Pep Guardiola will not give Manchester City any time off between the end of the Premier League season and their crunch Champions League clash with Real Madrid.

Europe's top competition represents City's remaining chance to add to their retained EFL Cup this season, following a lacklustre 2-0 loss to Arsenal in Saturday's FA Cup semi-final.

Guardiola was critical of his players' performance over the opening 45 minutes of that match and they are set for a period of intensive work on the Etihad Campus training pitches in the 12 days in between the concluding Premier League encounter against Norwich City on July 26 and Madrid's visit to Manchester on August 7.

City hold a 2-1 advantage from the first leg at the Santiago Bernabeu back in February and, ahead of Tuesday's Premier League game at Watford, Guardiola rejected the suggestion he might allow a break at the end of the domestic season.

It is a stance at odds with Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane, who said he would allow the newly crowned LaLiga champions to "disconnect a little bit from football" after finishing their domestic campaign with a 2-2 draw against Leganes on Sunday.

"No, no, no – we'll have two days after the game against Watford but after we will make two weeks of training sessions," Guardiola said, with his team guaranteed a second-place finish behind Liverpool.

"These two games – we are going to make some changes, some that played the semi-final are not going to play.

"We are going to play the next two games. I will try to let them all of them play. We will see what happens."

Guardiola's criticism of City's mentality against Arsenal marked a departure from his usual reactions to defeats, where he tends to be carefully protective of the players.

The 49-year-old is set to break new ground next season, having never led a club for five consecutive campaigns.

Despite the dispiriting nature of the weekend loss and the surrender of the Premier League title to Liverpool, Guardiola insists his motivation remains undimmed.

"As a manager with one team, you have an advantage with positive things but at the same time, after you win a lot, you have difficulties to handle the situations," he said.

"But I'm so excited for these two weeks we have ahead, preparing for the Madrid game and excited for next season.

"The moment I lose this excitement, the fire I still have inside me to go after victories and defeats, it will be a problem."

Guardiola added: "It's a challenge for me, I've never been five years at one club and also it is a challenge to prove myself next season. Am I able to maintain the level that we had in the previous seasons? 

"In a world where everyone sacks everyone, to stay in a job for a long time is so difficult. Just take a look. England was an exception but now it is not anymore.

"It depends on the results and I'm so proud of the staff and backroom and players for helping me to be here for a fifth season."

There will be no Ballon d'Or awarded in 2020 due to a "lack of sufficient fair conditions", France Football has announced.

The French publication, which organises football's most prestigious individual prize, believes the effects of the coronavirus pandemic upon the sport at the elite level means it would be unfair to declare a 2020 winner.

In a list of reasons published to explain the decision, France Football said it "did not want to put an indelible asterisk" on the trophy due to present circumstances, adding "we will always prefer a small sprain (to our history) to a large scar".

It will be the first time since the Ballon d'Or launched in 1956 that its ballot to decide the finest player in the world will not be taken.

Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi claimed the top prize for a record sixth time in 2019, with United States forward Megan Rapinoe lifting the Ballon d'Or Feminin.

Football across the world shut down in March as COVID-19 spread rapidly.

Although the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A and the Bundesliga have all since returned behind closed doors, Ligue 1 was one of the competitions to cancel its 2019-20 schedule.

"A singular year cannot - and should not - be treated as an ordinary year. When in doubt, it is better to abstain than to persist," France Football said.

"The fairness that prevails for this honorary title could not be preserved, in particular at the statistical level and also in terms of preparation since all the aspirants to the award could not be housed in the same boat, some having seen their season cut off radically, others not. So how do you compare the incomparable?"

The statement concluded: "The Ballon d'Or story is too precious to take the risk of damaging it with a wobbly exercise. In these turbulent times, taking a break is a luxury and an invaluable necessity. So that football, as a whole, regains momentum and passion and emotion."

Barcelona defender Clement Lenglet will spend the start of this week undergoing treatment on a right groin injury.

Lenglet hobbled off in the 50th minute of Barca's 5-0 victory over Deportivo Alaves in their final LaLiga outing of the season on Sunday.

