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.

Diogo Jota is "a pressing monster" whose technical ability is already on a par with Sadio Mane, Mohamed Salah and Roberto Firmino, according to Pep Lijnders.

Liverpool signed the forward from Wolves last week in a deal that could potentially reach a value of £45million.

Assistant manager Lijnders did not reveal if Jota would make his debut for the club in Thursday's EFL Cup third-round tie away to Lincoln City at his pre-match news conference.

But he did explain how thrilled Liverpool were to sign him and how good they think the 23-year-old already is.

"Diogo, his technical level is the same as our front three," said Lijnders.

"He has future in his feet. He will have a great pathway inside our club. He is like a pressing monster so he will fit in straight away.

"I know him since he was very young. In Portugal they say what a great signing Liverpool have made because they know exactly how he is and what kind of potential he still has.

"We are really happy with him and all the things we heard [about him] are true. He is very professional, very dedicated, passionate and brave player."

Lijnders was also asked about Thiago Alcantara, who did make his debut as a substitute for the Reds as they defeated Chelsea 2-0 in the Premier League on Sunday.

He believes Thiago will help the team continue to drive forward having won the domestic title and the Champions League over the past two years, with the management team not worried by the selection dilemma caused by his arrival.

"We haven't bought a problem - we have bought a solution," said Lijnders.

"We are really happy he is with us, this team deserves a player like him because he will keep us evolving. Teams adapt, teams try to destroy our plans and we need to stay unpredictable.

"Unpredictability means that from each position we can play the last pass and we can speed up the game with our small passes as much as we can. Thiago does that - he is a great signing for us.

"These three things - the unpredictability, the speed-ups and the quality of the last pass from each position - that is what he brings."

Liverpool are optimistic captain Jordan Henderson will be fit for their Premier League match against Arsenal next Monday.

Henderson had to come off with a thigh issue in the 2-0 win over Chelsea last time out and will not be fit in time to play a part in the away EFL Cup third-round match against Lincoln City on Thursday.

But assistant manager Pep Lijnders suggested the midfielder's injury was not serious, while defender Joe Gomez is poised to return to training.

"Hendo, hopefully he will get back next week," Lijnders said to the club's website ahead of the Lincoln game.

"[Thursday] for sure is too soon for Hendo. Maybe [back for Arsenal], yeah, hopefully. It will be tight, day by day, let us hope.

"[For] Joe [it] comes too soon, he will train Friday with the team – that is good news, to be honest. 

"Joel Matip will probably only come back during the international break; that will take some longer time, some more time." 

While Liverpool have won the Premier League and Champions League in the past two seasons, they have not triumphed in a domestic cup since winning the EFL Cup in 2012.

"We want to attack each competition," Lijnders said at his pre-match news conference.

"In football you cannot think far ahead, especially this season – [it is like a] Christmas period from now on, but we prepared with a good pre-season. 

"This team has the mentality to just focus on next game. Most important thing is how we have evolved our squad, it gives us more opportunity to attack each competition. 

"Last year we spoke about talent. This phase has gone, these [young] players now represent a position in our squad. We feel we are ready."

Asked about how many youngsters would feature in the starting XI to face Lincoln, Lijnders added: "The team on Thursday will be strong.

"It's about finding a good balance to combine experience [and youth]. We will be playing [against] a team that will defend deep and counter-attack and has pace on the wings. 

"They are on a good run and have an experienced manager, a club that over the last four years was quite successful with two promotions.

"So we have to be prepared – our team selection will reflect that. I don't want to give the team at this moment because we still have one training [session] to go, we have to see how a few players are.

"We want to attack that game, show our hunger, show our desire, put a team out who represents our club – with big, big names involved, big, big players involved. And a lot of talent as well."

Dele Alli is set to stay at Tottenham and will get his chance in the Europa League qualifier against Shkendija but must now perform, says coach Jose Mourinho.

England international Alli has not featured since he was substituted at half-time of Spurs' Premier League opener at home to Everton, a 1-0 defeat.

Alli, who scored nine goals in 38 games in all competitions last season, did not even make the bench for subsequent victories over Lokomotiv Plovdiv and Southampton.

The 24-year-old's future has appeared uncertain as links to Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain emerged while Mourinho offered no assurances.

Spurs will soon welcome Gareth Bale into the group as he recovers from injury amid his return to the club from Madrid, but Alli first has an opportunity to impress in North Macedonia on Thursday.

