Brazil captain Thiago Silva is not concerned about coming up against Lionel Messi in Friday's clash with bitter rivals Argentina, rather seeing it as a source of pride to take on the Barcelona superstar.

Messi is back in the Argentina squad for the first time since the Copa America, where Brazil beat Argentina 2-0 in July's semi-final.

After that controversial encounter, Messi accused CONMEBOL of corruption, earning a four-match ban and a $50,000 fine.

Messi is expected to make his return during the friendly clash in Saudi Arabia, and Silva prefers not to look at the situation with fear, instead relishing facing one of the best.

"We are not concerned but proud to have a chance to face him," Silva told reporters on Monday.

"They [Argentina] have their star, we won't have ours [Neymar, who is injured], but Brazil is Brazil, and we showed it during our Copa America win.

"They are living a different moment, as are we when you consider the last few matches. Brazil versus Argentina is always a great game, with great football and scoring chances.

"There's a 50:50 winning chance for each side - let's hope we are more inspired then than they are."

Brazil winger Willian added: "He [Messi] is a great player, unmatched, the best in the world. We've faced Argentina when he played before, and this will be just like those times.

"There must be more attention on him, we must restrict his spaces. We'll not man-mark him, but whoever is around him must close down the spaces, not leave him room to think."

Real Madrid youngster Rodrygo Goes is in line to earn his first senior cap at the tender age of 18 after breaking into the first team at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The wide attacker has already scored five goals in just six matches for Madrid, and Silva has been impressed, even suggesting he hopes Zinedine Zidane leaves the teenager out when Paris Saint-Germain take on the LaLiga giants in the Champions League later this month.

"The fact he's with the Selecao is a unique opportunity, he surely has dreamt about this moment," the PSG defender said of Rodrygo. "I hope he can enjoy it the best way possible.

"I have over 100 caps and every time I'm here, I feel the chills. I hope he has the wisdom to make the most of it.

"It's surprising really to most people, an 18-year-old with loads of personality. You see for the way he scores goals how calm and reserved this kid is, he's not doing it to show off.

"Let's hope Zidane keeps him on the bench! He's a player who'll demand more attention from your side. His quality speaks for itself."

Paris Saint-Germain captain Thiago Silva heaped praise on hat-trick hero Kylian Mbappe after his record-breaking Champions League display.

Mbappe came off the bench and scored three goals in a devastating performance as PSG routed Club Brugge 5-0 on Tuesday.

The PSG sensation became the youngest player to score 15 Champions League goals aged 20 years, 306 days, eclipsing Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi – who was 21 years, 288 days.

Silva hailed Mbappe, telling reporters: "He is well present, he is ready, he has gifts, I can't tell you more because he is an incredible player.

"I'm very happy for him, for the team, for the way we played today. In the first half it was very difficult, we knew it, but in the second half we were much more effective.

"We had chances, we scored. Especially Kylian this player is magnificent."

PSG were ruthless in Brugge, where the Ligue 1 holders made it three wins from three games in Group A as they closed in on the knockout round.

Mauro Icardi opened the scoring in the seventh minute, before Mbappe doubled the lead within nine minutes of his second-half introduction.

Mbappe supplied the assists for Icardi's second of the match in the 63rd minute, while the former took centre stage with another two goals to take home the match ball.

"We won a very tough game," PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel said. "Very complicated. The result is exceptional.

"It's never easy to win against Brugges in Brugges. In the Champions League outside it's never easy. We scored five goals, it's really exceptional. It's a big step forward for the qualification [for the last 16]."

Thiago Silva expressed concern about Brazil's form after a 1-1 draw against Senegal on Thursday left them winless in three matches for the first time since 2013.

Copa America champions Brazil took the lead against Senegal through Roberto Firmino after nine minutes in Singapore, but Famara Diedhiou fired home a penalty before half-time following Marquinhos' foul on Sadio Mane.

The Selecao, who drew with Colombia and lost to Peru in the previous international break, were unable to find a winner in the friendly international – Neymar seeing Alfred Gomis deny him a goal to mark his 100th cap in first-half stoppage time.

It could have been worse for Brazil had Mane's 20-yard effort with five minutes remaining not been kept out by the post, with Silva frustrated by their struggles in the final third.

