Tite insisted Neymar is happy playing for Brazil amid uncertainty at club level for the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Neymar was booed by PSG fans during his first appearance of the season for the Ligue 1 giants last week, but the forward scored a late winner against Strasbourg.

The 27-year-old had already played for Brazil after a transfer saga during which he was expected to join Barcelona, and Tite said the star was happy with the national team.

"Neymar is happy. Neymar is happy in the Brazil national squad," Tite told a news conference on Friday.

"And I'm talking about the national squad and to all the people who are near us and know how our daily routine is like here. Because this is a theme of conversation among us. He is happy here.

"We can't control other situations … what I can say is that, yes, he is happy and showed this during the matches more than any other thing."

Neymar was named in Brazil's squad for friendlies against Senegal and Nigeria in Singapore next month.

Asked about the quality of the opposition, Tite said it was difficult to organise matches against top nations, revealing a proposed meeting with Germany never eventuated.

"That's a calendar issue. We just can't change it. We get in touch with all the best national squads. And, when we can't play against them, it's because we've tried but they didn't want to play against us," he said.

"Can I give Germany [as an] example? Germany proposed us a date. We said yes. Then they proposed another day. We said yes again. Then they informed us that they didn't want to play anymore. I'm giving you information."

Bayern Munich head coach Niko Kovac believes competition between Manuel Neuer and Marc-Andre ter Stegen is good for both goalkeepers as the feud surrounding the two Germany internationals continues.

Germany captain Neuer took exception to Barcelona's Ter Stegen expressing frustration over being unable to dislodge the Bayern star as the national team's number one.

Speaking ahead of Barca's Champions League draw at Borussia Dortmund, Ter Stegen criticised Neuer's comments but expressed a desire to move on from the matter.

This was something Neuer echoed, only for Bayern president Uli Hoeness to wade into the debate after his club's 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday.

Keen to avoid any further barbs from either side, Neuer then insisted: "I don't want to talk about it anymore."

However, Kovac predictably found himself fielding questions around the topic at a pre-match news conference for Saturday's Bundesliga match against Cologne.

"As a professional at Bayern, you always have pressure," Kovac said. "In the national team, [Neuer] saved sensationally well against Northern Ireland [in Germany's 2-0 Euro 2020 qualification win in Belfast earlier this month]. You forget that quickly.

"Both play well for their clubs, that's clear. But Manu is number one. There used to be one A and one B. And now? What can you do there?

"I do not know. I believe the pressure is beneficial for both."

RB Leipzig are the team applying the most convincing pressure to long-reigning Bundesliga kings Bayern.

Kovac's men had to settle for a 1-1 draw in eastern Germany last weekend, despite taking an early lead through Robert Lewandowski, and they are two points behind early pacesetters Leipzig.

"It's two points, we do not have to dramatise," Kovac said, pointing out Bayern hauled in a far greater deficit to Borussia Dortmund to win a seventh consecutive domestic title last time around.

"I remind you, it was nine [points to Dortmund]. We played out a draw in Leipzig. They are a team that plays for the championship.

"What haunts me is the game against Hertha Berlin [Bayern's season-opening 2-2 draw]. We should have won. These are the two points we currently lack. It's normal to take a point away from home against a championship rival."

Cologne are winless after three draws in their first four Bundesliga games and should prepare to face Joshua Kimmich, who Kovac expects to recover from a twisted ankle sustained against Red Star.

Winger Kingsley Coman (neck) and defender Lucas Hernandez (ankle) will be assessed.

Manuel Neuer moved to protect his relationship with Marc-Andre ter Stegen after Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness admonished the Barcelona goalkeeper.

Germany captain Neuer and positional rival Ter Stegen were locked in a public exchange in the lead-up to this week's Champions League matches after the latter ended the international break unhappy with being overlooked for a pair Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Neuer, 33, suggested his international team-mate was putting himself before the team, criticism which Ter Stegen described as "inappropriate".

