Thomas Tuchel says Edinson Cavani is integral to his Paris Saint-Germain plans despite the uncertainty as the striker approaches the end of his contract.

Uruguay striker Cavani is due to reach the end of his deal at Parc des Princes after this campaign, and he has been linked with a possible move to Juventus.

The 32-year-old has been with the French capital giants since 2013 and is their all-time record goalscorer.

His loss would be keenly felt, even if Cavani has been sidelined by a hip injury recently and remains a doubt for Friday's Ligue 1 match with Nice.

Asked about Cavani, and whether he hoped the frontman would agree a new deal, Tuchel said in a news conference on Thursday: "It's too soon to speak about such things. I'm sure Edi is speaking with the club. He knows it's his club.

"I don’t know Edi’s ideas exactly at the moment. I count 100 per cent on Edi this season. He's been missing for several weeks and the main thing for me is to push Edi on the pitch, so we've got a fit and in-form Edinson Cavani."

Tuchel left little doubt that he wants Cavani to remain with PSG beyond this season, explaining he is a member of a core group of players that he uses as a sounding board.

"He's got the most goals for the club. Edi is very important," Tuchel said. "He's in the group of five players I always speak with, to have an opinion from them on all things. He's important in the dressing room and on the pitch."

Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel has revealed he used to idolise Patrick Vieira as he prepares to take on the World Cup winner.

Tuchel's modest playing career in lower-league German football was grinding to a premature halt when the young Vieira was helping France lift the Jules Rimet Trophy on home soil in 1998.

Vieira went from strength to strength with Arsenal and Les Bleus, later enjoying spells at Juventus, Inter and Manchester City.

It took Tuchel many years to establish himself in the game as a coach, but success at Mainz and Borussia Dortmund paved the way for a move to Paris.

At the age of 46 he is three years Vieira's senior, and they will go head to head in Ligue 1 on Friday when leaders PSG travel to take on ninth-placed Nice.

As well as being a clash between two sides backed by unrivalled financial muscle in the French game, the touchline action could also be fascinating.

Vieira could not take the quiet route to success that Tuchel has achieved, given his status in the game, but learning the ropes on the Manchester City staff and in MLS with New York City FC led him last year to a first big job in Europe.

Tuchel is looking forward to facing Vieira again, saying: "He was one of my idols when I watched football as a fan and a player. He was a guy you could learn everything about the game from.

"Amazing career, amazing player and his personality on the field. When I was in New York on my sabbatical [in 2017-18], I watched a game of New York City FC.

"We didn't manage to meet after, so we only had some phone calls. And I was very surprised how humble and how friendly he was when we met for the first time in Nice last season."

Speaking on PSG's YouTube channel, Tuchel added: "For me, it's amazing if the best players share their experiences and be coaches.

"I like the approach that you take your way not on the highest level where you have played, but you learn the profession. Because it is good if you have the experience as a player, but it's a completely new job to learn.

"It's a nice team now in Nice. I'm looking forward to seeing him again and hopefully we wish him all the best – from Saturday!"

Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel is furious his players are being forced to play so many games and warned it could become bad for their health.

Tuchel has told the football authorities they have packed the calendar with so many matches and tournaments that the game will suffer.

The German coach will take his players from the French capital to the south coast for a clash with Nice on Friday, having barely had time to reacquaint themselves after the international break.

And after losing star forward Neymar for four weeks to a hamstring injury sustained on Brazil duty, Tuchel is understandably angry his job is being made more complicated by factors over which he has no control.

"Friday night for us after an international break is a bit bizarre. I can't understand it," Tuchel said. "We'll have to adapt."

Tuchel was speaking in his pre-match news conference on Thursday, and when asked about the busy schedule for his players, he was stinging with his criticism.

"There's too many competitions, too many matches, too many friendlies," Tuchel said. "We've got a big problem for me because there's no preparation phase [for the Nice game].

"There's too much competition. This summer we had the Africa Cup of Nations, the European Under-21 Championship, the Copa America; next year we've got the Copa America again, the European Championship – it never stops.

"For me, it's too much. There are too many matches for the same players. At the end you feel the lack of quality, lack of health, lack of preparation, lack of time to train for sport at the highest level."

