Kylian Mbappe scored twice as depleted Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 4-0 victory at 10-man Nimes to go top of Ligue 1. 

PSG had a long list of absentees, including Neymar, Angel Di Maria and Mauro Icardi at Stade des Costieres on Friday, yet they eased to a fifth consecutive victory. 

Loick Landre gave the champions a helping hand when he was sent off against his former club for catching impressive debutant Rafinha with a high boot just 12 minutes in. 

Mbappe opened the scoring in the first half and added his fourth goal in as many Ligue 1 games late on after Alessandro Florenzi nodded in the second, with Pablo Sarabia rounding out the scoring in the closing stages. 

Florenzi also struck the woodwork twice, while Moise Kean hit the crossbar and ought to have marked his debut with at least one goal during a game that saw Baptiste Reynet prevent Nimes from suffering an even bigger hammering. 

Leandro Paredes was forced off after he was caught by a Lucas Deaux, who was perhaps fortune to only be booked, so Ander Herrera made an early appearance off the bench.  

Nimes were a man down soon after, though, when Landre was dismissed by busy referee Clement Turpin for rashly catching Rafinha.  

Reynet produced a magnificent save to palm Herrera's downward header wide, but Mbappe rounded the keeper superbly before slotting home 32 minutes in after he was picked out by Rafinha.  

Kean had already passed up a couple of opportunities before Reynet tipped his tame effort around the post when the striker should have scored, while Idrissa Gueye and Mbappe had headers saved before the break. 

Nimes were chasing shadows and Florenzi volleyed against the post before nodding against the woodwork after Rafinha was replaced following an impressive bow. 

Florenzi was on hand to head in a second from close range 13 minutes from time, though, and Mbappe clinically added a third before Sarabia drilled home to complete an emphatic victory.

 

Rafinha has joined reigning Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain from Barcelona.

The 27-year-old made 29 appearances on loan at Celta Vigo last season after winning four LaLiga titles at Camp Nou.

The midfielder's contract was due to expire next summer and he had not made an appearance under new Barca coach Ronald Koeman this season.

Brazil international Rafinha is the brother of recent Liverpool signing Thiago Alcantara and came through the Catalans' youth system to make his senior debut in 2014.

He was an unused sub as Barca lifted the 2015 Champions League title and he had further loan spells at Celta in 2013-14 and Inter Milan in 2017-18.

Thomas Tuchel's PSG side have also added Moise Kean on loan from Everton and Danilo Pereira from Porto in the finals days of the transfer window.

Barcelona have to be successful again if they are to keep Lionel Messi happy, head coach Ronald Koeman has said.

In an interview with SPORT that was published on Tuesday, six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi stated his wish to draw a line under recent events and move on after he publicly aired his grievances about the ongoings at Camp Nou on more than one occasion.

The 33-year-old tried, and failed, to force a move away from the club on a free after last season finished before again taking shots at the Barca hierarchy over their handling of his friend Luis Suarez's departure for Atletico Madrid.

Messi, who is only under contract until the end of the 2020-21 season, has now insisted he wants to move on and Koeman has welcomed that.

"I don't know if after Leo's statements I'm going to have a quiet life, I don't think so," he told reporters ahead of Thursday's away LaLiga game against Celta Vigo. 

"But it is positive that the captain shows himself in that sense, asking for unity. This has always been positive. Hopefully we are going to be calmer than lately."

Messi's criticism has centred around president Josep Maria Bartomeu, who will vacate the position in March at the latest, and he has suggested he was unhappy long before Koeman was appointed.

However, the Dutchman thinks the key to keeping Messi content is with results on the pitch.

"I do not know if I have everything in that sense in my hands," Koeman replied when asked what he could do to keep his superstar happy.

"You have to find the best team for him, where he can shine and where he gets the most out of it. And look for a formula in training.

"I have seen that he lives for football, even in training matches he does everything to win. For Leo to be happy, we have to win games."

One man who could be departing Catalonia is midfielder Rafinha.

The Brazilian has played in just eight LaLiga games for Barca across the previous three seasons, having spent time out on loan with Inter and Celta, and he has not been included in the squad for Thursday's match.

A report in England suggested Manchester City had turned down the chance to take Rafinha as part of a deal that would send Eric Garcia the other way, but Koeman indicated the 27-year-old needs to find a new club.

"For players who do not see many possibilities, it is better to find a way out," he said.

"I know that Rafinha has been on loan and it is a moment when you can no longer be on loan every season. We have many midfielders, we will have to look for the best for the team. They are technical decisions."

Former Bayern Munich defender Rafinha has returned to Europe with Olympiacos after a brief stint with Flamengo.