The tension seemed to be easing until Hoeness hit out at Ter Stegen following Bayern's routine 3-0 Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday.

Hoeness accused sections of the German media of treating the 27-year-old as if he had won the World Cup "17 times" and insisted Neuer was the "much better" goalkeeper.

Though appreciative of his president's backing, Neuer refrained from adding to the sense of disharmony.

"It's always good to have some people support you in general," the Bayern skipper said when asked about Hoeness' comments.

"I basically said one thing about it because I got asked after a game.

"I don't want to have a debate and talk about who can do what better than the other. We are a team and I am a team player. We know that we have four good goalkeepers who play together and do everything for Germany.

"So, I don't want to talk about it anymore."

Hoeness' tirade involved a shot at the German Football Association for a perceived failure to adequately support Bayern players.

Earlier this year, Germany boss Joachim Low made the sudden decision to move forward without 2014 World Cup winners Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, who has since moved to Borussia Dortmund.

Neuer remains firmly in Low's plans and recently won his 90th cap international cap, 68 more than Barca star Ter Stegen.

Manchester United will not give up on extending Paul Pogba's stay at Old Trafford.

Pogba, 26, was heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid during the close season, despite being contracted at United until 2021, with the club also reportedly holding the option for a further 12 months.

The LaLiga giants are reportedly still interested in the France midfielder, but United have plans of their own.

 

TOP STORY – POGBA CONTRACT A PRIORITY FOR MAN UNITED

Manchester United are looking to sign Pogba on a long-term deal, according to the Evening Standard.

New contracts for Pogba, Jesse Lingard and Mason Greenwood are priorities for the Premier League giants, the report says.

It comes after United re-signed goalkeeper David de Gea and defender Victor Lindelof.

ROUND-UP

- Amid tension with fellow goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, Manuel Neuer is considering his Germany future. Bild reports Neuer, 33, could end his international career after Euro 2020.

- Barcelona teenager Ansu Fati is set to get a Spanish passport next Friday, according to AS. Portugal have reportedly made advances for the talented 16-year-old forward, but Fati looks set to be ready to feature for Spain at the Under-17 World Cup beginning in October.

- Luca Pellegrini may be on loan at Cagliari, but his future appears to be at Juventus. The Serie A champions are keen to keep the 20-year-old defender for the long-term, according to Calciomercato.

- Chelsea have received some good news on the injury front. The Sun and the Mirror report midfielder Mason Mount could face Liverpool on Sunday despite suffering an ankle sprain in Tuesday's Champions League loss to Valencia.

- Bayer Leverkusen decided to reward midfielder Kai Havertz in the close season. According to Bild, the Bundesliga club handed the five-time Germany international a wage increase from €2m to more than €5m per season.

- Paul Mitchell has opted against returning to the Premier League. Sky Sports News reports Mitchell will leave his role as head of recruitment and development at RB Leipzig at the end of the month to become technical director of Red Bull's global soccer division. The report says as many as four Premier League clubs were after the former Tottenham and Southampton recruitment chief.

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness hit out at disgruntled Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the German Football Association (DFB) and the media amid the ongoing debate involving Manuel Neuer, who he believes is the "much better" shot-stopper.

Tension between Bayern keeper Neuer and Barcelona's Ter Stegen has been high after the latter voiced his frustration about the lack of international opportunities for Germany.

Despite 22-time international Ter Stegen's fine form with the LaLiga champions, captain Neuer is Germany's number one and started ahead of the 27-year-old during the latest round of Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Neuer – a World Cup winner with Germany having amassed 90 caps – accused Ter Stegen of putting himself before the team when he expressed frustration with the selection order, and his positional rival described the 33-year-old's criticism as "inappropriate".

Hoeness fiercely weighed into the Neuer and Ter Stegen debate following Bayern's 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

"I think that this is a joke and especially the Munich press I think it's not okay what they do," Hoeness told reporters. "The West German press is heavily supporting Marc-Andre ter Stegen as if he won 17 times the World Cup. And from the South German press I don't see any support.

