Mauricio Pochettino was delighted with the spirit his Paris Saint-Germain team showed to defeat Lille in the Coupe de France after a difficult few days.

PSG were 3-0 winners against the Ligue 1 leaders as they were in action for the first time since a weekend defeat to Nantes that was disrupted by burglaries at the family homes of Angel Di Maria and Marquinhos.

Di Maria was substituted in that loss to attend to the matter, but both players were in the XI as goals from Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe secured a quarter-final berth on Wednesday.

It was not an entirely convincing PSG display, as Lille had 18 shots to their 11 and Keylor Navas was required to save a penalty for the third time this season.

Pochettino was only interested in praise for his players and their families, however.

"Of course I'm so happy with the performance and the spirit of the team," the coach told the club's official channel.

"They deserve massive credit and I want to congratulate them but most of all the families because the last few days were very tough for everyone.

"We all feel what happened to Marqui and Angel. It really touched the group and that's why I want to congratulate the team, the players and the families suffering around them.

"I'm so happy. I think we fully deserved to go through to the quarter-finals and, in this difficult circumstance, I'm happy for the 3-0."

Di Maria had two shots and created a single chance, while Marquinhos contributed four tackles, five clearances and a block.

Navas was the star of the show, though, denying Yusuf Yazici from 12 yards with 12 minutes remaining.

Only Rui Silva and Oliver Baumann (both four) have kept out more penalties than Navas in all competitions this season among goalkeepers across Europe's 'top five' leagues.

"He is one of the best goalkeepers in the world," Pochettino said of Navas, who finished with five saves in all. "His level is incredible."

Paris Saint-Germain began a season-defining three-game stretch by beating Ligue 1 leaders Lille 3-0 to continue their Coupe de France defence.

PSG have successfully negotiated a Champions League tie with Barcelona but have work to do either side of this month's international break to maintain their domestic challenge.

Mauricio Pochettino's men, second in the league, visit third-placed Lyon on Sunday and then host Lille at the start of April, but they first took care of the pace-setters in the cup on Wednesday to advance to the quarter-finals.

Mauro Icardi had the holders in front before hobbling off and Kylian Mbappe, on in his place, made sure of PSG's progress with a brace either side of Keylor Navas' latest penalty save.

Juan Bernat has signed a new four-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain.

The left-back is nearing the end of his third season with PSG having signed from Bayern Munich in 2018.

Bernat, 28, was due to be out of contract at the end of 2020-21 but will now be tied to PSG until June 2025.

He has not played since last September due to an ACL injury.

PSG sporting director Leonardo had publicly stated he was targeting four big contract renewals for the French champions – Angel Di Maria, Bernat, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

Di Maria and Bernat are done, meaning the attention moves fully to the two star forwards, particularly with huge speculation the club will pursue Lionel Messi when his Barcelona contract expires at the end of the season.

"I am very happy to have been able to extend my contract with Paris, I have always said that I feel good here," Bernat said after his new deal was announced on Tuesday.

"I really wanted to continue my adventure with the club, it's now happened and I am very happy about it.

"It's a bit of everything, it's the club, it's the affection that everyone shows me here, the supporters, my team-mates. 

"There is a really exciting project here and I am happy to be a part of it.

"I think that we can achieve great things together, that's one of the reasons that I wanted to continue my time here at the club, and I hope to be able to play here for several more years."

Bernat is hoping to return before the end of the season, with PSG three points behind Lille at the top of Ligue 1 and in the Champions League quarter-finals.

The Valencia youth product added: "The league is very tight this year, we are just three points behind the leaders and I hope we will make up these points. 

"I also hope to be available for the final games and to help the team. For the moment, we can only think about working hard and winning each match."

Where will Erling Haaland be playing in 2021-22?

That is the question everyone is asking as clubs queue up to sign the Borussia Dortmund goalscoring machine.

Manchester United are reportedly determined to prise the Norway international to Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED SET SIGHTS ON HAALAND

Manchester United have settled on Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland as their centre forward priority in the transfer market, according to Manchester Evening News.

United tried to sign Haaland before he joined Dortmund from Austrian champions Salzburg last year.

Eyeing a long-term replacement for Romelu Lukaku, with United veteran Edinson Cavani linked to Boca Juniors after signing a one-year deal at Old Trafford, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and football director John Murtough have agreed to target Haaland.

Haaland has also been linked with Real Madrid, Barcelona, Chelsea, LiverpoolManchester City, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus.

It comes after United reportedly received little encouragement of the possibility of signing Tottenham star Harry Kane.

