Manchester United are no closer to concluding their long-running search for a director of football.

Rumours emerged over the weekend indicating the Red Devils were closing in on Lille's Luis Campos, famed for spotting the likes of Kylian Mbappe during his time at Monaco.

But fresh reports in France suggest United will be left frustrated in any bid to lure the Portuguese to Old Trafford.

 

UNITED TARGET NOT INTERESTED IN LEAVING LILLE

Claims that United have commenced negotiations with 55-year-old Campos are wide of the mark, reports Le 10 Sport.

There has apparently been no contact between the parties and, in any case, the former Real Madrid scout is said to have no plans to leave Lille.

United's 2-0 defeat to Liverpool on Sunday and the loss of Marcus Rashford has exacerbated the need for signings, an area in which Campos was expected to assist.

Campos previously had a long career as a head coach in his native Portugal, where he led Gil Vicente and Beira-Mar among others.

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- Paris Saint-Germain are in preliminary talks with Neymar's representatives about a contract extension, according to French broadcaster TF1, although the Brazilian would prefer to delay concrete discussions.

- Krzysztof Piatek's proposed switch to Tottenham has stalled over Milan's £30million asking price, claims the Daily Mail.

- Spurs could turn their attention to Leicester City flop Islam Slimani, according to the Telegraph. The 31-year-old is out on loan at Monaco, where he has scored seven goals in 13 Ligue 1 games.

- Inter forward Matteo Politano favours a return to Serie A rivals Roma but may be given the option of leaving San Siro for Sevilla, says Corriere dello Sport.

- LaLiga side Espanyol hope to sign Reinier on loan once the Brazilian teenager's move to Real Madrid goes through, reports Spanish newspaper SPORT.

Pablo Sarabia's header 10 minutes from time ensured Paris Saint-Germain did just enough to beat Ligue 2 side Lorient 1-0 and book their place in the last 16 of the Coupe de France.

Thomas Tuchel's men were far from their best at Stade du Moustoir and extra-time appeared to be on the cards, but Sarabia was decisive in the 80th minute to end Lorient's hopes of an upset.

While Tuchel did use the opportunity to rest some of his key players, PSG still had an exceptionally strong starting XI – but they offered very little spark or imagination in the first half, with Lorient actually crafting the best chance.

The contest was more open after half-time, particularly in the final 20 minutes, and Sarabia produced a well-placed header late on to seal the victory, as PSG look to go one better than last season in the competition, having finished runners-up in 2018-19

Although PSG managed eight shots in the first half, there was a distinct lack of goalmouth action and the Parisians struggled to test Paul Nardi in the Lorient goal.

The only major opportunity of the opening 45 minutes fell to the home side just past the half-hour mark – Yoane Wissa heading Jimmy Cabot's cross just wide from close range.

PSG were no more of a creative threat after the interval, with Angel Di Maria, Julian Draxler and Sarabia underwhelming in their attempts to supply Mauro Icardi with good service.

Icardi was finally presented with a chance in the 67th minute, latching on to Sarabia's looping header at the back post, but Nardi just managed to get in the way when the opening goal looked a certainty.

Chances began to flow a little more in the final 15 minutes, as Thiago Silva cut out a potentially goal-bound shot from Vincent Le Goff and Nardi made a fine save to thwart Sarabia.

But the former Sevilla winger was not to be denied soon after, peeling off his marker to head home Silva's delivery.

 

What does it mean? PSG persist but lack of decisiveness a concern

It is not often that PSG struggle to break their opponents down. With a slightly altered supporting cast for Icardi, the Parisians often appeared short of ideas on Sunday. Perhaps it came down to a lack of focus - if so, Tuchel will need to stamp that out quickly if they are to enjoy a successful season across all fronts.

Nardi a safe pair of hands

He perhaps did not come under quite as much pressure as he might have expected, but Nardi still produced a commanding performance in Lorient's goal. His save to deny Icardi in the second half was excellent, while he looked confident when dealing with crosses and high deliveries.

Di Maria disappoints

The most experienced player in PSG's attack on the day, Di Maria certainly cannot be accused of going missing, but very little of what he did was positive. Only one of his seven shots was accurate and he produced a solitary key pass – hardly decisive.

What's next?

Another cup tie awaits PSG, as they go to Reims in the Coupe de la Ligue on Wednesday. Lorient return to league action two days later as the Ligue 2 leaders host Nancy.

