Kylian Mbappe is the "prototype" for a future Ballon d'Or winner, according to Nicolas Anelka.

At just 21, the Paris Saint-Germain forward has already accumulated a plethora of top-tier trophies having won the World Cup with France, while reaching the Champions League final for PSG, with whom he has lifted eight domestic titles.

However, with Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo practically enjoying dual custody of the most prestigious world player of the year award, that honour has thus far eluded Mbappe.

But compatriot Anelka, whose career saw him win silverware in England, Spain, France, Italy and Turkey, feels it is only a matter of time.

"There are the old guys who are known and recognised, like Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but for me it is Mbappe who is really the image of the prototype of the striker with all the qualities required to be a future Ballon d'Or winner," he told RMC Sport. 

"He's very fast, very smart, very technical. He has the qualities to do great things. He has proven it time and time again and he shows it in every game.

"Neymar is very strong too. He is very strong too."

Mbappe has endured a disrupted start to the new campaign after testing positive for coronavirus, but he made a goalscoring return in the 3-0 win over Nice.

Thomas Tuchel's side are in action at Reims on Sunday.

Neymar will be back in action for Paris Saint-Germain at Reims on Sunday, much to the delight of coach Thomas Tuchel.

The Brazil forward returns after a two-game suspension following his dismissal in a controversial clash with Marseille earlier this month, when five players saw red.

PSG have won both Ligue 1 games in his absence, with fellow forward Kylian Mbappe having made a goalscoring comeback in the 3-0 win over Nice last Sunday after completing his period of isolation following a positive test for coronavirus.

Tuchel said having the duo available would transform the way his side can play.

"Yes, when Kylian and Neymar play it changes everything for us," he said.

"If both play for us, it's harder [for the opposition] to defend and easier for us to attack.

"We found solutions without both. We started the last Champions League, the group stage, with matches without them.

"It [missing Mbappe and Neymar] is not the best thing. They are there to make the difference. They will start together, that's for sure."

Leandro Paredes, sent off in the same game as Neymar, is also back in the frame along with Abdou Diallo, who got his marching orders in the win over Metz.

But one player still missing is Angel Di Maria, who is serving a four-match ban for spitting at Alvaro Gonzalez in that contentious Classique contest.

While Tuchel accepts Di Maria's sanction was deserved, he vented his frustration at the fact PSG have seemingly suffered significantly greater suspensions than Marseille in the aftermath of that game.

"I can understand the sanction of Di Maria," Tuchel said. "He had a reaction that we don't like.

"[But] we have suspensions that equate to 14 matches, the other team [Marseille] has four matches. There is a big difference in the number of suspensions.

"I do not accept it but I have to and I do not understand. We have the impression that we are the only ones responsible for this situation."

Luis Suarez formed one of the world's best attacks when 'MSN' came together at Barcelona.

Suarez's arrival at Camp Nou from Liverpool in 2014 saw him join Lionel Messi and Neymar at the LaLiga giants and the trio flourished.

But Neymar left for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million move just three years later, and Suarez's exit for Atletico Madrid was confirmed on Wednesday.

Using Opta data, we take a look back at the formidable 'MSN' trident.

77 – Barca won an incredible 77 per cent of matches in which 'MSN' played.

73.7 – There was a clear drop-off in results when at least one of the Barca trio was absent, with the win ratio slipping to 73.7 per cent. Points per game was the same at 2.4, however.

253 – In the 113 matches 'MSN' all played together, the trio contributed 253 goals for Barcelona.

104 – Messi's goal ratio was a little under one per game when 'MSN' were all in the Barcelona team.

68.9 – When one member of 'MSN' was absent, Barcelona's possession stood at 68.9 per cent, higher than the 66.6 per cent when they all played.

3 – Without at least one 'MSN' member, Barcelona averaged three goals a game, compared to a slightly lower 2.8 goals per game with Messi, Neymar and Suarez all playing.

Neymar made a surprise appearance on Everton's social media channels on Wednesday as he presented his Brazil team-mate Richarlison with an award.

Richarlison was belatedly named Everton's Player of the Season for the 2019-20 campaign, which was heavily disrupted due to coronavirus.

The 23-year-old – who joined Everton from Watford in 2018-19 – scored 15 goals in 41 appearances across all competitions for the Toffees last term.

He has made no secret of his admiration for Neymar, who he has played with at international level, and the Paris Saint-Germain superstar made a guest appearance to present Richarlison with the award.

