in apparent solidarity with their counterparts.

Reports in Paris suggested the match was set to resume at 22:00 CET without Coltescu on the sideline.

Paul Pogba's time with Manchester United appears to be coming to an end.

Agent Mino Raiola said Pogba – who re-joined the Red Devils from Juventus in 2016, having left in 2012 – is unhappy at United amid growing speculation over his future in Manchester.

Does a move to Real Madrid await the France international?

 

TOP STORY – POGBA EYEING MADRID

Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba wants to join Real Madrid, according to Eurosport.

Pogba appears set for an Old Trafford exit after his agent Mino Raiola said his time at United is "over".

The World Cup-winning France international has since been linked with LaLiga champions Madrid, former club Juventus and Ligue 1 holders Paris Saint-Germain.

 

ROUND-UP

Cristiano Ronaldo could return to United, reports Auto Esporte. The Juventus superstar has been linked to former club United and PSG, but Red Devils sponsor Chevrolet are willing to help finance a transfer.

- RMC Sport claims PSG star Kylian Mbappe will spurn a move to Madrid in favour of remaining with the Ligue 1 holders. Mbappe has been tipped to swap PSG for Madrid, though the France international has also been linked to Liverpool.

Barcelona sent scouts to watch Benfica forward Darwin Nunez, says Sport. The 21-year-old has impressed since arriving from Almeria at the start of the season.

- Premier League clubs Arsenal and Tottenham are battling to sign Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, reports Calciomercato.

Eduardo Camavinga has notified his new agent that he wants to leave Rennes, claims Diario AS. The France sensation has been linked to Madrid, United and PSG.

RB Leipzig are in pole position to sign Salzburg's Dominik Szoboszlai but Calciomercato says Milan remain in contact.

Kylian Mbappe has not been distracted by contract talks with Paris Saint-Germain even if his performance levels have dropped of late, according to the forward's father.

France international Mbappe is into the final 18 months of his deal at the Parc des Princes and has been strongly linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

PSG sporting director Leonardo revealed last week that discussions are "going well" with the 21-year-old over extending his stay in the French capital beyond the end of 2021-22.

While talks continue off the field, Mbappe has struggled to fire on all cylinders on it, ending a three-game scoring drought with his late strike against Montpellier on Saturday.

But, while acknowledging Mbappe has not been at his best this term, the player's father Wilfried has insisted that is not down to contract negotiations.

"It cannot disturb him because he is playing in a great team and is surrounded by great players," Wilfried told Telefoot. "He is getting closer to achieving his dreams and ambitions.

"To say the criticism he has received for his performances hasn't had an effect would not be true. The performances are a little worse, but not as bad as people want us to believe.

"If we have to worry about players of the calibre of Kylian Mbappe, we will worry about a lot of players."

The World Cup winner's goal against Montpellier was his 100th for PSG, whom he joined from domestic rivals Monaco in August 2017.

Mbappe has 10 goals in nine Ligue 1 outings this term and a further four assists – 1.5 and 0.6 per 90 minutes respectively, compared to 1.1 and 0.3 across 20 games in the curtailed 2019-20 campaign.

He is also averaging more shots on target (3.1 compared to 2.9 last season), successful dribbles (4.5 to 3.3), touches of the ball (63.7 to 60.3), touches in the opposition box (14.1 to 12.4) and successful passes (31.5 to 28.8).

However, his shot conversion rate has decreased from a goal every 1.3 shots in Ligue 1 last season to one every 5.1 so far this campaign.

David Beckham says playing with Kylian Mbappe "would have been a dream" after the Paris Saint-Germain superstar netted his 100th goal for the club.

The 21-year-old, who joined PSG from domestic rivals Monaco in August 2017, reached the milestone with a stoppage-time effort against Montpellier on Saturday.

The century strike came in just Mbappe's 137th match and further landmarks will surely follow for the World Cup winner.

Beckham, who finished his career at PSG in 2013, wishes he was still playing and able to help Mbappe chase down record goalscorer Edinson Cavani (200)

The former England captain registered two assists from six chances created in his 10 Ligue 1 games (311 minutes played), but Mbappe might also have improved his own statistics.

"I would have loved to still be a player now, because playing with a forward like Kylian would have been a dream to me," Inter Miami owner Beckham told Telefoot.

"You put the ball anywhere in front of him and he gets it."

Mbappe has averaged a goal every 89 minutes for PSG in Ligue 1, netting 74 of his 100 goals in that competition.

There have been another 13 in the Champions League, although the striker has not netted in Europe in 2020, even as PSG reached last season's final.

Paris Saint-Germain have terminated the contract of forward Jese Rodriguez six months early.

The 27-year-old joined PSG from Real Madrid in 2016 but has spent four seasons out on loan at four different clubs.

He has featured twice from the bench for the French champions in Ligue 1 this term and was under contract at the Parc des Princes until June 30, 2021.

However, after being embroiled in a number of off-the-field issues in recent weeks, PSG have decided to cut short the former Spain Under-21s international's deal.

PSG confirmed the news in a statement on their official website on Sunday and added: "Paris Saint-Germain wish Jese the best in the rest of his professional career."

Jese departs the French capital having scored two goals in 18 appearances in all competitions.

A new deal for Bruno Fernandes already?

