Rumour Has It: Madrid waiting for Mbappe as Ramos nears exit

By Sports Desk February 07, 2021

Will he leave Paris Saint-Germain or not?

That is the question regarding French star Kylian Mbappe.

Real Madrid are keen, but they are reportedly prepared to wait.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID WAITING FOR MBAPPE

Real Madrid have decided to wait to sign Kylian Mbappe until Paris Saint-Germain put the French star up for sale, according to Marca.

LaLiga champions Madrid have been tipped to sign Mbappe, who has also been linked with Premier League holders Liverpool.

PSG are trying to re-sign Mbappe as his contract runs out in 2022, and if they are unsuccessful amid their pursuit of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi, Madrid are ready to pounce.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Sergio Ramos' knee injury could spell the end of his illustrious career with Madrid. Ramos is out of contract at season's end and the star captain has been linked to the likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, PSG, Chelsea and Juventus.

Liverpool are interested in Leeds United winger Raphinha, reports Football Insider. The Brazilian only moved to Elland Road at the start of the season.

- Gazzetta dello Sport claims Juventus are hoping to sign Roma sensation Nicolo Zaniolo.

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    Bayern Munich head coach Hansi Flick is "absolutely convinced" Kylian Mbappe will win the Ballon d'Or in his career.

    Mbappe was the star of the show in the first leg of the Champions League quarter-final tie between Bayern and Paris Saint-Germain, scoring twice as the holders were beaten 3-2 in Germany.

    Should the 22-year-old score in the return fixture in Paris, he will become the first French player to reach nine goals in a single Champions League season.

    Mbappe has scored 33 goals and provided 10 assists in 39 games this season in all competitions. Only Bayern striker Robert Lewandowski (42) has scored more, while only the Poland star (50) and Tottenham's Harry Kane (45) have had more direct goal involvements.

    Ahead of the second leg on Tuesday, Flick explained why there is no doubt in his mind that Mbappe will one day be crowned the best player in the world.

    "He will win the Ballon d'Or one day, I am absolutely convinced of that," said Flick. "He has everything. He is fast, he has good technique and – most importantly – he scores a lot of goals."

    Bayern forward Thomas Muller also admires Mbappe and accepts the Bundesliga champions' system will always make it risky to play against the PSG attack.

    "He is very dangerous," said Muller. "With our style of play, space will automatically be created.

    "Neymar and Mbappe usually stay up front, they don't defend but they stay in a dangerous situation for a counter-attacking chance. You're never going to be able to keep them out of the game completely."

    Bayern had gone 17 Champions League games without defeat under Flick until PSG's victory last week and must now end a four-game losing away run against PSG if they are to progress.

    Only three of the previous 50 teams to lose the first leg of a Champions League knockout tie have gone through to the next round, but one such instance involved PSG, when they were stunned by Manchester United at the last-16 stage two seasons ago.

    "We had many chances in the first leg, but weren't so clinical. We have to do better. We know it won't be easy, but we will give everything," said Flick.

    "We know we have to score at least two goals. It will be a tough task, but these are the games we play football for. We want to cause a mini upset in Paris. Of course, we'll be delighted if we manage that."

  • Greenwood emulates Ronaldo, Lingard goes from strength to strength - the Premier League weekend's quirky facts Greenwood emulates Ronaldo, Lingard goes from strength to strength - the Premier League weekend's quirky facts

    Mason Greenwood emulated a feat last achieved by Cristiano Ronaldo and Jesse Lingard's astonishing purple patch continued in another enthralling weekend of Premier League action.

    Greenwood came off the bench to play a big part in second-placed United's 3-1 victory at Tottenham on Sunday.

    Lingard also starred in London earlier in the day, scoring twice in a 3-2 win over Leicester City to keep West Ham on course to defy the odds and seal a Champions League spot.

    Leeds United shocked champions-elect Manchester City 2-1 at the Etihad Stadium on Saturday, while Alexandre Lacazette brought up a half-century of goals in Arsenal's 3-0 success at rock-bottom Sheffield United.

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    Greenwood sets high sub standard

    As cameo appearances go, Greenwood's short time on the field against Spurs was right up there.

    The 19-year-old replaced Marcus Rashford after 72 minutes at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium with the game in the balance at 1-1.

    Ole Gunnar Solskjaer could surely not have wished for a bigger impact from the forward, who laid on a goal for Edinson Cavani before sealing all three points by finding the back of the net himself deep into stoppage time.

    Greenwood became the first teenager to score and assist as a substitute for United in a Premier League match since the legendary Ronaldo did so against Portsmouth in November 2003.

    Lethal Lingard outfoxes Leicester

    On the subject of big impacts, Lingard has been a revelation for the Hammers since his loan move from Manchester United in January.

    The England forward can do no wrong at the moment and helped himself to a first-half double in a huge victory over the Foxes, moving David Moyes' men back up to fourth.

    Lingard has now scored in four consecutive games for the high-flying London club, taking his tally in the Premier League to eight.

    That equals his best goalscoring return in a top-flight campaign and he has only made nine appearances. Lingard also netted eight times for his parent club in the 2017-18, but that was from 33 matches.

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    Cavani scored his seventh league goal of the campaign on Sunday, heading in a cross from Mason Greenwood to put United 2-1 ahead against Tottenham.

    Substitute Greenwood added a third in stoppage time to wrap up the victory, with Neville believing the young England international's development - along with that of club and country colleague Marcus Rashford – can only be helped by working regularly with Cavani.

    The Uruguayan signed as a free agent and while United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer remains hopeful the player will remain at the club, speculation has suggested the striker wants to return to South America.

    "Tottenham had a throw with two minutes to go, and Cavani was moving between the centre-backs trying to stop the ball from being thrown in, and he's organising where Mason Greenwood should be," Neville explained on his podcast for Sky Sports. "I thought, 'Greenwood needs another year of Cavani being alongside him.'

    "It inspired us as young players when you saw great players like Bryan Robson and Steve Bruce and Eric Cantona and Mark Hughes.

    "You see the best players in the world, or those who have been the best in the world like Cavani, doing his work like that in the 94th minute, someone like Greenwood, who needs people who are mentors, good standards above him, who can coach him on the pitch, I just thought him and Marcus Rashford need another year of Cavani.

    "He's been a really brilliant example. I was a little bit nervous of him coming in, because of [Radamel] Falcao, Alexis Sanchez, showcase signings. This one has been different. He's really applied himself brilliantly and has been a big help to Manchester United.

    "He does the right things. The right movements. It's clockwork, that run across the defender, across the near post, the one you're always trying to get young strikers to do."

    Cavani has scored eight times in all competitions since his arrival at Old Trafford, averaging out at a goal every 195.5 minutes – only Bruno Fernandes and Rashford have managed more.

    However, the former Napoli and Paris Saint-Germain player has a better shot conversion rate (20.5 per cent) than both that pair, demonstrating his value to the side.

    Solskjaer made clear after the away triumph at Spurs that he remains hopeful the 34-year-old will be part of his squad for the 2021-22 season.

    "He knows my feelings; I know his feelings. He's not made up his mind yet," the United boss told the media.

    "I understand that it's been a difficult year for everyone, but for a new lad who doesn't speak English, not to feel the English culture, to go see people, have friends around... it's in the back of your head if this is what you want, you know you can't have your family over.

    "Fingers crossed, but if he decides that it's just this season, then we've been very, very fortunate to have him here."

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