Depay 'will stay' at Lyon for rest of the season amid renewed Barca interest

By Sports Desk November 10, 2020

Memphis Depay will not leave Lyon in the January transfer window despite Barcelona maintaining their interest in the attacker, according to Jean-Michel Aulas.

Barca were heavily linked with a move for Depay after former Netherlands boss Ronald Koeman took over in August, but the ex-Manchester United forward remained at the Ligue 1 side.

The Catalan giants are said to be looking to step up their efforts to sign the 26-year-old after Ansu Fati was ruled out for around four months with a knee injury.

Depay's contract with Lyon is set to expire in June and club president Aulas insists he will not be allowed to depart beforehand.

"Memphis is an exceptional player. It is him who is pulling the club, along with a number of other players," Aulas said on RMC.

"I was the first to say he would not go to Barcelona. Nobody listened to me during the transfer window because everybody thought he would leave.

"From the start, I told you, they will not leave because in a year when we were unfairly deprived of European competition, we absolutely have to make a success of the season. So, he will stay."

Depay has continued to perform in Ligue 1 despite failing to complete his move to Barca.

He has been involved in eight goals (five scored, three assisted) in the top flight this season, a tally that can only be bettered by Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe (seven scored, four assisted).

Furthermore, no player has created more chances in Ligue 1 than Depay, who has a league-leading 27 alongside Leo Dubois.

Depay has set up 35 league goals since his Lyon debut on January 22, 2017, level with Angel Di Maria for the most in the division in that time. Mbappe (110) is the only player to have been involved in more goals than the Dutchman (83) in the same timeframe.

Related items

  • Packers' Rodgers relishing first NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field Packers' Rodgers relishing first NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field

    Aaron Rodgers is relishing the opportunity to feature in a long-awaited NFC Championship Game at Lambeau Field after the Green Bay Packers downed the Los Angeles Rams.

    Rodgers will play a conference title game at home for the first time in his stellar career following the Packers' 32-18 win over the Rams in the NFL playoffs on Saturday.

    Top MVP candidate Rodgers finished 23-of-36 passing for 296 yards, two touchdowns, no interceptions and no sacks, while the Super Bowl champion rushed for another TD.

    Either the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or New Orleans Saints await the Packers in Green Bay on January 24 – the winner progressing to the Super Bowl – and star quarterback Rodgers is excited.

    "It means a lot. [Former Packers receiver] Jordy [Nelson] and I talked about it years ago. Made a lot of starts in this league without hosting the NFC Championship," Rodgers – whose four previous NFC Championship appearances have been on the road – told reporters when asked what it meant to host the title game in Green Bay.

    "Hopefully it is a little colder than it was tonight. The fans were special and the energy was special. There is a home-field advantage. The fact we get to host, can't say sleep in our own bed because there is still an antiquated idea of staying in a hotel the night before a game instead of your warm, cosy six-night a week bed. I know COVID-19 is involved in that. I'm still salty about that antiquated idea.

    "But it is meaningful to have fans at the game. Hopefully we can get even more if this worked out. It will be exciting. Enjoy this tonight, celebrate and to watch tomorrow, knowing whoever wins is coming to our place."

    Amid the coronavirus pandemic, less than 9,000 fans were allowed to attend the Packers-Rams matchup in Green Bay, where Rodgers recorded his 12th career playoff game with 250-plus passing yards and two-plus passing touchdowns.

    According to NFL Research, the only other payers in NFL history with 10-plus such games are Tampa Bay Buccaneers quarterback Tom Brady (17), Joe Montana (12) and New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees (10).

    Rodgers – whose Green Bay are eyeing their first Super Bowl crown since 2010 – also eclipsed Brett Favre for most playoff completions (439) in Packers history.

    Per Stats Perform, Rodgers has thrown for multiple passing TDs in eight consecutive postseason games, tied with Joe Flacco for the longest streak in history. Now with 233 in his career, Rodgers also passed Favre for the most touchdown passes thrown at Lambeau Field (regular and postseason).

    "It felt like 50,000 when we ran out of the tunnel, it really did," Rodgers said. "It was such a special moment. Forgot how much you truly, truly miss having a crowd there ... it felt like, 50,000, 60,000."

    Rodgers added: ''I'm definitely a little emotional, just thinking about what we've been through. It got me emotional with the crowd out there today.''

