Kylian Mbappe has suggested he cannot replicate what Lionel Messi has achieved at Barcelona and will instead look to Cristiano Ronaldo for inspiration.

Since bursting onto the scene with Monaco in 2016, a move to Paris Saint-Germain and a charge to World Cup glory with France has made the 21-year-old one of the leading lights in football.

However, when it comes to choosing between Messi and Ronaldo on who to model his career path on, Mbappe acknowledged his switch from Monaco to PSG means he cannot follow in the footsteps of Barca's six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"It's too late for me to carve out a career like Messi's, I would have had to stay at Monaco," Mbappe told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Without taking anything away from Messi, now I have to draw on Cristiano's career for inspiration.

"If you're French, obviously you would have grown up with [Zinedine] Zidane as your idol. After that, it was Cristiano, who I have been fortunate enough to have faced as an opponent, at club level and with the national team.

"I also love Brazilian players like Pele, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Kaka. And to the young players who look up to me, I'd like to send them a message from someone who believed in their dream, always giving the best they had to give, trying to push their own limits to be able to make a mark in sport."

Mbappe also believes Ronaldo gives Juventus an edge in the Champions League, a competition the Portugal captain has won five times, making the Serie A giants a favourite.

"Juventus are a strong side - they've shown that in the finals they've played during the past few seasons," said Mbappe, who has scored 21 goals in all competitions for PSG this term.

"They have always lacked something to give them the edge and now they have that in Cristiano. He's a player who makes you win major trophies.

"This year Juventus are among the favourites – along with the usual suspects – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool."

Diego Simeone insists Joao Felix should not take it as a punishment if he is selected to face third-tier side Cultural Leonesa in the Copa del Rey on Thursday.

Joao Felix, 20, joined Atletico for €126million in pre-season as the club looked to fill the void left by Antoine Griezmann's departure to Barcelona.

But the Portugal international has struggled to make an impact in LaLiga, getting two goals and one assist in 16 appearances.

He played 83 minutes of Atletico's 2-0 defeat to Eibar on Saturday but was again disappointing, hitting the target with only one of his three shots and failing to produce a single chance.

Simeone will be expected to rotate his squad for the trip to Segunda B2 promotion-chasers Cultural on Thursday, though he does not think playing in the match should be considered a negative for any of his first-team stars.

"I do not expect that [thought] - thinking that playing can be a punishment is to not value it," Simeone told reporters in his pre-match news conference.

"Everyone can be asked [to play]. It's not a punishment. Playing any game for Atletico Madrid is a dream, and whoever has to play, I hope they can get the minutes to develop in the best possible way."

Atletico have been strongly linked with Paris Saint-Germain striker Edinson Cavani and media reports suggest an offer has even been submitted.

Simeone batted away questions relating to the Uruguay international, quickly changing the subject to the clash with Cultural.

"The only thing that worries me is the Copa del Rey match," he replied when told Cavani's relatives apparently want him to join Atletico.

"We live for the day-to-day and the results. The players who are not with us, they already know me, I don't usually think much about it."

Bayern Munich have bolstered their defensive options by signing Alvaro Odriozola on loan from Real Madrid for the remainder of the season.

The 24-year-old was a target of head coach Hansi Flick, who himself is under contract until the end of the season, and will give the Bundesliga champions more defensive flexibility as they seek to defend their crown.

Odriozola, capped four times by Spain, has only made four LaLiga appearances for Madrid this term, with the most recent of those coming in October.

While he is behind Dani Carvajal in the Madrid pecking order for right-backs, Odriozola could feature regularly for Bayern given their injury problems in defence.

His arrival may lead to Benjamin Pavard reverting inside to centre-back, where Bayern are short of options with Javi Martinez, Lucas Hernandez and Niklas Sule all sidelined.

In a statement on Bayern's website, chief executive Karl Heinz-Rummenigge said: "Following internal discussions, we decided to follow the wishes of our head coach Hansi Flick in strengthening the defence and decided to go for Alvaro Odriozola.