"Hey Richarlison, I am so happy for you, congratulations on your season," Neymar said in a video published on Everton's official Twitter feed.

"Here it is, your Player of the Season award for Everton. Congratulations on this achievement, I know you're the first Brazilian [to win this award].

"I'm very happy for you. I hope you keep on scoring goals, helping your club, your team-mates and you know that I am always wishing you the best.

"All the best, congratulations, here's your trophy. It's a great pleasure for me to give it to you."

Richarlison tweeted: "Today is a very special day for me. Receiving the best player of the season award, playing by one of the most traditional clubs in Europe, and from the hands of a guy who is my childhood idol, but who also became a team mate and a friend that the football gave me is kinda surreal.

"Thanks, Everton! Thank you, fans! And thanks for the surprise and the message, Neymar. I haven't words for thank you for all affection."

Buoyed by the signings of James Rodriguez, Allan and Abdoulaye Doucoure, Everton have made an impressive start to 2020-21.

Richarlison is yet to score, but provided two assists and was directly involved in four goals in Everton's 5-2 win over West Brom last time out.

Neymar and Thiago Silva featured in the Brazil squad selected by head coach Tite on Friday for the World Cup qualifiers against Bolivia and Peru.

The five-time World Cup winners had been due to get their campaign underway in March, but the coronavirus pandemic forced a delay until October.

Tite named a 23-man pool including seven Premier League-based players, with veteran Chelsea recruit Silva among them following his move from Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

PSG superstar Neymar featured among a squad of attacking players including Liverpool's Roberto Firmino, Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, Everton's Richarlison and Real Madrid's Rodrygo.

Barcelona winger Philippe Coutinho, whose Camp Nou future is unclear following Ronald Koeman's arrival as Quique Setien's successor, was also called in for the October games.

Brazil face Bolivia in Sao Paulo on October 9 before travelling to tackle Peru in Lima four days later, as their bid to reach Qatar 2022 begins.

Palmeiras defender Gabriel Menino and Lyon midfielder Bruno Guimaraes will be involved for the first time in a Brazil squad gathering.

 

Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Santos (Athletico-PR), Weverton (Palmeiras); Rodrigo Caio (Flamengo), Danilo (Juventus), Felipe (Atletico Madrid), Renan Lodi (Atletico Madrid), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain), Gabriel Menino (Palmeiras), Thiago Silva (Chelsea), Alex Telles (Porto); Casemiro (Real Madrid), Philippe Coutinho (Barcelona), Fabinho (Liverpool), Bruno Guimaraes (Lyon), Douglas Luiz (Aston Villa), Everton Ribeiro (Flamengo); Everton (Benfica), Roberto Firmino (Liverpool), Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Richarlison (Everton), Rodrygo (Real Madrid).

Neymar has been banned for two matches following his red card for Paris Saint-Germain in their Classique defeat to Marseille.

PSG went down 1-0 to rivals Marseille on Sunday, but the match was marred by an incredible finale in which five players were dismissed.

Neymar, the world's most expensive player, was the last of those to see red after striking Alvaro Gonzalez on the back of the head.

The Brazilian alleged afterwards he had been the victim of racist abuse from Alvaro, who denied the accusations.

The results of a disciplinary tribunal were revealed on Wednesday and Neymar has had a third match added to his ban as a suspended sentence.

Layvin Kurzawa was handed a six-game ban, with Leandro Paredes also out for just two fixtures.

The trio watched on as PSG belatedly claimed their first win of the season against Metz, a match in which Abdou Diallo also saw red.

Angel Di Maria was the champions' star performer but has now been called up to face the disciplinary commission next Wednesday in relation to the Marseille game.

OM's Jordan Amavi was ruled out for three games, with Dario Benedetto facing just a one-match suspension.

Paris Saint-Germain will be without three suspended players, including Neymar, against Metz on Wednesday, but will have Marquinhos and Mauro Icardi available.

Brazil defender Marquinhos and former Inter striker Icardi were among seven PSG players to test positive for coronavirus earlier in September.

The list also included Neymar, Keylor Navas, Leandro Paredes, Angel Di Maria and Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe, Marquinhos and Icardi were the only ones not given the green light to feature against Marseille on Sunday, though the remaining quartet could not help Thomas Tuchel's side avoid a 1-0 defeat and their second loss of the Ligue 1 season in an ill-tempered Classique.

