Angel Di Maria will miss the first leg of the Champions League last-16 tie between Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentina international sustained a thigh injury in PSG's 2-0 Ligue 1 win over Marseille on Sunday.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino says the 32-year-old will be unavailable for the match at Camp Nou on February 16, as well as the Coupe de France game at Caen on Wednesday and Saturday's league clash at home to Nice.

"As the club said, there'll be further communication within the week concerning Angel but his participation in the match against Barcelona is compromised," Pochettino said on Tuesday of Di Maria.

The former Manchester United and Real Madrid player has been directly involved in 14 goals in all competitions this season, behind only Neymar (16) and Kylian Mbappe (27) within the PSG ranks.

"His absence isn't a reason to change our ideas," Pochettino said. "We'll find the best available solutions. Angel has played a lot and he's an important player for us. But there are other players who can play and enable us to win matches."

Pochettino plans to resist the temptation to rest too many of his star names for the cup match at Stade Michel-d'Ornano despite the importance of the Barca tie.

PSG will certainly be without Marco Verratti (hip), Colin Dagba (thigh), Juan Bernat (knee) and Timothee Pembele (coronavirus protocols), while goalkeeper Keylor Navas is only expected to return to team training the day after the game.

There are also doubts over Mauro Icardi, who is nursing a bruised thigh, and Ander Herrera, who only this week resumed training after a month out with a muscle problem.

However, Pochettino is determined to field a strong enough side to reach the next round rather than simply use it as an opportunity to rotate and experiment with his tactics.

"We're not testing things in other competitions," he said. "We need to perform in all competitions. Against Caen, we'll need to play the best we can in order to win.

"We're going to take the best decisions in order to be competitive against Caen. That's our first objective. I'll analyse today the condition and the fitness of each player. We'll say who is available and take into account the risk of injury.

"We're going to select the best possible team, with players who are at 100 per cent, in every position, in order to win the match."

Mauricio Pochettino could not pretend Sunday's Classique victory bore any resemblance to the matches he played in with Paris Saint-Germain due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Head coach Pochettino took PSG to Marseille for the first time since his return to the club.

It was a triumphant outing for the former Tottenham manager, who oversaw a 2-0 win thanks to goals from Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi.

Mbappe said afterwards the fixture had "regained importance" this season, with Marseille having won at PSG early in the season in a game that saw five red cards.

There was only a single dismissal this time – Dimitri Payet sent off late on – but Icardi described the success as "revenge".

For Pochettino, though, who was not involved in the reverse fixture, a big derby merely made him pine for the return of crowds, still missing in Ligue 1 due to COVID-19.

Asked if the mammoth clash was as he remembered as a player, Pochettino replied: "No. I can't find much of the past.

"How beautiful football was before the COVID. It's missing.

"When we look elsewhere, in other championships, we see upsets in the table, surprise results. Some players will suffer, too.

"A club like Paris needs the supporters to sublimate itself and we miss having supporters in the stadium."

Pochettino's pre-match concerns were focused on Neymar's illness, which kept him from training ahead of the match and limited him to a bench role.

Afterwards, Angel Di Maria was the worry, having suffered an injury in assisting Mbappe's opener.

First, Pochettino defended Neymar's involvement despite his ill health, explaining: "I will respond with great respect. If the club communicated that he was sick, it was in total transparency.

"He had been vomiting. He was really sick. He only played 30 minutes because we thought it was better that way. There was really a desire for transparency on the part of the club."

Then, on Di Maria, the coach was hopeful of positive news.

"The medical department will be giving Angel some tests," he said. "For now, the staff are confident enough to say that it is not too serious but we must wait for the exams to know the exact severity of the injury."

Mauricio Pochettino said Paris Saint-Germain should be left to work on signings "in silence" amid Barcelona's anger over Lionel Messi.

Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman hit out at PSG on Wednesday, saying the Ligue 1 giants had been "disrespectful" by regularly discussing Messi.

Angel Di Maria became the latest person connected to PSG to discuss Messi, with coach Pochettino, sporting director Leonardo and Neymar having also spoken about the Argentina star in recent months.

Pochettino would not be drawn into discussing Di Maria's comments about Messi, who is out of contract at the end of the season.

"I am not going to talk about what our player's comment, as you know, because my words can be misunderstood, and then these words can go to another country in another way," he told a news conference after a 3-0 win over Nimes.