"We are delighted about the signing and thank Real Madrid for the friendly and cooperative talks."

Former Real Sociedad defender Odriozola joined Los Blancos in 2018 for a reported €40million and he featured in 14 LaLiga games in his debut term in the capital.

Bayern Munich have bolstered their defensive options by signing Alvaro Odriozola on loan from Real Madrid for the remainder of the season.

Edinson Cavani's mother has accused Paris Saint-Germain of "not behaving well" and outlined her son's desire to join Atletico Madrid.

Uruguay international Cavani is PSG's record goalscorer but is expected to leave the Parc des Princes either in January or at the end of the season when his contract expires.

Atletico Madrid have been repeatedly linked with the 32-year-old and he is keen to try his luck in LaLiga.

His mother Berta Gomez told Spanish newspaper AS: "There is an open negotiation. PSG have rejected three proposals from Atletico but my son has asked to leave and we are waiting for an agreement to be reached by both clubs.

"It's complicated but he wants to play at Atletico, if not now, then in the summer. We have been wishing it for years but it does not now depend on my son but on PSG and Atletico."

PSG are believed to be reluctant to sanction Cavani's departure as they continue to chase a maiden Champions League crown - a stance Berta understands - although she remains unimpressed with how little playing time her son is currently getting.

Cavani has not played since coming on as a late substitute in PSG's 3-3 draw with Monaco on January 12 with the club citing a groin injury.

Berta added: "They are not behaving well with him, [especially] with everything he has given to PSG in the near seven years he has been there."

"If you don't use him, let him go to a club that needs your goals like Atletico Madrid."

Chelsea, Manchester United and Tottenham have also been linked with Cavani, who has been restricted to just nine Ligue 1 appearances this term due to injuries and the form of Mauro Icardi.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel, speaking on Tuesday ahead of the Coupe de la Ligue semi-final against Reims, understands Cavani's frustration but insists the forward is still a key part of his squad.

"For now he is on the bench and lacking game time. He is lacking rhythm and confidence," Tuchel said.

"[Confidence] is the most important thing, especially for goalscorers, but that's the way it is. In big clubs, there are players with a lot of quality but there is tough competition and it is not easy for him.

"I am aware of it and I understand it completely and I am very happy to see that he is still professional. If someone is injured, we will have a wonderful substitute.

"If he is able to find a rhythm again, we will be able to put him on the pitch and someone else on the bench. But he is lacking it, so it is really difficult to only help during one game.

"We still have this in mind but this is why it would be better for him to be part of the group, but he still has problems with his groin."

Manchester United have lined up another exciting midfield transfer target amid their ongoing pursuit of Bruno Fernandes.

As the wrangling over figures with Sporting CP continues, the Red Devils have reportedly submitted a sizeable offer to Birmingham City for teenage talent Jude Bellingham.

But making the first move might only spark a European bidding war.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SUBMIT BELLINGHAM BID

Birmingham youngster Bellingham's clear potential has convinced United to launch an offer worth more than £30million, reports the Sun and Sky Sports.

The 16-year-old midfielder has burst onto the scene this season and the Old Trafford outfit are understood to be keen to test him in the Premier League.

However, they could face stiff competition from Barcelona, Bayern Munich, Borussia Dortmund, Liverpool and other heavyweight clubs across the continent.

The Mirror, meanwhile, claims United have made a "breakthrough" in negotiations for Portugal international Fernandes, having reached a "compromise" transfer fee in the region of £55m.

 

ROUND-UP

- David Beckham's Inter Miami have contacted Manchester City striker Sergio Aguero to assess his interest in a switch to MLS, adds the Sun.

- Tottenham have enquired about Real Madrid winger and former Spurs star Gareth Bale, according to Spanish television programme El Chiringuito.

- Barcelona, still searching for a new striker, have ruled out RB Leipzig's Timo Werner and Lille's Victor Osimhen, suggests Mundo Deportivo, with Valencia's Rodrigo Moreno a more likely target.