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain returned to winning ways in Ligue 1 with a 4-1 victory over Monaco in a match marred by contentious VAR decisions.

Three days after their teams played out a 3-3 draw at Parc des Princes, coaches Thomas Tuchel and Robert Moreno clashed on the touchline at Stade Louis II in a rearranged match. 

An end-to-end start was capped off by Mbappe resuming his scoring run, though VAR should have awarded Monaco a penalty shortly after the restart.

Monaco's frustration with the officiating was compounded in first-half stoppage time as Neymar scored his second penalty in as many matches after a blatant dive from Layvin Kurzawa.

Pablo Sarabia's strike increased PSG's lead - though only after a VAR review - with Tiemoue Bakayoko scuffing in a consolation goal before Mbappe doubled his tally in stoppage time.

Both teams picked up where they left off after Sunday's thrilling encounter in Paris, Keylor Navas and Benjamin Lecomte making excellent stops before Mbappe slotted home in the 24th minute.

A lengthy VAR check for a possible foul and offside frustrated PSG, and Gelson Martins would have equalised immediately if not for Navas, though the hosts were furious that they were not awarded a penalty for an apparent handball by Presnel Kimpembe prior to the shot.

And, after Lecomte had made a fantastic save from Mbappe and Colin Dagba had a goal disallowed for offside, Monaco felt let down by more poor officiating.

Kamil Glik stood his ground heading into a challenge with Kurzawa, who clearly initiated the contact on the byline, yet VAR did not overturn the referee's decision to award PSG a penalty, which Neymar converted.

Wissam Ben Yedder should have done better at the end of a superb move midway through the second half, but the contest was settled when Sarabia volleyed in a minute after coming on.

Navas' mistake did allow Bakayoko to bundle in a deserved goal for Monaco, yet it was Mbappe who had the final say when he raced through to add his second, this time celebrating against his former club after not doing so first time around.

An exasperated Thomas Tuchel accepted he no longer knows the offside rules after he was left baffled by the decision to allow Islam Slimani's Monaco equaliser to stand during Paris Saint-Germain's 3-3 draw on Sunday.

During a thrilling encounter at the Parc des Princes, PSG took an early lead through Neymar, only to then fall behind to strikes from Gelson Martins and Wissam Ben Yedder – the latter netting in the 13th minute.

The pendulum swung back in PSG's favour thanks to a Fode Ballo Toure own goal and Neymar's penalty just prior to the break, but controversially Monaco sealed a share of the spoils in Robert Moreno's first Ligue 1 game as coach 20 minutes from time.

Gelson's shot found its way to the seemingly offside Slimani via a touch from Marquinhos that was deemed to be deliberate, and the on-loan Leicester City striker swept home – VAR ruling in the visitors' favour after the assistant initially ruled it out.

Tuchel was bemused by the situation.

"The third goal… I don't, I can't understand," Tuchel said in his post-match news conference. "Really, why is it not offside?

"Everybody said to me that it is the new rule. Okay - after that, I have to say that I don't understand the rules, but it doesn't help."

Tuchel suggested before the match he was considering deploying Marquinhos – normally a centre-back – in midfield, but in the end he opted to select the Brazilian in defence, with Idrissa Gueye partnering Marco Verratti.

It was put to Tuchel that Gueye and Verratti might not be entirely compatible, while the German explained he played Marquinhos at the back due to recent injury problems in that position.

In a prickly response, Tuchel said: "Do you think differently, that they [Gueye and Verratti] are not complementary? Do you think I would start the two if I thought they're not complementary? Doesn't make sense right?

"For me, Marquinhos can play both positions at an unbelievable level. He is a world-class player in both positions.

"Recently we've some troubles [in defence], because Presnel [Kimpembe] was injured for a few weeks, Thilo Kehrer was injured for a long time, he's already played twice, so it was not the moment for him to play a third time, Abdou Diallo was not available and it was the first game for Thiago Silva.

"That's why we used Marquinhos, because it was the logical solution for this game, but for me, it's still possible to play with Marquinhos in midfield, because he gives the team some quality, a lot of energy and personality.

"It was necessary for me to find a solution like that [against Monaco] because my three central defenders are injured, or just got back from injuries. It was logical."

PSG remain in charge at the Ligue 1 summit with 46 points from 19 matches, five clear of Marseille. Monaco are eighth.

