Zlatan Ibrahimovic has backed Jose Mourinho to prove a success in his next position, but the ex-Barcelona striker remains less enamoured with Pep Guardiola.

Mourinho and Ibrahimovic forged a strong bond during spells together at Inter and Manchester United.

The divisive former Chelsea and Real Madrid boss has not held a managerial job since parting ways with United in December 2018 but appears to be edging closer to a coaching comeback.

Mourinho recently rejected the chance to hold talks with Lyon as he "has already chosen another club," the Ligue 1 side's president, Jean-Michel Aulas, said earlier this month.

Ibrahimovic is adamant the Portuguese's next employers will enjoy the best of his abilities.

"He had an incredible impact on my career," the LA Galaxy striker told Gazzetta dello Sport.

"He is still 'the Special One', a winner. I hope he will back on a bench soon and I am sure he will start winning immediately."

Guardiola, however, does not occupy the same place in Ibrahimovic's heart.

The pair shared a famously dysfunctional relationship over the course of the Swede's single season with Barca, which featured 16 LaLiga goals and a title triumph.

"We never had a direct confrontation because of him," Ibrahimovic said of Guardiola, who is now in charge of Manchester City.

"When we faced each other, he hid. He waited for me to leave and then left the dressing room. As a coach he is a phenomenon, but as a man..."

Dimitri Petratos converted a penalty at the second attempt to earn Newcastle Jets a 1-1 draw with rivals Central Coast Mariners on Saturday.

Mark Birighitti saved the Australia international's initial spot-kick following Giancarlo Gallifuoco's handball, but a VAR review revealed the goalkeeper had moved off his line.

Petratos duly dispatched the retake, drawing the Jets level in the 56th minute and forcing a share of the spoils in Gosford.

Milan Duric had given the Mariners a fourth-minute lead with a well-judged volley and almost snatched all three points near the end of normal time, the midfielder driving a low effort into the base of the upright.

There was an identical scoreline in the early game as Perth Glory denied Western United a win in their first A-League home match.

Perth's away kits were misplaced en route to Geelong, forcing them to don their training shirts, but last season's Premiers at least headed back to Western Australia with a second successive draw thanks to Kristian Popovic, the teenage son of head coach Tony.

The 18-year-old ghosted to the far post to nod in Neil Kilkenny's cross in the 76th minute, his header cancelling out the sublime Panagiotis Kone strike that had given Mark Rudan's men the lead four minutes after the interval.

Eden Hazard will not be involved in Real Madrid's LaLiga game against Real Mallorca following the birth of his fourth child.

According to reports, Hazard's wife, Natacha, gave birth to a boy late on Friday.

The Belgium international was excluded from the 19-man travelling list released ahead of Madrid's flight out for Saturday's fixture.

Hazard's absence leaves Zinedine Zidane lacking two first-choice wingers, with Gareth Bale unavailable after limping through the final stages of Wales' 1-1 draw against Croatia last weekend.

Luka Modric suffered bruising to his right quadriceps in the same Euro 2020 qualifier and also misses the Mallorca match, as does Dani Carvajal.

Brahim Diaz and little-used striker Mariano Diaz will both hope to make their first appearances of the season.

Owner Fidel Kuri described Veracruz as "the joke of the nation" after the Liga MX team protested unpaid wages by allowing opposition Tigres to score without challenge.

Veracruz had planned to boycott Friday's fixture completely, but they instead took the field and staged a protest in the opening four minutes of the match by standing still and refusing to play.

Tigres players joined the protest for the first minute before goals from Eduardo Vargas and Andre-Pierre Gignac were scored into an open net.

Vargas completed his brace in the eighth minute once Veracruz's players began to play, before Colin Kazim-Richards scored a late consolation as the game finished 3-1 to Tigres.

"The players wanted to send a message that wasn't discussed but they are in their right," Kuri told ESPN Mexico's Futbol Picante.