Rafinha, 34, joined Flamengo in June 2019 and enjoyed a trophy-laden spell that included the Campeonato Brasileiro and Copa Libertadores last year.

But, following coach Jorge Jesus' decision to move back over the Atlantic Ocean to re-join Benfica, Rafinha has also opted to return to Europe, where he had previously spent 14 years of his career.

The former Brazil international spent five seasons with Schalke from 2005, before a solitary campaign in Italy at Genoa.

He then joined Bayern in 2011 and was there until completing his move to Flamengo last year.

For the Barcelona players and staff, there was nowhere to hide in the glare of the Estadio da Luz. 

An unprecedented, unmitigated, humiliating 8-2 defeat to Bayern Munich in the Champions League on Friday laid bare the serious malfunctioning of one of the world's grandest clubs. 

President Josep Maria Bartomeu has already confirmed that "announcements will be made" next week, likely beginning with the future of coach Quique Setien, but Barca's problems run far deeper, from the boardroom to the dressing room. 

"Nobody is safe," said Gerard Pique after the match. "It is not the first time, the second time or the third time, it's very tough. I hope it is useful for something." 

The defender needs nobody to tell him that significant changes must be made at Camp Nou and he himself offered to leave for the good of the club. Ironically, such a public admission suggests he is the kind of character Barca need to keep. 

Who, then, are the people who should go if Barca are to become great again? 

THE BOARD

Josep Maria Bartomeu

The buck stops with the president. Bartomeu survived those infamous nights in Rome and Liverpool, but Lisbon must surely be the beginning of the end for a man who has presided over a wretched, expensive decline. Victor Font is presently the only rival candidate for the 2021 elections, if we get there.

Javier Bordas

Bordas is the director in charge of the football first team at Barca and, regardless of the presidency, it is only right that a new figurehead is put in place to oversee the rebuild.

THE EXECUTIVES

Eric Abidal

Barca's first-team technical secretary came under pressure after a public falling-out with Lionel Messi this year, and his job now looks untenable.  It's essential Barca appoint someone who can repair the damaged relations between the board and the players. Carles Puyol has been touted as a good candidate for the role, including by Messi. 

Oscar Grau

As CEO, Grau is the beating heart of Barcelona's operations and he cannot escape blame for the way the football project has been run in recent years. Speculation has seen Sevilla's Monchi linked with the role.

THE COACHES

Quique Setien

The problems ran deeper than Ernesto Valverde and sacking his successor will likewise not solve everything, but watching him lean against the Luz dugout, silent and stewing, made it abundantly clear that he cannot fix this team. Mauricio Pochettino is available and, despite past reservations, he seems willing to put aside his Espanyol loyalty.

Eder Sarabia

Setien's assistant would almost certainly follow him out of the door. Sarabia looks to have struggled to get the players to buy into the boss' demands and it would not make much sense to stay.

THE SQUAD

Martin Braithwaite

Barca were given special dispensation to sign Braithwaite from Leganes due to injury, while Leganes were denied the same option. They were relegated, Barca's season ended in infamy, and Braithwaite was not even eligible to play. West Ham are apparently interested.

Philippe Coutinho

Coutinho came off the bench to score twice and assist another for Bayern against Barca, the Catalans having loaned out their €140million-plus man after becoming unconvinced by his form. You'd struggle to imagine a more damning visual indictment of Barca's transfer policy.

The coronavirus pandemic has hampered spending across the continent, but any moderate fee for the Brazilian would help Barca to build for the future.

Rafinha

Rafinha has played eight league games in three years for Barca, spending most of that time on loan at Inter and Celta. Now 27, it's time they cash in. Everton and Wolves have been linked. 

Ivan Rakitic

Unfairly maligned by a section of the fanbase, Rakitic has probably reached the point where a move is in everyone's best interests. He has declined since helping Croatia to the 2018 World Cup final and, despite insisting he will stay, a return to Sevilla would ease the burden on the Barca wage bill and help to bring down the squad's average age.

Nelson Semedo

Right-back has been a problem position since Dani Alves left in 2015, and Semedo's performance against Bayern made it clear that he is not the long-term solution. Manchester City had been linked, although Pep Guardiola will surely have been put off by Friday's viewing.

Jean-Clair Todibo

He's only 20 and has played four times in LaLiga, but selling Todibo would be a simple way for Barca to raise desperately needed funds. Schalke, who signed him on loan in January, had a €25m purchase option.

Samuel Umtiti

Barca were terrified of losing the centre-back in the wake of Neymar's Paris Saint-Germain move, with Umtiti's release clause at just €60m. Since that buyout price was increased to €500m, Umtiti has been undermined by injuries, inconsistency and coaching changes at Camp Nou, but he could still command a decent fee.