- Serie A side Roma are set to discuss personal terms with Matteo Politano after agreeing a €25million fee with Inter, according to Sky Sport Italia.

- Inter, meanwhile, are said to be in discussions with United youngster Tahith Chong, who is also on Chinese outfit Jiangsu Suning's radar as his contract runs close to expiring, says Sky Sport Italia.

- Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali is interesting Premier League champions City and Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain, reports SportMediaset.

Quique Setien has confirmed Barcelona are considering signing another striker to ease the loss of Luis Suarez following the Uruguayan's knee surgery.

Suarez, 32, was said to have been carrying a knee injury for a while before Barca revealed he was set for surgery on January 11.

Reports suggested that Barca only expected him to be missing for a few weeks, but a club statement the following day confirmed their worst fears, with Suarez likely to miss most of the season.

Unsurprisingly Barca have been strongly linked with several strikers since, with Osasuna's Chimy Avila, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal and RB Leipzig star Timo Werner all mentioned as potential targets.

And while Setien refused to comment on specific names, he did confirm Barca are contemplating making a move.

"It is true that we are considering the signing of a number nine. We still have to develop things a little more," the head coach said ahead of the Copa del Rey trip to Ibiza.

"It's not an issue that worries me too much, I am more concerned about the games. It's an issue that I will have to deal with sports management about and we will see which is the most convenient.

"It's a matter [talk of specific players] I can't respond to you about, I won't either. I spoke a lot with the sports management about it, but we haven't decided on anything.

"It's all internal, so its preferable you don't ask me, as I won't say anything more."

The return of Ousmane Dembele could alleviate some of the burden on the remaining Barca attackers without Suarez, as the Frenchman is back in training after almost two months out with a thigh injury.

Dembele's Barca career has been somewhat underwhelming so far, though Setien still has high hopes for him.

"He's undoubtedly going to be very important," Setien said. "He's an extraordinary player who unfortunately hasn't had much consistency.

"Of course, he'll be very important, we hope he'll help us a lot."

Quique Setien has confirmed Barcelona are considering signing another striker to ease the loss of Luis Suarez following the Uruguayan's knee surgery.

Suarez, 32, was said to have been carrying a knee injury for a while before Barca revealed he was set for surgery on January 11.

Reports suggested that Barca only expected him to be missing for a few weeks, but a club statement the following day confirmed their worst fears, with Suarez likely to miss most of the season.

Unsurprisingly Barca have been strongly linked with several strikers since, with Osasuna's Chimy Avila, Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang of Arsenal and RB Leipzig star Timo Werner all mentioned as potential targets.

And while Setien refused to comment on specific names, he did confirm Barca are contemplating making a move.

"It is true that we are considering the signing of a number nine. We still have to develop things a little more," the head coach said ahead of the Copa del Rey trip to Ibiza.

"It's not an issue that worries me too much, I am more concerned about the games. It's an issue that I will have to deal with sports management about and we will see which is the most convenient.

"It's a matter [talk of specific players] I can't respond to you about, I won't either. I spoke a lot with the sports management about it, but we haven't decided on anything.

"It's all internal, so its preferable you don't ask me, as I won't say anything more."

The return of Ousmane Dembele could alleviate some of the burden on the remaining Barca attackers without Suarez, as the Frenchman is back in training after almost two months out with a thigh injury.

Dembele's Barca career has been somewhat underwhelming so far, though Setien still has high hopes for him.

"He's undoubtedly going to be very important," Setien said. "He's an extraordinary player who unfortunately hasn't had much consistency.

"Of course, he'll be very important, we hope he'll help us a lot."

LA Galaxy have announced the signing of striker Javier Hernandez from Sevilla.

The former Manchester United forward moves to MLS after spending just four months back in LaLiga with Julen Lopetegui's side.

Hernandez, who scored three goals in 15 appearances for Sevilla, will reportedly become the highest-paid player in the United States on a base salary of $6million over a three-year deal.

Speaking to the LA Times before the deal was announced, Hernandez said the move was "the right time, the right opportunity".