He added: "We're convinced it's necessary for everyone to have a holiday and to have time to recover and prepare, but that's not the case in football. Teams play too many games and get too many injuries to players."

PSG lead Ligue 1 but have struggled to assemble a fully fit squad all season, with the likes of Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Julian Draxler all battling to return to peak fitness.

"We're doing all we can. Injuries happen," Tuchel said. "As I said, we're convinced the best thing to avoid injuries is to have proper time to prepare – good endurance and capacity for creating performance.

"It's a shame we never have the squad fully fit. We expect a lot from them – results and good performances. We have to find solutions. We're going to control as much as we can."

Bayern Munich coach Niko Kovac accepts he made a mistake with comments that suggested Thomas Muller would be left on the fringes of the first team.

Muller, 30, has made just three starts in the Bundesliga this season, failing to score a single goal, as Kovac appears to favour other options in attack and out wide.

Ahead of the 2-1 defeat to Hoffenheim – in which Muller appeared as a substitute – Kovac suggested the German would only get an opportunity "when we're short of options".

Muller confirmed his frustration with the situation in an interview during the international break, while he has since been linked with a move away from the Allianz Arena.

But Kovac revealed he spoke to Muller in private to clarify his comments, as he believes he chose his words incorrectly.

"I cannot say who will play at the weekend - as for the statement, it was a mistake of mine," Kovac told reporters ahead of Saturday's trip to Augsburg.

"I incorrectly articulated my thoughts, but I disproved my own statement with the fact Thomas has been coming [into matches] recently.

"I spoke with Thomas the next day, everything was cleared up and he understood it the way I meant it, so I made a mistake – it happens to me too, that's life.

"We talked about it, but no matter which player it is, everyone who doesn't play is unhappy. I have to make decisions as a coach and I can't start more than 11 players, I have to find the team I think can win the game.

"For people from the outside, a coach basically does nothing right. I won't let myself be guided. We have our own ideas and we will implement those."

Bayern go into the weekend third in the Bundesliga table, two points adrift of early leaders Borussia Monchengladbach.

Borussia Dortmund have finally confirmed a new four-year deal for Raphael Guerreiro.

Portugal international Guerreiro had appeared set to commit his future to Dortmund in September, with sporting director Michael Zorc describing himself as "very optimistic" a contract would be agreed.

The extension was formally announced on Thursday, with the versatile defender set to stay at Signal Iduna Park until 2023.

Guerreiro's previous deal was due to expire at the end of the season, prompting links to Paris Saint-Germain in the previous transfer window.

Upon signing the new terms, Guerreiro said: "Borussia Dortmund are a great club where I have been feeling very comfortable with my family for three years.

"I will do everything I can to help our team achieve their goals and we should start with victory on Saturday at home against Gladbach [Borussia Monchengladbach]."

Zorc added: "Raphael is an internationally experienced and technically first-class footballer who can be flexibly deployed in several positions and enjoys a high regard within our squad."

Guerreiro, who can play at left-back and in midfield, has made five Bundesliga appearances for eighth-placed Dortmund this season.

He joined the German giants from Lorient in a reported €12million deal while starring in Portugal's successful Euro 2016 campaign.

Villarreal, Atletico Madrid and LaLiga have submitted a request to the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) for their December meeting to be played in Miami.

Villarreal president Fernando Roig confirmed in a radio interview on Wednesday the two clubs were hoping an agreement could be struck.

Roig insisted such an event would be beneficial and important for Spanish football's growth, and the three parties have now lodged an official proposal to play the match on December 6 at Hard Rock Stadium.

A statement posted to Villarreal's website read: "LaLiga, alongside Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, [on Thursday] presented an official request to the RFEF to play the match between Villarreal and Atletico Madrid, corresponding to LaLiga matchday 16, on December 6, 2019, at 10pm Spanish time (4pm local time) at the Hard Rock Stadium in Miami (Florida, United States).

"This request is part of LaLiga's international growth strategy. There are millions of LaLiga fans around the world. Bringing the clubs closer to these fans represents an important opportunity to connect with them and continue working for the global growth of LaLiga on a worldwide level.

"This international growth has a benefit for the clubs involved, as well as players, fans, LaLiga, Spanish football and Spain itself.