"We were once again the joke of the nation, or the world with this topic."

The notion of on-pitch protests was first mentioned earlier in the week when the president of the AMFproMX Alvaro Ortiz said players were owed six months in wages.

Ortiz claimed the players felt abandoned by Liga MX and that it was a human rights issue.

"It's a question of solidarity. A question of helping those who need it the most, of the dignity of the players," he told reporters.

"We know other players at other clubs understand. This is a topic of solidarity, it's not a call for a strike."

Nice coach Patrick Vieira said he did not understand the referee's decision to send off Wylan Cyprien in their 4-1 defeat to leader's Paris Saint-Germain.  

PSG moved five points clear at the top of Ligue 1 with the win in the Riviera, but a controversial second yellow card shown to Cyprien for dissent turned the momentum of the game.

Kylian Mbappe was then introduced for the final seven minutes on his return from a hamstring injury, as he scored and assisted to secure the points for PSG.

Vieira said he had spoken to the officials after the game but was no clearer on Cyprien's dismissal off, the first of two red cards in three minutes.

"The second yellow for Cyprien? I still do not understand the explanations of the referee," he told reporters.

"Wylan did not insult or disrespect the referee. I find it very severe and unfair.

"It is a half gesture of mood as one sees in all matches. The red for (Christophe) Herelle I can understand a little more.

"We came up against a team that was much better than ours, but that does not detract from the talent there is in our team."

Nice remain in mid-table and six points off second-place Nantes.

PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel will ensure lessons are learned from their second-half performance after a 4-1 win over Nice on Friday.

Angel Di Maria gave Les Parisiens a two-goal lead on the south coast of France, but Nice mounted a second-half comeback when Ignatius Ganago pulled a goal back.

The home team was reduced to nine men with two red cards in three minutes before Kylian Mbappe's introduction helped seal the win as he came on to score and assist late on.

Tuchel said after the game that his team lacked precision and determination in the second half but was happy to come back from the international break with three points.

"At the beginning of the second period we forgot to close out the match," he told reporters.

"Nice played with another system, took more risks and we made easy mistake just before the (Ganago's) goal. Then after the two red's the match was decided.

"It may be a good lesson for us, as we also lost control against Galatasaray after our goal.

"At the start of a six game, intense series of games it's always good to start with a win and we had a very good first half."

Nice had started the second half brightly but a second yellow card to Wylan Cyprien shown for dissent turned the momentum back in PSG's favour at the Allianz Riviera.

"I received a charge that was not whistled and in frustration, I asked the referee with a slight gesture if there was no fault," Cyprien said.

"He shows me a second yellow card explaining that my gesture is too vehement, even though I told him I didn't disrespect or insult him.

"His decision had a major impact and I'm not sure if we would have equalised but he could have been more thoughtful. I think it's severe."

Lee Tomlin's fine free-kick in the closing minutes grabbed Cardiff City a 1-1 draw against Sheffield Wednesday on Friday.

The high-flying Owls appeared on course to secure a first win at the home of their opponents since April 2007 when they led at the break thanks to Julian Borner's first goal for the club.

The defender cleverly deflected home an on-target shot from Kadeem Harris, who also hit the crossbar as the visitors dominated in the opening half.

However, in a game played out in heavy rain, Neil Warnock's side were far brighter after the interval, substitute Tomlin eventually equalising when he curled home a set-piece opportunity.

Wednesday missed out on a win that would have seen them move level on points with West Brom and Nottingham Forest at the top of the Championship, though they needed a smart stoppage-time save from goalkeeper Cameron Dawson to hold on for a point on their travels.

Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up another on his return to action as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 4-1 win against Nice, who finished Friday's Ligue 1 match with nine men.

The France forward, who sat out the international break due to a hamstring issue, replaced Pablo Sarabia in the 83rd minute at Allianz Riviera and helped kill off the game after the hosts threatened a comeback.

