Nicolas Tagliafico has signed a new contract that will keep him at Ajax until 2023. 

The 28-year-old left-back's previous deal was due to expire in 2022, thus the extension seemingly secures his value to Ajax for a further season. 

However, media reports suggest the contract includes a clause that will allow the defender to leave the club next year should a major foreign side show an interest. 

Tagliafico has been linked with a host of big clubs in recent years, including Manchester United, Inter, Atletico Madrid, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Hakim Ziyech, now at Chelsea, was said to have had a similar agreement written into his contract before he left Ajax for Stamford Bridge earlier this year. 

Tagliafico joined Ajax in January 2018 from Argentina's Independiente and helped them to reach the Champions League semi-finals against the odds in his first full season. 

Since the start of that campaign, 2018-19, only five defenders have featured more regularly in Europe's premier club competition than Tagliafico (21), while Juan Bernat and Raphael Guerreiro (five each) are the only two to have more goals than the Ajax defender (four). 

But he has also proven himself shrewd defensively.

His total of 39 successful tackles is second only to team-mate Noussair Mazraoui (40), while Mats Hummels (50) is the sole defender with more than Tagliafico's 45 interceptions. 

The Argentina international comes out on top for overall duels (286) and duels won (165), however, highlighting the fearlessness Ajax would lose were he to leave. 

Nevertheless, Friday's news should at least ensure Ajax secure a healthy profit if he does depart in 2021.

Manchester United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward has once again given his full backing to Ole Gunnar Solskjaer and said the club's long-term plans are with the Norwegian in mind.

Solskjaer is approaching the two-year anniversary of his appointment as United boss, initially on a caretaker basis, but his position has regularly been called into question during that time.

He came under particular scrutiny following defeats to Arsenal and Istanbul Basaksehir in quick succession last month, but Woodward stated at the time United remain "absolutely committed" to the former striker.

Woodward remains pleased with the Red Devils' progress under Solskjaer but acknowledged there is room for improvement, with United ninth in the Premier League and not yet assured of a spot in the Champions League last 16 heading into the final matchday in Group H.

Speaking at a virtual fans' forum at the end of November, the minutes for which were published on Thursday, Woodward said: "What happens on the field is clearly our top priority.

"While it's not the same without fans in the stadium, we've seen lots of highs since our last meeting in April.

"We had a 14-game unbeaten run to finish third in last season's Premier League run and great wins against PSG and RB Leipzig on our return to the Champions League this season.

"Of course, we recognise there's more hard work ahead to achieve the consistency needed to win trophies.

"But we see positive signs on the pitch and the training ground that reinforce our belief in the progress being made by Ole, his coaching team and the players."

United missed out on rumoured top target and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho during the close season but still strengthened their squad with the signings of Donny van de Beek, Alex Telles and free agent Edinson Cavani.

The Red Devils also brought in Bruno Fernandes last January, the Portugal playmaker proving to be a massive hit since arriving for a rumoured upfront fee of £47million.

However, the January window is notorious for being difficult to negotiate with other clubs and Woodward suggested United are not in the market for any new players next month.

"I told this forum back in April that we remained committed to strengthening the squad, while being disciplined in our spending during the pandemic," he said.

"I believe we've delivered on that, with the additions we made during the summer taking our total net spending to over €200m since the summer of 2019 - more than any other major European club over that period. 

"We will continue to support Ole with a planned, long-term approach to recruitment, focused on the summer windows."

Woodward, a board member of the European Club Association, also distanced United from rumours they are interested in joining a breakaway league consisting of Europe's biggest clubs.

"Most of my time in this regard is focused, through the ECA and the UCCSA [a joint-venture between the ECA and UEFA], on the strengthening of existing UEFA club competitions," he said.

"The dialogue focuses on them continuing to be predominantly mid-week games having little or no impact on the Premier League.

"We believe that any changes to European competition post-2024 must be complementary to thriving domestic leagues. Other domestic leagues feel the same way, reflected in conversation with our counterparts in other clubs and countries.

"What I can assure you of is that we will keep match-going fans firmly in the centre of thoughts, whether with the Premier League, ECA or UEFA, and across our decision-making processes overall.

"The past eight months has reminded us all of just how crucial you are to the fabric of the game. This game without fans is nothing."

Olivier Giroud has to fight for every chance he gets, according to France coach Didier Deschamps, after the experienced forward marked a rare Chelsea start with a four-goal showing against Sevilla.

