With the Champions League back on, I went in search of predictions about who fans in Jamaica thought would win.

What I found was there aren’t really fans. Well, I didn’t find what I expect from a fan.

The term fan is an offshoot of the word fanatic. A fanatic is someone who shows so much loyalty to something that they, not only, have strong emotion about it, but are knowledgeable by virtue of spending so much time dedicated to understanding it.

In seeking answers to my questions predicting the winner of the Champions League, I found humiliating explanations, shallow reasoning and anything but persuasive arguments for one team or another.

Come to think of it, maybe they used a little strategy. There were two matches being played at the same time in the UEFA Champions League— Manchester City vs. Real Madrid and Juventus vs. Lyon. Fans were aware and had to develop a strategy to watch them both. But that's just about it.

When I asked my ‘fair-weather friends’ who they think would win the Champions League and why, their responses were uninspiring.

They usually started confidently enough, but that was where the solidity ended.

“BARCELONA!”, “MAN-CITY!”, “CHELSEA!”, “REAL MADRID!” etc, came the answers even before the questions were completely out of my mouth.

The problem they all encountered though, was the question of … why?

Suddenly the confidence of the answers were replaced with almost incoherent, largely uninformed drivle.

“Definitely you know it’s Barcelona. And I know other persons are going to say otherwise but this is the reason why: Barcelona is a champion...beyond champion, beyond champion, beyond champion, beyond champion…”

Another picked Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as his winner.

“Neymar is a star baller,” was his ‘very solid’ reason.

I wanted a response from a seasoned fan. I figured it would have some substance but a seasoned fan is not common place.

“Man City definitely! I think they have the best ballers,” is the closest I could come to something resembling a thought-out explanation.

That being the best of the answers left me, an admitted novice, dejected.

Look, I’m not expecting fans to necessarily be able to provide reasons with the analysis of seasoned commentators like Lance Whittaker, but I would expect that a ‘fan’, has more to offer in the way of some understanding about the game.

The Champions League is now down to eight teams, who will play straight knock-out games in Lisbon, Portugal beginning October 12.

The teams in the quarterfinal are; Atalanta, Paris Saint-Germain, RB Leipzig, Atletico Madrid, Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Manchester City, and Lyon.

Who do you think will come out tops?

Please share your thoughts on Twitter (@SportsMax_Carib) or in the comments section on Facebook (@SportsMax). Don’t forget to use #IAmNotAFan. Until next time!

Marco Verratti was named in Paris Saint-Germain's squad to prepare for the Champions League quarter-final against Atalanta despite ongoing concerns over his fitness.

The Italy international injured his calf in training and was missing for a 1-0 friendly win over Sochaux on Wednesday.

Head coach Thomas Tuchel admitted he was concerned about a "big injury" and it was later suggested Verratti would definitely miss next Wednesday's last-eight clash in Lisbon.

Fresh reports suggest Verratti may not be able to play any part in the remainder of the competition, even if PSG progress past the Serie A side.

Kylian Mbappe was also included on the list as the squad headed to Faro, despite the striker sustaining a serious ankle sprain in the Coupe de France final win over Saint-Etienne last month.

Tuchel said in midweek he was unsure if Mbappe would be able to make the bench for the Atalanta game.

"For Mbappe, I have no idea," Tuchel told beIN SPORTS on Wednesday.

"He works hard, but he's short, super short. We will see on Saturday with the doctor whether it is possible that he is on the bench against Atalanta."

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel sprained his ankle and broke a bone in his foot during a training session on Thursday.

PSG defeated Sochaux 1-0 in a friendly on Wednesday and upon their return to training the following day, Tuchel sustained the injury to his left foot.

A statement tweeted by the club on Friday read: "Thomas Tuchel was last night the victim of a sprained left ankle with a fracture of the fifth metatarsal during a training session."

PSG are due to take on Atalanta in the Champions League quarter-finals on August 12.

They will fly to Faro on Saturday for a short training camp before travelling to Lisbon, where the rest of Europe's premier club competition will take place, on Tuesday.

