Neymar could make his Paris Saint-Germain return against Amiens on Saturday - just in time to prove he is ready for the Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund.

PSG officials were set to carry out last-minute checks on the Brazilian striker before Thomas Tuchel's team headed north to tackle the Ligue 1 strugglers.

Former Barcelona frontman Neymar has been absent with a rib injury since the 5-0 win over Montpellier on February 1, and without him PSG have claimed league wins over Nantes and Lyon and a Coupe de France victory at Dijon.

"For Neymar, we have to decide with the doctor after the test," head coach Tuchel said.

"Whether he plays tomorrow or not, he will be in Dortmund for sure, but maybe not at his best like he was two weeks ago.

"But I am convinced he will help us and with this game we will keep going, and we hope he will be uninjured and be able to play a few games in a row until the end of the season."

Tuchel explained he wanted Neymar to play in every game.

"Yes, but I cannot push him," Tuchel said. "I have the advice of the medical staff but we decide together.

"I want him to play all the time. There are a lot of things to think about. There is the opinion of the medical staff, the player, the feeling that the player is not worried about playing.

"We need to talk to one another and think about it, but in the end we have to make very clear decisions. No risks against Lyon and no risks against Dijon. In the end he agrees and I think it is a good thing because we will make the common decision together."

Tuchel stressed he had no complaints over Neymar's trip to Germany on Thursday to promote a clothing range.

"I knew about it for a few weeks," said Tuchel. "It was organised with the club. It was clear for almost six weeks. It's not a problem."

Former Dortmund boss Tuchel said Marquinhos, Marco Verratti and Idrissa Gueye would be fit to return to the first team at Amiens, barring any setbacks in training on Friday afternoon, after missing the Dijon cup game through injury.

Barcelona will not take unnecessary risks with Lionel Messi's fitness, head coach Quique Setien has assured.

Barca are light on options in attack as they battle to defend their LaLiga title, with Luis Suarez set to be sidelined until May following knee surgery, while injury-plagued winger Ousmane Dembele will miss the rest of the campaign after an operation on a torn hamstring this week.

Reports earlier this month suggested Messi was playing through pain but Setien insisted he had no concerns over the six-time Ballon d'Or winner ahead of Saturday's home match against high-flying Getafe.

"Messi, like a lot of other players, knows what he can do and what he can’t do," he told a news conference.

"If he's on the pitch it’s because he's able to be. He's okay, there's no problem.

"Like any other players, there will be a time when we have to rest him. I haven’t spent so much time here to be able to evaluate this.

"These players are so used to playing Sunday to Wednesday for many years that in some cases it is not necessary for them to rest, but we will have a look as it goes on."

The Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF) and LaLiga granted Barcelona special dispensation to sign a replacement for Dembele, with Real Sociedad's Willian Jose among those touted as a possible target.

Setien refused to be drawn on links to Loren Moron, who he coached at Real Betis, with his successor at the Seville club, Rubi, saying such a deal is a non-starter.

"What I've done all of my life is adapt to what I have," Setien said. "If a player arrives then that's preferable.

"Dembele’s injury affects us a lot and puts us in a risky situation. In the end, you have to play with 11 men and that's what we're going to do

"We'll adapt. We'll find a solution and the way forward."

An unlikely solution might have already presented itself in Rey Manaj, the 22-year-old forward signed for Barca B from Albacete during the January transfer window.

Albania international Manaj has trained with the first team over recent days and certainly made an impression with Setien.

"We don’t know Rey completely. We haven’t seen everything he can do because he's spent little time here," he added.

"His willingness is extraordinary and if he's here it's because he is going to help us."

Manuel Neuer looks set to boost Bayern Munich for Sunday's trip to Cologne after he returned to training on Friday.

The goalkeeper and captain of Bayern was absent on Thursday due to a gastro-intestinal infection, but the 33-year-old appears primed to maintain his ever-present record in this season's Bundesliga.

That news came as a major boost to head coach Hansi Flick, who is set to be without Javi Martinez and Niklas Sule for the clash with Markus Gisdol's team, with left-back David Alaba expected to shake off a minor muscle problem.