While his team-mates undertook a recovery session on Monday, the France international began a treatment programme that the club said will last "for the next few days".

Barca face Napoli in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie at Camp Nou on August 8 and it would seem unlikely he will be a doubt for the game.

Antoine Griezmann has missed Barca's past two games with a hamstring problem and continued specific on-pitch work as part of his recovery.

Napoli head coach Gennaro Gattuso admitted he is "worried" amid a spike in coronavirus cases in Barcelona ahead of next month's Champions League showdown.

Gattuso's Napoli are scheduled to visit Barcelona for the second leg of their last-16 tie on August 8 behind closed doors but a surge in COVID-19 cases in Catalonia has prompted concerns.

UEFA has confirmed it would be ready to move the clash away from Camp Nou, with the city locked down again and residents asked to stay at home for a fortnight.

Asked about the situation following Sunday's last-gasp 2-1 Serie A victory over Udinese, Gattuso said: "I haven't got caught up on any of it because it's not my job. It's something for the president and his guys.

"They always do this kind of thing. We are worried, of course, but I stay put because the chairman and his entourage will know what to do."

Napoli snatched victory in the 95th minute on Sunday via Matteo Politano after team-mate Arkadiusz Milik's 31st-minute equaliser cancelled out Rodrigo De Paul's opener for Udinese.

Sixth in the standings with four league matches remaining, Gattuso added: "After COVID we are playing another sport.

"Playing every three days without our fans with no time to prepare matches it is hard. I must say that the team is doing well."

"We hope to get there, on August 8 very fit against Barcelona," he continued. "It will be very important the way you get there. If you have the right mentality and I think that in the last couple of months we did well."

Napoli star Dries Mertens was forced off the field through injury after just 31 minutes against Udinese.

"Mertens took a knee to his backside so he couldn't run fluently. I hope it's nothing serious," Gattuso said.

Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane says his players will "disconnect" as they prepare for the resumption of the Champions League next month.

Los Blancos, who secured a first LaLiga title since 2017 this week, travel to the Etihad Stadium on August 7 looking to overturn a 2-1 first-leg defeat in their quarter-final against Manchester City.

Speaking after Madrid wrapped up their domestic campaign with a 2-2 draw against Leganes on Sunday – a result that condemned their neighbours to relegation – Zidane says his players will be allowed some time to relax, but is adamant the next few weeks will not be a holiday.

"It is not a holiday that we have now," he said. "Now, I don't think about City. We want to disconnect a bit, then we will have all the time to think. We will have 10-15 days to think. We will disconnect.

"Until the last second we are going to fight to go to that final, but now you don't have to think about the Champions League. It is time to rest and think about gathering strength. The final stretch has been a tremendous effort. Now we all need some relaxation. This is what we are going to do.

"After these four or five days off, we go back and think about the Champions League. No stress or worries."

Madrid were far from their best against Leganes but Zidane refused to be too critical of his players. 

"During the game you can get angry because we didn't play at our level," he said. "We didn't win but we didn't lose either. In the end I prefer to focus on what we did before today. The season has been spectacular. We have to be happy with what we did."

During an emotional TV interview after the final whistle, Leganes captain Unai Bustinza said he was proud of his team-mates' willingness to fight until the end.

"We're all so upset and frustrated and can't believe this," he said as Leganes' four-year stay in the top flight came to an end. "We kept going right until the end and we never let our heads drop. We wanted to do everybody proud. Football can do this to you.

"It's been a difficult year and we haven't had a great deal of luck. Everyone will be upset but we have to lift ourselves back up and come back strongly."

Barcelona boss Quique Setien insisted he and Lionel Messi have a strong relationship after a palate-cleansing thumping of Deportivo Alaves got rid of a bad taste in the mouth.

Morale was low after Thursday's 2-1 home defeat to Osasuna, which came on a night when Real Madrid clinched the LaLiga title, having overtaken Barcelona on the final lap.

But now Barcelona are looking forward to their Champions League last-16 reunion with Napoli, buoyed by Sunday's 5-0 win over a shaky Alaves side on the final weekend of the Spanish season.

The European second leg at Camp Nou on August 8 offers Barcelona a chance to reach what is effectively a mini-tournament to be staged in Portugal later in the same month.

