Thiago Silva, Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Sergio Rico will all stay at Paris Saint-Germain until the end of the season.

French football was halted in March due to the coronavirus pandemic, with Ligue 1 subsequently concluded early at the end of April. Final table positions were decided on a points-per-game basis and thus secured PSG the title.

But a decision on the two cup competitions, the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue, was delayed in the hope of potentially playing two finals at a later date.

The French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed earlier this month that the two matches will take place on July 24 and 31, respectively, while UEFA also announced the remaining rounds of the Champions League are to take place in Lisbon the following month.

PSG have now ensured Silva, Choupo-Moting and Rico will be available for all three competitions.

The Parisians had already announced club captain Silva, 35, will be leaving at the end of the 2019-20 campaign, but his extension means he could depart having potentially lifted three more trophies.

Choupo-Moting is also set to leave the club on a free transfer, while Rico had been due to return to parent club Sevilla at the end of June.

PSG will face Saint-Etienne in the Coupe de France, before contesting the last ever Coupe de la Ligue final with Lyon.

They are also into the quarter-finals of the Champions League having eliminated Borussia Dortmund prior to the season's hiatus.

The postponed Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue finals will take place on July 24 and 31, respectively, the French Football Federation (FFF) has confirmed.

Both matches were postponed in April due to the coronavirus pandemic, with prime minister Edouard Philippe announcing all sporting events had been halted in an attempt to control the spread of COVID-19.

Although that led to the premature conclusion of Ligue 1, with final places in the table decided on a points-per-game basis, the FFF delayed a decision regarding the two cup finals, giving rise to the possibility the showpiece events could go ahead at a later date.

With the virus largely under control in France, provisional dates in late July were put forward as possibilities.

The FFF confirmed those dates on Friday, with the Coupe de France final between Paris Saint-Germain and Saint-Etienne set for July 24.

PSG will then contest the Coupe de la Ligue finale a week later, with Lyon their opponents on that occasion.

Up to 5,000 supporters are expected to be allowed into the Stade de France to watch the two matches after it was confirmed last week that stadiums will be able to open at a reduced capacity next month.

It will be the last iteration of the Coupe de la Ligue following a September 2019 decision to suspend the competition, owing to a desire to reduce the French football season's schedule.

Thomas Tuchel believes Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League prospects are "different but not impossible" after learning he will not be able to call upon Thomas Meunier and Edinson Cavani.

PSG's all-time leading scorer Cavani and Belgium right-back Meunier rejected short-term contracts to stay on for the final stages of Europe's premier competition in August, with the Ligue 1 giants having reached the quarter-finals courtesy of victory over Tuchel's old employers Borussia Dortmund.

France's top-flight was curtailed in April, with PSG declared 2019-20 champions, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

That in turn complicated matters for Tuchel's out-of-contract players, with an eye towards the Champions League and the finals of the Coupe de la Ligue and Coupe de France – the latter two showpieces which are yet to be given rescheduled dates.

Captain Thiago Silva, along with Layvin Kurzawa, is reportedly set to stay on for the short term, but the veteran Brazil centre-back will not be offered a deal beyond this season.

"All the players are important to create a group and a mentality and to lose these three [Cavani, Silva and Meunier] decreases the group," Tuchel told a news conference.

"We have always played with these players and therefore we lose quality with their departures, that's for sure.

"After that it will not be impossible and I am convinced that we will be very strong. We have to prepare this team for the two finals with a very good mentality.

"We played an extraordinary Champions League with everyone. It is different but not impossible."

PSG were not only depleted in terms of senior professionals on their return to training this week.

Despite making 13 first-team appearances this season, 18-year-old defender Tanguy Kouassi has rejected an extended contract and is understood to be on the verge of joining Bayern Munich.

Midfielder Adil Aouchiche will also seek pastures new, although Kouassi's exit is the one preying on Tuchel's mind.

"For Adil I can understand because it is difficult to fight for a place in midfield at a club like this," he said.

"But for Tanguy, I'm sorry because it's been a pleasure to work with him. It's different because it's no secret, I wanted to keep him with us.