The 31-year-old, who will be tasked with filling the goalscoring void left by Zlatan Ibrahimovic, said of his decision: "People are going to say it was because I couldn't make it [in Europe], but sometimes in football there are things that are not in your hands.

"The last two years, the managers decided on giving confidence to other players rather than me. And now, LA Galaxy, the manager of the club and the league, are telling me, 'Look, Javier, we want to give you all the trust, all the confidence to help us,' and that's why I'm taking this opportunity."

Hernandez began his career with Guadalajara before joining United in 2010, where he made an immediate impact.

The Mexico international scored 20 goals in his first season in England across all competitions, helping the Red Devils to win the Premier League and reach the Champions League final.

He won a second league title in 2012-13 but struggled in David Moyes' ill-fated spell in charge, and he was loaned to Real Madrid in 2014-15 when Louis van Gaal took over.

Hernandez recaptured some of his best goalscoring form after joining Bayer Leverkusen in August 2015, hitting 28 Bundesliga goals in 54 games.

He returned to the Premier League with West Ham in 2017 and scored 27 times before moving to Sevilla.

Galaxy finished fifth in the Western Conference in 2019 before losing to city rivals Los Angeles in the playoffs.

Kylian Mbappe has reiterated his commitment to Paris Saint-Germain amid renewed links to Real Madrid, while the France forward described Liverpool as "like a machine".

Mbappe has become one of the world's best strikers since joining PSG from Monaco in 2017, scoring 81 goals in all competitions in his two-and-a-half seasons at the club so far.

Before signing for PSG, Mbappe was heavily linked with LaLiga giants Madrid, and speculation of a move to Santiago Bernabeu has never died down.

However, the 21-year-old insists he has no plans to leave PSG just yet, adding it is not beneficial to the club or his development for a possible switch to Madrid to be continuously discussed.

"Everyone talks about it - when I was young I talked about it too. But now I'm a player and I know it's not the moment," Mbappe, speaking at the launch of his charity "Inspired by Kylian Mbappe (IBKM)" told BBC Sport.

"We are in January - it's the money time of the season. Imagine I answer your question and say something. Everybody will talk about it and it's not good for PSG.

"Now I'm with PSG and I'm 100 per cent with the club. I want to help the club grow this season, to win a lot of titles, so for me it's not good to talk about [my future].

"I think about the club because the club helped me. I came here at 18. I was a talent but I was not a superstar. Now I'm a superstar, thanks to PSG and the French national team.

"I have to stay calm and stay focused on PSG. After that, at the end of the season, we will see. But now I'm focused on my game."

Liverpool have also been linked with making a move for Mbappe to add to their fearsome attack, though Jurgen Klopp has previously said the forward is out of the club's financial reach.

Mbappe, however, has been in awe of Liverpool's form this term, as the Reds storm towards the Premier League title.

"What Liverpool do in this moment is amazing," Mbappe said of the defending European champions. "They're like a machine, they've found a rhythm and are like 'we play again, we play again'.

"They've lost zero games. When you watch you think everything's easy but that's not easy. The guys are focused, they play games every three days and they win, they win, they win.

"Now the problem is that everybody watches Liverpool, and everybody watches what we can do against them, so now they have to show they are strong again but it's a very good team with a very good manager."

Inter are reportedly "confident" of finally sealing a deal for Christian Eriksen.

The Serie A title hopefuls are said to be preparing an improved offer as they seek to tempt Tottenham into selling the midfielder this month.

On Monday, Inter sporting director Piero Ausilio confirmed an official bid had been lodged with the London club.

 

TOP STORY – INTER BACK IN FOR ERIKSEN

The chase for wantaway midfielder Eriksen could come to an end when Inter increase their proposal to €15million (£12.8m) plus add-ons.

The Guardian suggests Tottenham will soon have another offer to contemplate after rejecting the Nerazzurri's previous approach, which involved an initial €10m (£8.5m) sum.

Eriksen, also linked with Manchester United, is due to become a free agent at the end of the season.