"I think it's impossible to make such a topic public because he has no claim to play there [in the national team]. With the goalkeepers it's different than with the other.

"He [Neuer] was the best goalkeeper in the world for many years. Now he was injured sometime but it was clear that if he becomes the old one again – and he is the old one again - there is no discussion if just him can be the number one. I hoped for more support from the German football federation. We frequently have troubles with DFB.

"First of all, I remember how our three players were kicked out in a very bad way of the national team [Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and former defender Mats Hummels] and now this with Manuel Neuer is the same. I don't know how you cannot do something against it when a player goes public with a topic that he should only discuss with [head coach] Joachim Low. This is not okay.

"We have our opinion and we won't let this happen in the future that our players will be damaged without reason because Ter Stegen is a good keeper but Manuel Neuer is much better. And has more experience. There is no discussion necessary. Nobody in the world can have doubts with Manuel Neuer being Germany's goalkeeper. Neuer can play as long as he stays healthy. He will always be the best. There is no discussion about it."

Manuel Neuer moved to end his public exchange with Marc-Andre ter Stegen as Niko Kovac gave a strong endorsement of the Bayern Munich man's form.

Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen this week described it as "inappropriate" for Neuer to criticise him for speaking out about a lack of international opportunities.

Germany captain Neuer started ahead of Ter Stegen during the latest round of Euro 2020 qualifiers and accused his positional rival of putting himself before the team when he expressed frustration with the selection order.

Joachim Low continues to insist the younger keeper's time will come and the experienced Neuer sought to defuse the tension on Tuesday.

"We always talk to each other," Neuer said when asked whether he had made contact with Ter Stegen.

"I don't really want to say anything about it anymore, it was something I said after the [Northern Ireland] game and I've been approached several times now because of that.

"I gave a statement and now I'm going to focus on the games, on the club and on the pitch. That applies to Germany as well as Bayern Munich. You won't hear any more statements from me."

Though under pressure to hold his place for Germany, Neuer faces no such concern at club level.

Bayern boss Kovac has been pleased with the 33-year-old's recent performances and his handling of the Ter Stegen situation.

"I think it was a very clear statement from Marc and then from Manuel," Kovac said.

"I know it's all blown out of proportion. I understand it, I'm not stupid, I know why it's all blown out of proportion, but really I think we should leave these guys alone to do their jobs and they're both doing a fantastic job.

"I said this last season and it's confirmed more and more: Manuel is in absolutely top shape.

"He gave us a sensational performance against RB Leipzig and and he did so for Germany.

"It's difficult and unfortunate for Marc, he's a world-class goalkeeper as well, and unfortunately there is only one goalkeeper per country."

Neuer and Bayern are preparing to host Red Star Belgrade in the Champions League on Wednesday, their first European outing since losing to Liverpool in the round of 16 last season.

"We were unlucky to go out against the Champions League winners," Kovac said.

"Now it's a new season, everything is back to square one and we want to survive the group stage. I am convinced we will progress further than last season."

Marc-Andre ter Stegen says it was "inappropriate" for Manuel Neuer to criticise him for speaking out about a desire for more game time for Germany.

Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen described it as a "massive blow" not to feature for his country against Netherlands and Northern Ireland in the international break.

The 27-year-old has had to serve as back-up to Neuer for most of his international career, despite increasing calls for him to be given the number one spot ahead of the Bayern Munich star.

Neuer accused Ter Stegen of being unhelpful by expressing his frustrations in public and suggested he had shown something of a lack of respect towards Bernd Leno and Kevin Trapp, who likewise are battling for more Germany playing time.

Ter Stegen, who has returned to his homeland for Tuesday's Champions League clash between Barca and Borussia Dortmund, thinks Neuer has been unfair but wants to draw a line under the issue.