"I have to be focused on trying to improve this team, from now to the end of the season, to try to achieve our goals, knowing that it is not going to be easy because we are in a difficult competition, in a weird situation, with the pandemic that it is affecting all of us, and also football.

"And then, the Champions League and Coupe de France, we will try to compete and go as far as we can, try to win, because in Paris, is all about to win.

"But I don't want to give names, don't want to think on the future. I'm sure that the club is working in different situations to improve. So let's leave the club working in silence, in secret, in order to have a better team and with more possibilities to win."

Di Maria opened the scoring in PSG's win over Nimes before goals from Pablo Sarabia and Kylian Mbappe.

Pochettino praised the performance of Di Maria, who is also out of contract at the end of the season.

"I'm happy with [Di Maria's] performance and compromise within the team," he said.

"I think that as every player, he needs time but Angel is a very important player for the team. He's been at this club for many years. So I'm happy for his goal and his performance."

Ronald Koeman hit out at Paris Saint-Germain, accusing the Ligue 1 giants of being "disrespectful" for continuing to talk about Barcelona star Lionel Messi.

Messi, 33, has been heavily linked with a move to PSG when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Angel Di Maria became the latest person connected to PSG to discuss Messi, with coach Mauricio Pochettino, sporting director Leonardo and Neymar having also spoken about the Argentina star in recent months.

After opening the scoring in Wednesday's 3-0 win over Nimes, Di Maria – who is also out of contract at season's end – talked up a potential PSG move for his compatriot.

"I hope to renew with PSG. Play with Messi? Yes, hopefully, I think there are many possibilities," he said.

"I have to be calm, think about my own thing and continue in Paris because I am very happy here."

Barcelona coach Koeman is growing tired of the Ligue 1 giants speaking about his star.

After a stunning comeback to get past Granada in the Copa del Rey quarter-finals, Koeman hit out at PSG, who face Barca in the Champions League last 16 beginning this month.

"It is disrespectful that so many people from PSG talk about Messi. They are spicing up the [Champions League] game," he said.

"He is still a Barca player."

Paris Saint-Germain returned to winning ways in Ligue 1 with a 3-0 victory over bottom side Nimes at the Parc des Princes on Wednesday. 

The champions suffered a shock 3-2 loss to lowly Lorient on Sunday - their first defeat under Mauricio Pochettino - but responded with a comfortable victory on home soil. 

Star man Angel Di Maria profited from a terrible Lamine Fomba error to open the scoring and then crossed for Pablo Sarabia to add a second before half-time. 

Kylian Mbappe scored a stunning third goal for PSG, who were without the suspended Neymar, but they remain third in the table as leaders Lille and second-place Lyon also triumphed.

Moise Kean clipped the outside of the post with a header from 10 yards but PSG were ahead seven minutes later through Di Maria's composed finish. 

Nimes midfielder Fomba played the ball straight to Di Maria's feet and the Argentina international fired away from Baptiste Reynet after teeing himself up. 

The home side nearly had a second soon after when Presnel Kimpembe headed a corner back across goal and Thilo Kehrer turned it against the underside of the crossbar. 

But Sarabia did manage to double his team's tally nine minutes before the interval, heading Di Maria's right-sided cross into the bottom-right corner from five yards. 

Fomba was denied by Sergio Rico as he tried to make amends for his earlier error, while Anthony Briancon and Renaud Ripart also had attempts saved by the stand-in PSG keeper. 

Nimes continued to ask questions of their opponents but the game was put out of their reach by Mbappe, who curled a shot past a stranded Reynet to seal the win. 

The battle to sign David Alaba continues among European giants, while Thomas Tuchel is eyeing Dayot Upamecano at Chelsea.

Alaba, 28, is set to leave Bayern Munich at the end of the season and it was reported this month the defender had agreed a deal with Real Madrid.

But it seems the race to secure the Austria international's signature remains on.

 

TOP STORY – EUROPEAN GIANTS FIGHT FOR ALABA

Real Madrid have offered Alaba €11million per year and Manchester City are prepared to give the Bayern Munich star €14m, according to AS.

The report says Manchester United, Liverpool, Paris Saint-Germain and Chelsea are also battling to sign Alaba.

Alaba has won nine Bundesliga titles and two Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies with Bayern.