"Dele Alli will make the trip," Mourinho told a news conference ahead of the third qualifying round match. "I always said that Dele will have a chance. He's coming.

"He'll have a chance to perform and it's important that he does. It's important that every player does."

Mourinho does not expect Alli to leave but insists it is up to the player to improve.

"I see him staying," the coach added. "There is a tendency now, when a player performs or doesn't perform, to give responsibility to the coach because they gave him the right stick or didn't.

"I always feel that 99 per cent of the responsibility is the player. I, and the staff who work with the player, have one per cent."

Kevin De Bruyne, Robert Lewandowski and Manuel Neuer have made the shortlist for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award for the 2019-20 campaign.

Manchester City playmaker De Bruyne, who recently won the PFA Players' Player of the Year award, is in the final three along with two Bayern Munich stars who helped their side to the treble last season.

Liverpool defender Virgil van Dijk won the honour in the previous season, finishing ahead of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

None of those three are on the shortlist this time, though, and whoever comes out on top will be a first-time winner.

Neuer missed only one game in Bayern's treble season and kept six Champions League clean sheets, while Lewandowski netted 55 goals in 47 appearances for Hansi Flick's team.

De Bruyne, meanwhile, produced a record-equalling 20 assists in the Premier League for City, adding 13 goals.

The final order of the top three is yet to be revealed, but UEFA has confirmed the occupants of positions four to 10.

Barcelona forward Messi came in at tie for fourth with Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar, while Juventus attacker Ronaldo was down in 10th spot.

Thomas Muller (6th), Kylian Mbappe (7th), Thiago Alcantara (8th) and Joshua Kimmich (9th) were the others who featured in the top 10.

Ronaldo has won the honour three times since it was first awarded in 2011, while Messi has claimed it twice.

Andres Iniesta, Franck Ribery, Luka Modric and Van Dijk were the other victors, with the award voted for by coaches and journalists.

Lucy Bronze, Wendie Renard and Pernille Harder are up for the Women's Player of the Year accolade in the 2019-20 awards.

Bayern head coach Flick, Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp and RB Leipzig's Julian Nagelsmann are on the shortlist for Men's Coach of the Year.

The winners will be announced at the Champions League group stage draw ceremony on October 1.

Messi and Ronaldo also won the previous version of the award - UEFA Club Footballer of the Year – once each. That award was replaced after the 2009-10 season, when Diego Milito came out on top.

Lazio striker Ciro Immobile is grateful to have played under Jurgen Klopp at Borussia Dortmund, describing the German coach as "someone you do not forget".

Immobile was brought to Dortmund by Klopp in 2014 as a replacement for Robert Lewandowski but scored just 10 goals in 34 games before heading to Sevilla the following year.

He again struggled in front of goal at Sevilla but has since revived his career at the Stadio Olimpico, scoring a combined 103 goals in the last four Serie A campaigns.

However, the Italy international is disappointed things did not work out for him across his one season playing under now-Liverpool boss Klopp at Dortmund.

"Klopp leaves something behind for you. You don't forget someone like him," he told Sport Bild. 

"I was lucky to be able to play under him. He's a super emotional trainer. Someone for whom you fight for every ball.

"He demands that of you too, and you can see that in his behaviour on the sidelines."

Asked why he struggled to make an impact with BVB in 2014-15, Immobile said: "I think that I just moved to Dortmund at an inconvenient time as far as the team was concerned. 

"With Klopp, BVB became champions in 2011 and 2012 and then came second twice. After the first half of my season there, we were second from last in the Bundesliga.

"That meant young, foreign players being left out. I don't think Klopp didn't see any quality in me, but in this difficult phase he put more trust in players he already knew and could rely on."

Immobile won the European Golden Shoe last season after scoring 36 Serie A goals for Lazio, two more than Bayern Munich star Lewandowski in the German top flight.

The 30-year-old is honoured to have finished ahead of such esteemed company and labelled closest challenger Lewandowski as the best player in the world.

"If I could vote at the Ballon d'Or, I would give him my vote," he said.

"What makes me particularly proud is that I won the Golden Shoe with two more goals than him. For me he was always a role model.

"When it comes to the best number nine in the world, the names Lewandowski, [Luis] Suarez or [Karim] Benzema always come up. 

"To be mentioned in the same breath as them and to have scored more than these strikers is incredible for me."

Wolves have completed the signing of right-back Nelson Semedo from Barcelona on an initial three-year deal.

Semedo arrives at Molineux in a reported £32.2million (€35m) transfer as a replacement for Matt Doherty, who joined Tottenham last month.