He told a news conference: "I would like to say something about this. You cannot say we have competition for the goalkeeper position and then expect the players to be happy with the situation if they don't play. Football is about happiness but also disappointment.

"Manuel Neuer does not need to comment on my personal feelings and measure them, I'd say. It's my own opinion. If you think about the last few years, you realise that I always behaved well and what Neuer and other people have said is not fair.

"His remarks were inappropriate but I don't want to say much more. I want to end this controversy."

Ter Stegen's immediate priority is to help sure up Barca's defence, with the Catalans having conceded seven goals in their opening four LaLiga games of 2019-20.

"We're trying to stop the goals going in but things haven't come off," he said. "It's not what we expected. We have to improve. There have been mistakes that we can easily correct. We've spoken about it."

Marc-Andre ter Stegen has expressed frustration with being overlooked by Germany head coach Joachim Low.

Barcelona goalkeeper Ter Stegen was on the bench for both of Germany's Euro 2020 qualifiers during the international break.

Manuel Neuer conceded four goals in a Group C defeat at home to Netherlands, but then kept a clean sheet in an away win against joint-leaders Northern Ireland.

Ter Stegen deputised for Neuer during the 2018-19 season when the Bayern Munich captain was sidelined long-term due to injury.

Neuer has regained the gloves since returning to full fitness, though, and Ter Stegen accepts he is in a frustrating situation.

"It is not easy to find an explanation as I am giving the best account of myself in each game to make the decision more difficult," Ter Stegen said.

"I am trying [to become first-choice] anyway. But this trip with the national team has been a tough blow for me."

Ter Stegen, 27, has played 22 times for his country, who are on track to qualify for Euro 2020 after joining Northern Ireland on 12 points after five games.

Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka is set for a spell on the sidelines following an operation on his left thigh.

The former Schalke man underwent surgery on Wednesday to treat a bad bruise after initially sustaining damage last month.

Goretzka aggravated the issue on Germany duty and was forced to skip his country's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Netherlands and Northern Ireland.

"Bayern are set to be without midfielder Leon Goretzka for a period of time," read a club statement.

"The 24-year-old suffered another injury on his left thigh during Germany's preparations for their match against Netherlands last week.

"He was subsequently forced to undergo an operation on Wednesday to remove a haematoma. The surgery was successful."

Goretzka missed Bayern's opening two Bundesliga games of 2019-20 but returned to the bench for the 6-1 victory over Mainz at the end of August.

He made 30 league appearances for Niko Kovac's side last season, scoring eight goals.

Germany head coach Joachim Low was relieved to claim a 2-0 win over a "very difficult" Northern Ireland in Euro 2020 qualifying at Windsor Park.

The 2014 World Cup winners were made to work hard for the three points in Monday's Group C qualifier, with second-half goals from Marcel Halstenberg and Serge Gnabry proving the difference.

Conor Washington missed good opportunities for Northern Ireland as the hosts caused real difficulty against a Germany defence containing the relatively inexperienced Halstenberg and Lukas Klostermann.

Low was impressed with Northern Ireland's performance and was happy to see the way his players adapted their performance to nullify the threat.

"It was a very difficult 90 minutes against a Northern Ireland team that played very attacking football," he told a news conference. 

"In the first half, it was very difficult for us because we were pressed very hard. We improved in the second half but it was a very difficult game and we're pleased to have won the match.

"It's a team that hasn't played together and they must learn to play themselves into form and get to know each other's style. We'll be looking at each stage of our game as we move forward.

"They tried to break up our play and they found gaps, especially in the first half. After half-time, Northern Ireland played with more tempo and speed but we responded. In the first half, we gave them too much room. They're strong in the air and we have to adjust our game to this style of play.

"I think we have good potential for the future and it's about working with this team to bring them through."

Julian Brandt saw improvement on Germany's 4-2 loss to Netherlands last Friday but also accepted there is room for improvement.

"We have some problems to explore," said the Borussia Dortmund midfielder.