 

ROUND-UP

- Tuchel's appointment as Chelsea head coach was confirmed on Tuesday, and the former PSG boss is already looking to strengthen. Bild reports Tuchel wants RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano at Stamford Bridge. It comes as The Guardian reports Chelsea's interest in West Ham midfielder Declan Rice is likely to end following Frank Lampard's sacking.

- Real Madrid have work to do before the end of the season. Marca reports Luka Modric has agreed a new contract with Madrid, while Sergio Ramos and Lucas Vazquez are yet to accept offers. The report says Karim Benzema, Raphael Varane and Nacho Fernandez are their next priorities.

- Eric Garcia is linked with a move to Barcelona. Sport reports the next president of the Catalan giants must ratify the defender's five-year deal if the Manchester City defender is to arrive ahead of next season.

- Out of contract at Paris Saint-Germain the end of the season, Angel Di Maria's future is uncertain. L'Equipe reports the attacker, though, is on track for an extension with the Ligue 1 giants.

- Staying at PSG and the club are still pushing to sign Dele Alli on loan, according to Fabrizio Romano, who reports Tottenham are unwilling to let the midfielder go until they sign a replacement.

- Jordi Alba turns 32 in March and Barcelona are considering the left-back's successor. Mundo Deportivo reports Valencia's Jose Gaya and Chelsea's Marcos Alonso are candidates.

For so long, Real Madrid have been linked with Kylian Mbappe but will the LaLiga champions bring the French forward to the Santiago Bernabeu?

Mbappe is reportedly open to the idea of making the move to the Spanish capital.

However, Liverpool could be ready to hijack any transfer.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE TO MADRID?

Kylian Mbappe dominates the front pages of Tuesday's Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo as Real Madrid try to sign the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Mbappe – out of contract in 2022 – has been tipped to swap Ligue 1 holders PSG for LaLiga champions Madrid at the end of the season.

While the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic impacts Madrid, the Spanish giants are still working on a deal to prise the Frenchman to the Santiago Bernabeu, with Vinicius Junior a possible makeweight.

Mundo Deportivo says Premier League champions Liverpool are ready to pounce should Madrid fail to sign Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- Onda Cero reports PSG have offered Madrid captain Sergio Ramos a three-year deal worth €15million a season. Ramos is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and the superstar has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Juventus.

- Both Madrid and Barcelona are considering a shock move for Roma striker Edin Dzeko, according to Mundo Deportivo. Dzeko has had a falling out with under-fire head coach Paulo Fonseca, prompting links to Juve and Inter.

Thomas Tuchel is set to be named Frank Lampard's Chelsea replacement, with Fabrizio Romano claiming an announcement is "just a matter of time". Tuchel was sacked by PSG in December.

- The Athletic says Juve have identified Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres as a long-term replacement for veteran Giorgio Chiellini. Torres has also been linked with United, Manchester City, Barca, Madrid and Chelsea.

Tottenham have approached PSG's Angel Di Maria, who is out of contract at the end of the season, according to L'Equipe. Di Maria has history in England, having spent a difficult season playing for United in 2014-15.

- Sport 1 says Borussia Dortmund are interested in Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli. The likes of Juve and City have also emerged as suitors.

Thomas Tuchel said he "will never stop believing" in Angel Di Maria despite once again leaving the attacking midfielder out of Paris Saint-Germain's starting line-up.

Di Maria has been in and out of the PSG XI of late and was again named among the substitutes for Wednesday's 2-0 Ligue 1 victory over Lorient at the Parc des Princes.

The Argentina international was introduced for the final 19 minutes, at which point the reigning champions were already two goals ahead against their 10-man opponents thanks to Kylian Mbappe's penalty and Moise Kean's strike.

Di Maria had 18 touches of the ball during his time on the pitch – none of those inside the opposition box - and failed to get a shot away.

And PSG head coach Tuchel told Di Maria to improve his attacking displays if he is to force his way back into regular contention.

"I feel like Angel has lost some things that were easy for him before, but that's how it is," Tuchel said at his post-match news conference. 

"We changed the structure in the last minutes against [RB] Leipzig, in Manchester, against [Istanbul] Basaksehir here, and in Montpellier. 

"We were a little stronger in this structure in 5-3-2. It's a little easier for Rafinha in this position, in the midfield, he is more decisive. But it is a decision of the moment."