Two-leg ties will be abandoned from the quarter-finals and replaced by a straight knockout format.

With Messi scoring twice against Alaves, and further goals coming from Ansu Fati, Luis Suarez and Nelson Semedo, Barcelona suddenly sense an opportunity to end the season on a high.

Despite speculation surrounding his position, Setien stressed he and Messi, who is arguably the most powerful individual at the football club, get along well enough to work together.

"It is the same as with everyone, more or less," Setien said. "There are players who are more open and have more of a relationship, but the relationship is good."

Messi spoke after the Alaves game and revealed there had been soul-searching talks among the squad since the Osasuna game.

"It is true, that we have had a deep reflection on the situation," Setien said.

"We are all excited about the Champions League. It is true that we have spoken and it has served us well, because some things have been cleaned up.

"It is something that has been backed up with this game and with this result, which will allow us to face the future with more confidence and in a different state of mind."

Setien said it had been a "special" day in the Basque Country, and stressed he will not allow himself to think, or worry in any way, about his future.

"I focus on improving and convincing my players to do certain things," Setien said, quoted by Catalan newspaper Sport. "Then there are things that I can't control."

There are areas where Barcelona need to improve that cannot be resolved in a matter of weeks and perhaps need significant investment and changes of personnel.

But if they head into the Champions League resumption with a swagger back in their step, and belief in their coach, the Blaugrana could threaten Europe's elite again.

The essence of youth is also growing, and could benefit a squad that contains a number of players coming towards the end of their peak years, or already on the down slope.

Even Messi, now a record seven-time Pichichi winner at the age of 33, cannot go on setting records and carrying the weight of the Catalan public's expectations forever.

Fati, Ronald Araujo and Riqui Puig all started against Alaves, and Setien described the youngsters as "certain to be the future of this club".

"They will be great footballers," he said.

Pep Guardiola insists he is not concerned by Manchester City's defence ahead of their Champions League showdown with Real Madrid.

A shot at Europe's top competition is all City have left to play for this season after Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang breached their backline in each half to secure a 2-0 FA Cup semi-final win for Arsenal on Saturday.

Ederson also made a fine save to thwart the Gabon striker when the game was still goalless, adding to a sense that the defensive shakiness which undermined City's bid for a third consecutive Premier League title remains a problem.

Influential centre-back Aymeric Laporte is back to full fitness following a cruciate knee ligament injury sustained last August, but he and teenager Eric Garcia were unable to shackle the Gunners' attack at Wembley.

Laporte and Garcia now appear to be Guardiola's preferred pairing in the heart of defence, with Nicolas Otamendi and John Stones seemingly out of favour – each having struggled for their best form alongside makeshift option Fernandinho for the bulk of the season.

The City manager said it did "not take a genius to realise we need to raise our level against Real Madrid", with his side holding a 2-1 aggregate advantage over the freshly crowned LaLiga champions ahead of the second leg of their last-16 encounter at the Etihad Stadium on August 7.

Nevertheless, he was reluctant to target his back four, which was completed by full-backs Kyle Walker and Benjamin Mendy in the Arsenal loss.

"That [the defence] was not the problem. There were many counter-attacks. In one we made a mistake in the short space, but it was not the problem," said Guardiola.

"They used maybe one or two counter-attacks, no more than this. It was not about, I think, the tactics."

City's defensive efforts certainly appear to be on the decline according to Opta numbers spanning Guardiola's time in charge.

Their 35 goals conceded this season is the most in a Premier League campaign since Guardiola's first at the helm, a trophy-less 2016-17. When the now departed Vincent Kompany lifted the title in the subsequent two seasons, they conceded 27 and 23 respectively.

With two games remaining, City have faced 273 shots, compared to 238 in 2018-19 and 236 in 2017-18.

They have faced more shots on target (111), and committed more errors leading to shots (21) and goals (seven) than in any season under Guardiola.

City's tackle success rate has never been lower during the former Barcelona boss' tenure than 59 per cent this time around, although that figure has dropped steadily since the 70.7 per cent of 2016-17.