"We played better than on Friday, but not everything was perfect going forward, especially with that final pass. That improved in the second half and we could have scored a couple more.

"Some things can be improved – being more clinical is one of those."

Germany are level with Northern Ireland on 12 points at the top of Group C, three points above Netherlands, who have a game in hand.

Low's Germany face Estonia in their next qualifier in October.

Michael O'Neill praised his players for a "magnificent effort" against Germany but accepted Northern Ireland will see their 2-0 defeat as a missed opportunity.

Joachim Low's side moved level on 12 points with Northern Ireland in Euro 2020 qualifying Group C on Monday thanks to second-half goals from Marcel Halstenberg and Serge Gnabry.

The home side missed good chances through Conor Washington at Windsor Park until Halstenberg's superb strike three minutes into the second half broke their resistance, with Gnabry adding a second deep into injury time.

O'Neill could not fault the spirit of his players but was frustrated they did not make the most of their chances.

"They gave everything they had," he told Sky Sports. "In the first half they were magnificent, should have been ahead, and when we reflect on the game it was a missed opportunity.

"We were punished at the beginning of the second half. Maybe Germany lifted a gear as well and it's a magnificent goal from the full-back. To be fair to the lads, they came again, we created a couple of chances, but it wasn't to be.

"We managed to stop them building the game and got joy off pressing and winning the ball higher up the pitch. It's very difficult to do that against this level of opposition. I think they had words in their own dressing room at half-time and they have intelligent game players.

"It's a massive jump for a lot of our players to play at this level. I'm proud of what they gave. We have to give a level of performance against the Netherlands and Germany now and, if we get the chance to go ahead, we have to take it."

Northern Ireland face Netherlands in Rotterdam in their next qualifier on October 10.

A fine strike from Marcel Halstenberg ended Northern Ireland's spirited resistance and helped Germany to a much-needed 2-0 win in Euro 2020 qualifying on Monday.

Having been beaten 4-2 at home by Netherlands last Friday, another defeat at Windsor Park would have left Joachim Low's side six points behind Northern Ireland at the top of Group C after five matches.

The 2014 World Cup winners were frustrated in the first half as Michael O'Neill's side caused real problems with some high pressing and strong defending, while Manuel Neuer had to make an important save from Conor Washington.

However, Halstenberg's first international goal three minutes into the second half and Serge Gnabry's late strike made the difference, as Germany breathed new life into their qualification campaign.

There have been calls for Neuer to be dropped for Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but the Bayern Munich keeper justified his place in the team with a fine one-on-one save from Washington.

Germany were being pressed into mistakes in the early stages but began to recover their poise, and Northern Ireland were twice fortunate to escape shouts for handball in the box from Jonny Evans and Craig Cathcart.

Jonathan Tah - on for the injured Matthias Ginter - did enough to block when it seemed certain Washington would turn a loose ball in, and Bailey Peacock-Farrell reacted moments later to deny Timo Werner from six yards.

Peacock-Farrell saved brilliantly to deny Lukas Klostermann as Germany started the second half well, but the breakthrough came barely a minute later, as Halstenberg's brilliant half-volley from 18 yards out left the Burnley keeper with no chance.

Werner was denied again by Peacock-Farrell and, as a tiring Northern Ireland made a late push, Gnabry ran onto Kai Havertz's throughball and drilled a clever reverse finish past Peacock-Farrell from his left-hand post.

What does it mean? Group C scrap is hotting up

Germany really needed a result here after their defeat to Netherlands last time out, and their win puts them level with Northern Ireland on 12 points at the top of the table.

Ronald Koeman's side are three points further back but, with a game in hand to come next month, they are very much part of this intriguing three-way battle.

Fantastic Peacock-Farrell

He might not have played a minute for Burnley, but the 22-year-old was exemplary for his country and kept them in the game as Germany threatened to take control.

Werner invisible

Werner had the worst passing accuracy on his team, underlining how ineffective he was in linking the attack, and he failed to make the most of a clear-cut opening before the break.