 

ROUND-UP

- Ashley Young has arrived, Eriksen could be close and Inter's raid on English football is not finished there. Victor Moses has been pictured in Milan and Sky Sport Italia claims the Chelsea wide man will undergo a medical on Tuesday.

- Eriksen's future is not Tottenham's only cause for concern. According to the Daily Mail, Danny Rose and manager Jose Mourinho were involved in a "heated exchange" on Sunday after the left-back took issue with his omission from the squad that draw 0-0 at Watford.

- Chelsea have made enquiries about Edinson Cavani and are ready to rival Atletico Madrid for the Paris Saint-Germain striker's signature, reports the Telegraph.

- LaLiga champions Barcelona admire Arsenal captain Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang more than the other centre-forwards on their shortlist of potential signings, says Mundo Deportivo.

- Bayern Munich are hunting a new right-back and have identified Real Madrid defender Alvaro Odriozola as a strong candidate to fill the problem position, reports Sky Sport Germany.

Real Madrid lifted the lid on the worst-kept secret in world football on Monday when they confirmed the signing of Flamengo talent Reinier Jesus for a reported €30million.

In completing the long-reported deal, Los Blancos bolstered an already impressive collection of young players on their books, with the club's future planning seemingly second to none in world football.

In Eder Militao, Federico Valverde, Luka Jovic, Brahim Diaz, Rodrygo Goes, Vinicius Junior, Takefusa Kubo, Achraf Hakimi, Sergio Reguilon, Martin Odegaard and now Reinier, Madrid boast a remarkable amount of under-23 talent.

Reinier completed his switch the day after his 18th birthday and, while his price tag appears hefty, it actually led to friction within Flamengo – coach Jorge Jesus accusing the club of not being able to value their players, a comment vice-president Marcos Braz subsequently shut down.

Although a regular in transfer gossip columns of late, Reinier remains something of an unknown quantity and a complete rookie given he has played just 15 matches of senior football.

We asked Andy Walker, a Brazilian football analyst and expert for Football Radar, for the lowdown on the latest Brazilian 'wonderkid' to secure a move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

What's Reinier's favoured role?

"Reinier is at his best in a No.10 role, but he does like to play slightly more advanced than a traditional '10', staying close to the striker as much as possible," Andy surmised.

It is an area in which Madrid are by no means short, but Reinier also boasts the flexibility to fill in right across the frontline. "He has actually been used as a striker at times by Flamengo as a result," Andy added.

 

What are his greatest attributes?

A Brazilian attacker coveted by Real Madrid – you might be able to guess at a few of his strongest traits, though Andy has also been impressed by Reinier's poise when it matters.

"A quick, direct dribbler who can glide past his man with ease, as well as possessing deceptively good close control and technique," Andy said. "He's also got a real eye for goal, with six goals in 729 minutes of senior football, with his composure really impressive given his very young age."

 

In which areas does he need to improve?

While he is certainly costly, it should not be forgotten Reinier has only just turned 18 and is by no means the finished article. Our expert has reservations over the Flamengo product's physicality and athleticism at the moment.

He said: "He needs to progress physically as we have seen him struggle to keep up the pace in the latter stages when playing a full 90 minutes, but that should all come as he learns the game and adapts to a more rigorous training regime in Europe. As with any young Brazilian, he will need a lot of growth on the tactical side of the game, but his six months under Jorge Jesus will prove a real benefit, rather than playing under some of the archaic Brazilian coaches."

 

Which player could he be comparable to?

Every talented young player from Brazil or Argentina gets labelled as the heir apparent to a previous superstar, and it seems Reinier is no different having drawn comparisons to a former Madrid player.

"The easy comparison to make is with Kaka – or specifically the Milan-era Kaka," Andy suggested, and he is not the only one to make that link. Guilherme Dalla Dea, Reinier's former Brazil Under-17 coach, said similar last year.

"I see him as a '10' – a Rai, a Kaka," he told FIFA. "I see these characteristics in Reiner. He likes getting in the box, scoring goals. He also scores goals from outside the box. I've so much belief in him. He's a kid, a youngster, but he's very level-headed and because of this he's our captain. I firmly believe we'll see him playing at a very high level overseas."