PSG have won five and lost three of the eight Ligue 1 matches Di Maria has started this season, compared to five wins, one draw and one defeat in the seven matches without him included from the beginning. 

"I'm never going to stop believing in Angel. It is in my head, it is in my heart, even if at the moment it is less easy," Tuchel added. "He tried again today, but he lacks that spark."

Rafinha, selected in a midfield three alongside Ander Herrera and Idrissa Gueye, played a joint-high four key passes and was involved in both of PSG's goals.

The former Barcelona man picked out Mbappe in the build-up to PSG's penalty, which the prolific forward converted, and teed up Kean for the second.

"Whenever he plays, Rafa is decisive, he is reliable," Tuchel said. "He gives what he can for the team and that is very important. 

"He's always up to speed, in every game. He's not afraid to play, he sets the pace. When he can be decisive, he is there. We are very happy with him.

"I like him a lot because he does easy things. If it is necessary to play in one touch, he does so.

"If we need to stay compact, he allows us to do that. He thinks for the team. He's a good player who is used to playing in a team that has possession. It's a good time for him."

Marco Verratti was another high-profile omission from the PSG side, which Tuchel put down to the midfielder – used 11 times in all competitions this season – needing a rest.

"It is clear that we are using him too much and we have decided to let him rest tonight," he said. 

"We saw against Lyon that for concentration and energy it was not easy for him in the last match. That's why we decided to start with Herrera, Gueye and Rafinha."

It was a much-needed victory for PSG on the back of Sunday's 1-0 home loss to Lyon, lifting them up to second in the table and still within a point of Lille ahead of next weekend's trip to the league leaders.

Tuchel, who is unsure if Neymar will be back in time for the top-of-the-table clash, hinted he could stick with a five-man defence after successfully seeing off Lorient.

"The problem against Lyon was us, our performance," Tuchel said. "The important thing is the energy and the effort that we put in to animate the structure. 

"We want to improve our game and today I have the impression that the 3-5-2 gives us more stability even if we lost Danilo to injury tonight, Abdou Diallo in the last match, and that it will be difficult to find the three central defenders at Lille."

Lionel Messi has been declared fit for Argentina's 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Paraguay and Peru by Lionel Scaloni.

It had been reported that Messi was a doubt for Thursday's meeting with Paraguay at La Bombonera after reporting for duty with an ankle issue.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner started Barcelona's 5-2 victory over Real Betis on Saturday among the substitutes but came on at half-time and scored twice.

Barca assistant coach Alfred Schreuder said the decision was made because Messi was "not fresh", but Scaloni put any lingering concerns over his fitness to bed.

"Leo trained with us normally. He has been experiencing discomfort in his ankle but it does not prevent him from playing, so for us he is fit and available," Scaloni told a news conference on Wednesday.

"We'll see if anything changes tomorrow, but in principle he's ready to play.

"The truth is that we have had quite a few problems. We still do not have every player. [Lucas] Martinez Quarta just arrived and we will see if he can train with the group this afternoon, and the rest of those who trained differently for various reasons, we hope today to see how they are so we can define the team for tomorrow.

"Without a doubt, it was a very unusual selection – the most difficult we have had. It's typical of what we are experiencing with the number of games being played and the rush there is. We hope to have them all."

Angel Di Maria returned to the Argentina set-up for the first time since last year's Copa America and Scaloni explained the reason for the absence of the Paris Saint-Germain attacker for the opening round of qualifiers in October.

"We had Nicolas Gonzalez and [Giovani] Lo Celso, who got injured after being called up. I would have been in favour of calling up Di Maria, but with everything that was happening it did not seem fair and respectful when he would only have arrived for the second game," said Scaloni.

"This time, Nico Gonzalez had very few minutes, Lo Celso had not got a rhythm and we thought we were not going to make the mistake of not bringing him in again.

"My relationship with him is perfect. We are happy to have him and he is training very well."

Paris Saint-Germain are in talks with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe over contract extensions and will look to make progress in the coming weeks, sporting director Leonardo assured.

Neymar and Mbappe are the world's two most expensive players, having joined PSG for €222million and €180m respectively.

Both attacking superstars are into the final two years of their existing deals, however, making the club potentially vulnerable in upcoming transfer windows.

PSG are determined to keep the duo in the French capital and have already opened negotiations, with Angel Di Maria - out of contract at the end of 2020-21 - another key target for Leonardo.