"He played against Dortmund, the most important game of the season with the most tension and stake. He played at 17 when he had no contract.

"There was confidence, he would have had minutes, he could have been a key player. I can't understand and I'm sad, but that's how it is. It is difficult to understand this situation for him."

Julian Draxler could also be heading for the exit door, with Hertha Berlin reported to be his next destination, although Tuchel would be keen to keep the Germany international.

"He is with us and for the moment," Tuchel added. "I only see the two finals and the Champions League. For me he is a very important player, I like working with him, he is ready.

"I count on him in the next four or five weeks for the finals and afterwards for the Champions League.

"After that is not my choice, we have to talk and make a decision together. I really like this player, I'm very happy that he is here."

Saint-Etienne coach Claude Puel is hopeful William Saliba can remain with the club for the Coupe de France final before he has to link up with Arsenal.

The centre-back signed for Arsenal on a long-term contract last July but immediately returned to Saint-Etienne on a season-long loan.

Les Verts progressed to the Coupe de France final before the French football season was halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

While Ligue 1 was decided on a points-per-game basis, with Saint-Etienne consigned to a lowly 17th-placed finish, they can still qualify for the Europa League by beating Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de France final.

That contest is provisionally scheduled to take place on July 24, but Saliba's loan is due to end on June 30.

"William is at the end of his contract at the end of the month," Puel said in a media conference.

"He takes great pleasure in training with his team.

"We will see what can be done to keep him a little longer with us."

 

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were among the Paris Saint-Germain stars to report back at the club's training ground on Monday.

Thomas Tuchel's first-team squad attended the Ooredoo Centre to undergo medical checks, including COVID-19 tests, ahead of a planned return to training on Thursday.

There were 27 players who reported back to the club on Monday, the notable exceptions being Edinson Cavani and Thomas Meunier, who are due to leave the club at the end of this month.

Tuchel's men are expected to have further tests until Thursday, when training will resume in small groups.

PSG have not played since their 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie in March.

Ligue 1 was the only one of Europe's top five leagues to have its season declared over due to the coronavirus pandemic, with PSG confirmed as champions based on a points-per-game final table.

However, French authorities are set to allow the finals of the Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue to go ahead on July 24 and 31 respectively. PSG will face Saint-Etienne in the former and Lyon in the latter.

They will then compete in the remaining rounds of the Champions League - reorganised into a form of mini-tournament in Lisbon - in August, before the 2020-21 season gets underway.

France's government will let stadiums open their doors to up to 5,000 fans next month – and football chiefs want even more spectators at the Coupe de France final.

The Ligue 1 season was abandoned in April, so many supporters will have to wait until the 2020-21 campaign begins to see live football again.

But the end of France's health state of emergency from July 11 will see restrictions eased, with stadiums and horse-racing tracks to be reopened to the public, initially at a reduced capacity.

The news came in a statement from the government that specified: "As with performance halls, activities involving more than 1,500 people must be declared, so that the necessary precautions can be guaranteed.

"The maximum capacity of 5,000 people for major events, stadiums and performance halls is in principle in force until September 1. A new review of the national epidemiological situation will be carried out in mid-July to decide whether a relaxation is possible for the second part of August."

The French Football Federation (FFF) is hoping the 5,000 figure may be relaxed sooner than September, with reports this week saying the Coupe de France final, postponed from April, is pencilled in for July 24.

Paris Saint-Germain are due to face Saint-Etienne at the Stade de France, which can seat over 80,000 spectators.

FFF president Noel Le Graet called the government ruling "an important step in the organisation of upcoming games".

"These new provisions allow us to envisage opening even more widely for spectators regarding the men's Coupe de France final at the end of July, the Coupe de la Ligue final, the semi-finals and final of the women's Coupe de France at the start of August, as well as the return of Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 at the end of August," he said in a statement on the FFF website.

"The FFF executive committee will meet on Monday June 22 to consider the new measures and the upcoming calendar."

Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar is preparing for a return, saying he was training even harder than he would at the Ligue 1 club.