"The choice of teams is due to the interest and availability shown by both clubs. USA, and especially Miami, is an essential part of its growth strategies. Villarreal now have been working in the North American market for various years, through the presence of academies and different training and marketing activities.

"Atletico Madrid recently completed a successful summer tour of the US, where they also took part in the MLS All-Star match in Orlando (Florida).

"The players and coaching staff from both sides have been told about this and have shown enthusiasm in taking football to their fans in the US. Also the Spanish Footballers' Association (AFE) has been informed of the request."

LaLiga in 2018 struck a 15-year deal with Relevent, the company behind the International Champions Cup, and a proposal was submitted for Barcelona to play Girona in Miami at the start of 2019.

But the RFEF and AFE condemned the plan and Barca pulled out in December, after FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he would block any such match.

Despite the previous opposition to LaLiga matches being played abroad, Atletico CEO Miguel Angel Gil is hopeful because he feels it benefits all.

"Atletico Madrid works every season to expand and promote our brand in all continents and playing this match in the United States would allow us to continue working on it," Gil said.

"In addition, we would bring Spanish football to fans and supporters who live outside our country. It would be a great game that would mark the future."

Lionel Messi admits he needs to be "more careful than before" to get the best from his body in the twilight years of his career.

A calf problem and thigh muscle issue have hindered the Barcelona superstar this season, limiting his involvement and his impact on Ernesto Valverde's team.

At the age of 32, Messi knows he cannot constantly push himself physically to the same extent as he might have done a decade ago.

Conserving energy and strength is something Messi is determined to embrace, knowing it behoves him to produce his best as often as possible, but not at the expense of risking injury or fatigue.

"It is difficult because your mind is fine; you think that you are 25 years old and that you can continue doing the same things [as before] at the time," Messi told Marca.

"But the body rules and there are circumstances in which you have to be more careful than before. Adapting to it requires a process and preparing differently for training and matches."

He added: "You realise yourself how long you can continue. I'll find out over time. I'll be the first to say, 'I've come this far and I can't do it anymore', or that I feel good to carry on."

The Argentina captain is closing in on 700 career goals, the mark his fellow modern-day great Cristiano Ronaldo recently achieved.

In that sense, Messi is streets ahead of any player who ever represented Barcelona, with a goals haul of 604 that is unlikely ever to be matched, so limiting his attacking remit in any way would seem a negative move.

Messi was asked whether he could eventually move back from the forward line and into a midfield role.

He largely has licence to roam with his number 10 status at Barcelona, from which he finished as top scorer in LaLiga last term to earn a sixth European Golden shoe prize.

Messi said of the prospect of a deeper starting position: "I don't know, it depends on how it goes.

"Now I usually drop myself deeper to receive and be in contact with the ball and the midfield. I don't know what will happen in the future."

It appears increasingly likely Messi will play for Barca for the entirety of his career, barring a possible swan song with his boyhood club, Newell's Old Boys.

Unlike Ronaldo, who went from Sporting CP to Manchester United and on to Real Madrid and latterly Juventus, Messi has given little indication he would want to play for another European club.

Ronaldo has espoused the merits of seeking new challenges in different leagues, but Messi sees no reason to walk away from Camp Nou.

He said: "Everyone looks for their targets and their experiences. I never had the need to leave the best club in the world, that Barcelona are."

Uncertainty surrounds Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer after a woeful start to the season and he could find himself in danger of dismissal.

United have won only two of their first eight Premier League games of 2019-20 and head into Sunday's visit of Liverpool 15 points adrift of the pacesetters.

While Solskjaer insists he still has the board's backing, there have been suggestions the club has identified a replacement.

 

TOP STORY – ALLEGRI 'VERY CLOSE' TO UNITED

Former Juventus coach Massimiliano Allegri is said to be a primary target for Manchester United.

Italian publication Tuttosport claims contact with Allegri – who left the Old Lady at the end of last season – has "intensified" in recent days.

They go as far as saying Allegri is "very close to United", with the contest against Liverpool seemingly crucial.

However, United are not the only club interested in Allegri. Tuttosport also believes Tottenham are keeping tabs on him.