"If I said I wasn't bothered, I would be lying. Unfortunately, in the last three games we have failed to show our best selves," Silva said in a post-match interview.

"I think we had the best chances but we were lacking a finish. It was a very equal game. We came up short on the last pass.

"We have to try to look at what went wrong and be more clinical with the last ball.

"Our opponents are more focused and studying our team. We have to get out of this rut."

Brazil will return to Singapore's National Stadium on Sunday to face Nigeria. Dani Alves suggested the heat, humidity and time zone played a role in a sluggish performance from the Selecao.

"I don't believe quality was missing. The opponents also played well and have good players," said right-back Alves.

"The circumstances were difficult. We have an 11-hour time difference [between Brazil and Singapore]; it's really hot. It's not an excuse, but it affects you.

"It is never easy to win. We are doing our best, but of course winning makes it easier to keep working."

Manchester City star Kevin De Bruyne is the standout player for the first FIFA 20 Ultimate Team Team of the Week since the new game's full release.

While Bernardo Silva got a hat-trick in City's 8-0 demolition of Watford on Saturday, De Bruyne was still the best player on the pitch.

The Belgian got the eighth goal, a pair of assists and generally ran the show, as City swept their visitors aside with remarkable ease.

Leicester City midfielder James Maddison and Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold are the other Premier League representatives in the starting XI, while the latter's former Reds team-mate Philippe Coutinho is also included after getting a goal and an assist in Bayern Munich's 4-0 win over Cologne.

Find out the full squad of 23 below.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Benjamin Lecomte (Monaco) – 84

RB: Trent Alexander Arnold (Liverpool) – 85

CB: Thiago Silva (Paris Saint-Germain) – 88

CB: Willi Orban (RB Leipzig) – 84

LB: Aleksandar Kolarov (Roma) – 84

CDM: Marcelo Brozovic (Inter) – 84

CM: Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City) – 92

CM: James Maddison (Leicester City) – 82

CAM: Philippe Coutinho (Bayern Munich) – 87

ST: Willian Jose (Real Sociedad) – 84

LW: Youcef Atal (Nice) – 81

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Ruben Blanco (Celta Vigo) – 81

LB: Aaron Cresswell (West Ham) – 81

CM: Nikola Vlasic (CSKA Moscow) – 81

LM: Carlos Eduardo (Al Hilal) – 81

LM: Amine Harit (Schalke) – 81

ST: Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 81

LW: Francesco Caputo (Sassuolo) – 81

RESERVES

CB: Chey Dunkley (Wigan Athletic) – 78

LM: Tarique Fosu (Burton Albion) – 76

LW: Casimir Ninga (Angers) – 79

ST: Ismael Sosa (Leon) – 79

ST: Erik Exposito (Slask Wroclaw) – 75

Thiago Silva played down suggestions Paris Saint-Germain sent a message to the rest of Europe with their resounding victory over Real Madrid.

Angel Di Maria's double and Thomas Meunier's late goal helped PSG to a 3-0 win against Madrid in their Group A clash in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Thomas Tuchel's PSG produced their performance without stars Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

But, Silva insisted there was no message sent to rivals in Europe, praising his team for their display and lauding head coach Tuchel.

"This is not a message sent to the other European teams," the defender told RMC Sport.

"But it's true that we have mastered the game well, that we have prepared well, have been effective, strong and what's what you need to do, even in the league.

"You have to play like today, with the character, the personality and in the aggressive state. I have to congratulate the staff who prepared this match. We deserved to win 3-0."

Idrissa Gueye, who arrived at PSG from Everton in July, impressed during the clash at Parc des Princes.

The midfielder was happy to help the Ligue 1 champions to their win, telling RMC Sport: "Today, we played against a big club, it was important to win this game. It was important to start this competition well.

"My instructions? I cannot give the keys of our match, because there will be a return game. We will continue to work and then we'll talk about it again.

"The most important thing is to be on the field and help the team. I try to do the best I can and today it worked."

When it came to Paul Pogba during the transfer window, Real Madrid and Juventus were the teams on everyone's lips.

Manchester United star Pogba was reportedly keen to leave Old Trafford in search of a new challenge.

However, another team were apparently poised to lure Pogba from the Theatre of Dreams…

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR STOPPED PSG FROM SIGNING POGBA

Neymar prevented Manchester United midfielder Pogba from moving to Paris Saint-Germain, according to Calciomercato.it.