Having booked Chelsea's place in the last 16 of the Champions League with a late winner against Rennes last week, Giroud starred as Frank Lampard's side romped to a 4-0 win at the Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan on Wednesday.

Giroud, the first Chelsea player to score four times in a European match, has started just two games in all competitions this term and is behind Tammy Abraham and Timo Werner in the pecking order, though Lampard acknowledged the 34-year-old's display against Sevilla means he must be considered to feature from the off against Leeds United this weekend.

It is a different story for France, with Giroud a regular under Deschamps, starting in all but one of Les Bleus' World Cup games during their successful campaign in Russia two years ago.

Giroud has made 105 appearances for his country and is France's second-highest goalscorer, with his tally of 44 just seven shy of Thierry Henry's record of 51.

Speaking after France were drawn against Belgium in the Nations League finals, which will take place next October, Deschamps lauded Giroud's strength of character and lasting quality.

"He had the immense pleasure of being able to start a match. It does not happen to him often, even if by returning he scores important goals," Deschamps told a news conference.

"Scoring a quadruple in the Champions League doesn't happen every day. Besides, Olivier is someone with a big mind, a big character.

"He is forced to fight against everyone, to excess at times. It was an important game as they played for first place against Sevilla. Faced with such an opponent, it further enhances his performance. Good for him and for his club."

Giroud's France team-mate Kylian Mbappe has not been having as much joy in Europe's elite club competition, however.

The 21-year-old is on 99 Paris Saint-Germain goals in all competitions but has not scored in the Champions League since netting against Galatasaray in December 2019 – a run of nine matches.

Deschamps, though, has no concerns, saying: "He was often decisive anyway in scoring or [giving] the last pass.

"He is a player who makes the difference. It's been a while since he scored in the Champions League, but it happens.

"He wants to stop this run, but that does not prevent him from doing decisive things for his club despite everything."

Juventus defender Merih Demiral has been ruled out for at least 10 days after suffering another injury setback. 

Turkey international Demiral was taken off 69 minutes into Wednesday's 3-0 win over Dynamo Kiev in the Champions League. 

He was making his return to Juve's starting line-up after two games out with a minor injury sustained against Cagliari on November 21. 

The Italian giants confirmed on their official website on Thursday that Demiral has suffered a low-grade lesion of the right thigh. 

The 22-year will miss this weekend's Serie A derby with Torino, as well as next week's trip to Barcelona in the Champions League.

Juve, fourth in Serie A after nine matches, also have games against Genoa, Atalanta, Parma and Fiorentina to come before the end of the year. 

Demiral has been used nine times in all competitions by head coach Andrea Pirlo this season, including five starts in Serie A. The reigning Italian champions have won two and drawn three of the league games the centre-back has appeared in the starting XI. 

He has averaged 61.31 passes per 90 minutes in the league this season, compared to 68.91 for Leonardo Bonucci, 80.06 for Giorgio Chiellini and 82.5 for Matthijs de Ligt. 

Demiral is Juve's top-ranked defender in terms of headed clearances, though, averaging 2.75 per 90 minutes - Bonucci the next highest with 2.29 - and his average of 2.16 interceptions is behind only full-back Danilo's mark of 2.89. 

Bonucci made his return against Kiev following a spell out with a thigh injury, while Chiellini has not featured since early November, leaving De Ligt as Juve's only fit senior centre-back at one point.

Borussia Dortmund striker Erling Haaland has targeted a swift return to action after receiving "good news" regarding his hamstring injury. 

The Norway international was left out of Dortmund's squad for Wednesday's 1-1 Champions League draw with Lazio as a result of the injury he sustained in training, with boss Lucien Favre suggesting it was caused by playing too many games.

He has featured 14 times for Dortmund in all competitions this term, starting 13 of those games and scoring 17 times.

Haaland's absence on Wednesday denied him the opportunity to add to his stunning record in the Champions League. He has scored 16 goals in the competition at a rate of one every 56 minutes, which is the best average of any player with at least 10 goals in the competition.

The 20-year-old is expected to be out until January and his progress appears to be going well, with the former Salzburg man posting on Twitter: "Good news! Spoke with my doctors. Back soon."

Dortmund sit four points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and face Eintracht Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Werder Bremen and Union Berlin before the end of the year.