Ignatius Ganago pulled one back for Nice with 23 minutes to play following Angel Di Maria's first-half brace, but their momentum was disrupted by red cards for Wylan Cyprien and Christophe Herelle in quick succession.

Mbappe then marked his comeback with PSG's third and set up Mauro Icardi for a fourth, sending his five points clear of closest challengers Nantes at the summit.

Nice have failed to keep a clean sheet in the league this term and would have been behind inside three minutes if not for Walter Benitez's quickfire triple save.

But Di Maria made no mistake when played in behind by Mauro Icardi with 15 minutes gone, the former Real Madrid man curling the ball into the far corner.

Di Maria's second arrived six minutes later as he latched onto Thomas Meunier's pass and lifted an exquisite finish over Benitez with a first-time lob from a tight angle.

Marquinhos was denied by the crossbar early in the second half and Nice were back in the match when Ganago drilled in off the underside of the bar.

Cyprien was shown a second yellow card for dissent and Herelle was also dismissed three minutes later – following a VAR review – for brushing Leandro Paredes' face with his hand.

Late substitute Mbappe made Nice pay, squeezing a right-footed effort home from inside the box in the 88th minute.

Mbappe then turned provider, picking out Icardi for a simple finish on the breakaway in stoppage time.

 

What does it mean? PSG power on without Neymar

Neymar is expected to miss around a month after sustaining a hamstring injury on Brazil duty, while impressive midfielder Idrissa Gueye was also ruled out of this match.

However, PSG, even with Edinson Cavani an unused substitute, showed no signs of slowing down in their pursuit of a third successive Ligue 1 title - helped in no small part by Mbappe's return.

Di Maria steps up once again

Di Maria again showed why he has been one of PSG's most reliant performers this year. His first-half brace means he has been involved in 20 Ligue 1 goals in 2019 - only the returning Mbappe (28) has contributed to more.

Marquinhos bailed out

Marquinhos was brought on for Thiago Silva at half-time and it was his error that gifted Nice their temporary route back into the game. The defender slipped when attempting to control a cross, allowing Kasper Dolberg to set up Ganago for what turned out to be just a consolation goal.

What's next?

PSG travel to Club Brugge in the Champions League in midweek, while Nice have an eight-day break before making the trip to Strasbourg for their next outing.

Kylian Mbappe scored one and set up another on his return to action as Paris Saint-Germain claimed a 4-1 win against Nice, who finished Friday's Ligue 1 match with nine men.

The France forward, who sat out the international break due to a hamstring issue, replaced Pablo Sarabia in the 83rd minute at Allianz Riviera and helped kill off the game after the hosts threatened a comeback.

Ignatius Ganago pulled one back for Nice with 23 minutes to play following Angel Di Maria's first-half brace, but their momentum was disrupted by red cards for Wylan Cyprien and Christophe Herelle in quick succession.

Mbappe then marked his comeback with PSG's third and set up Mauro Icardi for a fourth, sending his five points clear of closest challengers Nantes at the summit.

Lionel Messi believes a return to Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar is "complicated" because some people do not want him back at the club.

Neymar attempted to engineer a return to Camp Nou during the previous transfer window, just two years after leaving for the Ligue 1 side in a world-record €222million deal.

The strained relationship between the two clubs was said to have impacted transfer discussions, however, and the Brazil international remains a PSG player.

Messi starred in a front three alongside Neymar and Luis Suarez and they remain in contact, but the Argentina star is unsure if a reunion at Barca will be possible.

"We talk often and we have a group chat with Luis Suarez," Messi told Buenos Aires radio station Metro 95.1. 

"The issue of his return is complicated. Firstly, because it was difficult to see him leave, secondly because of how he left.

"There are people from the club and members who do not want him to return. If it is for sporting reasons, Neymar is one of the best in the world, but I understand the other factors."

Messi, presented with the European Golden Shoe for a sixth time this week, recently declared he intends to see out the remainder of his career at Barcelona.