PSG and United reportedly had an agreement in place for the transfer of Pogba, however, the Ligue 1 champions and their inability to offload Barcelona target Neymar stopped the deal.

The report says PSG were ready to pay €150million (£134m) for Pogba, who joined United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-record fee of €105m (£89m).

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid have an agreement with Chelsea for midfielder N'Golo Kante. DefensaCentral claims Los Blancos have the first chance to buy the France star should he be made available at Stamford Bridge.

- In-demand Dinamo Zagreb star Dani Olmo wants to leave the Croatian club in January or at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.net. The 21-year-old was linked with Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Valencia during the transfer window.

Juventus have not given up on signing Fiorentina and Italy forward Federico Chiesa, according to Calciomercato.it. The Serie A champions were keen to bring in Chiesa during the off-season but were unable to lure him from Florence.

- Sport says Paris Saint-Germain are beginning their remodelling job, with Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani facing uncertain futures. Silva and Cavani – who has been linked to incoming MLS outfit Inter Miami – are out of contract at the end of the season and are no guarantees to renew their contracts. Eric Maxim Choupo-MotingThomas Meunier and Layvin Kurzawa are available at the right price in January.

- Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic has turned down a move to Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Mandzukic was linked to Manchester United prior to the transfer window closing.

Kylian Mbappe has become more driven in pursuit of success since joining Paris Saint-Germain two years ago, according to club captain Thiago Silva.

France forward Mbappe is in his third season with the Ligue 1 champions, for whom he scored 39 times in all competitions last term.

The 20-year-old's goals spearheaded PSG's charge to a second successive league title and more responsibility has been thrust in his direction due to Neymar's omission from matchday calculations amid ongoing transfer rumours.

Mbappe is set to miss around a month with a hamstring injury suffered in the weekend win over Toulouse, but experienced defender Silva has seen enough to know the World Cup winner can bounce back and resume his role as a burgeoning leader.

"It's a pity, this hamstring injury, but that's football," Silva told RMC Sport.

"I'm sure he'll come back stronger.

"He hasn't changed much, for me he's still the same player, although this year I see a little difference in his intensity in training, his desire to win the game, to score goals.

"He is more motivated, he has progressed a lot in his mind, he is very professional and a hard worker."

Unlike former Monaco striker Mbappe, who is contracted until 2022, skipper Silva has under 12 months left to run on his PSG deal.

The Brazil international previously outlined a plan to leave the club as a free agent in 2020 but now wants to end his career in the French capital.

"I want to finish here but it's going to depend on this season," the 34-year-old said.

"We're going to start talking about it soon, that's normal.

"I don't want to think about it now - I'm only focused on my work, on the team. If we do a good job this season, things will come naturally.

"I'm prepared to stay, if the club wants it of course."

Neymar is indispensable to Paris Saint-Germain and can win the fans back over if he stays at the club, says Thiago Silva.

Brazil international Neymar has yet to feature for the Ligue 1 champions this season with coach Thomas Tuchel confirming he will not select the forward until his future has been clarified.

PSG sporting director Leonardo previously announced the 27-year-old has informed the club of his wish to leave and some fans displayed banners criticising the former Barcelona forward during their game against Nimes on August 11.

Despite losing Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe to injury in a 4-0 defeat of Toulouse on Sunday, Tuchel indicated he was unsure whether Neymar would be available to face Metz on Friday.

But Silva has no doubt PSG should be fighting to keep Neymar, a reported target for Real Madrid and Barcelona, with RAC1 claiming the latter will send representatives to Paris for negotiations on Tuesday.

"Neymar is an indispensable player for any team, he was at Barca, he is for us," Silva said to RMC. 

"It's a particular problem for a player with the club, we cannot get involved. But in my head I hope he stays. Yes, I already told him. It's hard to tell him all the time: 'You stay, you stay...'

"I do not know exactly what's going on between him and the club. I honestly hope that the transfer window is over soon because I cannot stand it anymore."

Of the apparent breakdown in Neymar's relationship with PSG fans, Silva added: "It's hard to talk about this situation, the fans could do it in a different way, but they think a lot with the heart.