Mauricio Pochettino is another man under pressure following a difficult few months, though the report suggests Spurs will have to make their minds up quickly if they are to gazump United.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail believes Solskjaer is relatively safe despite Allegri's lurking, however. It says United are looking to bolster the squad with six major signings over the next two transfer windows. Among the targets are Mario Mandzukic, Saul Niguez, Moussa Dembele and James Maddison.

- Mandzukic's wage demands could prevent a move to Old Trafford, however. Despite being 33 and entering the twilight of his career, the Croatian wants to be the club's fourth highest-paid player, according to the Sun.

- Arsenal's plan for the future, according to AS, involves persuading Real Madrid to sell Dani Ceballos, a deal that would result in Mesut Ozil being sold.

- Meanwhile, the Daily Mail also claims the Gunners also want to sign highly-rated Athletic Bilbao centre-back Unai Nunez, 22, with Everton set to rival them for the £30million-rated defender.

- Paris Saint-Germain are hopeful of securing new deals for Juan Bernat and Marquinhos, L'Equipe believes.

- Roma are set to bid farewell to Javier Pastore in January, with the Serie A side telling him he is free to leave, as per Calciomercato. A move to China, Brazil or his native Argentina appears likely.

Wellington Phoenix have completed the signing of former Premier League striker Gary Hooper.

The 31-year-old joins on a one-year deal after being released by Sheffield Wednesday at the end of the 2018-19 season.

Phoenix will be hoping Hooper can fill the void left by last term's Golden Boot-winner Roy Krishna, who departed at the end of last season to join Indian Super League club ATK.

Hooper brings a wealth of experience from English football and the Scottish Premiership, where he arguably enjoyed his most impressive spell, scoring 82 goals over three seasons with Celtic.

"His CV on paper is arguably the most impressive of any Wellington Phoenix player to date and I have no doubt he will contribute," Wellington Phoenix general manager David Dome told the club's website.

"I'm sure that football fans across Australia and New Zealand will be thrilled to see a player like Gary in action for Wellington.

"It's been no secret that we've been searching incredibly hard for a striker this season and we're extremely pleased to sign someone of the highest calibre."

Hooper will not be ready to make his debut in time for the weekend's clash at Sydney FC but will be available for the Phoenix's home match against Perth Glory in round three.

Callum Hudson-Odoi has supported the idea of walking off the pitch as a team in response to racist abuse at football grounds.

The Chelsea winger suffered abuse on his first start for the Three Lions in Montenegro last May which he described as "evil" at the time.

The 18-year-old is hoping to force his way into the Gareth Southgate’s Euro 2020 squad as he makes his way back from an Achilles injury suffered last season.

Hudson-Odoi scored twice in a 5-1 win for England’s under-21s against Austria on Tuesday and said he was proud of the solidarity shown by the senior players and coaching staff when questioned about the unsavoury scenes in Bulgaria.

"It’s disgusting to hear or see players getting discriminated against," he told reporters.

"It’s not right. I say to myself whenever that happens you have to stick together as a team, which the boys did.

"I am really proud to see the boys stick together in those situations where they say they would walk off the pitch. It is right because no player should be treated differently.

"We’re all equal and it’s an equal game, so we have got to stay strong. Hopefully everything will be sorted out properly by UEFA."

Danilo has returned to full training with Juventus after recovering from a thigh injury

The 28-year-old, who joined from Manchester City in August, was forced off during the 2-1 win at Brescia on September 24.

However, the club announced Danilo took part in Wednesday's session at Juventus Training Centre. He may now be involved in Saturday's home league clash with Bologna.

Aaron Ramsey, who missed Wales' Euro 2020 qualifiers against Slovakia and Croatia because of a slight muscle injury, also took part in light training.

Right-back Mattia De Sciglio and winger Douglas Costa are on personalised training programmes, Juventus announced on their website, while Rodrigo Bentancur and Miralem Pjanic were granted an extra day off following their international exertions.

Juventus are top of Serie A after making a seven-game unbeaten start to the campaign.

Paris Saint-Germain midfielder Idrissa Gueye has been ruled out of action for 10 days with a hamstring injury.