A goalless draw with title rivals RB Leipzig last week kept Bayern top of the table, but Flick has warned his side they must not show any weakness at this point in the campaign.

Flick identified Cologne, who sit in 13th place, as a team who have shown marked improvement since the early months of the season.

Gisdol took charge in November, when Cologne had won just twice in 11 league games, losing eight of those matches - including a 4-0 thumping at Bayern.

They have since won five and lost three games, and Flick observed in a news conference on Friday: "They have been very successful since Markus Gisdol became coach there.

"Cologne are a team who can sometimes squeeze and hurt you. We don't want to let that happen."

Flick spoke of how Bayern are preparing for the "English weeks" in their season, meaning the weeks when they must play matches both at the weekend and in midweek.

With Champions League and domestic cup commitments ahead, the schedule could be hectic over the remaining months of the campaign.

Flick said he was pleased to see Kingsley Coman and Lucas Hernandez recovering well from knee injuries.

"We still don’t know if they are ready for 90 minutes," Flick said. "Of course they need practice. The goal is for everyone to be at 100 per cent if possible when the English weeks begin."

What has been pleasing to Flick, during the time he has spent as Bayern's interim boss, is the way there has been strong communication with his players.

Bayern's results have significantly perked up, with the draw against Leipzig coming at the end of a run of eight wins in competitive games.

"We want everyone to have a say," Flick said. "At the moment, it's working well. Players are coming to me too. It's a good and important sign."

Agent Mino Raiola has said it is not the time to discuss Gianluigi Donnarumma's future at Milan, while suggesting it will be dependent on the club showing sufficient ambition in their future plans.

Although he does not turn 21 until later this month, Italy international Donnarumma is into his fifth season as Milan's first-choice goalkeeper and has already played 188 competitive games for the club.

However, he has often been linked with a move away from San Siro and Raiola was non-committal when he was asked about his client's future following Milan's 1-1 Coppa Italia draw with Juventus - one of the teams to have been credited with an interest in Donnarumma.

"I don't want to talk about Donnarumma's future, I don't want problems. Donnarumma is happy with Milan," Raiola told reporters.

However, he then added: "The main target is to reach the UEFA Champions League. It would be important for him but also for Milan. We'll talk about it after Euro 2020.

"I don't know what Milan's plans are for the future. You guys are sure that Milan have great projects for the future but I'm not really sure of it. We'll see."

Raiola was also asked whether he hoped another of his clients, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, would remain at Milan next season.

"I hope [so]," he replied. "I cannot imagine football without Ibra. It would be so boring.

"I always think about [Ibrahimovic]. I am his biggest fan, after his father. His father is a bigger fan than me but than after his father it's me."

Barcelona head coach Quique Setien does not believe Real Madrid should be considered favourites for LaLiga glory this season.

Madrid hold a three-point advantage at the summit over Barca, who have struggled for their best form since Setien replaced Ernesto Valverde last month.

Valverde and Barca won the previous two titles, with the Blaugrana also collecting four of the past five either side of Zinedine Zidane's sole domestic success in 2016-17.

Setien feels the Clasico showdown at the Santiago Bernabeu on March 1 could yet prove to be pivotal.

"Many league titles have been decided on details, in final minutes, in situations that neither of the two teams are able to control," he told a news conference.

"We're just as much favourites as Real Madrid. They have got a three-point advantage but we've got a game there at the Bernabeu and when that moment comes we've got a lot of expectation.

"We know the importance of the game and of course we'll go all out for it."

First, Barca must negotiate a game that might turn a two-way battle into a three-horse race.

Getafe travel to Camp Nou on Saturday sitting third in the table, seven points shy of their hosts but enjoying another exceptional season on the back of a surprise fifth-place finish in 2018-19.

Setien has previously clashed with Jose Bordalas over Getafe's direct style of play and, while he declined to discuss a feuding relationship with his opposite number that dates back to their respective tenures in charge of Segunda Division sides Lugo and Alcorcon, he praised their impressive progress.

"It's clear that we have two different styles. Barca have been playing like this for years, Getafe are playing the way they have been for years," he said.

"The important thing is your plan and way of doing it overcomes the opposition

"We're clear in what we're playing for and how we play. What you have to do, you must to well and I think both of us do that."