Neymar wants Paris Saint-Germain to stick with their all-out attacking approach despite Monaco twice coming from behind to claim a thrilling 3-3 Ligue 1 draw at the Parc des Princes.

Neymar was on sparkling form, scoring twice and forcing Fode Ballo-Toure's own goal but Monaco gave as good as they got in an absorbing contest in Paris on Sunday.

Gelson Martins and Wissam Ben Yedder overturned Neymar's early opener to give Robert Moreno's Monaco the lead inside 15 minutes and Islam Slimani smuggled in another equaliser 20 minutes from time.

Neymar and Angel Di Maria flanked Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe in attack but PSG's backline was frequently exposed.

Nevertheless, Neymar – the world's most expensive footballer – is backing head coach Thomas Tuchel's strategy.

"We scored three goals. I think that it worked well," Neymar told reporters.

"We have quality, we know it. I think you made a mistake with this question but I responded."

Neymar believes Sunday's test will stand PSG in good stead as they once again compete for multiple honours, with Tuchel's old employers Borussia Dortmund their last-16 opponents when the Champions League resumes next month.

"This was a very difficult match," the Brazil international added. "We knew that we were going to encounter difficulties because they have a good team, with quality.

"It was a good test. We are happy. This was not the best match of our season. We are going to improve each time to pull off a great campaign."

Monaco twice came from behind to claim a 3-3 draw in a Ligue 1 thriller against Paris Saint-Germain at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

Gelson Martins swiftly cancelled out Neymar's early opener and Thomas Tuchel's men were behind to a fine Wissam Ben Yedder goal by the time the world's most expensive player forced a Fode Ballo-Toure own goal.

Neymar's penalty put leaders PSG ahead at the break but substitute Islam Slimani came up with a VAR-assisted leveller.

The remarkable first half burst into life inside three minutes as Neymar darted on to Marco Verratti's lofted pass to coolly finish.

Monaco refused to be cowed and Gelson slotted into an unguarded net four minutes later when Keylor Navas brought down Ben Yedder and play was allowed to continue.

Keita Balde was then booked for simulation inside the PSG area but was involved in a superb Monaco second, exchanging one-twos with Aleksandr Golovin down the left before finding Ben Yedder to brilliantly beat Juan Bernat and fire home.

Navas saved with his boot to stop Balde making it 3-1 and that moment seemingly shocked PSG back into life. Ballo-Toure turned Neymar's shot from Angel Di Maria's pass into his own net and it was all square once more.

Monaco captain Kamil Glik headed Cesc Fabregas' left-wing corner against the near post before PSG regained the lead in the 42nd minute – Neymar sending Benjamin Lecomte the wrong way after a panicked Gelson clattered into Kylian Mbappe.

Lecomte stood firm to thwart Neymar at close quarters nine minutes into a second half where the pace somewhat inevitably relented.

Monaco hung in the contest and snatched a disputed equaliser 20 minutes from time.

Slimani was flagged offside when he scrambled home the rebound from Gelson's shot, but replays showed Marquinhos got a touch on the ball before it ran towards the on-loan Leicester City striker.

Navas tipped over to deny Slimani an unlikely winner before Neymar's sumptuous chipped pass in stoppage time gave Mbappe the chance to claim an outright club record of scoring in an 11th consecutive PSG match, but the striker sliced wide.

What does it mean? PSG's chin tested after Robert's Monaco came out swinging

PSG dropped points for only the fourth time this season, leaving them five points ahead of Marseille at the summit with a game in hand. This high-class encounter should do them little harm as attentions begin to turn back towards the Champions League, while Monaco are in the hunt for a return to European football and look to have some of their old swagger back under Robert Moreno.

Neymar shows style and substance

Injuries and the saga over his long-term club future have provided a less-than-ideal backdrop to Neymar's third season in Paris. But he has now scored in each of his past seven matches in all competitions – a run dating back to December 4. The Brazil star was unplayable at times and the sight of him charging back to his own box to break up a Monaco counter-attack with an hour played heartened the Parc des Princes faithful.

Verratti fails to stem the tide

Italy international Verratti showed his undoubted quality with the pass for Neymar's opener but his other role in Tuchel's expansive attacking line-up is to help protect the back four. Too often, he came up woefully short in this department against a vibrant Monaco, not least when Gelson's deft spin left him on the turf in the build-up to Slimani's equaliser.