What's next?

Germany host a friendly against Argentina on October 9 before their next Euro 2020 qualifier away to Estonia four days later. Next up for Northern Ireland is a potentially pivotal trip to Netherlands on October 10.

Ilkay Gundogan will miss Germany's Euro 2020 qualifier against Northern Ireland due to illness.

The Manchester City midfielder will return to his club rather than remaining in Belfast with the Germany squad, who take on the Euro 2020 qualifying Group C leaders on Monday.

Germany revealed Gundogan was suffering with a cold via Twitter, signing off the post with the line: "Get well soon, Ilkay!"

Gundogan came on as a second-half substitute for Germany in their 4-2 home loss to Netherlands on Friday, a result that leaves them three points behind their next opponents in the table.

His condition will be monitored by City, who travel to Carrow Road to face Norwich City in Premier League action next Saturday.

The 28-year-old has featured in all four league matches for Pep Guardiola's side this season, starting in the 2-2 home draw with Tottenham and the 3-1 away triumph at Bournemouth.

Manuel Neuer will call time on his career as soon as he feels Germany and Bayern Munich no longer need him.

Neuer, 33, has been first-choice Germany goalkeeper for the best part of a decade, while he has been of similar importance to Bayern since joining them in 2011.

But the Schalke academy product has endured injury problems more frequently in the past three seasons, missing almost the entirety of 2017-18 with a broken foot.

Neuer was also absent for a chunk of last term with thumb and calf issues, though he remains the go-to man between the posts for club and country, starting all but one of Germany's 11 post-World Cup matches and Bayern's three games of the new Bundesliga campaign.

Once that regularity disappears, however, Neuer expects to retire because he will find it a challenge to remain motivated.

"When you are no longer needed and you feel it, it is difficult to get up and motivate [yourself] each day," Neuer told Welt am Sonntag. "When your experience is needed and your players need you, that drives you on.

"I have the feeling that I am very much needed here in the national team and that everyone is happy that I'm here. It's clear that I have to show it in my performance.

"[My durability] is a result of my love for this sport. It excites me a lot when I'm on the pitch training or playing. It's a great fulfilment for me. I'm 33 years old, but when I'm on the pitch I always feel that I can improve on my goalkeeping.

"I'm still as annoyed with things that don't work out as they did nine or 10 years ago and I'm still happy about things that work out.

"These are signs that mean something to me. Namely, how ambitious I am still. [I want to] play as long as my body can do it, I'm having fun and I'm needed.

"At a young age you don't have to do so much to keep fit. It's changing. I've already noticed that, so I pay close attention to what I do and how I approach things."

Ronald Koeman saluted Netherlands for the resilience they displayed in Friday's hard-fought 4-2 win away to Germany in Euro 2020 qualifying.

Netherlands came out on top in a thrilling contest to keep their Euro 2020 qualification hopes well and truly alive, though it was rarely straightforward in Hamburg.

Serge Gnabry's early goal had hosts Germany in the lead until just before the hour, only for Frenkie de Jong and a Jonathan Tah own goal to put Netherlands in front.

Toni Kroos equalised from the spot, but the Dutch simply had too much for Die Mannschaft, with Donyell Malen's first international goal and Georginio Wijnaldum's late strike sealing the win.

That moves Netherlands on to six points in Group C, though they are still six adrift of Northern Ireland, who have played a game more.

"The team that has done the most to win has earned it," Koeman said.  "The Germans also had a number of good chances, but I found Germany waiting [for opportunities].

"We played to win the game more than they did. We kept our patience and while Germany had two good chances after the break, they maybe grew a little tired of closing all the gaps. In the second half they could no longer walk.

"In the first half we were not dangerous, we built it up a bit better in the second half. It turned out well.

"We have resilience, that's great in this team. We have faith and are at peace."

Netherlands return to action on Monday away to Estonia, while Northern Ireland and Germany – the top two – face each other.

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