 

ROUND-UP

- Fabrizio Romano claims Madrid midfielder Luka Modric has an agreement in place to sign a new one-year deal with the LaLiga champions.

- Arsenal are keen to keep Martin Odegaard – on loan from Madrid – beyond the 2020-21 season, reports the Daily Mail.

- The Daily star says Donny van de Beek wants to quit United. Van de Beek only joined from Ajax at the start of the season but he has been unable to cement a spot in the starting XI.

Chelsea manager Thomas Tuchel wants to keep Antonio Rudiger as the Blues seek to avoid losing him on a free transfer in 2022 by offering a new contract, reports the Daily Mail.

Cristiano Ronaldo's future is dominating headlines.

After Juventus crashed out of the Champions League last 16, Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Turin.

Could a return to the Spanish capital be on the cards?

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO ON MADRID'S RADAR

Real Madrid are interested in bringing Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo back to the club, according to the frontpage of Monday's Diario AS.

Ronaldo – Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer – left Los Blancos for Juventus in 2018 but his future with the Serie A champions is far from certain following their Champions League elimination.

Diario AS says Ronaldo represents an easier and quicker target than Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe.

Marca, though, insists Ronaldo's possible return does not alter Madrid's objectives as they weigh up either Haaland – heavily linked to Manchester City, Manchester United, Chelsea, Barcelona, Juve, PSG and Liverpool – or Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- TodoFichajes reports United will turn their attention to Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres if they miss out on star Madrid captain Sergio Ramos, whose contract expires at season's end.

Chelsea and United want to sign Rennes star Eduardo Camavinga, claims Diario AS. Camavinga has been tipped to join Madrid, while PSG have also emerged as a possible destination.

Bayern Munich are in danger of losing head coach Hansi Flick, claims Bild. Flick has been named as a possible replacement for Germany boss Joachim Low. It comes as Bild says Flick's relationship with Bayern sporting director Hasan Salihamidzic is worse than previously known, while RB Leipzig coach Julian Nagelsmann has reportedly been sounded out.

- Football Insider reports Barca's move for Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum is "95 per cent done". The Dutchman is set to become a free agent.

City are set to make an approach for Sporting CP left-back and Madrid target Nuno Mendes, says Diario AS.

- ESPN claims Barca are tracking Rapid Vienna sensation Yusuf Demir. The 17-year-old is also reportedly wanted by City, United, Dortmund and Bayern.

- Ligue 1 side Monaco are interested in a two-year loan deal for Bayern goalkeeper Alexander Nubel, according to Kicker. Monaco are led by former Bayern head coach Niko Kovac.

Angel Di Maria and an as of yet unnamed Paris Saint-Germain team-mate had their houses broken into during Sunday's game with Nantes.

Di Maria was taken off midway through the second half at Parc des Princes, after a curious discussion between officials – including sporting director Leonardo, who appeared visibly angry – in the stands, and the coaching staff on the touchline over the phone.

The substitution caused confusion - not only off the pitch, but also on it. PSG conceded just before Di Maria went off, and then again nine minutes later to throw away their lead and ultimately lose 2-1.

After Di Maria, who signed a new deal with the capital club earlier this week, went off, Mauricio Pochettino spoke to his compatriot in the dressing room before returning to the touchline.

RMC Sport reported during the game that Di Maria had subsequently left the stadium and that he had been taken off due to a "serious personal matter."

Canal+ and RMC Sport provided a further update at full-time, stating that Di Maria, along with a PSG team-mate, had their homes targeted while the game was ongoing.

According to the media outlets, PSG confirmed the reports, with RMC Sport also claiming that both attacks took place while the respective families of the players were at home.

Mauro Icardi suffered a burglary in February, while Di Maria has previously been the victim of such a crime, during his time at Manchester United in 2014-15.

While PSG did not immediately release an official statement, Mauricio Pochettino told a news conference: "There are situations outside of football that also explain the second half.

"It's not an excuse but there was a drop in energy. We talked about things other than football after the game in the locker room."

"The group is very concerned."

Paris Saint-Germain failed to capitalise on Lille dropping points as they suffered a shock 2-1 home defeat against relegation-threatened Nantes.

Lille were held by Monaco earlier on Sunday and PSG looked set to replace them at the Ligue 1 summit once they found the breakthrough, but remarkably Nantes hit back in the second half to salvage a potentially massive win.

Alban Lafont produced a number of smart saves as to keep PSG at bay before he was eventually beaten by Julian Draxler in the 42nd minute.