Arturo Vidal

One of the few players who has impressed under Setien, Vidal is 33 and should not really be part of the Barca rebuild. His contract is up next year, so now is the time to sell to earn even a small fee.

Moussa Wague

Nice chose not to activate their purchase option on the full-back, but he remains a sellable asset for Barca, who are unlikely to use him in the first team next season.

Paris Saint-Germain are reportedly set to rival Real Madrid for Erling Haaland, while Barcelona continue to consider their moves.

Haaland has starred this season and moved to Borussia Dortmund in January, but the forward is already being strongly linked with a move away.

While the Norway international is apparently a key target for Madrid, it seems PSG also like the forward, who scored against them in the last 16 of this season's Champions League.

 

TOP STORY – PSG EYE REAL MADRID TARGET HAALAND

PSG could threaten Madrid's pursuit of Haaland, according to the cover of Marca.

The Ligue 1 giants are looking at the 19-year-old with Kylian Mbappe's contract expiring in 2022 and the futures of Edinson Cavani and Mauro Icardi uncertain.

Haaland has scored 13 goals in 12 games for Dortmund this season, with two of those strikes coming in BVB's 2-1 win over PSG at Signal Iduna Park in the first leg of the Champions League's last 16.

PSG went through in the return leg, with the team – led by Neymar – mocking Haaland's meditation celebration at full-time.

ROUND-UP

- At Barcelona, there is uncertainty over how the club can land Inter star Lautaro Martinez as well as Juventus pair Miralem Pjanic and Mattia De Sciglio. Sport says Barca have seven players they are prepared to sell to get deals done for the trio – Ivan Rakitic, Arturo Vidal, Samuel Umtiti, Junior Firpo, Carles Alena, Rafinha and Nelson Semedo. It also reports Inter are hoping to sign Vidal, but not as part of a deal for Martinez.

- Staying at Camp Nou, and Mundo Deportivo reports Barca considered signing Tottenham star Harry Kane before turning their attentions to Martinez.

- Bayer Leverkusen star Kai Havertz continues to attract plenty of interest. The Sun claims Liverpool, Manchester United and Chelsea have joined Bayern Munich in the battle for the attacker, while Le 10 Sport says Madrid are also keen on the Germany international.

- Madrid could be busy during the close season. AS understands they are following Lille defender Gabriel as an alternative to RB Leipzig centre-back Dayot Upamecano.

- With his contract expiring at the end of the campaign, Layvin Kurzawa looks likely to leave PSG. Sport reports Atletico Madrid have joined the list of teams who want the left-back.

- Moussa Diaby has scored four goals and provided five assists for Leverkusen in the Bundesliga this season. Le 10 Sport believes Arsenal and Dortmund have asked about the 20-year-old winger.

Barcelona's pursuit of Lautaro Martinez continues – and they are reportedly offering up six players as part of the deal.

The LaLiga giants continue to be linked with a move for the Inter star, although reports suggest they are likely to struggle to get a deal done.

The latest report shows just how much difficulty they are facing.

 

TOP STORY – BARCA OFFER INTER CHOICE OF SIX PLAYERS FOR LAUTARO

Barcelona are offering Inter a list of six players for Martinez, according to Sport.

It says Barca would hope to offload two of the six players plus €60million to get a deal done.

Arturo Vidal, Samuel Umtiti, Nelson Semedo, Junior Firpo, Rafinha and Jean-Clair Todibo are the players they are reportedly prepared to offer.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United continue to be linked with a move for Jack Grealish. The Sun reports the Premier League giants are stepping up their pursuit of the Aston Villa star in a £50m move.

- Staying at Old Trafford and Sport reports Marc Jurado has rejected a contract renewal from Barcelona and will instead join Manchester United.

- Talk around Philippe Coutinho continues. With Newcastle United potentially being taken over, Mauricio Pochettino has been linked with the top job and Mundo Deportivo reports one of the Argentine coach's first wishes would be signing Coutinho from Barcelona.

- Manchester City are reportedly looking to strengthen their defence during the upcoming close season. Sport reports the Premier League side are willing to pay £30.6m (€35m) for Marseille defender Boubacar Kamara.

- Javi Martinez and Jerome Boateng could be set for Bayern Munich exits. Kicker reports Bayern are preparing to sell the duo this close season, with both coming out of contract in 2021.

- Are Newcastle United looking for a new goalkeeper? Sport 24 reports they are looking at Benfica and Greece goalkeeper Odysseas Vlachodimos, with the Primeira Liga club wanting £17.5m (€20m) for the shot-stopper.

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