Manchester United brought Fernandes to Old Trafford in January, and he has taken the Premier League by storm.

With reported interest from Spain, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's side want to reward Fernandes.

 

TOP STORY – FERNANDES SET FOR NEW DEAL

Manchester United are set to offer Bruno Fernandes a new bumper deal to fend off interest from Barcelona and LaLiga champions Real Madrid, according to the Mirror.

Fernandes has been a revelation since joining United from Portuguese giants Sporting CP in January – the star midfielder has been directly involved in 36 goals in 38 games across all competitions, five more than any other Premier league player in this period.

With Fernandes dominating, United are prepared to double the Portugal international's wages at Old Trafford.

 

ROUND-UP

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports Manchester City could sign both Lionel Messi and Neymar. Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar wants to reunite with Messi, while the Barcelona superstar is unhappy at Camp Nou. PSG have also been linked to Messi and any move would impact the future of Kylian Mbappe, who is reportedly wanted by Madrid and Liverpool.

- Calciomercato claims Bayern Munich star David Alaba will cost Juventus around €15million. Alaba is set to become a free agent at the end of the season, and he has been linked to the likes of Madrid, Barca, PSG, Chelsea and City.

Milan are chasing Hellas Verona centre-back Matteo Lovato, says Calciomercato. Inter and Juve have also been credited with interest in the 20-year-old.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel lauded Kylian Mbappe following his 100th goal for the Ligue 1 champions.

Mbappe celebrated a milestone goal as PSG claimed a 3-1 win over Montpellier at Stade de la Mosson on Saturday.

PSG star Mbappe had been stuck on 99 goals across all competitions since November 20, but he finally joined the illustrious century club – which only includes Pauleta (109), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) and Edinson Cavani (200) – away to Montpellier.

Tuchel hailed the rumoured Real Madrid and Liverpool target post-match, telling reporter: "As I said after Manchester, he did a great game [in 3-1 Champions League victory over United].

"Against Manchester, he gave everything for the team. He did other games where he scored, and I wasn't happy enough with him. But after Manchester, I was very happy because he gave a lot of intensity, a lot of sprints, and a lot of efforts without the ball.

"If he keeps working like that, I'm sure we will give him some chances to score. Today, I can only say congratulations.

"The boy is always decisive. Every striker needs to score. And I hope it will continue on Tuesday."

PSG returned to winning ways, having only picked up one point from their previous two Ligue 1 fixtures against Bordeaux (2-2 draw) and Monaco (3-2 defeat).

Colin Dagba put visitors PSG ahead in the 33rd minute before Montpellier's Stephy Mavididi equalised four minutes prior to half-time.

Moises Kean – who has scored five goals in his last six Ligue 1 games, as many as his previous 40 league games – restored PSG's lead with 13 minutes remaining before Mbappe came off the bench and sealed the points in the first minute of stoppage time.

"I am very happy because it's not easy to find the rhythm, to play in this structure, and with many different players. But after 15 minutes, we find the good tempo," said Tuchel, whose PSG have failed to score only once in their past 39 away encounters in Ligue 1.

"We did a good game with the ball, and without the ball. We never lost our focus, our discipline with the ball and without the ball. Thanks to that, it was possible to win.

"It's always difficult to win in Montpellier, because they have a lot of qualities. It's a good victory."

PSG top the standings by four points ahead of Marseille, though they have played two games more than their rivals.

Kylian Mbappe felt liberated after he ended his wait to move onto a century of goals for Paris Saint-Germain.

France prodigy Mbappe reached 99 goals across all competitions for PSG when he scored a double against his former club Monaco in a 3-2 defeat on November 20.

He failed to find the net in three appearances – against RB Leipzig, Bordeaux and Manchester United – before adding gloss to a 3-1 win over Montpellier in Ligue 1 on Saturday.

With Moise Kean having thumped PSG into the lead in the 77th minute, Mbappe came on to score with his only attempt and wrap up the points for Thomas Tuchel's side in stoppage time.

The 21-year-old has netted 74 of his 100 PSG goals in France's top flight, with a further 13 strikes coming in the Champions League, though he has not scored in Europe in nine matches.

His remaining 13 goals have come in France's domestic cup competitions and the Trophee des Champions, while he has only scored from outside the box in Ligue 1 on three occasions.

"I knew my statistics, yes. It had been a few matches that I wanted to score the 100th," he told Canal+.

"This one wasn't the hardest. It's a liberation, especially at a big club like this and all the great players who have been here. When I signed here, I never thought I'd score 100 goals so quickly. It was part of the distant objectives.

"Thank you to my team-mates and to the club for giving me confidence, whether in good times or bad. Thank you to everyone who works there.

"I think I can score even more, offer more assists. It will come with time. I'm feeling better and better and going through matches will allow me to be even better physically."

Mbappe is joint fourth, alongside Dominique Rocheteau, in the list of PSG's leading goalscorers, behind Pauleta (109), Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) and Edinson Cavani (200).

"Score 200 goals with PSG? Who knows," said Mbappe, who has often been linked with a move to LaLiga giants Real Madrid and Barcelona. "I never would have thought of 100 goals! You just have to think about the next game.

"It's been three and a half years, and I've been through a lot here. It's great to have the support of the people."

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.