Gueye, who joined PSG from Everton in July, is expected to miss their games against Nice and Club Brugge over the next week.

The Senegal international is also a major doubt for the league clash with Marseille on Sunday 27.

A statement on PSG's official website read: "Idrissa Gueye felt hamstring pain and today's exams confirmed a contracture. He will be away from training for the next 10 days."

Gueye has made eight appearances for PSG since his move, with the Ligue 1 champions winning each of those matches.

PSG discovered on Monday that star forward Neymar will miss around a month after also suffering a hamstring injury while on international duty with Brazil.

Thomas Tuchel's side are two points clear at the top of Ligue 1 after nine matches.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic vowed he would draw on his inner "viking" as he weighed up the prospect of playing in the snow at Minnesota United in the MLS play-offs.

Ibrahimovic has packed his career with bold claims, regularly referring to himself as a "lion", and he remains bullish despite the potentially tricky conditions at Allianz Field on Sunday.

LA Galaxy have returned to the post-season but face a tough trip to surprise package Minnesota, who have hosted snow games in the past in the colder months of the year.

Star Galaxy striker Ibrahimovic, born in Sweden, does not foresee any adverse weather being an issue for himself or LA.

"I'm from Sweden, I was born in the snow," the 38-year-old said in an interview posted on Galaxy's Twitter page.

"When it snows, I'm a viking. When it's warm, I'm a lion. We adjust for every condition there is."

Ibrahimovic scored 30 goals in 29 regular season games in 2019, leading LA back to the play-offs after missing out in his first MLS campaign following a remarkable final-day collapse by the team last year.

England have sold out Wembley for the first time for a women's match ahead of next month's friendly against Germany, the Football Association (FA) has announced.

A capacity crowd of 90,000 on November 9 would top the record attendance for a women's match in the United Kingdom, set at the 2012 Olympics as 80,203 spectators watched the United States defeat Japan to claim the gold medal at Wembley.

Meanwhile, the record attendance for a Lionesses home fixture stands at 45,619 for the previous meeting between England and Germany at the same venue in 2014.

England played in front of a crowd of 29,238 at the Riverside Stadium earlier this month - a record for a Lionesses match outside of Wembley - in their first game since reaching the Women's World Cup semi-finals.

The upcoming fixture is set to fall just short of the long-standing official record for a women's match - 90,125 watched the 1999 World Cup final between United States and China at the Rose Bowl in California.

Sue Campbell, FA director of women's football, said: "This is a magnificent show of support for the squad and staff after a tremendous year of progress for the England team.

"My thanks go to everyone who has bought a ticket as we never take such support for granted.

"We started the year with success at the SheBelieves Cup, had a wonderful World Cup including securing Olympic qualification and it is only fitting that we get to end 2019 on a high - and can also say our own thank you to those who have backed us all the way.

"What will make it even more special is to see everyone who has bought a ticket turn up on the day to help smash the all-time record."

Leicester City, West Ham and Valencia all tried to sign Mohamed Elneny from Arsenal during the transfer window, according to the midfielder's agent.

Elneny swapped Arsenal for Besiktas on a season-long loan in August after falling down the midfield pecking order at Emirates Stadium.

The Egypt international was also said to be wanted by other clubs, while reports in Italy this week suggested AC Milan may make an approach in the January window.

"He received a lot of offers last summer, led by Leicester City, West Ham and Valencia, but Besiktas managed to settle the deal with Arsenal," agent Alan Nazmy told Egyptian TV channel Time Sport.

"Milan and Roma previously tried to sign the player during the last winter transfer window, but the negotiations didn't work then, and he received more than one offer as well."

Asked about fresh rumoured interest from Milan, Nazmy said: "I can't talk about it."

Elneny made 89 appearances for Arsenal in all competitions after joining from Swiss side FC Basel in 2016, including 17 outings last season.

Arsenal boss Unai Emery allowed the 27-year-old to leave following the arrival of Dani Ceballos and emergence of academy product Joe Willock, but the door has not been closed on a return next year.

"Emery didn't ask for his departure from Arsenal because of his performance," Nazmy said. "He demanded that [Elneny] took a chance to develop his performance and return again.

"It is possible for him to play with Arsenal again. It still remains a strong possibility."

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