PSG were awarded the title when Ligue 1 was cancelled amid the coronavirus pandemic in April.

They returned to competitive action last month, beating Saint-Etienne in the Coupe de France final and Lyon in the Coupe de la Ligue showpiece.

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel admitted he was "worried" about Marco Verratti after an injury scare.

Verratti missed PSG's 1-0 friendly win over Sochaux on Wednesday after hurting his calf in training.

Amid concerns over star Kylian Mbappe, Verratti is also in some doubt for the Champions League quarter-final against Atalanta on August 12.

Tuchel said he was concerned about Verratti, although he was still unsure about the severity of the Italy midfielder's injury.

"We're worried because he took a nasty hit. It's a big injury," he told a news conference.

"Now we will wait. I don't know exactly today's diagnosis, I have to talk with the doctor.

"But we are worried."

PSG will face either Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig in a semi-final if they can get past Atalanta.

Kylian Mbappe will meet with Paris Saint Germain's medical team before a decision is made on whether he will be on the bench to face Atalanta in the Champions League, says Thomas Tuchel.

The France superstar suffered a serious ankle sprain in PSG's 1-0 Coupe de France final victory over Saint-Etienne last month and scans ruled him out for around three weeks, seemingly confirming his absence against Atalanta.

Head coach Tuchel later said Mbappe needs "a miracle" to play in the quarter-final, which will take place in Lisbon next Wednesday, while the World Cup winner sat out the Coupe de la Ligue final versus Lyon.

Tuchel was again asked about Mbappe's availability prior to PSG's friendly against Sochaux on Wednesday and was unable to provide a definitive answer when asked if he will feature against the Serie A side.

"For Mbappe, I have no idea," he told beIN SPORTS. 

"He works hard, but he's short, super short. We will see on Saturday with the doctor whether it is possible that he is on the bench against Atalanta."

Will Manchester United sign Jadon Sancho or not?

That is the question dominating headlines as United reportedly negotiate with Borussia Dortmund.

This transfer saga is one to watch.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED READY TO END SANCHO PURSUIT

Manchester United are threatening to walk away from a deal to sign Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, according to reports in England.

Sancho has been tipped to swap Dortmund for United, with Bild claiming a lucrative five-year contract has been agreed as the Bundesliga outfit insist on a €120million (£108m) fee.

But Goal, Sky Sports and The Mirror say United are ready to pursue alternatives of Dortmund do not lower their demands.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Guardian reports Leicester City are trying to sign Francisco Trincao from Barcelona. Leicester have proposed a two-season loan deal with an obligation to buy for £45m (€50m). Trincao is preparing to link up with Barca after the LaLiga giants signed the 20-year-old from Braga in January.

- Premier League champions Liverpool are eyeing a move for Norwich City left-back  Jamal Lewis, says The Mirror. Lewis impressed in 2019-20 as Norwich were relegated and Liverpool are looking to wrap up a £10m deal.

- Gianluca Di Marzio claims Tottenham right-back Serge Aurier is open to joining Serie A side Milan.

- According to Tuttomercatoweb, Juventus are lining up possible replacements for under-fire head coach Maurizio Sarri. Former Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino, Lazio boss Simone Inzaghi, Atalanta coach Gian Piero Gasperini and Luciano Spalletti have all been linked.

-  Aston Villa are aiming to keep star captain and rumoured United target Jack Grealish by offering a new contract, reports The Sun.

- Linked with United , Everton and Napoli, France Bleu Nord claims Arsenal are leading the race for Lille centre-back Gabriel Magalhaes.

- Is Federico Chiesa set for Old Trafford? La Nazione reports United have made a €55m (£49m) offer for the Fiorentina forward, who has also been linked to Inter, Juve and Chelsea .

- Bournemouth defender Nathan Ake is poised to complete his move to Manchester City. Fabrizio Romano reports there is a total agreement and a medical will take place in the next couple of days.

Five months after the Champions League and Europa League were halted, the continent's creme de la creme are ready to finish what they started.

Atletico Madrid's dramatic extra-time win at Anfield seems an age ago, as does Manchester United's 5-0 thrashing of LASK, with those results two of the final matches to occur before the coronavirus pandemic suspended the season.