The Portugal international, who spent three years at Camp Nou after signing from Benfica, posted a message to Barca on his Instagram page on Tuesday before Wolves confirmed his arrival the following day.

Semedo wrote: "Thank you very much Barcelona for giving me the dream of wearing this shirt. Thank you for making me grow as a player and as a person.

"I've had three wonderful years that I won't forget. I want to thank my team-mates, the staff, the fans and all the people who have helped me from the moment I arrived until today."

Semedo is the latest player to leave the Blaugrana as new coach Ronald Koeman overhauls the first-team squad following a dismal 2019-20 campaign.

The 26-year-old featured 42 times in all competitions last season, scoring once, as Barca lost their LaLiga crown, failed to win a trophy and crashed out of the Champions League in humiliating fashion, going down 8-2 to Bayern Munich.

Arturo Vidal has left for Inter, while Luis Suarez is also expected to depart. The club blocked captain Lionel Messi's exit.

Semedo's departure had been anticipated, with Barca linked with bids for alternative right-back options - including Arsenal's Hector Bellerin, Norwich City's Max Aarons and Ajax's Sergino Dest.

Contrasting reports have Aarons and Dest close to moves to Catalonia.

Semedo was welcomed at Wolves, where his new contract has the option for a further two years.

"It isn't often that we have the opportunity to sign a world-class player from a world-class club," executive chairman Jeff Shi said. "Nelson's signing shows we will never stop progressing and we are still hungry and humble in our heart."

Semedo, a two-time LaLiga winner, added: "I'm very excited to be here. It's a very good team. To play in the Premier League is a dream from me, too."

First Juventus, now Atletico Madrid.

For so long, Luis Suarez appeared set to leave Spain for Italy.

But a proposed move to Juve did not materialise as the Barcelona forward stands on the cusp of uniting with Diego Simeone in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – SUAREZ TO JOIN ATLETICO

Luis Suarez will swap Barcelona for LaLiga rivals Atletico Madrid, according to widespread reports in Spain.

Suarez had been tipped to join Serie A champions Juventus after being told he could leave Camp Nou.

But the 33-year-old Uruguay international forward will now sign a two-year deal with Atletico as he dominates the front pages of Wednesday's Marca, Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United have progressed talks with Barca regarding forward Ousmane Dembele, Record Sport reports. Having so far failed to prise Jadon Sancho from Borussia Dortmund, United are eyeing an initial loan move for Dembele.

- Esport3 claims Barca are set to sign Ajax right-back Sergino Dest, who was also wanted by Bayern Munich.

Milan have offered €20million for Nikola Milenkovic but Fiorentina have said no, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Celtic's Kristoffer Ajer and Schalke centre-back Matija Nastasic are also options for the Rossoneri.

- Tuttosport claims Wolves are circling Juventus winger Douglas Costa, who has also been linked to United.

Fulham and Newcastle United have entered the race to sign Napoli forward Arkadiusz Milik, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Tottenham have also been linked to the Poland international, while Roma are believed to be in talks as Milik enters the final year of his Napoli contract.

- Sky Sport Italia says Tottenham have opened talks for Inter defender Milan Skriniar, while Benfica's Ruben Dias is another option for Spurs.

- Torino are battling Atletico for Arsenal midfielder Lucas Torreira, according to Sportitalia. The former Sampdoria star has also been linked to Milan.

- Telefoot says Paris Saint-Germain are in talks with Chelsea over the possible signing of midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko. Discussions with Milan over a return have become complicated and PSG are now eyeing an initial loan deal for the former Monaco star.

Nelson Semedo sent a goodbye message to Barcelona ahead of his reported move to Premier League side Wolves.

Barcelona and Portugal full-back Semedo is poised to swap the LaLiga giants for Wolves, who boast countrymen Nuno Espirito Santo, Ruben Neves, Joao Moutinho, Fabio Silva, Rui Patricio, Daniel Podence, Pedro Neto, Vitinha, Roderick and Ruben Vinagre.

As Barca look to free up salary space and raise funds, Semedo farewelled Camp Nou in an Instagram post on Tuesday.

"Thank you very much Barcelona for giving me the opportunity to live the dream of wearing this shirt, of playing in Camp Nou, of learning and enjoying the best in the world," Semedo wrote.

"Thank you for making me grow as a player and as a person. They were three wonderful years that I will never forget.

"Thank my colleagues, staff, fans and all the people who helped me since I arrived until today. I wish you the best luck in the world. Eternally grateful."