While PSG were crowned Ligue 1 champions as the season was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic, they are also in the Champions League quarter-finals and Coupe de France and Coupe de la Ligue deciders.

Neymar, 28, has been at home in Brazil for two months amid the COVID-19 crisis, which has killed more than 308,000 people worldwide.

But the Brazil international is working hard, guided by his physical trainer, Ricardo Rosa.

"I'm here, training hard, on the same rhythm and frequency that I would in the club. Training even harder actually, with more activities to compensate for the lack of games," Neymar said, via his website.

"The intention is to be ready for when they signal the return of club activities, so I can be in the best possible condition.

"Of course that I miss the competition, but Rica made a planning that I have been following on the line."

Neymar has scored 18 goals in 22 games for PSG this season, but has been linked with a return to Barcelona.

Substitute Ryad Boudebouz's stoppage-time winner sent Saint-Etienne into the Coupe de France final with a dramatic 2-1 victory over defending champions Rennes on Thursday.

A cool finish into the bottom-right corner in the 94th minute from Boudebouz sent the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard into raptures and booked a meeting with Paris Saint-Germain on April 25.

Saint-Etienne started the brighter of the two sides but found themselves behind when M'Baye Niang resoundingly converted a 33rd-minute penalty awarded following William Saliba's foul on Raphinha.

Timothee Kolodziejczak restored parity ahead of half-time and Boudebouz - who had replaced Yann M'Vila in the 83rd minute - struck at the last, with the final whistle followed by a pitch invasion from the jubilant home supporters.

Thomas Tuchel praised hat-trick hero Kylian Mbappe for his response after finding it "difficult" against Borussia Dortmund, with the forward's partnership alongside Neymar crucial to Paris Saint-Germain.

With PSG lining up in an unfamiliar 4-3-3 formation, Mbappe struggled to make an impact during the first leg of the last-16 Champions League tie away in Dortmund last month.

However, since the 2-1 defeat in Europe, France international Mbappe has flourished in domestic action, scoring six goals in three games.

Mbappe's hat-trick on Wednesday helped PSG progress to the Coupe de France final in style, with head coach Tuchel delighted at the 21-year-old's display in the 5-1 thrashing of Lyon.

"Mbappe's been very strong these last few weeks. He had a tough time in Dortmund playing in a different position. It was clearly difficult for him against Dortmund," Tuchel told the media.

"With Neymar, they're very strong together. After Dortmund, Mbappe showed a great reaction after every training session and during the games against Dijon and Lyon.

"He's very strong, he uses his speed very well, he's very decisive. He's really in good shape."

Neymar also scored in the rout, converting a second-half penalty after Marcal was deemed to have handled the ball inside the area midweek.

The Lyon defender received a second yellow card as punishment, allowing PSG to cut loose against 10 men. Mbappe added two more goals following his first-half equaliser, while Pablo Sarabia also scored late on.

Tuchel pointed to Neymar as the catalyst for the team to produce such "extraordinary performances", the Brazilian benefiting from playing regularly after returning from a rib issue.

"Neymar was very strong, he's still dangerous. For him, the most important thing is that he plays," the former Dortmund boss said.

"He's a player who helps us to do extraordinary performances, with extraordinary results. He has to play, and it's good that he played 90 minutes.

"It is also good to have another game to play before Dortmund against Strasbourg. He needs that, he has the ability to play a lot, and when he plays a lot, he is super strong."

Neymar scored PSG's goal against Dortmund but criticised the way the club managed his injury following the defeat, insisting he had wanted to play prior to the trip to Germany.

Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain recovered from falling behind to reach the Coupe de France final with a 5-1 triumph over 10-man Lyon.

Thomas Tuchel's side remain on course for a clean sweep of domestic trophies after prevailing in a dress rehearsal for next month's Coupe de la Ligue final in the French capital.

Mbappe was the star turn but the game was closely fought until turning on a handball by Marcal, leading to a second booking for the Lyon defender and a penalty for their opponents.