Now, with those domestic leagues and cup competitions that did return having finished, the focus is solely on Europe's elite.

The Europa League resumes on Wednesday, with the Champions League coming back on Friday - both competitions reaching a conclusion this month with mini tournaments taking place in different countries.

Here, we detail the who, what, why, where and when.

 

PREVIOUSLY ON... THE CHAMPIONS LEAGUE AND EUROPA LEAGUE

Both the Europa League and the Champions League are at the last-16 stage, but while all 16 teams remain in the Europa League, Liverpool, Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Tottenham are all out of Europe's premier club competition.

Their conquerors - Atletico, Paris Saint-Germain, Atalanta and RB Leipzig - all won across two legs prior to pause being pressed on the campaign.

Only six of the eight first legs in the Europa League happened, with four away teams - United, Bayer Leverkusen, Shakhtar Donetsk and Basel claiming advantages, while Istanbul Basaksehir beat Copenhagen 1-0 in Turkey and Wolves drew 1-1 at Olympiacos.

With Spain and Italy being two of the countries initially hardest hit by the pandemic, Sevilla's tie with Roma and Inter's fixture against Getafe could not begin. 

 

SO HOW WILL THIS ROUND CONCLUDE?

Let's deal with the Champions League first.

PSG and Atalanta can put their feet up knowing their quarter-final begins on August 12, the day before Leipzig face Atletico Madrid.

Four last-16 ties remain and the quartet of home teams in the second leg - Manchester City, Juventus, Barcelona and Bayern Munich - will respectively host Real Madrid, Lyon, Napoli and Chelsea in their own stadiums without fans present.

That is also the case in the Europa League, though Sevilla's clash with Roma, and Inter's encounter with Getafe will now be one-off fixtures at neutral venues in Germany.

 

AND FROM THE QUARTER-FINALS ONWARDS?

Due to the need to get this thing wrapped up quickly before the 2020-21 season begins, both the Champions League and Europa League have done away with two-legged affairs for the quarter-finals and semi-finals.

Instead every last-eight and last-four match will be decided across 90 minutes - or 120 minutes, or a penalty shoot-out should they be required.

And with the pandemic still a very real threat, the two competitions will be concluded in one city to minimise travel and reduce the risk of spreading COVID within the squads.

Benfica's Estadio da Luz will be the venue for the Champions League quarter-finals, semi-finals and final between August 12 and 23, while those comparative stages in the Europa League, taking place between August 10 and 21, will be staged in Cologne.

 

WILL ALL THE PLAYERS STILL BE INVOLVED?

This stage of the football calendar is typically transfer time and even a global pandemic could not stop that.

So Leipzig's Timo Werner, who scored four times for the Bundesliga club in their run to the last eight, is now on Chelsea's books while winger Leroy Sane has swapped Manchester City for Bayern Munich. Neither man will be able to play for either their new team or their old.

Those like Achraf Hakimi, a recent Inter signing from Dortmund, will also be reduced to a watching brief.

It is a different case for Hakimi's new team-mate Alexis Sanchez, who has been included in Antonio Conte's squad for the latter stages after terms were reached on a loan extension with Manchester United - though a new arrangement will need to be made for him to be available from the quarter-finals onwards.

Sanchez's parent club were not willing to let Roma have loanee Chris Smalling any longer, though, the English centre-back having bade farewell to the Eternal City on Tuesday ahead of his return to United, for whom he cannot feature either given his prior involvement with the Giallorossi.

Paulo Dybala has been named Serie A MVP for the 2019-20 season after playing a starring role in Juventus' successful title defence - but Cristiano Ronaldo missed out in the list of individual honours. 

Dybala scored 11 goals and provided six assists in the league as the Bianconeri were crowned champions in Italy for a ninth successive year. 

The Argentina international came out on top of the rankings, according to Stats Perform statistical surveys aided by tracking data. Information was collected from Coppa Italia and Supercoppa Italiana games, as well as Serie A. 