Semedo joined Barca from Portuguese giants Benfica in 2017.

The 26-year-old won two LaLiga titles, the Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana during his time in Barcelona.

Semedo made 32 LaLiga appearances and 42 across all competitions last season as Barca were dethroned by bitter rivals Real Madrid and humiliated 8-2 by Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals.

Manchester United goalkeeper Dean Henderson said he fulfilled a dream after making his debut for the Red Devils.

Henderson started in place of regular number one David de Gea and kept a clean sheet as United defeated Luton Town 3-0 in the EFL Cup third round on Tuesday.

After starring on loan at Sheffield United last season, Henderson returned to Old Trafford and signed a five-year contract last month.

The 23-year-old – a product of the club's academy – impressed on his debut at Championship side Luton, producing a fine save to deny Tom Lockyer from close range during the closing stages before Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood sealed the victory following Juan Mata's first-half penalty.

Reacting afterwards, Henderson wrote via Twitter: "I dreamt about this my whole life!!

"Unbelievable feeling to make my debut for the club I love! Clean sheet and a win to top it off!!!"

Henderson watched from the bench as United opened their Premier League season with a shock 3-1 defeat at home to Crystal Palace last week.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United travel to Brighton and Hove Albion on Saturday.

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer explained Chris Smalling is still at the Premier League club because his asking price has not been met.

Smalling was left out of the United squad that beat Luton Town 3-0 in the third round of the EFL Cup on Tuesday.

The 30-year-old defender impressed on loan at Roma last season and the Serie A outfit are understood to want to sign Smalling on a permanent deal, although United are reportedly holding out for an £18million fee.

"At the moment, we've not had any bids up to the level that we want," Solskjaer said after the game at Kenilworth Road.

"So that's the situation."

"That [Smalling's valuation] is not down to me, is it? I'm not the one negotiating between the clubs, but we haven't had sufficient bids there and that's it."

United led on the stroke of half-time through a Juan Mata penalty but were largely lacklustre and needed an excellent save from debutant goalkeeper Dean Henderson before substitutes Marcus Rashford and Mason Greenwood made the game safe.

Luton, like United, were much-changed and Solskjaer paid tribute to Nathan Jones' side.

"You can see we need match-time," he said, having watched his first-choice United side lose their Premier League opener 3-1 against Crystal Palace at the weekend.

"These players need match-time for sharpness. Levels in English football are getting better, that's their cup team as well, it's not the league team.

"The standard is high in Championship and they did well. They made us work hard to go through, but there were some positives as well.

"I liked the last couple of goals when the ball goes quickly forward, we drive at them. Nice finishes as well."

Frank Lampard is not ruling out a move away from Chelsea for Antonio Rudiger or Callum Hudson-Odoi.

Rudiger is yet to feature for Chelsea this season and was left out of the matchday squad for the 2-0 loss to Liverpool at Stamford Bridge on Sunday.

Hudson-Odoi has struggled for regular game time since returning from an Achilles injury in September last year and has only started one match since January.

Chelsea have added Timo Werner, Hakim Ziyech, Kai Havertz, Ben Chilwell, Thiago Silva and Malang Sarr to their ranks since last season, while goalkeeper Edouard Mendy is expected to joint his week.

Asked if his squad was too big and he had some major decisions to make before the transfer window closes on October 5, Lampard said: "Yeah, there are decisions for me to make, for the club to make and for the players themselves to make. That's the situation.

"Of course, I have an idea in my head of the number I want to make the squad healthy, to have healthy competition but not have too many players feeling like they're out of squads, not getting the minutes they want.

"Those are very much conversations we'll have moving forward. It doesn't mean we're forcing any one of those positions or areas to move players on, but those conversations will be ongoing in the next few weeks."

On whether Rudiger or Hudson-Odoi could be on their way out, he said: "It remains to be seen because we're also in a period where the market is not acting like it has done in recent years, in terms of how players move or what level they move at.

"Again the competitive games have just started, I'm very open to those conversations with the players as the next couple of weeks go along. My priority will always be making sure I maintain and keep the strongest squad I can for this club.

"Of course, after that, the individual questions, individual conversations will happen within that, and I will try and make sure I go into the season once the window shuts with a squad that is competitive in a healthy way."

Mason Mount, Tammy Abraham and Fikayo Tomori established themselves in the Chelsea squad last season having spent previous campaigns out on loan.