Neymar was shown a red card in a stoppage-time fracas - later claiming he was racially abused by Marseille's Alvaro, allegations that the defender denied - with Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa also receiving their marching orders.

While Neymar, Paredes and Kurzawa will be missing on Wednesday, Tuchel has been handed a boost with the return of both Marquinhos and Icardi, with only Mbappe still in quarantine.

Marco Verratti and new signing Alessandro Florenzi both started against Marseille, though the Italy duo have not been included in Tuchel's 21-man squad to face Metz.

Goalkeeper Navas did not make the bench on Sunday, though could be set to replace Sergio Rico, who has signed permanently from Sevilla following a successful loan spell.

Neymar is facing a four-game ban for striking Alvaro Gonzalez after he accused the Marseille defender of racism, according to former Paris Saint-Germain winger Jerome Rothen.

The Brazilian superstar was one of five players to be sent off at the end of Sunday's Classique, which Marseille won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes.

A VAR check showed Neymar striking Alvaro on the back of the head, with the forward later saying he was subjected to a racial slur – an allegation his opponent has since categorically denied.

PSG and Marseille have fully backed their respective players and are awaiting a review from French football's governing body, the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP).

A decision could be made as early as Wednesday and Rothen is expecting Neymar to be hit with an extended suspension.


"For Neymar, it will be four games, I'm sure," he told RMC Sport. "I've been there before after fighting on a field. I had four games."

PSG also had Leandro Paredes and Layvin Kurzawa sent off in Sunday's heated clash, while Jordan Amavi and Dario Benedetto saw red for Marseille.

Reigning Ligue 1 champions and Champions League finalists PSG have kicked off their 2020-21 campaign with back-to-back losses, having also been beaten 1-0 at Lens last week.

Thomas Tuchel's side are back in action on Wednesday with a home league meeting against Metz, before taking on Nice, Reims and Angers in the next 16 days.

Andre Villas-Boas has expressed alarm that Alvaro Gonzalez and his family received abuse including death threats after Marseille's win at Paris Saint-Germain.

Spanish defender Alvaro was involved in the stormy ending to Sunday's Classique, with Neymar sent off for striking him on the back of the head as five players were red-carded in stoppage time.

Neymar explained the incident by alleging he was subjected to a racial slur, saying on Twitter that his only regret was not hitting his opponent in the face.

Marseille are standing by their player, insisting he is not racist and stressing he has the support of team-mates. Alvaro denies making such a slur.

The south-coast club announced on Monday that the leaking of private telephone numbers belonging to Alvaro and his relatives led to "constant harassment, consisting in particular of death threats".

Speaking in a news conference on Tuesday, head coach Villas-Boas said: "The death threats are true. We told the police about them.

"These are the consequences of the accusations. I hope it will end soon."

The pair exchanged messages on Twitter after the game, with Neymar telling Alvaro he has no respect for him.

Villas-Boas appears to want Neymar to retract his accusation, which may be unlikely given how strongly the Brazilian expressed his views initially and has since stood by them.

The Marseille boss urged Neymar considering the consequences of his allegations towards Alvaro.

"We are sure that Alvaro is not racist," Villas-Boas said, according to L'Equipe.

"OM represents multiculturality. I think that we will all help to seek the truth.

"It is not good for Alvaro. It is a sensitive subject. OM and PSG are there to help seek the truth."

Neymar felt he could not leave the field without responding to Alvaro after claiming the officials ignored his accusations of racism against the Marseille defender.

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar was one of five players sent off in scenes that marred the end of Sunday's Classique at the Parc des Princes, which Marseille won 1-0.

The Brazil forward saw red for striking Alvaro on the back of the head and their confrontation later continued on social media.

Alvaro denied Neymar's allegations with a Twitter post that drew an angry response from the former Barcelona star.

PSG have backed Neymar and called for an investigation into the claims, while Marseille have since put out a statement insisting Alvaro is not racist.

In a lengthy post on Instagram explaining his actions, Neymar wrote: "Yesterday I revolted. I was punished with red because I wanted to hit someone who offended me.

"I thought I could not leave without doing something because I realised that those in charge would not do anything, did not notice or ignored the fact.

"In our sport, aggressions, insults, swearing are part of the game, of the dispute. You can't be affectionate, I understand this guy [Alvaro] partly, all is a part of the game. But racism and intolerance are unacceptable.

"I am black, son of black, grandson and great grandson of black also. I am proud and I do not see myself as different from anyone.