"We must adapt to the current context with the coronavirus pandemic," he said in a Q&A on PSG's social media channels.

"With Neymar, Mbappe, [Angel] Di Maria, [Juan] Bernat and even the young players, they are all the extensions we have already started discussions for and we will try to intensify this in the next few weeks.

"We have started talking [with Neymar]. There is the timing; at the moment, people cannot even move [in the transfer market]. The idea of ​​renewing exists."

Mbappe has consistently been linked with a move to Real Madrid, but Leonardo is not concerned by the noise in Spain.

"There is a lot of talk," he said. "And in the Spanish teams, there are a lot of politics. We speak directly with Kylian, that's the truth of the negotiation.

"The truth is that PSG are in a complicated moment, but it will be the team of the next five years that will have a shot.

"There are teams that have gone through a very long, successful cycle and are starting to struggle. We have young but very experienced players.

"We have Neymar, Mbappe, who are in the top three [in the world] because [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi will come out with age.

"That's the idea. I see this future and that's what we're working on.

"We know this season is weird. We knew it would be difficult, that we will play all our games behind closed doors and that we would not have the same income."

But PSG's immediate concerns relating to Neymar and Mbappe are their respective returns to fitness.

Between coronavirus cases, suspensions and injuries, Neymar has played just six times in all competitions this season, while Mbappe has been restricted to eight appearances.

The pair are both carrying knocks heading into the international break but have each been called up by their national teams.

"If it is an official call-up, the club cannot say anything - even if the player is injured," said Leonardo, who defended PSG's awful injury record this season.

"There have been moments of shock and times when we try to have something logical, some common sense.

"With Brazil and France, it was clear: they are injured, they have a schedule, they have to respect the time [required to get fit]. They follow a programme as if they were here.

"They are not going to play the first game with their national teams, maybe the second. That's the only thing we could do.

"The federations assured us that they would not take any risk with the health of our players. Then the schedule is hellish. We will try to live with it but it's incredible."

Thomas Tuchel is delighted with the way Paris Saint-Germain are performing through an injury crisis as they lost three more players in Saturday's win over Rennes.

PSG were already missing Neymar, Mauro Icardi, Marco Verratti and Julian Draxler and then saw Idrissa Gueye, Thilo Kehrer and Alessandro Florenzi all bow out before half-time at the Parc des Princes.

Angel Di Maria ensured the Ligue 1 champions claimed a 3-0 victory regardless, creating the opener for Moise Kean and then adding a double himself.

The three points provided some respite for the league leaders and coach Tuchel heading into the international break, and the coach took with the opportunity to defend his side's display in a 2-1 reverse to RB Leipzig in the Champions League in midweek.

"The result is better, but we didn't play better than Wednesday," he told Canal+. "We had a great fight and the mentality was exceptional.

"The guys have been amazing despite the new injuries. I am very happy and proud. It's one of the best wins since I've been here."

On the team's latest fitness setbacks, which saw Tuchel make two changes before the interval for the fifth time in Ligue 1, the coach added: "It was already too much before the game and it's getting worse.

"We were playing with Kehrer, who wasn't ready. It was the same thing for [Leandro] Paredes and [Ander] Herrera. It's like that."

Di Maria's quality told as he scored with both of his shots on target, while creating three chances – more than any other PSG player.

"We try to do the best we can, but it's not easy," Di Maria said. "We can't pretend nothing has happened.

"We didn't have time to work after last season, there was COVID and many injuries, so it's not easy.

"We still support Tuchel. He is a great coach, who led us to the final of the Champions League. He did the maximum for us, and we are giving the maximum for him.

"He has our full confidence, and he trusts us too."

Rennes had more possession than their hosts and recorded 16 attempts to PSG's nine, yet Keylor Navas was required to make only three saves.

Despite their selection issues, last season's Champions League finals have won eight league games in a row, keeping seven clean sheets in the process.

Angel Di Maria made up for lost time in Ligue 1 by scoring twice in a starring role in Paris Saint-Germain's 3-0 victory over Rennes at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.

The Argentina winger was banned for four matches for spitting at Marseille defender Alvaro during an ugly Classique and last featured in France's top flight against Reims on September 27.

But it was his pressing that forced the error from which Moise Kean scored his third Ligue 1 goal and Di Maria added a second after 20 minutes with an audacious chip.