Arsenal's carefully constructed opener on Saturday also spoke ill of City's pressing from the front, very much a fundamental for Guardiola sides.

However, they have won the ball back in the opposition third 215 times this season and are likely to overtake their best mark of 218 in 2017-18.

That statistic might help to explain why Guardiola is reluctant to question the motivation and commitment of a team who collected a third consecutive EFL Cup in March.

"They have to [motivate themselves]. The manager is not here to motivate them or tell them what they have to do," he said. "They have to.

"The responsibility [taken by] these players, what they have done, is incredible.

"We were in the FA Cup semi-finals and all I have are these facts – we have to play 90 minutes and we played just 45 [against Arsenal].

"In the first half, everything was sloppy and not in the right rhythm to play these kinds of games."

Guardiola will hope to see improvements away to relegation-threatened Watford on Tuesday. Norwich City, already condemned to Championship football next season, will then provide City's final dress rehearsal for Zinedine Zidane's 13-time European champions.

Eden Hazard admitted his first year with Real Madrid has been the worst season of his career.

Former Chelsea star Hazard cost Madrid an initial fee reported to be €100million last July but has endured an injury-plagued 2019-20.

A hamstring issue delayed his debut for Los Blancos, while foot and ankle problems have contributed to him starting just 21 games in all competitions.

Madrid have won the Supercopa de Espana and LaLiga in 2019-20 and remain in the Champions League, though they lost the first leg of their last-16 tie against Manchester City 2-1.

While Hazard was pleased to have got off to a triumphant start at the Santiago Bernabeu, he acknowledged he contributed little to the cause.

"There have been injuries, but I hope next year will be even better," Hazard, who was left out of the squad to face Leganes on Sunday, told franceinfo.

"Even if this season had not been terrible for me, I couldn't have asked for a better experience than coming here and winning the league in my first year.

"This year, it is collectively that we won the title, because on an individual level I have surely had the worst season of my career."

If Madrid overturn their deficit against City, they will face Juventus or Lyon in the quarter-finals when the Champions League heads to Lisbon.

"It was a somewhat bizarre season with everything that happened," said Hazard.

"The season is already very good, but I think it can be even better if we progress from our last-16 second leg of the Champions League.

"When you play for Real Madrid, you want to win all the possible titles. The next one, it has to be the Champions League, even if it's going to be difficult because we have to play at Manchester City and they have a very nice team."

Guiding Madrid to LaLiga glory saw Zinedine Zidane take his trophy haul across two spells in charge to 11 – three shy of Miguel Munoz's club record.

"We all know Zidane as a player, he was the best. As a coach, we don't even need to describe him anymore," said Hazard.

"He has proven, in just a few years, that he is already one of the best coaches. He trusts his players and his players trust him. That's why it works."

Madrid are on course to concede the fewest amount of goals in a 38-game LaLiga season in their history, and Hazard thinks having "one of the best centre-backs in history" in Raphael Varane has been key.

The winger said: "In my career, I have known very great defenders, such as John Terry or Vincent Kompany.

"I think Rapha, even though he is still young, is already one of the best centre-backs in history. The partnership he has with Sergio Ramos is great."

Chelsea will have an advantage in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie with Bayern Munich, according to Leon Goretzka.

Bayern hold a commanding 3-0 lead following an impressive victory at Stamford Bridge in February, but they will not have played a competitive game in over a month when they take on Chelsea at the Allianz Arena on August 8.

The Blues, meanwhile, will conclude their Premier League campaign on July 26 and will contest the FA Cup final on August 1 if they defeat Manchester United in a semi-final at Wembley on Sunday.

Goretzka thinks that gives Frank Lampard's side an edge, though the Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal champions will do their utmost to ensure Chelsea do not repeat their 2012 Champions League final success over Bayern in Munich.

"We've already had a great season, winning the championship and the cup," Goretzka told Bild am Sonntag.

"It is clear to every one of us that the competition and our path to the final is extremely challenging."

Whoever progress from the tie between Chelsea and Bayern will take on either Napoli or Barcelona in the quarter-finals in Lisbon, with one of Real Madrid, Manchester City, Lyon and Juventus waiting in the final four.