However, unlike fellow club icon Andres Iniesta, he has ruled out signing a lifetime contract

"That was talked about a while ago, as was done with Iniesta and the others," he said.

"I don't want a contract to tie me up because I don't know how I'm going to feel. I don't want to be [under contract] if I'm not well.

"I'm going to compete as long as I feel good physically, but obviously I would stay a lifetime."

Messi also opened up on his rivalry with Cristiano Ronaldo, who he competed with for team and individual honours for just short of a decade during the Portuguese forward's time at Real Madrid.

Ronaldo moved to Juventus in 2018 and Messi admits Barca's Clasico showdowns with Madrid have lost some lustre as a result.

"Yes, it was good when he was in the Spanish league," Messi said.

"It made the Clasicos more special and gave them more value."

Diego Simeone praised the enthusiasm of Atletico Madrid strikers Diego Costa and Alvaro Morata despite their struggles in front of goal this season.

Atleti have just one win from their past five LaLiga games but are only three points behind leaders and city rivals Real Madrid.

Simeone's men have drawn a blank in each of the four encounters they have failed to win in this stretch.

Costa and Morata have each scored only once in the league so far this campaign, but Simeone sees little reason to be concerned about the duo.

"I think they are great, they're doing good, even if they haven't proved it with goals yet - and I know that's their bread and butter," Simeone told a media conference. 

"I think their involvement, predisposition and their will to improve is awesome. I hope they keep it that way, it's their challenge

"They both scored one goal in La Liga, Morata played less than Diego but I see both are enthusiastic. I can see they want to improve.

"We have to keep calm and know they are two important players for this club and the team. We hope that they will start scoring soon since it's part of their lives, [but] I sincerely think they're doing good."

Atletico welcome Valencia to the Wanda Metropolitano on Saturday, with Simeone hoping his players hit their stride quickly upon returning from the international break.

"When they come back from the national team, it is not easy," Simeone added. "They're playing more and more games with the national team and that's difficult for the teams and obviously for the players as well.

"They play almost every day. We hope they adapt again really fast to the club and competition.

"Tomorrow's game is against a competitive and historic team like Valencia, they are really powerful at recovering and counter-attacking.

"A few things are changing with [Albert] Celades from what it was with Marcelino, but obviously the team already had a structure and I imagine the coach is combining it to do the best for the team.

"They are dangerous, dynamic and have a dangerous counter-attack, and we think that's the way our rival will play tomorrow."

Barcelona's appeal to have Ousmane Dembele's two-game ban reduced to one has been rejected by the Royal Spanish Football Federation (RFEF).

Dembele was sent off in the closing minutes of Barca's 4-0 LaLiga win over Sevilla this month following a confrontation with referee Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz, who had just given debutant Ronald Araujo a red card for a foul on Javier Hernandez.

Barcelona's initial appeal against Dembele's red card was dismissed and he was ruled out of the club's next two league matches.

With the France forward seemingly set to miss the Clasico against Real Madrid, which had been scheduled for October 26, Barca then attempted to have his ban halved.

Their efforts proved in vain but Dembele will now be available for the first LaLiga Clasico of the season, with the fixture having been postponed due to safety concerns amid the ongoing political tensions and protests in Catalonia.

Instead, the former Borussia Dortmund star will miss Saturday's match against Eibar and the meeting with Real Valladolid a week on Tuesday.

The Camp Nou Clasico appears set to be played on December 18 after both Barca and Madrid proposed the date on Friday.

Dembele has made three league appearances for Barca this season, scoring once - against Sevilla.

Carlo Ancelotti is pleased to have the full backing of Aurelio De Laurentiis and has thanked Napoli's chairman for clarifying "lies" that surfaced in the media.

Italian outlet Corriere dello Sport this month reported Ancelotti is considering his future at Stadio San Paolo following a difficult run of form.

Napoli entered the international break on the back of one win in four matches in all competitions and already trail Serie A leaders Juventus by six points.

