Neymar, Thomas Meunier, Keylor Navas and Marco Verratti are all expected back in Paris Saint-Germain training next week following injuries.

PSG had previously announced Neymar was due to resume training this week, having been out since the previous international break with a hamstring injury.

He is instead now set to return in the coming days, alongside Thomas Meunier, who has also been dealing with a hamstring issue.

Navas should likewise be back among the squad in the next seven days as he recovers from a thigh injury which forced him out of last weekend's win at Brest.

The former Real Madrid man had crucially saved a penalty against Club Brugge in the Champions League three days earlier.

Verratti has had an injury to the back of his right knee, keeping him out of international action for Italy, but is hoping to train by the end of next week.

Italy confirmed Marco Verratti, Domenico Berardi and Leonardo Spinazzola have withdrawn from the squad for upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against Bosnia-Herzegovina and Armenia, but Sandro Tonali has been added to the roster.

Paris Saint-Germain star Verratti played 80 minutes of their 2-1 win at Brest on Saturday but was withdrawn – according to reports in Italy – due to a calf strain.

Similarly, Italy have not confirmed the issue in-form Sassuolo attacker Berardi has sustained, though it is claimed he injured his thigh during the 3-1 defeat of Bologna.

Spinazzola is reported to have suffered a muscular problem in action for Roma on Sunday.

Verratti is the only player to have been replaced, with highly rated 19-year-old Tonali, who has impressed in his debut Serie A season with Brescia, in line to earn his second cap.

Italy have already qualified for Euro 2020. Their two remaining qualifiers see them face Bosnia away on Friday, before hosting Armenia three days later.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel hailed "extraordinary"star Marco Verratti as one of the best midfielders in the world.

Verratti signed a new five-year deal with PSG on Wednesday, having established himself as an integral member of the Ligue 1 champions since arriving in 2012.

The Italy international, who will remain in Paris until 2024, has won six Ligue 1 titles and 22 trophies in total following his transfer from Pescara.

Tuchel lauded the 26-year-old as a coach's dream ahead of Friday's trip to bottom side Dijon.

"As I often said, Marco is very important," Tuchel told reporters. "He's a key player. He's one of the best midfielders in the world.

"There is always room for improvement but he's highly reliable. He has loads of responsibilities inside the group. He always thinks about others and their happiness. He's a team player. Coaching Marco is the best that can happen to a coach.

"To give you an example, ahead of our game against Nice, he played with Italy. It was a Friday evening, both games were very close [Italy played the 15th and PSG on the 18th]. He came back on Thursday. On Friday I talked to him and he said to me: 'No, no, no! I'll play against Nice, I'll play!'. We've decided then that he will not play. Back in the training on Saturday he was there giving everything during both small and bigger exercises. We've got a small session with eight players, we walked, we played a few games…  and he trained like a youngster about maybe 18 or 19 years old trying to prove to the coach that he can play. This is what Marco is about. It shows a lot in my opinion.

"I'm delighted to be his coach. I'm really pleased he's with us because he's an extraordinary player with a very rare mindset. I think that everybody is happy he's with us."

 

Marco Verratti has committed himself to Paris Saint-Germain until 2024, the Ligue 1 champions have confirmed.

Verratti joined PSG from Italian club Pescara in 2012 and has been a fixture in the side ever since, despite suffering numerous injuries over that period.

A technical and hard-working midfielder, the 26-year-old has frequently been a reported target for Barcelona.

But he is in it for the long-haul at PSG, with his new contract set to keep him in the French capital until he is 31.

As such, Verratti feels he is committing the prime years of his career to PSG as he continues to live a childhood dream.

"I think I'm coming to the most important moment of my career," he told his club's official website.

"I think at 27, you know a lot more things, you have more experience and I think it's the age to do things right. That's why I'm really happy to be able to continue here in Paris.

"As I said from the first day, I feel really good here. I feel like I play for a team that has a very big project.