Ronaldo scored 31 goals for Juve but the Portuguese was pipped to the best forward award by Ciro Immobile, who equalled Gonzalo Higuain's competition record for goals in a single season with 36 for Lazio. 

There was further success for the champions, however, as Wojciech Szczesny was named best goalkeeper, with Inter's Stefan de Vrij the top defender. 

Alejandro Gomez was rewarded for helping Atalanta finish third for a second successive season, the Argentine playmaker announced as the leading midfielder.  

Dejan Kulusevski, meanwhile, was named young player of the season after impressing on loan at Parma. 

The 20-year-old Swede was signed by Juventus from Atalanta in the January window, though remained at the Ennio Tardini for the remainder of the campaign.

"It was a difficult year, but these players have proven their talents in all the matches they played with great performances," Luigi De Siervo, CEO of Serie A, said in a statement announcing the winners.

"We want to thank all the athletes for their professionalism, commitment and sacrifice."

Josip Ilicic is out of Atalanta's Champions League quarter-final against Paris Saint-Germain, with head coach Gian Piero Gasperini conceding the Slovenia international is unlikely to play a part if the Serie A side progress in the tournament. 

Ilicic was Atalanta's hero in their last-16 encounter against Valencia, following a superb finish in a 4-1 first-leg victory at San Siro by scoring all four in a 4-3 triumph at the Mestalla. 

The 32-year-old missed La Dea's final six matches of the Serie A campaign, having returned to his homeland for personal reasons and Gasperini is planning for the immediate future without him. 

"He is surrounded by a lot of affection, there are those situations that can happen to anyone when you least expect it," the Atalanta boss told Rai Radio 1. 

"Precisely for this reason we are all helping him. Objectively it is difficult for him to return to the Champions League, the player has been standing [still] for a long time. 

"It would already be nice to see him again for the next season."             

PSG midfielder Marco Verratti believes Atalanta without Ilicic is akin to taking Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo out of their respective teams. 

Nevertheless, he knows Thomas Tuchel's side face a tall order against free-scoring opponents who finished third in Serie A for a second consecutive season. 

"It weighs a lot for them, as Messi's absence from Barcelona or Ronaldo's from Juventus can weigh," Italy international Verratti told Gazzetta dello Sport. 

"But even without him, Atalanta have continued to win and it's all thanks to Gasperini's work." 

There was a predictable champion at the end of the 2019-20 Serie A campaign as Juventus clinched a ninth successive Scudetto, and their success is reflected in Opta's Team of the Season. 

Although Juve finished 2019-20 just a point ahead of second-placed Inter, they had wrapped up the title with two games to go – beating Sampdoria 2-0 on July 26.

Cristiano Ronaldo was unsurprisingly key, finishing as his team's top scorer, but for much of the season there were a few sides that looked like they might push Juve all the way.

Inter, Atalanta and Lazio all had their moments where they were able to dream and they each had individuals who impressed.

Following the conclusion on the campaign on Sunday, we teamed up with Opta to outline the Serie A Team of the Season.

OPTA'S SERIE A TEAM OF THE SEASON

GK: Wojciech Szczesny, Juventus

Poland international Szczesny has come a long way since struggling in the latter part of his Arsenal career. He was once again a dependable option between the posts, remaining first choice despite the return of Gianluigi Buffon. He ended the season with a 74.4 per cent save success rate, the best of the Serie A goalkeepers to have played 20 or more times.

RB: Juan Cuadrado, Juventus

Hardly the most convincing of defenders, granted, but Cuadrado boasts the versatility to play in a few roles down the right flank and he became an important figure for Maurizio Sarri – his 28 Serie A starts is just one fewer than he managed in the previous two seasons combined. The Colombian was certainly influential, too, as he was involved in more open-play sequences that ended with a shot made by someone else (132) than any other player this term. He also chipped in with two goals and five assists.

CB: Stefan de Vrij, Inter

No team conceded fewer goals in Serie A this season than an Inter side that Antonio Conte ensured was well-drilled. Netherlands centre-back De Vrij played a major role in that as he featured 34 times – though his efforts were not notable just for his defensive effectiveness. The former Feyenoord man scored three goals and also set up another three, making him the most productive centre-back in the league in this regard.