De Laurentiis this week rubbished suggestions he had fallen out with Ancelotti and assured the veteran coach he can stay on for another decade should he wish.

Ancelotti has reiterated he is happy in Naples and is keen to get his side's campaign back on track, starting with victory at home to Hellas Verona on Saturday.

"De Laurentiis' comments cleared up the rubbish we've heard people saying about us," he said at Friday's pre-match news conference.

"We have an excellent relationship and I'm very happy here. What the president said came from the heart. 

"I'm pleased he has confidence in me and I'm also happy he cleared up some of the lies that have been going around.

"What matters now is that we look forward and get back to winning again. We have a very important game tomorrow which gives us the chance to pick up three points and get going again."

Back-to-back goalless draws have been compounded by tension between Ancelotti and captain Lorenzo Insigne, who was left out of the squad for the stalemate with Genk.

Insigne admitted this week he does not always see eye-to-eye with his coach, though Ancelotti has talked up the forward's importance.

"The situation with Lorenzo is not at all complicated," he said. "He made an excellent start to the season then he had a dip in form and I decided to rest him. 

"He's a key player when he's relaxed, happy and able to fire up the team as he does so well. He's less effective when he's on edge because he's not able to express his full potential.

"I didn't think he looked sharp in training and decided that it was best [to leave him out against Genk] - a strong decision perhaps but it's all cleared up. I repeat, Insigne is a hugely important player for us."

Mason Greenwood has signed a new long-term Manchester United contract, the club have confirmed.

The 18-year-old forward has committed to a four-year contract, with the option to extend by a further year.

"Having grown up as a Manchester United fan, playing for the first team is a real dream come true," Greenwood told the club's website.

"I know that, when I play for this club, I represent the whole academy and I want to repay the faith that my coaches have shown in me with my performances on the pitch.

"I am learning all the time from the manager and his coaching staff and I know that this is the perfect club to help me reach my potential."

Greenwood made his Premier League debut under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer in the 2-0 away defeat to Arsenal in March, with his first top-flight start coming two months later.

He has become a regular in the first-team squad in 2019-20, making six substitute appearances in the league and starting three times in cup competitions.

Greenwood scored his first goal for United to seal a 1-0 Europa League win over Astana at Old Trafford on September 19 and struck again in the EFL Cup draw with Rochdale, with the Red Devils ultimately progressing to the next round on penalties.

"Mason has progressed through our outstanding academy and we are delighted with the progress he has made. At such a young age, he already has great pace and intelligence and he is such a natural finisher," Solskjaer said.

"Since he came into the first team, he has really impressed everyone with his drive and attitude. He has all the attributes to become a top player. Mason is learning every day in training and, with his work ethic, there is no doubt that he has an excellent future ahead of him."

Greenwood is the second United academy graduate to sign a new contract with the club this week.

Full-back Brandon Williams, who made his debut in the Rochdale clash and started the Europa League draw with AZ, signed a three-year deal with the option of a fourth on Thursday.

Lars Lukas Mai has signed a new contract with Bayern Munich, keeping him with the Bundesliga champions until June 2022.

The 19-year-old defender joined the German giants at under-16 level in 2014 and made two league appearances for the senior side two seasons ago.

Mai's existing deal was due to expire at the end of the 2020-21 campaign, but the ex-Dynamo Dresden prospect has agreed terms to stay on for a further 12 months.

Bayern announced the renewal on Friday and Mai said: "I'm very glad about the contract extension and the trust placed in me. 

"I'd like to take the next step in my development, and I think there's no better place for that than FC Bayern."

A regular for Bayern's reserve side over the past two seasons, Mai is highly regarded at the Allianz Arena and has been named on the bench three times in the Bundesliga this term.

Sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic said: "Lukas is a good lad and one of our biggest talents. 

"At the age of 19, he's already one of the key players for our reserves in the third division. We're convinced he'll continue to develop."

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