Di Maria added somewhat unfair gloss in the second half as PSG provided a good riposte to a damaging 2-1 reverse against RB Leipzig in the Champions League, although Kean was one of four enforced subs for Thomas Tuchel as the PSG coach's injury list mounted.

Rennes mixed bright play with careless passing early on and it was from one such lax interchange between goalkeeper Alfred Gomis and James Lea Siliki that Di Maria toed into the path of Kean, who drilled expertly into the bottom-left corner.

Only the post denied Di Maria's excellent long-ranger on the half-volley but the awesome Argentine doubled the lead with a sumptuous piece of skill after collecting Ander Herrera's throughball.

Steven N'Zonzi's aerial prowess caused a couple of nervy moments, while Kean put a free header over the top himself.

PSG did not show a great deal of adventure, though the fact Kean limped off in the 61st minute after Idrissa Gueye, Thilo Kehrer and Alessandro Florenzi had already been subbed perhaps explained a more measured approach.

Instead, Rennes asked more second-half questions without ever troubling the opposition, handball claims against Leandro Parades and Danilo Pereira from the same Hamari Traore cross not interesting the VAR.

But it was game over when Di Maria drifted in from the right and picked out the far corner with a deflected daisy-cutter in the 73rd minute to cap a fine outing.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel is not expecting Kylian Mbappe to endure a prolonged spell on the sidelines.

Mbappe was left out of the PSG squad for Wednesday's Champions League meeting with RB Leipzig at the Red Bull Arena due to "muscle discomfort" sustained in last weekend's 3-0 win over Nantes in Ligue 1.

The World Cup winner is set to be reassessed ahead of Saturday's meeting with Rennes, which comes before the international break.

Since his first away start in the Champions League in February 2017, Mbappe has been involved in 22 away goals (14 scored, eight assisted) in the competition – more than any other player.

Asked if there is a chance he could be without such an influential figure for longer than expected, Tuchel replied: "It will not be longer. The injury is very minor.

"Unfortunately, he is in a risk zone. The doctor explained this to me. He couldn't be with the team. It's a shame for us. We can't take risks, that would have been too much. And we have to find solutions without Kylian."

Neymar, Mauro Icardi, Marco Verratti and Julian Draxler will all also be absent for the match in Germany, while Tuchel revealed Leandro Paredes is not fit enough to start.

With Angel Di Maria having only played twice in October due to a four-game ban in Ligue 1, the PSG boss was keen not to put too much pressure on the Argentine winger to play a leading role amid important absences.

"He's still a key player, but he also lacks rhythm. We shouldn't expect too much from him, he was suspended for four matches, he needs rhythm," said Tuchel.

"He likes to play a lot to gain confidence in dribbling and finishing. He only played the Champions League for us and I don't want to put all the pressure on him even though he's still a very important player."

PSG overcame Leipzig 3-0 in the semi-finals of the Champions League last season, with Di Maria scoring one and setting up Marquinhos and Juan Bernat for the others.

Tuchel acknowledged the back-to-back matches with the Bundesliga side will likely be pivotal in their hopes of reaching the knockouts, given they sit level with three points after two fixtures.

"We have the impression that it is like that in view of the first two matchdays," Tuchel said when asked if the games could be decisive in their campaign.

"It's a little bit like a round-of-16 tie I would say. We will play in Leipzig, then we will host Leipzig. This can be decisive, if we win the direct confrontation. We know the situation very well."

PSG are unbeaten in their past six away matches in the group stage and take on Leipzig after Julian Nagelsmann's side suffered their heaviest European defeat, going down 5-0 to Manchester United last week.

A defender appears to be high on the list for Liverpool, with Virgil van Dijk recovering from a serious knee injury.

Ajax's Perr Schuurs is no stranger to Merseyside and the 20-year-old is reportedly attracting interest from Liverpool.

Could another Dutchman be set for Anfield?

 

TOP STORY – REDS EYEING AJAX SENSATION

Liverpool are monitoring Ajax centre-back Perr Schuurs amid their injury crisis, according to The Mirror.

With Virgil van Dijk recovering from a serious knee injury, Premier League champions Liverpool are looking to bolster their defensive options.

Schuurs previously trialled at Anfield and the 20-year-old has emerged as an option for Liverpool.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca says Real Madrid are not planning any January signings as they eye further sales. Los Blancos have been linked with the likes of Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland.