CB: Francesco Acerbi, Lazio

After Inter, the next-best defensive unit in Serie A was Lazio, who let in 42 (six more than Conte's men). Acerbi missed just two games all season and his form at the start of the season also saw him make three starts for Italy. The 32-year-old has proven himself to be one of Serie A's best stoppers, as evidenced by the fact he was dribbled past just six times this term. No other outfield player with more than 35 appearances did better than that.

LB: Theo Hernandez, Milan

Former France youth international Hernandez has rediscovered the early promise he showed during a fine loan spell at Deportivo Alaves in 2016-17. While question marks remain over his defensive abilities, the Atletico Madrid youth product has excited with his attacking tendencies in 2019-20. No defender completed more dribbles (57) than him, while he also had a hand in nine goals (six goals, three assists).

CM: Luis Alberto, Lazio

Since leaving Liverpool for Rome in 2016, Luis Alberto has arguably developed into one of the world's best creative midfielders. The Spain international sees passes few others can and he has put that to particularly good use in 2019-20, with his 106 chances created being a Serie A high. Similarly, his 15 assists was second only to Alejandro Gomez (16), as he helped Simone Inzaghi's men mount a title challenge. Often linked with a return home to Sevilla, Lazio will surely be doing everything they can to keep Luis Alberto at Stadio Olimpico.

CM: Fabian Ruiz, Napoli

The other half of a Seville-centric midfield, Real Betis product Fabian probably hasn't impressed quite as much as he did in 2018-19, but he has nevertheless continued to show plenty of promise. Still only 24, Fabian attempted the most passes (2,331) of any player in the league this season, while he had a hand in nine goals, the same amount as in the previous campaign.

AM: Alejandro Gomez, Atalanta

Like a fine wine, 'Papu' Gomez just seems to get better with age. Now 32, the Argentinian has enjoyed a fantastic season for the often-exhilarating Atalanta. He scored seven goals for a second successive season, but his haul of 16 assists is five more than 2018-19. That figure is the highest since Opta records began in 2004-05.

FWD: Paulo Dybala, Juventus

The Sarri-Juventus combination continues to puzzle many, but if there's one thing he has got right, it's helping Dybala get back to something resembling his best. He had been strongly linked with a move away last year, but Dybala was involved in 17 Serie A goals this term (11 goals, six assists) and managed to coexist with Ronaldo more effectively. Of his 11 strikes, eight (73 per cent) were the opening goals of matches, the biggest quantity among players with 10 or more.

FWD: Cristiano Ronaldo, Juventus

Considering there being murmurs of discontent between himself and Sarri, and suggestions the coach hasn't been able to get the best out of the Portugal great, Ronaldo's had a pretty effective year. With 31 league goals, it's been his best goal-scoring campaign domestically since getting 35 with Real Madrid in 2015-16, while his goals have secured 24 points, more than any other player.

FWD: Ciro Immobile, Lazio

What a season Immobile has had. With 36 league goals, the Italy international equalled Gonzalo Higuain's record for a single campaign, while that haul also won him the coveted European Golden Shoe. On top of that, his record of nine assists was bettered by only Gomez, Luis Alberto and Domenico Berardi. If he can keep it up, Lazio will surely fancy themselves of challenging Juve again next term.

Inter head coach Antonio Conte claimed he and his squad received "little protection" from the club amid criticism as he hit out at the Nerazzurri.

Conte's Inter ended the 2019-20 Serie A season runners-up, just a point behind champions Juventus, following Saturday's 2-0 victory at Atalanta.

Danilo D'Ambrosio and Ashley Young scored first-half goals as Inter collected 82 points from 38 matches, equalling the total of the 2009-10 treble-winning team under Jose Mourinho.

However, Conte – in his first season at San Siro – vented his frustration post-match, having previously insisted he would not hesitate to leave Inter if they were not happy.

"We must give merit to these lads, 82 points is a lot, it's a lot and it shows that we worked well," Italian boss Conte told reporters.