Goretzka continued: "All our focus in on the game against Chelsea. The good thing about such top opponents is that they have as much respect for us as we do for them.

"Chelsea has the advantage that they are travelling to Munich just after the season, while we want to keep up our rhythm.

"We will do everything to make sure Chelsea will not be successful again in Munich."

The Bundesliga was the first of Europe's top five leagues to resume amid the coronavirus pandemic, with the campaign wrapped up on June 27.

Goretzka impressed in the heart of Bayern's midfield following the resumption in May and put it down to increasing his muscle mass during the hiatus.

"For me, lockdown was both a crisis and an opportunity," said Goretzka.

"A crisis because you miss football and daily training with the team. But also, a chance to gain muscle mass in co-ordination with the physiotherapist.

"In crucial games and moments, it is important to be physically and mentally fit. The weight helps me in tackles, makes me a bit more agile and robust. Not only on the ground in a one-on-one, but also in the air."

Pep Guardiola knows "it does not take a genius" to know Manchester City must improve if they are to knock Real Madrid out of the Champions League.

City began this week with a significant victory off the field as the Court of Arbitration for Sport overturned their two-year ban from UEFA competitions, finding allegations of Financial Fair Play violations to be either "not established" or "time-barred" under regulations set out by European football's governing body.

On the field, it has been a different story, with Guardiola critical of his players' performance in Saturday's 2-0 FA Cup semi-final defeat to Arsenal.

Despite winning the EFL Cup in March, City's meek Premier League title defence in 2019-20 means their campaign will ultimately be judged on how the reformatted Champions League plays out.

They hold a 2-1 advantage over Madrid before the second leg of the last-16 tie at the Etihad Stadium on August 7.

The winner will progress to an eight-team straight knockout tournament in Lisbon the following week, taking on whoever prevails from the match-up between Juventus and Lyon – the Ligue 1 side 1-0 to the good at halfway.

Madrid have won 10 out of 10 since returning from lockdown to wrap up LaLiga glory, while losses to Chelsea and Southampton have taken City's overall tally of Premier League defeats to nine this term.

"I don’t have to tell them. They know it, they feel it," said Guardiola, who also felt his players deserved to lose their 2-1 midweek win over relegation-threatened Bournemouth.

"We know the standards that we have to be on these kinds of stages, in these kind of competitions. Maybe we are learning, maybe not. We will see.

"The last game against Bournemouth was not good and today the first half was not good. We struggled to play at our level.

"It does not take a genius to realise we have to increase our standard against Madrid if we want to have any chance to go through."

Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez all went close to a second-half equaliser before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang completed his brace in the 71st minute.

Mahrez's effort, sharply stopped by Arsenal goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez at his near post, was City's only attempt on target, but Guardiola felt the game was lost during a lacklustre first period.

"We didn't make a good performance," he said, after City failed to prevail in a domestic cup tie for the first time since February 2018.

"We can lose the game. My regret is we didn't play the first half like we played the second one.

"Sometimes it happens. It's an incredible run but sometimes you can lose.

"But the way we lost, particularly in the first half, we're sad about this."

Pep Guardiola believes Manchester City's FA Cup semi-final loss to Arsenal could harm their Champions League chances.

Guardiola's former assistant Mikel Arteta masterminded a superb 2-0 win for the Gunners, who ended a run of seven consecutive defeats to City thanks to a goal in each half from Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang and a tireless defensive display.

City's underwhelming Premier League campaign will now amble to a conclusion in dead rubbers against Watford and relegated Norwich City over the coming week, with the focus shifting to Real Madrid's visit to the Etihad Stadium on August 7.

Speaking to BT Sport after the match, Guardiola suggested a two-week break before Zinedine Zidane's LaLiga winners aim to overturn a 2-1 first-leg deficit at the last-16 stage would not work in his side's favour.

"Now we have two weeks," Guardiola said. "We wanted to play the [FA Cup] final one week before the Madrid game to be in rhythm.

"We missed this chance."

Even if City make the most of their advantage over Madrid, the prospects of them coming through next month's mini-tournament of one-off games in Lisbon next month would feel remote given their record against high-class opponents this season.