On whether Getafe might become a direct rival in LaLiga this term, Setien suggested their forthcoming Europa League obligations – an intriguing last-32 showdown with Ajax – could be a complicating factor.

"The difficult thing for every club is to stay at the top. I don’t know if it's us and Madrid or Getafe [as well], who are on a great run.” said the Barca boss.

"The difficult thing is to keep up that run. There are some difficult games coming up for them in Europe that might take something out of their power in LaLiga.

"Getafe last year stayed up there and this year they're still up there. I don't know if this form is going to be enough to catch us and Real Madrid but we have to consider them rivals."

Mohamed Toure became the youngest goalscorer in A-League history as the 15-year-old wrapped up a 2-0 win for Adelaide United against Central Coast Mariners.

Toure this week signed a three-year scholarship contract with Adelaide and showed he could have a big future with a lively appearance off the bench.

His goal owed plenty to stellar work from team-mate Riley McGree, who burst from midfield and dashed down the left before delivering a low cross to the teenage striker.

Toure cracked the ball high into the net for his 84th-minute strike, having only come on seven minutes earlier, and tore off his shirt as he sprinted away in celebration.

That strike followed swiftly on from George Blackwood's excellent opener, and stole much of that goal's thunder.

Blackwood's 22-yard strike in the 82nd minute was sublime though, the striker collecting a short pass from McGree and curling a shot into the top right corner.

He celebrated by holding up the number 16 shirt of team-mate Nathan Konstandopoulos, who suffered a season-ending knee injury last week.

Long after the final whistle, history-maker Toure was signing autographs and posing for pictures with young supporters.

He revealed what coach Gertjan Verbeek told him as he prepared to enter the action, saying: "He said, 'Come on, do your thing down the wing to get us a goal', and I think I tried my best to get the team 2-0 up."

The youngster's brother Al Hassan Toure is also an Adelaide player, although the 19-year-old missed Friday's game due to injury.

Al Hassan said of his younger brother: "We always knew he had it in him. Our dad has taught us well, always to have a strong mind and play how you want and not how they've been brought up to play in Australia. He's been telling us to play how we feel and that's how we've been doing.

"I told him [Mohamed] to keep a cool head because football is ups and downs, you might be up one day and then you're down, and you always have to learn from your experiences. But he's shown that he can play in this league and he's good enough. A couple more years of experience and he'll be a good player."

McGree, speaking on Fox Sports, said of Toure: "He's young, he's eager, he's keen, he's confident, and that's great to see."

Santi Cazorla admits he is excited by the prospect of an unforeseen shot at tournament glory with Spain as he targets a third European Championship triumph.

The days of Cazorla patrolling midfield with the national team looked to have ended when his Arsenal career stuttered to a sorry and injury-hit end.

Serious Achilles and ankle trouble led to gangrene and worries that Cazorla might even need a foot amputation, and he left Arsenal at the end of the 2017-18 season with doubts over what would be left of his playing days.

Cazorla snatched the chance to train with Villarreal and has not looked back, impressing last season before stepping up a level this term, scoring 12 goals from midfield already.

And Spain have come calling again, unable to resist the revitalised playmaker who has got Villarreal ticking after almost four years in the international wilderness.

After helping Spain to their Euro 2008 and Euro 2012 victories, Cazorla incredibly has another chance of silverware, and of adding to his 81 caps.

The 35-year-old is philosophical, though, about his chances and said he would not be disappointed to miss out on the tournament if Luis Enrique struggles to accommodate him.

"Not disappointing because I know my age and I know the players that are there. But yes, it's true that I've got excited about being there," Cazorla said.

"It was something that I'd written off when I returned to football; even the day that they called me up again I knew it was a reward and without too many expectations of staying in the squad.

"But I've kept playing at Villarreal and the national coaches have confidence in me and this has excited me."

Cazorla sees Spain as contenders for Euro 2020, although the days of their dominance have passed. The halcyon era of Xavi, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas and co belongs in Spain's history, yet Cazorla remains very much in the team's present.

He sees no need to pitch teams from one era against those from another.

"We always have to compare in this country and that's a mistake because any national team is losing [in that debate]," Cazorla told Marca.