Given Nantes' lack of attacking threat in the first half, Draxler's goal looked as though it would be enough until Randal Kolo Muani pounced on Kylian Mbappe's mistake to restore parity and subsequently teed up Moses Simon to complete an unlikely turnaround.

PSG went close twice in quick succession with 11 minutes on the clock, as Lafont tipped Angel Di Maria's long-range effort over before gratefully seeing Marquinhos' header from the resulting corner skim the top of the net.

Nantes were convinced they were owed a penalty soon after but Presnel Kimpembe was not adjudged to have fouled Kolo Muani.

Mauricio Pochettino's men made the most of that let-off just before half-time, Draxler capitalising on a failed clearance and lashing a left-footed effort out of Lafont's reach.

Mbappe went close early in the second half yet shot wide after doing the hard part.

The France star was made to pay at the other end, his wayward pass going straight to Kolo Muani, who impressively jinked past Kimpembe and finished emphatically.

Kolo Muani was decisive again 19 minutes from time, latching onto a flick-on over the top before squaring to Simon for an easy finish – the goal allowed to stand following a lengthy VAR check for offside.

PSG piled the pressure on but their desperation yielded little, consigning them to successive home league defeats for the first time since November 2012.

Paris Saint-Germain is homing in on Manchester United's French midfielder Paul Pogba.

Pogba has been linked with a move away from United since his agent Mino Raiola said he had no future at the club in December.

The 27-year-old has been at United since 2016 but struggled for impact over the past two seasons.

 

TOP STORY - POGBA'S PARISIAN PLAY

PSG have made contact with Pogba's agent and placed him on their list of transfer targets, according to Foot Mercato.

The report claims PSG sporting director Leonardo has recently been in touch with Raiola.

The 27-year-old World Cup winner has never played in Ligue 1 in his native France.

ROUND-UP

Manchester United goalkeeper uncertainty persists with the Daily Star claiming the Premier League giants have added Burnley's Nick Pope to their transfer list, although Tottenham are interested too.

- The Sunday Mirror is reporting United are set to offer manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer a new deal.

Tottenham are lining up Southampton's Jannik Vestergaard, according to the Sunday Mirror too.

- Football Insider claims that a deal for Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum to go to Barcelona this close season is "95 per cent done".

- Milan midfielder Ismael Bennacer is hot property right now and Algerian publication Competition claims Paris Saint-Germain are leading the race for his signature, ahead of Manchester City.

- TeamTalk has reported Arsenal and Everton are interested in Fulham centre-back Ibane Bowat.

Arsenal and Tottenham are both keen on Sheffield United's Sander Berge, according to Jeunes Footeux.

Mauricio Pochettino revealed Neymar is close to returning for Paris Saint-Germain as he urged critics to respect the team's Champions League win over Barcelona.

The PSG head coach did not specify whether Neymar would come into contention for Sunday's home match against lowly Nantes, who sit 19th in the 20-team Ligue 1 table.

Speaking on Saturday, Pochettino faced questions about the performance of his players in the second leg of their clash with Barcelona, with a string of excellent saves by Keylor Navas, including a penalty stop from Lionel Messi, helping the French side snatch a 1-1 draw.

That clinched a 5-2 aggregate victory, and Pochettino wants to hear more admiration for such a scoreline, given the stature of the opposition.

On the question of when Neymar would return from an injury lay-off that has extended to a month, Pochettino explained: "I think I said there was a chance he'd be back for the Barcelona game.

"We also knew it would be difficult to set a timeframe because players' recoveries can be difficult to predict. He has trained with the squad today, we are pleased with his progress, and we hope he will be back with the team soon."

But Pochettino was probed over how PSG allowed Barcelona to be so dominant for large parts of the second leg of their European tie, particularly the first half, and he was not happy for his team's achievement to be followed by such interrogation.

"I don't understand why we should be so focused on that," Pochettino said.

"That was the story of the first half of the second leg against Barcelona when we didn't play well. That is the reality. But focusing too much on that in my opinion would be a mistake.

"Of course we analyse everything that happens during games but we mustn't forget the team have reached the quarter-finals after beating a strong Barcelona side, and overall it finished 5-2 after 180 minutes. That is the reality.

"There have been games where we played well and lost, such as the game against Monaco [which PSG lost 2-0 last month], and other games where we haven't performed so well.

"The most important thing is to learn and we do have to improve because none of us were happy with the first half, but after achieving such a big target I think our performance in the first half can be downplayed."

With third-placed Lyon only drawing against Reims on Friday, PSG remain in the thick of a title battle, with leaders Lille having a tricky clash with Monaco on Sunday.