Arsenal joined Liverpool, Chelsea, Tottenham, Wolves (twice) and Manchester United (three times) in recording victories over the 2018-19 domestic treble winners and Guardiola did not spare his players.

"We didn’t play good," he said. "The only regret is we didn't play in the first half like we did in the second."

Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Riyad Mahrez all went close for City after half-time, although the latter's 54th-minute strike proved to be their only attempt on target.

"On the day when you have to play good, we didn't," Guardiola added.

"We started slow and without the way you have to play these kind of games. We've done it many times. We were ready, but today we did not do it.

"We were not good. In these games you have to be good to go through."

UEFA has confirmed it would be ready to move Barcelona's Champions League clash with Napoli away from Camp Nou amid the spike in coronavirus cases in Catalonia.

European football's governing body is reluctant to switch the second leg of the last-16 tie to an alternative venue but is wary it may be necessary, its vice-president Michele Uva indicated.

A surge in COVID-19 positive tests in and around Barcelona has led to a local voluntary lockdown, with residents asked to stay at home for a fortnight.

Napoli are due to visit Barcelona for an August 8 fixture, and UEFA remains hopeful the game will be able to go ahead behind closed doors.

A plan B would almost certainly see the match switched to be played in Portugal, where UEFA will stage the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final of the competition later in August.

Uva told Italian broadcaster Radio Punto Nuovo: "Barcelona-Napoli? Napoli officially goes to play in Barcelona unless rules prohibit playing in Spain in the meantime.

"We hope that does not happen and the second legs will be played in the cities they belong to. Obviously there are back-up solutions."

Napoli held Barcelona 1-1 in Italy when the first leg was played on February 25, before the coronavirus pandemic closed down football across most of Europe.

Zinedine Zidane has just won LaLiga and has a contract with Real Madrid until 2022 but acknowledged his future at the club could quickly have a different outlook.

In his first full season back at the helm, Zidane has led Madrid to success in the Supercopa de Espana and LaLiga to take his trophy haul across two spells in the dugout to 11 – three shy of equalling Miguel Munoz's club record.

With the league wrapped up, the Spanish champions can focus on the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester City. They trail 2-1 ahead of the return game at the Etihad Stadium on August 7.

Zidane guided Madrid to the Champions League trophy, which is considered the main objective every season at the Santiago Bernabeu, in three straight seasons during his first stint as coach.

Despite only winning LaLiga on Thursday, Zidane was asked if he could guarantee that he will be at the helm next season.

He replied: "Nobody knows what's going to happen in the future. I never talk about next season or the following year.

"I've got a contract and I'm happy. You never know what will happen in the future.

"Things can change overnight in the world of football and I have no idea what the future holds."

Zidane urged his team to maintain their intensity in their final LaLiga game of the season on Sunday against Leganes, who will be hoping to get a positive result and retain their top-flight status.

"We have to find that motivation. It's a league game. When we put on the Real Madrid shirt, we want to win all the games," he said.

"That's the DNA at Real Madrid. It's a league game not a friendly and we want to play well.

"I don't think we've got anything to prove. We just want to maintain this positive momentum. We want to keep winning.

"We have another big game. We said there were 11 finals. There were 10 and we won the league, but we want to finish in the best way possible.

"We want to keep pushing and testing ourselves until the very end of the season. There will be a few days' rest after the game against Leganes, but the season continues. We will be back training and preparing for City after the game against Leganes."

Karim Benzema struck both of Madrid's goals in their 2-1 victory over Villarreal last time out, moving him onto 21 in LaLiga for the season – two fewer than league-leading Barcelona captain Lionel Messi.

While Zidane would take great pride in Benzema winning the Pichichi Award for LaLiga's highest scoring player, he was not willing to give any hints about his team selection for trip to Butarque.

"I'd love for Benzema to get the Pichichi," said Zidane. "But I'm not going to say who's going to play.

"He's a player whose done a great job and deserves to end the season as the top goalscorer, but it's going to go down to the final game of the season. Let's see what happens on Sunday."