"I think if Neymar comes back and starts helping the club and plays like last year, at the end of the season, we will all be happy, especially the fans.

"That's why I say he must stay, he can still help us a lot, and if he leaves, it will be difficult for us. He would strengthen a team that has the same goal as us [winning the Champions League], for me it's not good."

Neymar has been unable to inspire PSG to European glory thus far, with the superstar missing key knockout games due to injury in both of his seasons in the French capital.

After dominating domestically it is clear PSG desire the Champions League above all else, but Silva is unsure whether 2019-20 will be their year in the competition.

"Winning, I do not know, but of course we're going to work to win and first to go further, we have to think match after match," Silva said. 

"Even without Neymar, in Manchester [against United], we made an incredible match in the first leg.

"At home, we thought a little bit that we were already in the quarter-finals, we should not think like that in top-level matches, we have to work and celebrate qualification afterwards."

Thiago Silva played down any suggestions Paris Saint-Germain were looking for revenge when they face Rennes in the Trophee des Champions.

The Ligue 1 champions face Rennes in China on Saturday, aiming to win the trophy for the seventh consecutive time.

Rennes upset PSG in the Coupe de France final to earn their spot, but Silva said the idea of revenge was not something Thomas Tuchel's men were considering.

"No. Of course it will be important to win this match and start the season with a trophy," the defender told the club's website.

"Rennes are a very good side, physically, technically and mentally. They showed that at the Stade de France. On Saturday they will be ready.

"They are an intelligent team. We want to be ready for this match and the season. There's a title at stake and it's very important for us and for the club."

PSG have added the likes of Ander Herrera, Pablo Sarabia, Abdou Diallo and Idrissa Gueye to their squad in the close season.

Silva, who helped Brazil win the Copa America ahead of the 2019-20 campaign, hopes PSG's signings can have an instant impact.

"I hope they will settle in quickly," he said.

"First of all, we will sit down and have a chat about everything, and then we'll listen to them sing for their initiation. That will help them feel a little more comfortable with the squad.

"It's important. I sang very badly when I arrived at the club, but the most important thing is to feel part of the squad, to feel comfortable."

Thiago Silva says it is natural for Lionel Messi to be frustrated with the referee after losing, suggesting Paris Saint-Germain had similar feelings in defeat to Barcelona in 2017.

Argentina great Messi described the officiating in his side's Copa America semi-final loss to Brazil as "bulls***" and suggested his side were victims of "corruption" as he received a controversial red card in the third-place play-off with Chile, which led to a strong rebuttal from CONMEBOL who described his comments as "unacceptable" and "unfounded".

"Maybe I'm paying for what I said last time," the Barcelona star said.

Brazil defender Silva, responding to the comments, suggested Messi had benefited from such decisions in Barca's incredible 6-1 Champions League win over PSG two years ago.

"This is difficult for us to comment on," he said after Brazil's 3-1 final win over Peru. "Sometimes in defeat, we try to focus on other people.

"I think he did not say it out of spite, but we are sad because, in the game we lost 6-1 to Barcelona, he played the referee, which, in my opinion, was ridiculous.

"But we did not give a statement that the referee was in favour of Barcelona. I think you have to show respect.

"Brazil do not have five stars [from World Cup wins] at random - none of them have been stolen. It was played on the pitch."

Silva's PSG and Brazil team-mate Marquinhos added: "[Messi] is a good person, but his statements were unfortunate and we Brazilian players did not like that.

"We lost in the World Cup against Belgium and there were also refereeing errors in his favour with Barcelona. I did not hear him talk about corruption at that time."

Peru coach Ricardo Gareca also weighed in on Messi's outburst following the defeat to Brazil.

"Messi is an authoritative voice, that does not mean I agree with him," Gareca said. "I respect him a lot - not just the player but the person. He seems to be very focused.

"But apart from the opinion we have of Messi, we can agree or disagree with him.

"I like that we would know what we have to improve in South America, but that does not necessarily mean that there is corruption or that we are corrupt.

"There is more and more information from Europe, where our children and grandchildren know more and more European players, and it seems that we want to imitate them in everything.

"There are good things in Europe, but we also have good things in South American football, too. I would like to defend South American football.

"If you speak of corruption, you must have convincing evidence. Football is a game and an individual can go wrong."

© 2018 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.