"We have to leave people alone because players are coming through with promising futures. I think that this summer, there are options to compete to win the Euros because it's very even between various teams and Spain are there."

Cazorla said leaving Arsenal in the way he did, without being able to sign off in style on the pitch, stuck in his craw, describing that as "a big regret that I don't know if I will get over".

He is relieved to be playing again, but wary his body has limits, saying he has yet to consider his club future beyond this season with his contract up for renewal.

"Right now, I'm happy," he said, "but I notice my age; the injury is there and it's getting more difficult. I'm not planning anything right now, but it's clear that playing in Europe is a plus for any player. I will decide in the summer."

Nuno Espirito Santo has yet to enter new contract talks with Wolves but says he remains as committed as ever to the Premier League high-flyers.

The former Porto boss has worked wonders since taking over at Molineux in 2017, guiding the club into the top flight as Championship winners in his first season in charge.

Wolves secured a Europa League spot in the 2018-19 campaign and breezed through to the round of 32 this season, while they sat six points behind fourth-placed Chelsea ahead of a clash with Leicester City on Friday.

Nuno is in the final 18 months of his contract, but the Portuguese head coach - who was linked with Arsenal before Mikel Arteta was appointed - is relaxed about his future.

"I have had no proposal. I have one year more, I don't think about that," Nuno said.

"We will see, but I'm only focused on [the Leicester game]. We have one more year left on the contract. We signed it and are committed to it."

Nuno added: "They [Wolves fans] can be assured every day this is my obsession. Wolves is my obsession, it's my life. I don't think about anything else. I'm talking to you [the media] but I'm thinking about the game.

"I changed my life when we started this three seasons ago - not only me but a lot of people moved and changed their lives to come to Wolverhampton.

"The players have been with us since day one so this is why I say it's my life. I'm 100 per cent here and I give everything I have to help my players and help improve the club. I give everything I can."

First Barcelona and now Real Madrid. Lautaro Martinez is a wanted man.

With 16 goals across all competitions for Inter this season, Martinez is attracting plenty of interest following previous links to Manchester United.

Madrid and Barca are set to go head-to-head on and off the pitch.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID JOIN BARCA IN MARTINEZ RACE

Real Madrid want to pay the release clause of Inter star and Barcelona target Lautaro Martinez, according to Tyc Sports.

Martinez has long been linked with LaLiga champions Barca, who are eyeing a long-term replacement for Luis Suarez.

However, Martinez is now firmly on Madrid's radar with a release clause of €115million and Luka Jovic struggling to score regularly behind veteran striker Karim Benzema at the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

ROUND-UP

- ESPN says Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are chasing Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson, who is on loan at Premier League side Sheffield United. The 22-year-old – who is contracted to United until 2022 – has impressed at Bramall Lane and is reportedly unwilling to return to Manchester unless he is number one ahead of David de Gea.

Manchester City have joined Madrid, Barca, Arsenal and Tottenham in the race to sign RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano, reports the Manchester Evening News. Pep Guardiola's City are desperate for defensive reinforcements following Vincent Kompany's exit and injury woes.

- According to the Daily Express, Serie A champions Juventus are eying a shock move for Chelsea's Willian, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

- Remaining in Turin and the Daily Mail claims Juve have entered the chase for Birmingham City teenager Jude Bellingham. The 17-year-old is also wanted by United and Chelsea.

Tottenham are plotting a double swoop for Norwich City pair Ben Godfrey and Max Aarons, the Express says. It comes as the Daily Mail reports Spurs will sell Eric Dier if he does not sign a new contract.

- Marca says Barca have contacted Levante about Roger Marti but the club have pointed to the striker's release clause. Barca are looking to bring in an emergency forward following Ousmane Dembele's long-term injury. Real Betis' Loren Moron and Lucas Perez of Deportivo Alaves are also reported options.

Brazil great Pele allayed concerns over his health and welfare, insisting "I'm fine".

Pele's son Edinho said his iconic father felt "depressed" and was reluctant to leave the house due to problems with his hip.

However, three-time World Cup winner Pele – who turns 80 in October – rejected those health claims on Thursday.