"For me, it's the main thing because I want to try to win as much as possible, and here we have this opportunity because we have a great team, we have a great coach. We can do great things together.

"I am someone who gets attached very quickly. I think PSG has given me a lot. I live the dream I had as a child, the one to play big matches with big players, against big opponents."

The Italy international has started eight of PSG's 11 Ligue 1 matches this term and will likely be key for the remainder of the campaign as Thomas Tuchel's men look to win the club's seventh league title in the past eight seasons.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel hailed "extraordinary" midfielder Marco Verratti after he wore the captain's armband for Italy during the international break.

PSG star Verratti captained Italy for the first time as the Azzurri routed Liechtenstein 5-0 in Euro 2020 qualifying on Tuesday.

Tuchel was full of praise for Verratti – who joined the French champions from Pescara in 2012 – ahead of Friday's Ligue 1 clash away to Nice.

"He deserved it [to captain Italy]," Tuchel told reporters. "He's a leader. Everybody can be a leader but not the way he does. The difference is in the little things.

"The five players I've been talking about [Marco Verratti, Thiago Silva, Marquinhos, Edinson Cavani, Kylian Mbappe] are the leaders of our locker room and he does it in his own way with his spirit.

"He's always at 100 per cent and concerned about everybody's happiness. He shows great empathy. He can be a leader regarding that kind of things. On the pitch he has the skills.

"He plays fast and simple. He's amazing. He's an extraordinary player. We're very happy he's here with us."

Mbappe and Cavani are in the squad for PSG's trip to Nice, while world-record signing Neymar is absent due to a hamstring injury.

It is a boost for Tuchel, who could hand a start to PSG forward Mauro Icardi – who is on an initial loan deal from Inter.

"We can start to think about it [Cavani playing alongside Icardi] but it's different for Mauro," Tuchel said. "He hasn't reached 100 per cent yet but he has played with us in a few games.

"He showed that he could play in spite of some pain. He can play for us, he has defended and put intensity. He's very tactically disciplined. Now, he did two weeks with us, he wasn't with the Argentina team. It was good because he was able to be with us, we were able to work in terms of volume and intensity.

"It's difficult for him. We cannot make a full preparation for a single player now. It is not possible. He may have to play [Friday]. We cannot get him ready during two, three weeks, just for him, we cannot do that. It is a juggling exercise. Mauro can start without any doubt, he hasn't felt any pain for two weeks, he's ready I think."

Keeping Neymar amid interest from Barcelona was Paris Saint-Germain's most important piece of business in the transfer window, according to his team-mate Marco Verratti.

Brazil star Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Barca, whom he left two years ago in a world-record €222million move.

The two clubs held meetings and Barca confirmed their interest in the forward, but their reported offer of €130m plus Ivan Rakitic, Jean-Clair Todibo and Ousmane Dembele – the latter apparently having been offered on loan – fell short when the former Borussia Dortmund winger rejected a proposed switch.

As such, many consider PSG's Champions League chances to be greater, and although suspension rules him out of their first two games of the European campaign, Verratti believes retaining Neymar's services was the best bit of recruitment work the club did in the transfer window.

"We need players like Neymar or Kylian [Mbappe], who are a bit above everyone else," Verratti told reporters.

"Neymar had a difficult time with off-field moments that have somewhat destabilised him, but when he learned that he was staying, I saw him with a smile as always.

"He loves football, he is a player who will help us a lot. We are lucky to have him in Paris, we must enjoy him. I know the fans have not forgotten [what happened], but I hope Neymar will do everything [to forget the drama] and we will celebrate all this together at the end of the season.

"In football, there are always some nice moments and I hope that it will end well. Neymar will give 110 per cent.

"Neymar is perhaps the most important player we recruited. There are more favoured teams than us, but we will give everything.

"If we go out, it'll because the opponents are better than us, but I do not want to go out and have regrets like last year [against Manchester United]."

Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani will all miss PSG's Group A opener against Real Madrid on Wednesday, meaning Mauro Icardi could lead the line at the Parc des Princes.

The Argentina forward featured as a substitute in the 1-0 win over Strasbourg on Saturday and, although Verratti accepts he is still integrating, he is confident Icardi will prove his worth.

"It takes a little more time to get to know everyone, but it's easy to play with him," Verratti said of the on-loan Inter forward.

"He can score at any time. He can help us, he knows how to play with his team-mates and we are happy.

"We have to wait a bit to see the real Icardi. He has been out for a long time, but he is a magnificent player."

Ander Herrera is excited to play alongside Neymar and believes the Brazilian can challenge fellow Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe to win the Ballon d'Or.

The 27-year-old made his return from injury by featuring twice for Brazil during the international break and is in contention to start PSG's Ligue 1 clash with Strasbourg on Saturday.

Neymar has finished third in the Ballon d'Or running in two of the last four seasons and, despite missing Brazil's Copa America triumph and the opening month of PSG's title defence, Herrera thinks he will be in the running to be crowned the world's greatest player.

Herrera, who is in line to make his first league appearance for the Parisians since joining from Manchester United during the close season, also rates striker Mbappe and midfielder Marco Verratti among the best around.

"[Neymar] is one of the five best players in the world and a candidate for the gold ball with Mbappe," he told reporters.

"I'm excited and happy to play with Neymar. For me, it's great. This is an incredible opportunity for me to play with players like Neymar, like Kylian Mbappe or Marco Verratti, who can for me become the best midfielder very soon. 

"We are going to make sure that he has his best season and that he is even better."

Cagliari president Tommaso Giulini said "closing curvas isn't the answer" to ending racism in Serie A after Inter star Romelu Lukaku was subjected to monkey chants last week.

Racism reared its ugly head again in Italy, where Lukaku was racially abused during Inter's 2-1 win away to Cagliari at Sardegna Arena on Sunday.

The incident, which came as Lukaku stepped up to convert a second-half penalty, sparked widespread condemnation of Cagliari – whose fans were also previously involved in racist chants directed at Pescara's Sulley Muntari (2017), Juventus midfielder Blaise Matuidi (2018) and former Juve forward Moise Kean (2019).

Inter's Curva Nord supporters claimed alleged abuse of striker Lukaku from Cagliari fans was not racist but "a form of respect".

Amid growing calls for Italian authorities to crack down on racism and Cagliari, Giulini told Radio Popolare: "We're trying to work in a serious way, through the awareness of our stewards who will have to report people to DIGOS [a law enforcement agency].

"It's not easy to lipread with technology: we'll also ask the decent fans for help, that is 99.9 per cent of Cagliari supporters.

"Fighting ignorance is difficult, so we can only raise awareness. This incident has caused huge anger and frustration in us for all the initiatives we're carrying out. We were the first to introduce a school for young fans.

"Cagliari isn't a racist city at all. I'm so sorry that this image of us has also gone abroad. I hope we aren't banned. Closing curvas isn't the answer: as I said before, stewards must be made aware.

"I won't rule out, however, that any of my stewards saw something or a camera identified someone chanting. Once they're recognised, these people could be denied entry if they try to re-enter the stadium."

Former Pescara midfielder Marco Verratti – who now plays for Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain – said games must be stopped for racism.

"You have to stop games because otherwise we won't go anywhere," the Italy international told Rai Sport.

"I know it's a big step to take, but we have to do it because otherwise those 4-5 stupid people will always be there.

"Lukaku's appeal was right. It's up to us players to show we can be role models for all ages. We carry great influence. If it starts with us, that's a good thing."

Neymar is very close to full fitness but will not play for Paris Saint-Germain until there is clarity on his future, head coach Thomas Tuchel says.

It is claimed that talks between PSG and interested parties Barcelona and Real Madrid have continued this week, but there has been no breakthrough over a possible deal for the Brazil star.