"It's displeasing though that I saw Inter being attacked in a bad way, gratuitous attacks against the players and against me; I didn't like that, also because I saw little protection from the club.

"That said, we became even more solid and stronger, and today we enjoy this, me and the players, with all due respect for all the others, but we enjoy this, us working at Appiano, at Pinetina, these 82 points.

"Even though I repeat, they mean nothing, because as I said, those who win write history. This is a good result though, because we're coming from many years where the points [gap] were a lot."

While the Serie A season has concluded, Inter's attention turns to their Europa League last-16 clash with Getafe on August 5.

Instead of a two-legged tie, Inter and LaLiga outfit Getafe will meet in a single knockout match amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Conte added: "It will be a battle against Getafe. They are a tough team, they defend in 10 below the ball line, they throw the ball forward as soon as they can, with the two forwards they engage in certain fights... just look for reference at Real Madrid-Getafe or Barcelona-Getafe to understand the difficulties faced by such teams.

"And we're talking about top teams - in order to beat Getafe. Results like 1-0, meagre results; it will be a battle, but at the same time I can count on great players and above all great men, therefore I am calm in light of that. I say, to our supporters, we will do whatever we can, as we did this season, we will give everything.

"I don't know whether this will bring us to the quarter finals, to the semi-final, to the final, or to raising the cup; that I can't say, but what we will do is surely fight tooth and nail."  

Antonio Conte reiterated his belief that rumours linking Lionel Messi to Inter are a little farfetched, hinting he struggled to even get the club to sign Romelu Lukaku.

Inter closed out a solid 2019-20 Serie A campaign on Saturday, beating Atalanta 2-0 in Bergamo to secure the runner-up spot in Italy's top flight.

That result means they finished just a point adrift of champions Juventus, who lost 3-1 at home to Roma in their final league match.

Having already backed Conte significantly in the transfer market, Inter are expected to further strengthen ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

One somewhat outlandish report in Italy has claimed Inter are trying to lure Barcelona icon and Ballon d'Or holder Messi away from LaLiga, with his future a little uncertain due to turbulence at Camp Nou.

But Conte will remain realistic, particularly after Inter CEO Giuseppe Marotta likened the rumour to a "utopian" fantasy. 

"Look, only I know what I had to do to get Lukaku," he joked to reporters after the match.

"Trust me, at the end of the season we will make evaluations."

Lukaku, a 2019 arrival from Manchester United, finished his maiden Serie A campaign as Inter's top scorer, having netted 23 times, and Conte paid tribute to the Belgium striker along with his attacking colleagues Lautaro Martinez and Alexis Sanchez.

"He is strong, I was already looking for him at Chelsea but then he went to United," Conte said of Lukaku. "He is an atypical footballer who can be a point of reference, but he can improve.

"Today, I also liked Lautaro and Sanchez. It is thanks to these guys if we scored 81 goals and if we finished second."

Ashley Young was Inter's inspiration with a goal and an assist as Antonio Conte's men concluded their 2019-20 Serie A campaign by beating Atalanta 2-0 on the road, in turn securing a second-place finish.

Any one of Inter, their hosts and Lazio could have clinched the runner-up spot behind champions Juventus on Saturday, but the Nerazzurri – who were second going into the final round of fixtures – produced a professional and clinical display away to an Atalanta side that were nowhere near their exhilarating best.

Just 50 seconds had elapsed before Danilo D'Ambrosio gave Inter the lead from a pinpoint Young delivery, before the former Manchester United captain scored a gorgeous goal to put Inter in complete control.

Atalanta – reportedly missing star man Josip Ilicic for personal reasons – rarely looked capable of clawing their way back into the contest, but nevertheless finished third for a second season running despite Inter coasting to a straightforward win.

Conte's side enjoyed an emphatic start as they took the lead inside the first minute – D'Ambrosio heading in Young's cross after Pierluigi Gollini came for the delivery and missed it.

Atalanta hardly registered a response and their task doubled in size in the 20th minute, Young this time doing it all alone as he cut in off the left flank and curled a sumptuous 25-yard effort into the bottom-right corner.