They also have a trip to Eintracht Braunschweig in the DFB-Pokal second round and a Champions League meeting with Zenit next week in what is a hectic month.

Haaland, who netted 16 goals in just 18 appearances for the club last season, will hope to be back for Dortmund's trip to high-flying RB Leipzig on January 9, which comes six days after they host Wolfsburg to begin 2021.

Alphonso Davies has returned to full training with Bayern Munich after six weeks out and Joshua Kimmich has stepped up his own personal fitness programme.

Davies, named 2020 Canadian Player of the Year, damaged ankle ligaments in the early stages of Bayern's 5-0 win over Eintracht Frankfurt on October 24 and was ruled out for up to eight weeks.

The versatile youngster completed a full 90-minute session with his team-mates on Thursday, though he is not expected to be considered for selection against RB Leipzig this weekend.

In a further boost for Hansi Flick, influential midfielder Kimmich is also on the comeback trail.

The 25-year-old suffered a right lateral meniscus injury in Der Klassiker on November 7 and was not expected to feature again until January after undergoing surgery.

However, Bayern confirmed on their official website Kimmich has started running again and training lightly with the ball, though no updated timescale has been given for his return.

Kimmich has started all but four of Bayern's Bundesliga matches since the start of last season, the reigning European champions winning three and drawing one of the games he has missed.

He has completed 89.8 per cent of his Bundesliga passes this season – 87.1 per cent in the opposition half – and has won possession on 50 occasions.

Flick's side have been without Davies for 16 matches since the start of last term, meanwhile – their win rate dropping from 81.5 per cent to 68.8 per cent when he has not played.

Davies has created 1.97 chances per 90 minutes this season, putting him behind only Leipzig's Angelino (2.13), Freiburg's Christian Gunter (2.33) and Borussia Dortmund's Raphael Guerreiro (3) among defenders to have played at least three times.

Bayern face Leipzig, Union Berlin, Wolfsburg and Bayer Leverkusen in the Bundesliga before the end of the year, while they also host Lokomotiv Moscow in a Champions League dead rubber next week.

Barcelona should have sold Lionel Messi in the last transfer window, according to the club's interim president Carlos Tusquets.

Messi wanted to leave Barca – where he has spent his entire senior career – in the close season, with the 33-year-old frustrated by the running of the club under previous president Josep Maria Bartomeu.

However, Barca demanded any suitors – reportedly including Pep Guardiola's Manchester City – pay €700million despite Messi attempting to activate a get-out clause in his contract that would have allowed him to leave on a free transfer for a certain period at the end of the season.

Opting against dragging Barca through the courts to force a move, Messi eventually elected to remain and see out the final year of his contract, which runs out in June.

Bartomeu and the entire board have since resigned, with Tusquets taking charge until the elections in January, and the temporary president believes that the best solution would have been to sell the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"Economically speaking, I would've sold Messi in the summer window," Tusquets told RAC1 radio station.

"Both in terms of what you save on the wage bill as well as the money you make, it would've been desirable. But this is something the coaching staff have to consent to and that's not my place.

"LaLiga are setting salary limits at the moment and this would've helped on that front."

On Wednesday, Messi's former Barca team-mate Neymar spoke of his desire to link-up with the Argentinian once again.

Tusquets accepts this is unlikely to be at Camp Nou.

"If he [Neymar] became available on a free transfer then maybe we could think about signing him," he added.

"Without making sales, there's no money for new signings unless the new president has incredibly deep pockets."

Despite his desire to leave, Messi has nevertheless remained an important part of Barca's team, starting in eight LaLiga games and making nine league appearances in total.

Messi has scored four goals and created 20 chances, nine more than any other Barca player.

However, Ronald Koeman's side have coped without the talisman in their previous two Champions League games, admittedly against weaker opposition.

Barca eased to a 3-0 win over Ferencvaros on Wednesday, eight days on from defeating Dynamo Kiev 4-0 in Group G, with Messi rested on both occasions.

It means Barca have now won nine of their last 10 Champions League games without Messi, drawing the other, since a defeat to Ajax in November 2013.

Mats Hummels is optimistic his ankle blow will not mean a lengthy injury lay-off as Borussia Dortmund reel from losing his team-mate Erling Haaland until the new year.

Star defender Hummels appears to have avoided what could have been serious damage during Wednesday's Champions League draw with Lazio.