What's next

These two sides will do it all again in their rescheduled Stade Louis II clash on Wednesday. Sunday's evidence in Paris certainly suggested it will not be one to miss.

Andres Iniesta believes Barcelona would not regret bringing Neymar back from Paris Saint-Germain.

Brazil star Neymar has been repeatedly linked with a Camp Nou return over the past six months, with PSG digging in during the Ligue 1 close season to ensure he stayed in Paris.

An astonishing move to the French giants in August 2017 saw Neymar bought out of his Barcelona contract for a world-record €222million, and PSG hoped he would lead them to Champions League glory.

Only this week, Neymar said he felt the longed-for European glory remained a possibility this season, and he has seen off much of the hostility from Parisian supporters that followed several months of appearing to agitate for a return to Barca.

Yet as PSG bid to scoop a third successive Ligue 1 title and brace for a Champions League last-16 clash with Borussia Dortmund, rumours linking Neymar to the Blaugrana continue to linger.

Iniesta was a team-mate of Neymar's at Barcelona. Now a Vissel Kobe player, the Spain great has no doubt Neymar would slot back in and make a big contribution if a return could be negotiated.

"He's one of the best forwards out there, not just now," Iniesta said, quoted in Marca.

"He'd be a great signing for Barcelona. Another thing is whether it's necessary or not. For me, he's one of the best and he'd be a great signing."

Barcelona have a strong array of attacking talent, with Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez and Antoine Griezmann leading the line in Thursday's Supercopa clash against Atletico Madrid.

Messi and Suarez are both 32, however, and eventually Barcelona will need a succession plan when it comes to their vaunted attack. Neymar does not turn 28 until next month.

Iniesta remains in awe of Messi's achievements, though, saying of the six-time Ballon d'Or winner: "He keeps outdoing himself, beating records; he's more important than ever.

"It's the best news for Barcelona that he's like this. I hope that he can achieve the objectives that he has this season."

Paris Saint-Germain cruised into the semi-finals of the Coupe de la Ligue after Mauro Icardi scored a hat-trick in a 6-1 victory over 10-man Saint-Etienne.

The 2017-18 champions were in control of a one-sided contest before Wesley Fofana received his marching orders, leaving his team-mates to face an onslaught from PSG's four-pronged attack.

Icardi opened the scoring early in the first half and, after Neymar dinked in the second and goalkeeper Jessy Moulin bundled a third into his own net, the former Inter striker fired a second-half brace.

Not to be left out of the goal glut, Kylian Mbappe scored a sixth before Yohan Cabaye's late strike proved little consolation for Claude Puel's men, who bowed out with their tails between their legs.

Thomas Tuchel can reflect on another rampant attacking performance from his side, who have scored 29 goals in their last six games in all competitions, and remain very much in contention for silverware on four fronts.

Saint-Etienne were carved open with ease after two minutes when Thomas Meunier's slide-rule pass into the box found Icardi, whose angled shot Moulin would have saved had the visiting goalkeeper stood tall but it flashed over his crouching frame and high into the net.

Having earlier been booked for handball, Fofana was sent off after he caught Angel Di Maria's heels as the Argentina winger sprinted towards goal, and the 10 men were powerless to stop Neymar chipping Moulin for PSG's second after Di Maria threaded the assist.

Any hopes Puel had of rallying his team at the interval were spoiled when Mbappe's audacious backheel put Di Maria through for a cross that ricocheted off two defenders' shins before rebounding off the post, onto Moulin's legs and into the unguarded net.

Di Maria started the move that delivered PSG's fourth just four minutes after half-time, his pass releasing Mbappe whose cross deceived Moulin and left Icardi to fire into an empty net.

Saint-Etienne failed to cope with Mbappe's pace down the left and he burst clear before squaring to Icardi for the hosts' fifth shortly before the hour mark, and Icardi returned the favour 10 minutes later when he met Di Maria's long pass with a volley that played Mbappe in to score at close range.

Substitute Edinson Cavani had the ball in the net 10 minutes from time but he was flagged offside, compounding the Uruguayan's frustrations at missing out on much of a prolific period for PSG.

After Di Maria felled substitute Edmilson Indjai Correia in the box 20 minutes from time, Cabaye had a penalty saved by Sergio Rico but the midfielder met the rebound with a header that glided over the goalkeeper and into the net.