"Yesterday I wanted those in charge of the game (referees, assistants) to position themselves impartially and understand that there is no longer such a place for a prejudiced attitude.

"Reflecting and seeing all the manifestation that happened, I am saddened by the feeling of hatred that we can provoke when, in the heat of the moment, we snap."

Neymar continued: "Should I have ignored it? I don't know yet… Today, with a cool head, I say yes, but in due course, my companions and I asked the referees for help, and we were ignored. That's the point!

"I accept my punishment because I should have followed the path of clean football. I hope, on the other hand, that the offender will also be punished.

"Racism exists. It exists. But we have to stop it. No more, enough!

"Yesterday I lost in the game and I lacked wisdom. Being in the centre of this situation or ignoring a racist act will not help, I know. But pacifying this "anti-racism" movement is our obligation so that the less privileged will naturally receive their defence."

Lionel Messi has retained his place at the top of Forbes' list of highest-paid footballers after earning $126million over the past year, with Cristiano Ronaldo closely behind him in second. 

The Barcelona superstar sent shockwaves through world football last month when he told the club he has spent his entire career at he wanted to leave after a trophyless campaign in 2019-20.

Messi believed he could use a clause in his contract to leave for free, but Barca and LaLiga disputed that claim and insisted his deal could only be terminated should his €700m release clause be paid.

Amid frustration with the Camp Nou board, Messi performed a U-turn and elected to stay with the embattled LaLiga giants for at least the 2020-21 campaign.

He does so as the highest paid footballer in the world after earning $126million in salary and endorsements over the past 12 months.

His long-time rival Ronaldo is second on the list after bringing in earnings of $117m. 

Paris Saint-Germain stars Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are third and fourth respectively, with Liverpool forward Mohamed Salah in fifth place.

Making up the rest of the top 10 are French World Cup winners Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, Real Madrid outcast Gareth Bale, Bayern Munich striker Robert Lewandowski and Manchester United goalkeeper David De Gea.

 

Forbes' top 10 highest-paid footballers:

1. Lionel Messi - $126m
2. Cristiano Ronaldo - $117m
3. Neymar - $96m
4. Kylian Mbappe - $42m
5. Mohamed Salah - $37m
6. Paul Pogba - $34m
7. Antoine Griezmann - $33m
8. Gareth Bale - $29m
9. Robert Lewandowski - $28m
10. David De Gea - $27m

Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel stressed there is no place for racism in football but said he did not hear any comment aimed at Neymar, who accused Marseille defender Alvaro of abusing him.

Brazil superstar Neymar was one of five players sent off amid an ugly fracas at the end of Sunday's Classique, which Marseille won 1-0 at the Parc des Princes.

A VAR check showed Neymar striking Alvaro on the back of the head and he later posted on Twitter to say his only regret was not hitting his opponent in the face after alleging he was subjected to a racial slur.

Alvaro denied the claims with his own post on social media and Tuchel was asked about the incident at a post-match news conference.

"What I heard? He [Neymar] told me that it was some racist insult, but I did not hear anything on the pitch," Tuchel said.

When made aware of Neymar's social media post, Tuchel replied: "I think that everyone has the same opinion that racism in all the society, in sports or in our lives can't exist. It's obvious.

"But I did not hear that today, neither [did] the referee so I can't answer this question."

Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas earlier said he too was unaware of the incident, while also speaking about Alvaro's claim he was spat at by PSG's Angel Di Maria.

"I don't know. I hope not, there is no place for racism in football," Villas-Boas said in an interview with Telefoot.

"It's a serious fault if it happened but I don't think so. Before that, we had a situation with a spit from Di Maria.

"These are things to avoid in the world of football. I hope it won't be a black spot in this historic performance."

PSG have started their Ligue 1 campaign with back-to-back 1-0 defeats, with their domestic season have been delayed due to their run to the Champions League final.

Marseille defender Alvaro said there was "no place for racism" as he denied accusations aimed at him by Paris Saint-Germain star Neymar.

Neymar was sent off for hitting Alvaro in additional time in PSG's 1-0 loss to Marseille in a fiery Le Classique in Paris on Sunday.

The Brazil star later wrote on Twitter he regretted not hitting Alvaro in the face, and followed up by saying he had been called a "monkey motherf*****".

But Alvaro dismissed allegations of racism in a post of his own on Twitter.

"There is no place for racism," he wrote.