  • Harden revels in historic debut as Nets coach Nash hails 'incredible' star Harden revels in historic debut as Nets coach Nash hails 'incredible' star

    Brooklyn Nets superstar James Harden revelled in his record-setting debut, while head coach Steve Nash heaped praise on the former NBA MVP.

    Harden became the first player in NBA history to post a 30-point triple-double in his bow for a new team after the Nets outlasted the Orlando Magic 122-115 on Saturday.

    Eight-time All-Star Harden swapped the Houston Rockets for the Nets in a blockbuster trade on Thursday, and his first game in a Brooklyn jersey resulted in 32 points, a franchise-record 14 assists, 12 rebounds and four steals.

    Afterwards, Harden said: "It felt really good [to get the win]. The guys got after it.

    "Individually, I've got to stop turning the basketball over, but that comes with chemistry, that comes with practice, that comes with watching film.

    "So, first game I'm glad to get a win and we've just got to keep going."

    On the record, Harden was asked what it meant, and he told YES: "Nothing, I'm just happy we came away with the win. Those stats don't mean anything."

    "When you're paying with really, really good players, it's pretty easy," Harden said. "For me, I just gotta learn reads, learn where guys like the ball, just learn our personnel individually so once I get that, the turnovers will cut down, I can be more efficient."

    Disgruntled in Houston as he eyed an exit from the Rockets, Harden arrived in Brooklyn out of form, but the sharpshooter showed what the Nets are getting in a super team that also consists of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.

    Harden was eight-of-18 from the field and three-of-10 shooting from three-point range in 40 minutes, while he also had nine turnovers.

    First-year coach Nash, who now leads a genuine championship contender, hailed Harden post-game.

    "I can't say I'm surprised," Nash said. "We had a pretty big simple size of him doing that [for] however many years in he's been in the league. But it's still not easy. He's still not in his best condition yet, he's joined a new group.

    "Basically no practice time, and figured it out on the fly. He had a bunch of turnovers just because he's new to the team and the group and you’re thrown out there in an NBA where the other team is an excellent coached-basketball team....But all the things he did on the floor were incredible for his first game."

    Reuniting with former Oklahoma City Thunder team-mate Harden, Durant led the way with a game-high 42 points as the Nets improved to 8-6 following a third consecutive win.

    Durant also made franchise history for most consecutive 25-plus point games with nine.

    "James, he played the same way he always played, to be honest," Durant said. "He played the same way he was playing in Houston, being a pass-first guard, trying to get guys good looks. He played the same way.

    "Coach put him at the point, I think that's his natural position, is point and combo guard. For him to get 14 assists, 12 rebounds for us at the point guard was key."

  • Neymar reveals he almost quit football Neymar reveals he almost quit football

    Paris Saint-Germain and Brazil star Neymar revealed he considered retiring from football.

    Neymar is regarded as one of the best players in the world, but he is a maligned figure due to his theatrics on the pitch and lifestyle away from the game.

    The most expensive player in history after joining PSG from LaLiga giants Barcelona for €222million in 2017, Neymar admitted criticism has had an impact on him.

    "I will never lose the passion for football, but I have had moments that I did want to stop playing," the 28-year-old told Gaffer Magazine. "Once, I reached a point of asking myself why I should keep playing if they do not like it.

    "I used to go home hot-headed and then remembered everything I've done to get me here.

    "The love I have for football and all those things just calmed me down and brought me back to reality. Because, I'm very lucky. Truly. I have achieved a lot of things in my career that made me and my family incredibly happy.

    "Just debuting for Santos FC, winning the first title with Santos, winning the Libertadores Cup was super important as well. Joining Barcelona was a dream of mine since I was a kid, winning the Champions League, my arrival in Paris. These moments will always remain special to me."

    Neymar added: "I have never felt pressure. Quite the contrary, I am a person that can easily manage pressure; being the number 10 of Brazil's national team, the number 10 at PSG and just being Neymar.

    "I think I take it well but at the same time I know my commitment and I'm incredibly thankful to be representing teams such as PSG and Brazil. I know that when I play I have to do it differently, I have to give it 100 per cent because that's what everyone expects."

    Neymar has scored three goals in eight Ligue 1 appearances for PSG this season, while he has netted 10 times across all competitions.

    The Brazilian forward played the entire match as PSG moved top of the table with a 1-0 win at Angers on Saturday.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.