 

How does his potential stack up compared to Rodrygo and Vinicius?

There is no doubt Madrid are backing their own track record of turning raw young talents into the world's best, such has been their investment in under-23 players over the past few years. And the consensus is, Reinier's potential is vast.

"It's difficult to say given Rodrygo and Vinicius were given more time to show their talents in Brazil before moving, but Reinier's talent has been obvious since his very first game and I think the general feeling is that, if all goes well, then he could end up being the best of the lot," Andy observed.

 

Have there been any concerns relating to his mentality?

Talent can only take you so far. As a teenager moving to a new continent, Reinier will surely face mental challenges and those will likely determine whether or not he achieves success – but in terms of professionalism, he is seemingly well set.

"Reinier's team-mates and coaches have all been very positive about his attitude and willingness to learn, so he looks well-placed to make the most of his talents," Andy commented.

Similarly, his coach Jorge Jesus has no worries about that side of the 18-year-old, telling Marca: "I believe a lot in Reinier. I had several talks with him and we talked a lot from the point of view of how he can get better, about his defects, what needs to be corrected. Reinier is a very intelligent kid, he likes to learn and I can say he is a gifted one. I assure you, he is going to mature there. He will arrive in Madrid safe and quiet to do a job, but it is necessary to give him some time."

Barcelona have signed Rey Manaj from Albacete for an initial €700,000, with the former Inter striker agreeing a contract until June 2023.

The fee could rise by €2million in performance-based bonuses over the next three and a half years, with 22-year-old Manaj set to line-up for Barca B in the third tier.

After starting his senior career with Cremonese, the Albania international – who has a €50m release clause in his Barca contract – moved to Inter and made six appearances for the club during a stint that included loans to Pescara, Pisa and Granada.

Manaj joined Albacete in July 2018 on loan with an obligation to buy. He scored nine goals in 39 league appearances for the Segunda Division side.

Real Madrid have completed the signing of Brazilian teenager Reinier Jesus from Flamengo.

The attacker has long been linked with a €30million switch to Madrid, with reports previously suggesting he would sign after turning 18 on January 19.

Reinier's arrival was subsequently confirmed on Monday, agreeing a six-and-a-half-year deal at the Santiago Bernabeu.

He scored six goals in 14 appearances for Flamengo in Brazil's Serie A last year.

During his brief stint in Flamengo's senior side, Reinier collected medals for both the Brasileiro and Copa Libertadores titles – though he did only make a single appearance in the latter.

He was also a part of the Flamengo squad that narrowly missed out on the Club World Cup title last month, as Liverpool beat them 1-0 in the final.

A technical, creative and powerful attacking midfielder, Reinier initially attracted attention for his performances with Brazil in the 2019 South American Under-17 Championship.

Captaining his country, Reinier netted three times – a figured bettered by only three players – as Brazil otherwise disappointed, failing to get beyond the first group phase after finishing fourth in Group B.

Despite links with Madrid, Reinier signed a new contract with Flamengo in November – the deal reportedly including a €35million release clause.

Madrid confirmed Reinier will link up with their second string Real Madrid Castilla after his participation in CONMEBOL's Pre-Olympic Tournament finishes in early February.

West Ham goalkeeper Roberto has signed for Deportivo Alaves on loan for the rest of the season after a disappointing first six months in the Premier League.

The 33-year-old was brought to London Stadium on a free transfer at the end of May as a back-up to established number one Lukasz Fabianski, signing a two-year deal.

But an early hip injury for Fabianski handed Roberto his opportunity in the first team.

The Spaniard played eight times in the league but was at fault for a number of goals during a slump in form and was eventually replaced by David Martin.

Fabianski suffered another injury earlier this month, yet West Ham have brought back Darren Randolph from Middlesbrough in a reported £4million transfer.

Roberto has subsequently been allowed to return to LaLiga on a temporary deal.

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