Neymar coolly converted to make it 2-1, leading to the Brazilian being the target for objects thrown from the stands, and from then on PSG cut loose against 10 men, giving the final score a lopsided look to it.

Mbappe finished a solo run by flashing a shot beyond Anthony Lopes and then tapped home Neymar's cross at the second attempt to complete his treble in added time, with his late double sandwiching a goal from Pablo Sarabia.

Buoyed by back-to-back home wins over Juventus and rivals Saint-Etienne, Lyon had stood toe-to-toe when at full strength, including claiming an early lead when Martin Terrier swept home Karl Toko Ekambi's low cross.

Yet their advantage lasted less than three minutes, Mbappe providing the finishing touch at the back post from close range after Layvin Kurzawa had flicked on Sarabia's corner. The defender's assist for the equaliser came at a personal cost, though, as he suffered a cut in a clash of heads.

Having finished impressively earlier in proceedings, Terrier failed to show such composure when a dummy from Moussa Dembele put him in the clear, poking a tame effort straight at Keylor Navas.

Edinson Cavani had a goal correctly ruled out for offside and also struck the post before the end of the first half, though Lyon were the team in the ascendency until Marcal's indiscretion, with the penalty awarded after a VAR check.

PSG's triumph means they may well get the chance for revenge against Rennes, the team who denied them the trophy last season. The holders are at Saint-Etienne in the second semi-final on Thursday.

Thomas Tuchel is counting on Neymar ahead of a "decisive phase" of the season, believing he has mellowed since criticising Paris Saint-Germain's use of him prior to the defeat to Borussia Dortmund.

Neymar had hit out at the club for not playing him in any of their previous four matches before the trip to Germany, aiming to limit the risk of injury.

The Brazilian insisted such a decision had nothing to do with him, pointing the finger at the club and their doctors, as he claimed he had felt well enough to play.

Having served a suspension during PSG's 4-0 thrashing of Dijon on Saturday, Neymar is back in contention to face Lyon in the Coupe de France semi-final on Wednesday.

And Tuchel says he has mellowed since venting his frustration with the club, while the coach is relying on the forward ahead of a potentially critical part of the season, with PSG set to face Dortmund in the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie next week having lost 2-1 at Signal Iduna Park.

"He [Neymar] is calmer now," Tuchel told reports on Tuesday. "In Bordeaux he had a good match, unfortunately with a red card. It was not good, but it was like that.

"I have a feeling that he is calmer. He's getting ready for tomorrow's game, he's going to play, it's necessary.

"The most important thing is that he plays, that he is with us in this decisive phase. I am happy to play with him in Lyon.

"I have the feeling that he is really ready, that he is calmer, more confident, and that he has found his rhythm."

Neymar is in doubt for Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League last-16 first leg at Borussia Dortmund, according to head coach Thomas Tuchel.

PSG were without star forward Neymar for Wednesday's 6-1 rout of Dijon in the Coupe de France quarter-finals due to a rib injury.

Neymar stayed in Paris as the Brazilian continues to recover from the injury, which he suffered against Montpellier on February 1 and led to him missing Ligue 1 wins over Nantes and Lyon.

After travelling to Amiens in Ligue 1 on Saturday, PSG will then make the trip Dortmund for the opening leg of their Champions League tie against the Bundesliga outfit on Tuesday.

Asked about Neymar post-game, Tuchel told reporters: "I can't say that he will be 100 per cent to play against Borussia Dortmund.

"We will discuss and decide on Friday, the latest possible time to do so. We can't risk his fitness."

Tuchel added: "We aren't going to take risks against Amiens, it's clear. We will have a strong team, but if we have little doubts, we won't take risks."

PSG sailed into the Coupe de France semi-finals thanks to the midweek demolition at Dijon.

An early own goal from Wesley Lautoa opened the scoring for PSG, though the visitors were pegged back by Mounir Chouiar 12 minutes later.

However, a Pablo Sarabia brace and goals from Kylian Mbappe and Thiago Silva, as well as a Senou Coulibaly own goal secured PSG's passage.