Despite signing a five-year contract after a move to Bayern Munich failed to come to fruition, Hudson-Odoi remains on the fringes and Lampard urged the 19-year-old winger to prove he merits a regular place in the starting XI.

"You say the players we've got in his position, I think at the moment we have Christian Pulisic injured, Hakim Ziyech injured, we played Timo Werner on the wing the other day, but the absolute natural winger at the minute if he's fit is Callum," said Lampard.

"We know in a Premier League squad and the amount of games we're going to play that we're going to need competition in various areas and back-up in those areas, and competition to make those positions their own. And that's where Callum's at.

"When I talk about Callum, he needs to train, he needs to show in training every day and when he gets opportunities in games he has done, and he will tomorrow [Wednesday] – alright, he will play against Barnsley [in the EFL Cup] – to show in every minute what he can do on and off the ball for the team. That's the position he's at at the minute.

"He's had an early breakthrough in his career because he came through with the talent he had, he's had the injury. Now I just want to see him flourish again."

Frank Lampard says he is proud of the way Chelsea responded to the challenges caused by the coronavirus pandemic and called on the Premier League and its teams to do their bit to help those further down the English league system.

It was confirmed by prime minister Boris Johnson on Tuesday that the planned returns of fans to stadiums in England, which was due to begin in phases from October 1, have been cancelled due to the rise in COVID-19 cases in the United Kingdom.

The Premier League responded by noting its "disappointment" at the decision, arguing that "a code of conduct developed with scientific experts and agreed by the government's Sports Ground Safety Authority, fans in stadiums will be as safe or even safer than at any other public activity currently permitted".

It added that £700million was lost by top-flight teams last season with the national game haemorrhaging about £100m a month as the pandemic continues to wreak havoc, with predictions over the futures of teams further down the Football League making for grim reading.

During the early stages of the crisis, both Liverpool and Tottenham were criticised for originally stating they would take advantage of the government's furlough scheme before going back on the decision after a backlash, while Arsenal announced a host of redundancies despite making moves in the transfer market.

Chelsea boss Lampard feels his club have led by example with their own response and expects the Premier League to do its part to ensure English football can navigate its way through unprecedented times.

He said: "Firstly on a personal note and being manager of this team, this club, the pride I have in how it dealt with the COVID situation in the beginning, not furloughing staff, or mentioning we would furlough staff then retracting that statement, making the hotel at Chelsea into a hotel for NHS workers to stay in, making considerable donations to charity. I thought the club covered itself very well. 

"In terms of football itself and the sport, I think it's important the Premier League as a collective looks at supporting the EFL and the leagues below and grassroots football, absolutely, because that's the base of why we're all here. 

"I managed in the Championship and know the difficulties because I was very close to [Derby County owner] Mel Morris and I understand the difficulties clubs are having. 

"I can't go too political because I don't know enough about the numbers but I do think clubs in the Premier League and the Premier League themselves have a heart and understand that. I'm sure as we move forward they'll make positive moves on that front."

Chelsea are preparing to host Barnsley in the EFL Cup on Wednesday, a match that will take place just a day after Tottenham's trip to Leyton Orient was cancelled after several players from the League Two club tested positive for COVID-19.

Teams in the EFL this season do not have to conduct mandatory coronavirus tests and it was put to Lampard – who confirmed Chelsea had paid for Barnsley's contingent to be tested – that inter-league competitions may be untenable this season.

"The bigger political question is a difficult one because of the circumstances and, again, I don't know the numbers," he replied.

"But if you want to isolate it to football and you want to talk about how teams in the Premier League can help clubs lower down in the leagues, we have paid for the tests for Barnsley, we're awaiting the results on that, we hope it's a positive answer in terms of negative results. 

"I think it's a sign of clubs in the Premier League think it's the right thing to do. Competitions like the Carabao Cup are important because of where they are in the chain of football and I think it's right what we've done. It seems most Premier League clubs are doing."

Thiago Silva is proud to have joined Chelsea at the age of 36 after his career was threatened by tuberculosis.

While on loan at Dynamo Moscow from Porto in 2005, Silva experienced chest pains and was hospitalised for five months after being diagnosed with the illness.

The centre-back opted against an operation on one of his lungs that would likely have brought a premature end to his time in football and returned to boyhood club Fluminense the following year.

He has since gone on to win the Serie A with Milan, 23 trophies at Paris Saint-Germain – with whom he lost the Champions League final to Bayern Munich last month – and the Copa America with Brazil.