The curiously subdued hosts finally crafted an opening just before half-time, but once again Young was in the right place for Inter, this time blocking Mario Pasalic's volley after missing Alejandro Gomez's initial cross.

Excitement was even rarer in a generally monotonous second half, though Gomez did at least force Samir Handanovic into a necessary save in the 54th minute.

Atalanta enjoyed a little pressure in the latter stages, but Duvan Zapata's woeful poked effort was blazed high, before Ruslan Malinovskiy drilled a couple of efforts wide from distance.

 

What does it mean? Inter get the job done as Atalanta's focus appears elsewhere

In the grand scheme, Saturday's result carried little importance. While Atalanta would have surely been pleased to secure a first-ever second-place finish in Serie A, failing to accomplish that does not render their season any less of a success.

While their performance against Inter was disappointing, it would be understandable if their attention is already on the upcoming Champions League clash with Paris Saint-Germain.

Evergreen Young

Young has taken to Serie A impressively, with his goal involvements here taking him to eight for the season (four goals, four assists) despite only joining Inter midway through the campaign. He also made a crucial block to deny Pasalic when a goal might have given Atalanta the push they needed.

Zapata falls short of expectations

So often reliable for Atalanta, it was not Zapata's day here. The Colombian had three shots in the match - two were feeble efforts, and the last the a hopeless prodded attempt that sailed well over from inside the box.

What's next?

These two now turn their attentions toward Europe, with Atalanta set to face PSG in Lisbon on August 12 for their Champions League quarter-final.

Inter head to Gelsenkirchen, where they will go up against Spanish side Getafe for a place in the last eight of the Europa League next Wednesday.

 

Ander Herrera remains hopeful Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe will be back in time for the return of the Champions League.

Mbappe suffered an ankle injury during the Coupe de France final against Saint-Etienne on July 24, with the club revealing the "serious" sprain would likely keep the 21-year-old out for three weeks.

The France international watched on as PSG completed a domestic clean sweep on Friday, securing victory in the last ever Coupe de la Ligue final via a penalty shoot-out against Lyon.

Thomas Tuchel had said on the eve of the match that Mbappe requires a "miracle" to be ready for the quarter-final tie with Atalanta, which takes place in Lisbon on August 12.

Herrera, however, is more upbeat over the forward's chances, though is confident the squad can still prosper without him.

"We are optimistic with Kylian. We have seen that he can walk quietly," the former Manchester United midfielder said after the game with Lyon.

"He's very professional, he's young. He really wants to play and we can be very calm. He works every day, morning and afternoon. But if it's not possible for him to play, we also have other solutions.

"Kylian is very important and I'm sure he will try to play."

PSG are next in action on Wednesday, taking on Sochaux in a friendly prior to resuming their European campaign.

All ties from the last eight onwards will be staged over one leg, with the Ligue 1 champions knowing a win over Atalanta will see them face either Atletico Madrid or RB Leipzig in the semi-finals.

"It's a fantastic week for us," Herrera said after completing a dominant domestic campaign. "We won two titles and we are very, very happy.

"A lot of players have played and participated in this success - I can say that we are ready for the Champions League now."

Marco Verratti said Paris Saint-Germain are not thinking about their Champions League clash with Atalanta as they focus on the Coupe de la Ligue final.

PSG will face Atalanta in a one-legged quarter-final tie in Lisbon on August 12, not before Friday's Coupe de la Ligue showpiece against French rivals Lyon.

And PSG star Verratti insisted the Lyon showdown at the Stade de France in Paris is the Ligue 1 holders' sole focus.

"We are not thinking about that game yet, the most important match is [Friday]," Verratti said in a news conference.

"We are happy to play against Lyon, they are an excellent team."

PSG are set to be without star forward Kylian Mbappe for the Atalanta fixture after he suffered a sprained ankle in last week's Coupe de France final victory over Saint-Etienne.

"We thought of him when we raised the trophy, but injuries are part of being a football player," added Italy international Verratti.

"We will miss him. Any team would miss a player like him."

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