"Dijon started very aggressively, took a lot of risks and put in a lot of effort. We were also very focused, and battled for second balls," Tuchel said.

"We were very careful but were able to step up our tempo. We were patient and played quickly, simply and created space in the second half. We controlled the game and scored two more goals quickly."

Kylian Mbappe and Pablo Sarabia starred as Paris Saint-Germain eased past Dijon 6-1 in the Coupe de France quarter-finals. 

An own goal from Wesley Lautoa opened the scoring for PSG after just 48 seconds, but Thomas Tuchel's men were pegged back by Mounir Chouiar in the 13th minute. 

Mbappe made it 2-1 shortly before half-time before Thiago Silva and Sarabia made sure of progression to the last four.

PSG's fifth came as Senou Coulibaly inadvertently diverted an Mbappe strike into the net before the France star laid an injury-time second on a plate for Sarabia to round off a rout.

Neymar will be absent when Paris Saint-Germain tackle Dijon in the Coupe de France on Wednesday.

That confirmation came on the morning of the quarter-final fixture as PSG named their travelling squad, with Neymar staying behind in Paris as he continues to recover from a rib injury.

The Brazil striker was checked by coach Thomas Tuchel in training after Tuesday's media conference, when it was made clear PSG would take no risks with the former Barcelona player.

"Neymar is injured, we have to be patient and careful with him," said Tuchel.

Neymar has missed PSG's 2-1 win at Nantes and 4-2 victory over Lyon since suffering his injury against Montpellier on February 1.

He returned to training last Friday, but the last thing PSG would want is for Neymar to aggravate the problem, given they return to Champions League action at Borussia Dortmund next Tuesday.

Ahead of that first-leg match at the last-16 stage, former Dortmund coach Tuchel will hope to have his key players available.

Neymar was joined on the list of non-travellers for the Dijon game by Marquinhos, who is recovering well from a calf injury, along with Idrissa Gueye, Presnel Kimpembe and Marco Verratti.

In Neymar's absence, PSG remained replete with fire-power as Tuchel took Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Edinson Cavani on the trip to the Stade Gaston Gerard.

PSG are hoping to go one better than last year in the Coupe de France, having lost the 2018-19 final on a penalty shoot-out to Rennes.

Rennes reached this year's semi-finals on Tuesday with a 3-0 win over fourth-tier minnows ASM Belfort.

Thomas Tuchel feels Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League struggles have been exaggerated to a similar extent to Roger Federer's perceived dominance in tennis.

Ever since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) became PSG's owners in 2011, the club have been obsessed with Champions League success, spending vast amounts of money in their quest to become Europe's greatest team.

But in that time, the furthest they have gone in Europe's elite competition is the quarter-finals, suffering gutting collapses against Barcelona and Manchester United along the way.

However, with Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Neymar impressing this season, there is a belief PSG have a front three capable of setting the standard in Europe.

Borussia Dortmund await PSG in the last 16 of this season's Champions League - with the first leg set for February 18 - and Tuchel is remaining relaxed despite the external pressure, highlighting that, although Federer has won more grand slams than anyone else, he does not win them all.

"If I tell you not to think about a pink elephant, you will think about it," Tuchel told reporters ahead of Wednesday's Coupe de France clash with Dijon.

"You have to accept the context. I said after [being eliminated by] Manchester United, 'guys, we will try again next year'.

"The group stage, the last 16, that's how it is. It's the same for tennis. Everyone thinks that Roger Federer has always won, but it's not like that.

"We are confident, we have improved. We have a good group. I am grateful for this chance. The first game was never a problem, everyone will talk about the second game. It is sport and it must remain sport.

"We can also say that it is our fault, with the matches against Barcelona and Man United. We lost these matches there and we cannot wait for everyone to be super positive.

"For me, that does not change. We are here every day with the team, we are very happy to be in the last 16. It's a dream for everyone to play in the Champions League with a club like PSG.

"We always remain positive, you can only influence the context by giving everything you have. It's up to us, we don't let ourselves be influenced from the outside.

"The context doesn't make things easier, but it's sport, that's how it is. Try, try again and never give up."

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