PSG sit second as they chase a fourth successive league title, and they cannot afford to slip up against a Nantes side who are equally in need of points.

"Yes, it will be a tough game for us," Pochettino said. "I wouldn't say it would be a trap, but we are aware that after such a happy night for the club and the fans, with us getting through in the Champions League, it is in our minds that the next game is important. That is the theory, but we know it's an important game and we have to put that into practice.

"Preparation is essential in football. We often say we are ready, but Nantes are a physical side who will make things difficult, just as Monaco did after we played Barcelona [in the first leg], but that is why our performance level is essential and we have to be fresh.

"I will try to select a team that can really battle with Nantes and have that freshness that can give us the energy that we need in this sort of game."

A second coming for Cristiano Ronaldo in the Spanish capital?

After a trophy-laden spell with Real Madrid, Ronaldo made the switch to Juventus.

But Madrid's all-time leading goalscorer is reportedly keen on a second stint at the Santiago Bernabeu.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO EYEING MADRID REUNION

Cristiano Ronaldo wants to return to Real Madrid, according to the frontpage of Saturday's Diario AS.

Ronaldo's future with Juventus has been placed in doubt following the club's Champions League last-16 exit.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner, who left Madrid for Juve in 2018, has reportedly been in contact with Los Blancos for months.

 

ROUND-UP

- New Barcelona president Joan Laporta will offer superstar captain Lionel Messi a fresh contract in the coming weeks, reports Mundo Deportivo. The deal would include Messi – heavily tipped to join either Paris Saint-Germain or Manchester City as a free agent at the end of the season – becoming a club ambassador after retirement. Laporta is also set to push ahead with moves for Bayern Munich's David Alaba, Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and City forward Sergio Aguero.

City lead the race to sign Haaland, according to the Daily Mail. Haaland is a player in demand, linked with Manchester United, Chelsea, LiverpoolJuve, PSG, Barca and Madrid.

Joao Felix is also an option at the Etihad Stadium. Cuatro claims the Atletico Madrid star is a target if Aguero leaves City.

- Le10Sport claims PSG remain in talks with Neymar over a four-year contract extension. A deal is believed to be some way off.

Harry Maguire wants United to sign an English-speaking defender, reports The Transfer Window Podcast. The Red Devils have been linked with Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and team-mate Raphael Varane, Sevilla's Jules Kounde, RB Leipzig centre-back Ibrahima Konate and Napoli star Kalidou Koulibaly. But Brighton and Hove Albion's Ben White has emerged as a target.

- TMW Radio says Atletico could be set to make a move for Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz. The Spain international has been previously linked with Barca and Madrid.

Angel Di Maria has signed a new one-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain.

The Argentina international, 33, has agreed to a new deal that will keep him at the club until the end of next season, with the option of an additional year.

Di Maria has won 16 trophies with PSG since signing from Manchester United in 2015 for a fee in the region of €63million.

In 248 games in all competitions, the midfielder has scored 86 times and provided 99 assists, the second-highest figure in the club's history behind Safet Susic on 103.

Speaking last month, sporting director Leonardo confirmed Di Maria was one of four key contract extensions PSG were keen to complete.

As well as high-profile talks over new deals for Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, Les Parisiens are also eager for Juan Bernat to sign a new deal.

"On Kylian Mbappe's contract, we've been talking for a long time," Leonardo told France Bleu.

"Before, it was mainly to be clear about our position and what we want. I think we are getting to the point where we must take a position and a decision. We have a good open dialogue.

"It's on the right track [with Neymar], but in the end he decides when to sign and it is not yet the case. We are on the same page, I think; same for Di Maria and Bernat.

"These are the four issues we are discussing. The idea is to get there as quickly as possible, because on our side, we have the intention to renew all four."
 
Di Maria has made 27 appearances in all competitions this season, providing four goals and 10 assists.

He is PSG's fourth-most productive player in terms of direct goal involvements in 2020-21, behind Moise Kean (16), Neymar (17) and Kylian Mbappe (35).

Angel Di Maria has signed a new one-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain.

Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos insisted it would be easier for the LaLiga champions to sign Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland instead of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.

Mbappe has long been tipped to swap Ligue 1 titleholders PSG for Madrid, but Dortmund sensation Haaland has emerged as a serious option for the Spanish powerhouse.

Haaland is a player in demand – linked with the likes of Barcelona, PSG, Manchester United, Manchester City, Chelsea, Liverpool and Juventus – following his exploits for Dortmund in the Bundesliga and Champions League.

Ramos feels Haaland is a more realistic option for Madrid due to the financial situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic, while PSG still try to re-sign Mbappe.