What does it mean? Icardi catching Mbappe

With few teams able to go toe-to-toe with PSG this season, their forwards are competing among themselves and Icardi's treble takes him to within two goals of catching Mbappe's tally of 19 in all competitions as the club's leading goal-scorer.

What a difference a year makes

It seems hard to believe that little short of a year ago Icardi was injury plagued, unsettled and facing an unclear future at Inter.

His revival under Tuchel has been spectacular and here he was back to his clinical best.

Juan to forget

On a night when Saint-Etienne barely got a sniff of the ball, Juan Bernat's overplaying at the back still threatened to allow them back into the game early on and he was wasteful with the ball going forward.

What's next?

PSG will likely face a stiffer test when they entertain Monaco in Ligue 1 on Sunday, while Saint-Etienne are at home against fifth-placed Nantes.

Neymar is confident this could be the year Paris Saint-Germain end their wait for a Champions League trophy.

Having long been the dominant force in French domestic football, European supremacy has eluded the capital club.

The 2011 takeover of the club by Qatar Sports Investments took PSG to another level financially, paving the way for Neymar's arrival six years later.

But even with that backing and a wealth of talent on the pitch, the most sought-after prize has eluded the Parisians.

Asked if that could change in 2020, when the first hurdle for Thomas Tuchel's side is to get past Borussia Dortmund in the round of 16, Neymar told Red Bull: "Yes, I think there's a possibility we can make it.

"In terms of the team and players, since I've played for PSG, this is the most prepared and strongest year we had in my opinion. So, I think we have a chance.

"Although PSG has never won the Champions League, we are going to fight for this title. We know our values and we hope to be in the final."

Neymar, who won Europe's top prize with Barcelona in 2015, has endured a sometimes troubled relationship with the fans at PSG, with reports over his apparent desire to leave doing little to endear him to the faithful.

Injury niggles have also limited his playing time, with off-field issues placing further strain on the 27-year-old.

The former Barcelona star concedes the past 12 months have been "tough", but he hopes to learn from his experiences.

"Professionally and personally, 2019 was a tough year for me," he said.

"It was a year full of learnings and turnarounds. I injured myself and had to come back. Then I injured myself again.

"Although it seems like a bad year, it was a year full of learnings and lots of experiences. I am taking the positive side of it so that 2020 can be better."

Alisson has become the first goalkeeper to win the Samba d'Or Award, beating Liverpool team-mate Roberto Firmino to the prize with Neymar only fifth.

The stopper took 35.54 per cent of the vote for the best Brazilian player in Europe with Firmino in second spot with 23.48 per cent.

Liverpool won the Champions League, the UEFA Super Cup and the Club World Cup in 2019 while Brazil claimed Copa America glory.

Paris Saint-Germain defender Thiago Silva came third with another Liverpool player, midfielder Fabinho, finishing fourth in the voting.

Three-time winner Neymar, who missed Brazil's triumph at the Copa America on home soil, was in fifth place with only 7.57 per cent.

Firmino won the award in 2018 and Alisson is the third player to win the Samba d'Or while representing Philippe Coutinho the 2016 recipient. 

Neymar is reportedly preparing a fresh strategy in his bid to return to Barcelona.

The Paris Saint-Germain star was linked heavily with a move back to Camp Nou during the close season but ended up staying with the Ligue 1 giants.

However, Neymar seemingly still has his eyes set on a return to LaLiga's reigning champions.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR PREPARES FRESH BARCELONA RETURN BID

Neymar is preparing a legal strategy to return to Barcelona, according to Sport.

The 27-year-old wants to make the move and let FIFA impose the compensation he will have to pay to PSG to be released, the report says.

Neymar has scored nine goals in 12 games this season, having struggled with injuries.

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- Christian Eriksen is wanted by several European heavyweights. Inter have expressed an interest in the Tottenham midfielder, according to the Daily Mail. Manchester United, PSG and Juventus have also been linked to the Denmark international, who is out of contract at season's end.

- Staying at Spurs, Napoli and Ajax are preparing to move for Jan Vertonghen, according to The Telegraph. Vertonghen is also out of contract at the end of the season.

- After missing out on Dejan Kulusevski to Juventus, Inter are setting up to land two major transfers ahead of 2020-21. La Gazzetta dello Sport believes the Nerazzurri  will try to sign Fiorentina star Federico Chiesa and Brescia midfielder Sandro Tonali.