"Thank you for your prayers and concerns," Pele said in a statement released. "I'm fine. I'm turning 80 this year. I have my good and bad days. This is normal for people my age.

"I'm not afraid, I'm determined and I'm confident in what I do. Last week, I had the honour of meeting the CBF [Brazilian Football Confederation] president in the studio I was shooting my documentary in. I had two photo sessions last month for campaigns that use my image and testimony.

"I have several upcoming events scheduled. I do not avoid meeting commitments from my always busy schedule. I continue to accept my physical limitations in the best possible way, but I intend to keep the ball rolling. God bless you all."

In an interview published by GloboEsporte.com on Monday, Edinho said: "He's very fragile in relation to mobility. He had a hip replacement and didn't have ideal or adequate rehabilitation.

"He has this mobility problem and that has set off a kind of depression. Imagine, he's the King, he was always such an imposing figure and today he can't walk properly."

Edinho added: "He's embarrassed, he doesn't want to go out, be seen, or do practically anything that involves leaving the house. He is very shy, reclusive."

Pele spent 18 years at Santos, making 1,281 appearances and scoring 1,091 goals – though not all of those came in official matches.

He remains Brazil's leading goalscorer with 77 and is considered one of the greatest footballers of all time.

Argentina head coach Lionel Scaloni believes Barcelona captain Lionel Messi is comfortable at the LaLiga champions.

Messi and his future have been the topics of discussion since the Barca superstar's public row with director of football Eric Abidal.

After Abidal suggested some players were not working hard enough prior to Ernesto Valverde's sacking in January, Messi snapped back via social media and it raised doubts over his future at Camp Nou.

Scaloni, however, is not concerned about Argentina skipper and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi – who is out of contract at the end of the 2020-21 season.

"I see him [Messi] fine," Scaloni told reporters. "The other day, against Real Betis, he was the best player in the field without scoring. He gave the assist and participated of every chance.

"He's fine, he's comfortable, he will have to decide on his future but I think he's comfortable."

"I'm not worried at all," Scaloni continued. "He's comfortable, he's comfortable at the national team and at Barcelona. Then what will come will come, I stay out of it."

Argentina finished third at the 2019 Copa America but Scaloni's side have another chance to be crowned South American champions as co-hosts of this year's tournament alongside Colombia.

Messi is still seeking his first senior title with Argentina, who were runners-up at the 2014 World Cup before losing in back-to-back Copa America finals in 2015 and 2016.

"I think the important thing is to try [to win the Copa America], that he knows we'll try and be protagonists," Scaloni added. "He [Messi] is not the only one that wants to win something with the national team, we all want to win, the coach, his teammates, so well, we'll try and let's hope we can make it."

Argentina are in Group A (South Zone) for the 2020 Copa America, along with Chile, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia and first-time guests Australia.

La Albiceleste will open the tournament against Chile in Buenos Aires on June 12.

Jamaica Reggae Boyz shot-stopper and captain Andre Blake insists he is looking forward to what is expected to be a big year for both his club and national teams.

The 29-year-old goalkeeper made the MLS All-Star roster in 2016 and again in 2019.  By the numbers, however, Blake had a less than impressive season between the sticks.  The Union gave up 57 goals last year in all competitions. 

Blake didn’t have a clean sheet in the team’s last 13 games of the season and only had six for the team all year.  His goals-against average rose from 1.5 in 2018 (57 goals allowed in 38 games) to 1.64 in 2019 (46 in 28).

With the Union, however, a part of the Jamaican's struggles might have to do with a tweak in the team’s gameplay, which is expected to adjust this season particularly with the addition of new personnel.

Internationally the player’s national team has made the CONCACAF Hexagonal round for the first time since the 2014 cycle and could be in line for a second appearance at the FIFA World Cup.  The Reggae Boyz finished runners-up on two occasions and then semi-finalists in the last three editions of the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

“There’s a lot of soccer to play for club and country, there’s going to be a lot on the line,” Blake told the Inquirer

“I have to make sure I do everything to be ready, to stay sharp, to stay fit. I’m definitely looking forward to a big year, to do whatever it takes in the net when I’m with club and country to be successful and to help my team be successful,” he added.

 

Barcelona midfielder Ivan Rakitic said he would like to play with Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo as doubts remain over his future at Camp Nou.