"I would like them both to come, but if one of them were to come, it would be easier to sign Haaland," Ramos, who is facing an uncertain future as he is yet to sign a contract extension with Madrid, told Ibai Llanos on Twitch.

"With Mbappe the economic circumstances are more difficult. Haaland wouldn't be bad because of his hunger for goals, his size, his speed... It would be easier to reach an agreement for Haaland."

Haaland became the quickest player to 20 Champions League goals after reaching the milestone in his 14th game in the competition as Dortmund drew 2-2 with Sevilla on Tuesday but advanced 5-4 on aggregate.

Aged 20 years and 231 days, Haaland also became the youngest player to score in six consecutive Champions League matches, while he is the first player in the history of the competition to score at least two goals in four consecutive appearances.

Mbappe also made Champions League history on Wednesday after PSG eliminated Barcelona in the last 16.

The PSG forward claimed Lionel Messi's record as the youngest player to reach 25 goals in the competition, aged 22 years and 80 days. 

Meanwhile, the future of Messi has dominated headlines as the Barca superstar continues to be linked with PSG and City.

Messi is out of contract at the end of the season, and Ramos is cheekily prepared to welcome the six-time Ballon d'Or winner to the Santiago Bernabeu in a controversial move.

"I would be delighted to welcome Messi [to Real Madrid]," Ramos said with a smile as he dismissed the idea of leaving Madrid for bitter rivals Barca. "I'll make my house available to him for the first few weeks.

"We had to suffer Leo in his best years, so the fact of not having to face him would be good.

"He would help us win and achieve more success. It would be silly to say otherwise."

Inter vice-president Javier Zanetti "can't say" the Serie A leaders want Lionel Messi as he believes the Barcelona superstar will remain at Camp Nou.

Messi's future has dominated headlines, with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner tipped to join Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain or Premier League leaders Manchester City on a free transfer at the end of the season.

Inter have also emerged as a possible destination for Messi, who tried to leave embattled LaLiga giants Barca ahead of the 2020-21 campaign.

Argentina and Inter great Zanetti, though, feels his 33-year-old countryman will continue playing for Barca beyond this season.

"We can't say that, he is a Barcelona player and he's spent the whole career there. I think he will continue there," Zanetti told ONTime Sports.

"We are focused on the group of players we have. We must be focused on ourselves, we are focused on the next game. Everyone is doing very well."

Asked to compare Messi to legendary football Diego Maradona – who died in November – Zanetti added: "I can't make comparisons, they are both great champions.

"It's always good when big players move to Serie A. When Cristiano Ronaldo arrived, it was good for the league."

Messi has scored a league-high 19 goals and supplied six assists in 24 LaLiga appearances for Ronald Koeman's second-placed Barca this season, and 25 across all competitions.

Barca are six points adrift of leaders Atletico Madrid ahead of Monday's match against Huesca.

Messi has been involved in five goals in two games against Huesca in LaLiga (two goals and three assists), including two goals and two assists in his only league appearance against them at Camp Nou.

Barcelona have gone 16 games without losing in LaLiga (W13 D3) – the best current unbeaten streak of any team in the five major leagues in Europe.

Gianluigi Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season, so where will he be playing in 2021-22?

The Milan and Italy goalkeeper – still in discussions with the Rossoneri – has attracted interest from across Europe.

Manchester United and Chelsea are reportedly circling.

 

TOP STORY – DONNARUMMA WANTED IN ENGLAND

Manchester United and Chelsea are considering signing Milan star Gianluigi Donnarumma as a free agent, according to The Transfer Window podcast.

Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season, though Tuttosport reports he and Milan remain in contract discussions.

Serie A champions Juventus and Ligue 1 titleholders Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked.

Sky Sports says United are also targeting Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak amid doubts over David de Gea's future.

 

ROUND-UP

- The Daily Mail claims United, Liverpool and Bayern Munich are eyeing Chelsea's Christian Pulisic. The United States international has found himself out of favour under new manager Thomas Tuchel at Stamford Bridge.

- The wish list of new Barcelona president Joan Laporta has been revealed. Sport reports aside from Manchester City defender Eric Garcia and Lyon captain Memphis Depay, Laporta is also targeting Sergio Aguero and Bayern star David Alaba, as well as in-demand Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland.

Arsenal want to sign Inter full-back Achraf Hakimi as a replacement for Hector Bellerin, according to the Telegraph. Bellerin has been linked to PSG and Barca.

- Sport Bild reports Bundesliga champions Bayern will let veteran defender Jerome Boateng leave amid his links with Chelsea.

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