- While they are eyeing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal, Inter will try to make Stefano Sensi's move from Sassuolo a permanent one in January, reports CalcioMercato. Sensi arrived on loan in July last year with an option to buy at the end of the season.

- Daniel Sturridge could be set for a return to the Premier League. The Sun claims Aston Villa could be set to offer the former Liverpool forward, who is playing for Trabzonspor, a return to England.

How much will it take to retain the services of Kylian Mbappe?

Paris Saint-Germain are desperate to ward off Real Madrid, who want to bring Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu.

A huge contract offer is reportedly on the horizon in Paris.

 

TOP STORY – PSG READYING BUMPER NEW DEAL FOR MBAPPE

Paris Saint-Germain have offered superstar Kylian Mbappe a five-year contract worth €32million per year amid interest from Real Madrid, according to journalist Nicolo Schira.

LaLiga giants Madrid are reportedly ready to go all out for Mbappe at the end of the season – head coach Zinedine Zidane desperate to work with his fellow Frenchman.

Amid doubts over Neymar's future in Paris as LaLiga champions Barcelona continue to be linked with a reunion, PSG are desperate to hold onto Mbappe.

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Zlatan Ibrahimovic has agreed to return to Milan, according to Sky Sport Italia and reports in Italy. A free agent since leaving MLS outfit LA Galaxy, the 38-year-old has reportedly signed a six-month contract with the option of another year. Ibrahimovic spent two seasons previously playing for Milan from 2010 to 2012, winning the Scudetto.

- According to Calciomercato, Antonio Conte's Inter continue to dream of signing Barcelona midfielder Arturo Vidal, who wants to leave Camp Nou as soon as January.

- While Vidal could leave, Sport reports Barca are interested in signing Stefano Sensi. The Italian midfielder is on a season-long loan deal at Inter from Sassuolo.

- La Repubblica claims Lazio star Sergej Milinkovic-Savic is valued at €105m amid links to Serie A champions Juventus and Inter.

- PSG forward Edinson Cavani will not force through a move to Atletico Madrid, says Mundo Deportivo. Cavani – out of contract at the end of the season – has reportedly agreed a deal to join Atletico, however, the veteran is unwilling to leave PSG on bad terms.

- The Evening Standard says Everton's Richarlison has been considered by United as they look to fill the void left by Romelu Lukaku. Salzburg sensation Erling Haaland tops the list of United's attacking targets, however, he is also wanted by RB Leipzig, Borussia Dortmund and Juve.

Kylian Mbappe has told Neymar he will never attempt to replace him as Paris Saint-Germain's main man.

With Neymar having struggled with injuries during his time in Paris, Mbappe has often established himself as the key player in PSG's attack since his move from Monaco in 2017.

The 21-year-old scored 39 goals across all competitions last season and already has 18 to his name this campaign.

However, Mbappe insists he is not wishing to take any limelight away from Neymar, who has been in fine form for Thomas Tuchel's side when fit this season.

"When I arrived in Paris, there was no debate. It was him [Neymar], the superstar, whom I had come to help a little," Mbappe told France Football.

"He gets injured, [Brazil go out of] the World Cup and I win it. And there begins to come out of stories about our alleged rivalry, about my willingness to take his place. 

"I was shocked to hear all of this. When I came back in August 2018, the first thing I did was go and catch Neymar to tell him: 'Don't worry, I won't be walking on your flower beds here. I assure you that I do not want to take your place, you can keep it. I'm always here to help you.'"

Mbappe may not be aiming to compete with Neymar, but he is looking to get the better of another superstar.

Lionel Messi won a record sixth Ballon d'Or this year, and Mbappe has set his sights on finishing as the top scorer in Europe, though he acknowledged it will be tough to outdo the Barcelona forward.

"Rather than putting my head down and waiting quietly for the end of the season, I tried to outdo myself," Mbappe said.

"I then realised that I could try to seek this title of best European scorer. But, opposite, there was Messi. I'd score two, he'd score three; I'd score three, he'd score four! 

"It was so crazy that I talked about it with Ousmane [Dembele]. 'It is not possible, does he do it on purpose? He looks at the number of goals I score?' 'Of course he's looking at you!'