- Calciomercato reports Milan are continuing to monitor Fiorentina defender Nikola Milenkovic. The Serbia international has also been linked with Inter and Manchester United previously.

Chelsea are chasing Malmo's Anel Ahmedhodzic, claims Expressen. The 21-year-old has impressed at the Swedish club.

- Madrid midfielder Isco is keen to link up with former boss Carlo Ancelotti at Everton, according to The Mirror. James Rodriguez has starred since swapping Madrid for Everton.

Cristiano Ronaldo is pushing Juventus to sign PSG's Angel Di Maria, reports Calciomercato. The pair played together at Madrid.

Manchester United have left it late again, but they are finally adding more new faces to the squad in this transfer window in the form of Edinson Cavani and Alex Telles.

Cavani, who has been a free agent since leaving Paris Saint-Germain in June, is reportedly joining the Red Devils on a one-year contract with the option of a second, while Telles arrives from Porto in a deal worth in the region of £15.4million (€17m).

Cavani became PSG's record goalscorer in his seven years in France, scoring 200 times in all competitions to help them to win 19 trophies.

He certainly has the pedigree to be a strong addition to the United ranks, but they have endured mixed fortunes in the past when it comes to South American signings.

Here are their previous 18, ranked from worst to best...

18. Rodrigo Possebon (2008-10)

Possebon squeaks onto this list as a Brazil-born player, even though he represented Italy at youth level.

Signed by United from Internacional in 2008, he mustered three league appearances before a fruitless loan to Braga and then a return to Brazil. He last played for Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam.

 

17. Radamel Falcao (2014-15)

Falcao, the man who tore through defences for fun with Porto, Atletico Madrid and Monaco, looked as though he had practically forgotten how to play football when he pulled on the red shirt at United, even if he did manage four goals in 26 Premier League appearances.

Just to rub it in, he returned to Monaco in 2016 and promptly became brilliant again. He's now at Galatasaray.

16. Kleberson (2003-05)

A World Cup winner snapped up for approximately £6.5million - what could possibly go wrong? Pretty much everything, it turns out.

Kleberson played 20 league games between 2003 and 2005 before being shipped out to Besiktas.

 

15. Guillermo Varela (2013-17)

Becoming David Moyes' first signing was probably never going to work out for the best.

Varela spent four years at United, two of which saw him leave on loan, before he went to Penarol to get his career back up and running. He now plays for Copenhagen and started in the 1-0 loss to his old club in last season's Europa League quarter-final.

 

14. Alexis Sanchez (2018-19)

He had some moments - the winner in the comeback against Newcastle United, the FA Cup strike against old club Arsenal - but they did not exactly justify the reported basic wage of £300,000 per week.

Sanchez has gone some way towards rekindling his career alongside good friend Romelu Lukaku at Inter - another player who could not convince Ole Gunnar Solskjaer of his importance.

 

13. Angel Di Maria (2014-15)

His audacious lob against Leicester City showed the sort of quality he could offer United as a then-British record signing (£60m, according to reports). Sadly, in that same game, United collapsed to lose 5-3 and Louis van Gaal seemed to lose all faith in attacking football of any kind.

Di Maria never seemed to gel with Van Gaal, nor did he ever settle in Manchester, and he was sold to Paris Saint-Germain for a loss within a year. He has, of course, been exceptional in France.

 

12. Andreas Pereira (2011-)

A Brazil international born in Belgium, Pereira had a long wait to break into United's first team on a regular basis. Many supporters are still wondering when he will justify the patience.

The midfielder has talent, for sure, but whether he has enough to become a mainstay over the coming years remains to be seen. He was given plenty of opportunities to impress last season but failed to do so consistently, and a loan move to Lazio for 2020-21 was considered the best for all parties.

 

11. Juan Sebastian Veron (2001-03)

Veron is another expensive Argentina star who scored a memorable goal in a 5-3 game for United - on that occasion, it was when they came from 3-0 down to beat Tottenham at White Hart Lane.

Veron was a good example of the right player signed at the wrong time. United still had great quality in midfield in 2001, when Veron joined from Lazio; within a couple of years, that strength in depth had evaporated, and the world's most right-footed footballer would have been a welcome addition.

 

10. Anderson (2007-15)

A combative, hard-working presence in the United midfield, Anderson seemed to have a peculiar habit of kicking the ball as hard as possible regardless of whether he was shooting from 35 yards out or passing to a team-mate behind him.