"Clean race and with many colleagues and friends on a daily basis. Sometimes you have to learn to lose and take it on the field.

"Incredible three points today."

Leandro Paredes, Layvin Kurzawa, Jordan Amavi and Dario Benedetto were also sent off in additional time.

Florian Thauvin's goal was enough for Marseille to win 1-0, condemning PSG to a second defeat to begin the Ligue 1 season.

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo criticised the club's players for losing their minds following a foul-tempered Le Classique defeat to Marseille.

Neymar was one of five players sent off in a fiery finish at the Parc des Princes, where Ligue 1 champions PSG fell to a 1-0 loss to rivals Marseille on Sunday.

Marseille snapped a 20-match winless streak against PSG, not before host trio Neymar, Leandro Paredes, Layvin Kurzawa, and Jordan Amavi and Dario Benedetto were red-carded in additional time.

Florian Thauvin's 31st-minute volley left PSG winless from their opening two matches of the 2020-21 Ligue 1 season, and without a goal from the club's first two league games for the second time after 1978-79.

Afterwards, Leonardo hit out at the players but the Brazilian was particularly critical of the officiating and scheduling.

"Fourteen yellows and five reds means the game was out of control, I'm not going to defend indefensible behaviour, I don't understand," Leonardo told Telefoot.

"Do a Clasico on the third day ... nobody is 100 per cent in the conditions, I do not understand why you do not have [Clement] Turpin or [Ruddy] Buquet [best French referees], we choose a 34-year-old referee who does not have the experience for a match like this.

"Now is not the time for a Clasico, we had Turpin, we need referees like that for matches of this level. We lost our minds."

On the brawl, Leonardo added: "The TVs have the pictures, it will be judged. There are five reds, which is serious too. You have to know what happened and judge everything. The game was out of control.

"I didn't understand VAR either, I think OM's first goal is offside but not the second. It was a game without control. Turpin or Buquet should have been there. They would have been more prepared. The fight is very serious, we will manage internally, we will talk to our players."

Leonardo was also asked about head coach Thomas Tuchel, with PSG winless from their two Ligue 1 matches to start the season.

Former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri was previously linked with PSG, despite Tuchel leading the French powerhouse to their first Champions League final.

"After a match like that, asking the question is a bit complicated," Leonardo responded when quizzed about Tuchel. "The calendar ... today was the first day of some championships in Europe.

"There are a lot of things: we leave the Champions League and resume immediately, we had the problem of COVID-19. We cannot forget the very complicated context!

"We need consistency to be a little better. This is not to criticise the French championship, but that we are discussing."

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel said he was not happy with his team's reaction after a brawl against Marseille as the Ligue 1 champions suffered back-to-back defeats.

PSG superstar Neymar was one of five players sent off in a fiery finish to Le Classique at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

Marseille snapped a 20-match winless streak against rivals PSG, not before host trio Neymar, Leandro Paredes, Layvin Kurzawa, and Jordan Amavi and Dario Benedetto were red-carded in additional time.

After succumbing to Florian Thauvin's 31st-minute volley, Tuchel tried to downplay the defeat as Champions League runners-up PSG opened the 2020-21 season with consecutive losses.

"I'm not angry at all, the challenge is to separate the performance from the result," Tuchel told Telefoot.

"I didn't like our reaction in the last three minutes. I don't agree with that, it was too much. I'm going to suffer from this reaction."

Tuchel, whose PSG lost their first two games of a Ligue 1 season without scoring for the second time in the club's history after 1978-79, added: "I don't like the result. We had a great game, a great performance.

"I'm very happy with the efforts of my team. If we continue to play like that, we will win all the games. I'm very happy.

"It's not usual for us not to score. We have to go back to the context of this match. We have exceptional statistics. It was a great game. I'm not at all worried. I'm happy as a coach. We still lack players, we have a very small squad."

While Kylian Mbappe and Mauro Icardi were absent, PSG were able to hand a debut to new signing Alessandro Florenzi, who arrived from Roma on an initial loan.

Tuchel has made it clear he wants reinforcements following the departures of Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani as the German boss looks to build on PSG's memorable run to the Champions League final, while the French powerhouse remain in discussions regarding a new contract for Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting.

Asked about PSG's transfer plans, Tuchel said: "Are there going to be new players? I really hope.

"It's no secret, we lost five players including Choupo-Moting. It's going to be complicated, we play a lot of matches. I don't know if other teams that have played in the Champions League should play so much games."

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