"I said to myself: Yes, Messi is watching me. It is flattering to see that such a player does not neglect you."

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel believes Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are motivating each other after starring in a 4-1 win over Amiens on Saturday.

Mbappe scored a brace and Neymar also struck before Mauro Icardi's late sealer at the Parc des Princes.

In December, PSG netted 22 goals in six wins, with Mbappe (eight goals) and Neymar (five) leading the way.

Asked if they could get better, Tuchel was unsure how to define that as he praised his star pair.

"What does that mean, better? They play very well together. They've regained confidence and fitness, that's the most important thing," he told a news conference.

"They defend with a lot of intensity, they're dangerous together because they like to play together. They're very close together on the field and we want to play like that.

"We want to have 10 accomplices on the field. What's better? Maybe to keep it that way. I don't know. We need to have the same spirit and the same style, the same hunger to win, to score, to work together when we start the second part of the season.

"That's the challenge of doing that every game, being on the field and working together. It gives satisfaction after the game, and our fans can feel that. It's also going to give a lot of energy."

Tuchel added: "Neymar, after 88 minutes, he defends 20 yards from our goal and closes spaces. He ran a lot defensively, it's really amazing. He's in a good phase.

"Neymar motivates Mbappe, and Mbappe motivates Neymar, that's good. With everybody else, we play like a team. The challenge is to keep that spirit and that way of playing."

PSG's next outing is a Coupe de France clash against Linas-Montlhery on January 5.

Kylian Mbappe scored for the seventh successive match across all competitions as his brace led the way in Paris Saint-Germain's 4-1 Ligue 1 defeat of Amiens.

The France star, who celebrated his 21st birthday on Friday, was in lethal form as he took his Ligue 1 tally to 11 for the season, with PSG's star-studded unit of attackers causing struggling Amiens no end of problems and ensuring the champions remain seven points clear of Marseille at the summit heading into the winter break.

PSG's particularly reliable combination of Neymar and Mbappe linked up to great effect early on when the latter opened the scoring in what was a lively first-half display from the former Monaco talent.

Neymar then found the net for the fifth game in a row early in the second half and Mbappe's second of the day put a result beyond the visitors, who did at least manage to pull one back via John Stiven Mendoza, though Mauro Icardi wrapped up a comfortable win late on.

Amiens' resistance held up only until the 10th minute as they were hit on the break from their own corner – Icardi flicking a clearance on to Neymar, who fed Mbappe through on goal and he beat Regis Gurtner with a delicate chip.

It took less than a minute after the restart for PSG to double their advantage – Neymar tapping in after a brilliant run and pass from Icardi.

Bakaye Dibassy nearly pulled one back for Amiens soon after, but his flick-on from Mendoza's delivery came back off the crossbar, and PSG effectively finished them off in the 65th minute.

Angel Di Maria released Mbappe into the right side of the box and his shot was too powerful for Gurtner to keep out.

Amiens did register through Mendoza following Fousseni Diabate's deep left-wing cross five minutes later, but it had no impact on the outcome, as Icardi turned in Juan Bernat's delivery late on.

While there were no further goals, one young PSG fan did have a final reason to celebrate, as he successfully got Mbappe to sign a book after invading the pitch in the latter stages.

 

What does it mean? PSG in charge at Christmas

That is it for PSG's Ligue 1 exploits in 2019, and they go into the new year in complete control at the top of the table.

Although Marseille also won on Saturday to ensure they did not fall any further behind, another Ligue 1 title already looks a formality for PSG, particularly when Neymar, Icardi and Mbappe are in this kind of mood.

Mbappe unplayable

Amiens' defence had no answer to Mbappe here. The Frenchman's pace, ball control and finishing made him an absolute terror, and his brace was the least he deserved for his efforts.

Lefort taught a lesson

It was a difficult day for Amiens centre-back Jordan Lefort. Mbappe and Neymar ran rings around him for much of the match and his frustration boiled over towards the end in a spat with the Brazilian. He will want to forget this one quickly.

What's next?

With France's winter break now commencing, PSG are not in action again until January 5 when they go to Linas-Montlhery in the Coupe de France.

Three days later they host Saint-Etienne in the Coupe de la Ligue, before returning to Ligue 1 action on January 12 when Monaco visit the Parc des Princes.

Amiens' next league game is the day before at home to Montpellier, which also comes after a pair of cup outings.

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