He certainly got a huge medal haul – seven major trophies in eight years, no less – but his crowning achievement at Old Trafford was having a song to the tune of Black Lace's 1984 hit 'Agadoo'. And, yes, he was better than Kleberson.

 

9. Fred (2018-)

Like Sanchez, Fred was said to be a man coveted by Manchester City only for United and Jose Mourinho to get in the way. Like Sanchez, the £47m midfielder proved initially to be a redundant presence in the squad, apparently not valued by Solskjaer.

Unlike Sanchez, Fred has managed to prove his worth to the manager and was arguably their most consistent midfielder in 2019-20. His place in the first XI is far from guaranteed, though, after Donny van de Beek's arrival from Ajax.

 

8. Marcos Rojo (2014-)

Injuries, including serious knee damage, and a proclivity for a reckless challenge or two have dogged Rojo's past couple of seasons and may leave many wondering why he is so high in this list.

Well, it's easy to forget the important part he played in Mourinho's first season, when United won the EFL Cup and Europa League. Such was his determination to run through the proverbial brick wall for his boss, he asked for a banana to give him an energy boost while playing in the last-16 win over Rostov.

 

7. Fabio (2008-14)

Whether or not he really was the most talented of the Da Silva twins, as was claimed, Fabio was certainly not the most effective in his Old Trafford career, although he won plenty of silverware.

Although a full-back by trade, Fabio made two rather decisive appearances in midfield for United. One was in a 2-0 FA Cup victory over Arsenal, when Alex Ferguson somehow pulled off a win with Fabio, Rafael, Darron Gibson and John O'Shea as the central four; the other was during a 3-2 home defeat to Blackburn Rovers on New Year's Eve in 2011, a match that convinced Paul Pogba he had no immediate future at the club.

 

6. Diego Forlan (2002-04)

Forlan's best days were after he left Old Trafford, when he would become a fine forward for Villarreal and Atletico Madrid. He retired last year to a general hum of respect and admiration.

United fans will always remember him for a winning double against Liverpool in 2002, but his talent was just a little too raw for him to establish himself in the north west permanently. Still, he won the Premier League and FA Cup and cost under £7m.

 

5. Rafael (2008-15)

A popular figure like his brother, Rafael simply offered more quality and consistency in the United team, his best season coming as first-choice right-back when they last won the league in 2012-13.

Van Gaal was not a big fan, so he was sold to Lyon in 2015. Five good years in France came and went and he now plays for Istanbul Basaksehir, meaning he will get an Old Trafford reunion in this season's Champions League group stages.

4. Gabriel Heinze (2004-07)

Although he was a touch heavy-handed with challenges at times - he really did like to lead with his elbows when jumping for headers - Heinze was an excellent player for United despite his second season being ruined by a major knee problem.

In fact, he would likely have stayed for longer had his place not been usurped by Patrice Evra, who was signed as cover following that injury and went on to become one of the club's finest full-backs in years.

 

3. Sergio Romero (2015-)

Okay, he has not played as often as others on this list, but Romero has essentially established himself as the most accomplished back-up goalkeeper in the world at United.

Hugely dependable when called upon, he was also first choice in the successful Europa League campaign of 2016-17 and kept a clean sheet in the final against Ajax. He has barely put a foot wrong.

 

2. Antonio Valencia (2009-19)

Some fans lost patience with him in his final few months, when he seemed to be phased out of the squad by Solskjaer with little explanation, but Valencia had a commendable career at United after joining from Wigan Athletic in 2009.

His decade at Old Trafford yielded two Premier Leagues, two EFL Cups, an FA Cup and a Europa League, as he marauded down the right flank as a wide midfielder and later as a first-rate converted full-back. He was the club's Players' Player of the Year twice, in 2011-12 (as a winger) and 2016-17 (as a defender), and served as club captain.

1. Carlos Tevez (2007-09)

He's not exactly the most popular man in the red half of Manchester given his move to City in 2009, but even the angriest of Red Devils cannot deny Tevez's impact.

He spearheaded an attack containing Wayne Rooney and Cristiano Ronaldo - one of the most fearsome United have ever had - and led Ferguson's side to two Premier Leagues, an EFL Cup, a Club World Cup and the Champions League in just two years.

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