Asked about the serious illness he suffered a decade-and-a-half ago, Silva said: "It was one of the worst experiences in my life because you have a dream as a child to be playing as a professional footballer and when I got TB, it seemed the dream would be over. But, thank God, I had the strength to overcome it and get well.

"It's difficult to talk about it because it brings back these memories, these moments. I remember my last day in the hospital, the doctor told me that I hadn't been cured, that I needed an operation on my lung and that my football career would be over.

"But, thank God, thanks to the qualified people and the specialists, little by little I got better. Little by little, with dedication I managed to return to playing football.

"Definitely it's something that not many people have gone through in their lives and a lot of people didn't recover from a similar illness, so I think about it a lot, these moments and what I've been through and I thankfully had the strength to overcome it.

"I'm very grateful to my family, to my wife, who was very supportive. At the time she was my girlfriend and she was 17, and she helped give me the strength to get over it so I was able to then chase my dreams. Now I can say today that I'm a champion, not just in football but also in life."

With health at the forefront of many people's minds amid the coronavirus pandemic, Silva said: "I'd like to send a message to the young people to tell them to really make the most of their lives.

"If someone is playing football, to really dedicate themselves to playing football. Some people have football as a hobby, but football is a job and life is short and goes by quite quickly.

"In 2005 my life could have been over, but thank God I overcame that illness and today I can now say that I am victorious, both personally and professionally. It's a wonderful experience to now be 36 and a player in the Premier League and to put on a Chelsea shirt at 36. It's immense responsibility and a great source of pride."

Silva was signed to provide experience to Frank Lampard's youthful squad and it is not weighing on his mind that he is on a one-year contract at a club that does not typically hang on to older players.

The veteran defender - who could make his debut against Barnsley in the EFL Cup on Wednesday - hopes to prove he is still capable of being an asset at the highest level and earning a place in the Brazil squad for the 2022 World Cup.

"I think when you get to a certain age, the tendency is that you sign this type of contract. I have no doubt that I will give everything and do my best and contribute," Silva added.

"I prepare and work really hard in everything I do. I love football, I love preparation, and it's not a case of preparing on a Friday for the Saturday, this type of preparation goes way back, so I'm totally relaxed about the contract.

"Whether Chelsea will want to renew it or not, I don't know. If Chelsea feel I haven't met expectations or contributed, we'll sit down and talk about that. I'm not worried at all and I will prepare to do my best possible and really help to contribute to this new team and new project.

"I've accepted this new challenge. It's going to be really good for me. Everyone knows my ambition is to play in the World Cup in two years, when I'll be 38 years old."

Chelsea boss Frank Lampard has challenged goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to replicate Petr Cech's career at Stamford Bridge as he puts the finishing touches on his expected move from Rennes.

Lampard confirmed Senegal international Mendy, 28, will join his squad subject to a medical and compete with the much-maligned Kepa Arrizabalaga to be the Blues' first-choice goalkeeper.

Chelsea spent £71milliion on Kepa in 2018 - which remains a world-record fee for a keeper - but he was dropped last season following a string of errors and was at fault for Liverpool's second goal in the Blues' 2-0 defeat on Sunday, passing the ball straight to goalscorer Sadio Mane.

Mendy will be following the journey Cech made when he signed from Rennes in 2004 and Lampard hopes he sees the Czech as an example after he won a slew of titles at the club, including four Premier Leagues, four FA Cups, three EFL Cups, a Champions League and a Europa League.

"Every keeper has their journey," Lampard said ahead of the EFL Cup tie against Barnsley.

"Petr Cech turned up as a young lad here, as a young goalkeeper from Ligue 1 in France, and created his own story here at the time with his own hard work and qualities, so that is the benchmark for any goalkeeper that comes to Chelsea to try and emulate.

"It's very tough because of what Petr managed to do in his career here but everyone has that opportunity so that's the challenge, not just for Mendy but every player in the squad."

Lampard explained he has an open-door policy with Kepa and has been keen to frequently speak to the 25-year-old during his rough spell, trying to cajole him back to form.

"I think if you lack communication in these moments to speak with Kepa, to speak with any players that are having difficult times, they don't understand how you feel," he added.

"They see that void as something that could be negative, so it's very important I speak to Kepa or any player in that situation and I have done, my door is open.

"Having tough times comes to every player at any moment during a career and how you come back through them will define you in terms of your longevity and what you manage to achieve at the end of your career.

"So I would always be very open with players. For me, what gets a player through low confidence is hard work, head down and hard work. No blame game, look at yourself, see how you can get better. That's the same for every player."

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