Rakitic was heavily linked to Serie A duo Juventus and Inter before the transfer window closed, while Premier League giants Manchester United were also reportedly interested.

It came as Rakitic was reportedly offered to Ligue 1's Paris Saint-Germain as part of a deal to prise Neymar back to Camp Nou at the start of the season.

Rakitic continues to be linked with Italian champions Juve and when asked if he would like to play alongside five-time Ballon d'Or winner Ronaldo, the 31-year-old told Bleacher Report Football: "Of course I would.

"He is also one of the greatest players in history.

"You enjoy watching him play and he's doing well at Juventus."

Rakitic is currently team-mates with Barca captain and six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi and he said: "It's amazing to play with him - he's special. There have been great players in every era, but I'm sure he's been the best in the last 15 years.

"In my opinion, I think he's the best of all time. Being with him for six years has been incredible."

Rakitic previously vented his frustration with how head coach Ernesto Valverde and his staff were treated upon their sacking in January, admitting he considered leaving Barcelona.

"It's a part of football," Rakitic said. "You have to understand that and be ready [to potentially leave] in January.

"You have to be happy, you have to think about your family, and if I play for Barcelona I am happy."

Former Barcelona head coach Ernesto Valverde said he would prefer working in Australia rather than the Premier League.

Valverde was sacked by Barca in January, despite leading the Spanish giants to back-to-back LaLiga titles and Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana success.

Contemplating his next move as Valverde enjoys a break from football, a shock A-League gig is high on the 56-year-old's list.

"People ask me sometimes 'How about the Premier League?' and I say 'Well actually I'd like to go to Australia'," Valverde said.

"A career in football does not last forever and sometimes you think you have to take the opportunity to live in strange places."

Valverde referenced former Barca captain Andres Iniesta, who left Camp Nou for Japanese side Vissel Kobe in 2018.

"I applauded Andres when he told me he's going to Japan," added Valverde. I thought 'Wow, he gets to understand a different culture and different people', and I am also very interested in Japan.

"You can take great photos in Japan. There are many places I'd like to go to. We'll see what I end up doing, I haven't been out of work for very long so I don't have to decide anything yet, I haven't got a very clear idea at the moment.

"It's possible I'd go somewhere abroad. The truth is I like to do strange things so I wouldn't rule it out."

Liverpool legend Robbie Fowler is currently in charge of A-League outfit Brisbane Roar, while former Reds and Bayern Munich star Markus Babbel was working in Australia until he was sacked by Western Sydney Wanderers last month.

Maurizio Sarri said Juventus' "growth has stalled" but the under-fire head coach is not worried after the Serie A champions snatched a draw against Milan in the Coppa Italia.

Cristiano Ronaldo's controversial 90th-minute penalty saw Juve escape with a 1-1 draw away to 10-man Milan in the first leg of their semi-final showdown on Thursday.

Coming off a shock defeat at Hellas Verona, which allowed Inter to move top of the Serie A table last week, Juve were far from their best again as Milan impressed.

Ante Rebic's 61st-minute opener looked set to be enough for Milan to secure first-leg honours, until Davide Calabria was harshly penalised for a handball at the death – Ronaldo making no mistake from the spot.

Juve have only won one of their past four matches in all competitions but Sarri is not unconcerned as pressure mounts amid links to former coach Massimiliano Allegri.

"I am not worried, as the only real worries in life are your health. It seems a normal phase to be going through, it's unthinkable for a team to be in a continual ascent," Sarri told Rai Sport.

"This is a sport and so much depends on the physical and psychological conditions of so many players.

"Our growth has stalled a little in the last three weeks, we concede avoidable goals. Having said that, we've conceded only three more than the best defence in Serie A, so it's not that much of an issue."

Sarri added: "We did better in terms of our passing and playing out from the back but were lacking in the final third. It's a process and we are continuing.

"We have conceded some avoidable goals, for example today the cross was quite slow and - in my view - easy to defend. We were coming off a bad performance in Verona, but picked up a positive result, especially as it's the first leg."

Juve – 13-time Coppa Italia winners – will welcome Milan to Turin for the return leg on March 4.

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