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar said he was concerned about injuring himself in the 7-0 friendly rout of Waasland-Beveren as the Ligue 1 holders stepped up their preparations for the Champions League quarter-finals.

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi were all on target in PSG's demolition of Belgian outfit Waasland-Beveren at Parc des Princes on Friday.

After Ligue 1 was ended prematurely in April amid the coronavirus pandemic and with the Champions League set to resume in August, PSG have returned to the field in a bid to be ready for the knockout tie against high-flying Atalanta – crushing Le Havre 9-0 last week.

PSG continued their flawless preparation at home to Waasland-Beveren in Paris, where Aleksandar Vukotic's own goal put the hosts ahead in the 21st minute before Neymar converted a penalty seven minutes later.

Icardi and Neymar combined for an audacious penalty attempt in the 47th minute, while Mbappe, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting's brace and Loic Mbe Soh's last-gasp effort completed the scoring in the second half.

Reflecting on the result, Neymar was asked about the aggressive nature of Waasland-Beveren and he told beIN SPORTS: "Yes we were a little scared. We are here for a friendly match so those types of things should not have been happening.

"We are here to prepare ourselves, but also to be careful. But us too, we gave them a little bit back, so there are no problems."

Neymar added: "I was very happy to come back and play at home, with some fans as well. We are preparing little by little to get to the maximum then we will be in the finals [Champions League]. The rest is not very important."

PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel, meanwhile, confirmed veteran defender Thiago Silva will remain captain until the end of his contract and the Champions League next month.

Silva, who renewed his contract to feature in the postponed Champions League, is set to leave PSG after eight years but the 35-year-old will keep the captain's armband before departing.

"Thiago Silva remains the captain until the last day when he is on the ground," Tuchel said post-match. "He's my captain!"

Luis Suarez has shown Barcelona how they can put their LaLiga disappointment behind them and end the season on a high in the Champions League, according to Bojan.

Barca's title defence faltered following LaLiga's resumption from a three-month suspension amid the coronavirus pandemic, with Real Madrid winning 10 straight games and securing top spot with a 2-1 victory over Villarreal on Thursday.

That result coincided with Quique Setien's side going down 2-1 at home to 10-man Osasuna, a match that saw the experienced trio of Suarez, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba start on the bench.

Suarez acknowledged prior to the fixture that Barca's title hopes were effectively over, while Lionel Messi said following the defeat things must change or they will not win their Champions League last-16 second leg against Napoli on August 8.

Former Barca attacker Bojan believes Suarez's comments were motivational rather than defeatist, ensuring the Blaugrana keep their focus and aim to reach next month's mini-tournament in Lisbon.

"I can only applaud the message that Luis Suarez has repeated in all the interviews he granted in recent days," Bojan wrote for Catalan publication SPORT.

"That a reference like him, a striker who has just surpassed [Laszlo] Kubala in goals [for Barcelona], avoids looking for excuses and, above all, points to the dressing room itself as the biggest factor in what happened this season seems to me not only admirable, but also an exercise in humility. Not referees, not VAR, not anything like that.

"Honestly, I am comforted by hearing his words because only from analysing what you have done wrong yourself can you change and improve. And not only that, it shows the dressing room suffers, it suffers with each defeat, with each title that evaporates.

"In addition, Suarez, obviously, is laying the groundwork for the team to react, step forward, avoid feeling free from all guilt and end the season by winning the Champions League.

"Luis, in fact, does nothing but encourage his team-mates to believe. He is pointing towards Lisbon, where the Champions League is played in August."

Bojan said it would be "essential" to address this season's shortcomings in the future, but that for now the best route would be to follow Suarez's lead.

Setien admitted after the Osasuna loss he was unsure if he would still be in charge for the Champions League campaign.

Having been on the receiving of surprise comebacks from Roma and Liverpool over the past two seasons, Bojan believes the fact the final rounds of the competition will not be conducted over two legs boosts Barca's chances.

"If they reach the quarter-finals, they will arrive in Lisbon to play a tournament without two-legged ties in which, in recent seasons, Barca have suffered too much mentally," he wrote.

"Nor should physique be a key factor. Three games at 90 minutes. And with the talent to dream."

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