Neymar has not played for the Ligue 1 champions since the 2-1 win at Angers in May, having sat out their pre-season matches and all three competitive games in 2019-20 due to an ankle injury that saw him miss the Copa America.

The forward trained with the first team this week and appeared to be in good spirits with his team-mates, leading to suggestions he could yet decide to stay at Parc des Princes.

Tuchel says the former Barca player could feature as soon as Sunday, when PSG face Toulouse, but only if his future has become clearer.

"Neymar is in good shape," he told a news conference. "He has had a good week with his team-mates. However, the club's position is clear: while his situation is unclear, he cannot play.

"If Neymar's situation became clear tomorrow, then he could play.

"The situation with Neymar is unsettling. It helps nobody. Everyone is used to this sort of situation around Neymar. The same thing happened when he was injured. It is normal with the biggest stars."

Midfielder Marco Verratti equally hopes his team-mate stays in the French capital beyond the transfer deadline of September 2.

"Neymar and I are close. However, I don't like speaking with him about his future," he said. "Obviously, I want him to stay. I would like it to be September 2 tomorrow."

Marco Verratti wants Neymar to stay at Paris Saint-Germain amid reports the star forward is set for an exit from the Ligue 1 champions.

Neymar missed PSG's 3-0 win over Nimes on Sunday, with his move from the Parc des Princes – reportedly to either Barcelona or Real Madrid – seemingly getting closer.

Still, the Brazil international was targeted by supporters, who called for the 27-year-old to leave the club.

Verratti, who played 90 minutes against Nimes, is eager for Neymar to remain with PSG.

"I didn't listen to that. Supporters can say what they think," the midfielder said, via L'Equipe.

"We are very close to Ney. He is a player who gave a lot to Paris. Last year, he scored in important moments.

"As soon as he played, we only talked about him because he is an incredible player who excites everyone.

"I think for him it's good if things are clear, if he stays or if he leaves. These are things he will manage with the club, but I want him to stay."

Neymar has scored 51 goals in 58 games for PSG since joining the club from Barcelona for a world-record fee of €222million two years ago.

PSG make the trip to Rennes in their second Ligue 1 game of the season on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain should not keep Neymar if he wants to leave the club, says team-mate Marco Verratti.

The Brazil superstar has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona, two years after he joined PSG in a €222million deal, with sporting director Leonardo confirming Neymar wants to leave.

Barca have reportedly offered €100m and two of Ousmane Dembele, Philippe Coutinho, Samuel Umtiti, Nelson Semedo, Ivan Rakitic and Malcom in exchange.

And Verratti – who came close to joining Barca two years ago – thinks it would be detrimental to PSG if they were to deny Neymar a move.

"I think that if a player wants to leave, in the end he will always find a way to go" he told RMC Sport.

"And it's better like that, otherwise the club will keep someone who does not want [to be there], who will be against the club.

"When a player really wants to leave, the club must let him go, depending on the conditions set by the club, of course. But do not hold back a player who wants to leave."

Leonardo has said the price must be right for Neymar to leave but Verratti hopes the 27-year-old remains in the French capital.

"Of course, I would be disappointed to see him go," he added. "He's a great player. 

"I've never heard him say he wanted to leave but personally, of course, I would prefer to see him stay."

Verratti's agent Donato Di Campli described the midfielder as a "prisoner" at PSG two years ago when he was being strongly linked with Barcelona.

Instead of leaving, Verratti pledged his future to the Ligue 1 champions after receiving reassurances about their ambitions, a decision he does not regret.

"At the time, I needed explanations from PSG," he explained. "I saw things that did not seem to me to be worthy of a club that wants to win major competitions.

"I did not agree with some things, but we talked to each other and I stayed. I'm glad I made that choice."

Neymar has yet to feature for PSG in pre-season and will miss their final warm-up game, against A-League outfit Sydney FC in Suzhou on Tuesday.

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