While striker Haaland has been ruled out of action until January with a torn hamstring, Hummels hopes to be playing again for Lucien Favre's team within days.

Hummels took a heavy knock to his left ankle late in the game, needing attention at the side of the pitch, and he was checked out at hospital after the game amid concerns.

Fresh checks were planned for Thursday, but Hummels left hospital in a positive mood.

In a video posted to Instagram, he said: "Of course everybody want to know how I feel, so a little update.

"I just came out of the hospital and it looks like it's not too bad. It looks like it could be fine in a couple of days.

"But of course we will take another look at it [on Thursday] and then we will see.

"It looks like I'm going to be back on the pitch very, very soon."

Dortmund sit four points behind Bundesliga leaders Bayern Munich and face Eintracht Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Werder Bremen and Union Berlin before the end of the year.

The draw with Lazio made certain of Dortmund's place in the Champions League knock-out stage ahead of their final group match next Tuesday against Zenit.

Losing striker Haaland appears set to dent their hopes of closing the gap to Bayern before Germany's short mid-season break.

The Norwegian has featured 14 times for Dortmund in all competitions this term, starting 13 of those games and scoring 17 goals.

Hummels, meanwhile, has started more Bundesliga games for Dortmund in 2020 than any other player, with 25 appearances from the first whistle, and his 46 tackles is a team-high.

He also leads Dortmund in blocks (17), interceptions (52) and headed clearances (41) in the calendar year. With blocks and headed clearances, Hummels has tallied more than twice the number of any team-mate.

Barcelona have been put in an awkward place by Neymar's revelation that he wants to play with Lionel Messi next season, with presidential candidate Joan Laporta unsurprised by the Brazilian's comments.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar, who left Barcelona when his buy-out clause of €222million was met three years ago, made his stunning comments after scoring twice at Manchester United on Wednesday.

He told ESPN: "What I want most is to play with Messi again. I want to play with him. I'll let him play in my position if he wants! Next year, we have to play together, for sure."

Barcelona's finances, hit by the COVID-19 pandemic, are such that launching a big-money bid to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou appears out of the question.

Messi's contract is due to expire at the end of the season, and after being refused permission to leave just a few months ago, there are concerns the Argentinian will again seek to find a new home.

PSG could become an option, should Messi be as keen to reunite with Neymar as the Brazilian is to be reacquainted with his former Barca team-mate.

Candidates for the presidency are unlikely to dismiss out of hand the prospect of Neymar returning to Barcelona, given that making such a statement might prove unpopular, while they are also sure to handle carefully the hot topic that is Messi's future.

Laporta, a former Barca president seeking a return to office, suggested Neymar's remarks were nothing out of the ordinary.

"It is normal for him to say it, they are friends and have an established understanding between them. This relationship is normal," Laporta told Catalunya Radio.

"I hope that Leo can wait and listen to the proposal of the new Barcelona president."

The presidential election will take place on January 24 following the resignation of Josep Maria Bartomeu in October.

Laporta, who was at the helm of the club from 2003 to 2010 as Messi's career took off, is considered among the favourites to succeed Bartomeu.

He hopes Messi commits to ending his career with Barcelona, saying: "We have contact with Leo, I know he appreciates me, we respect each other, but we have not talked about the renewal.

"Messi guarantees you to aspire to be able to win everything. I want him to stay at Barca."

Laporta said he did not want to "destabilise" Ronald Koeman's team by talking about specific players that could come to the club, should he be elected.

But he did say: "I have a good relationship with several of the big agents in the football world. They have great players in their portfolio.

"If I am the president of Barca, I am sure that we will return the joy and give good players the chance of imagining they can play for Barca. The good guys will want to come and play here."

Manchester United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer felt Fred's tackle that saw him sent off was "nowhere near a foul" but said the midfielder may have been lucky earlier.

Fred was sent off in the second half of United's 3-1 Champions League loss at home to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

The Brazilian was booked in the first half for an apparent headbutt on Leandro Paredes, before getting his second yellow card after appearing to win the ball ahead of Ander Herrera.

Fred conceded four fouls but his eight possessions gained were the equal most at Old Trafford despite seeing red with 20 minutes remaining.

Solskjaer lamented the decision that saw the midfielder sent off, although admitted he may have been fortunate earlier.

"We spoke to him at half-time – and be sensible – and I thought he was. I thought he played really well," he told a news conference.

"I thought he was very, very sensible in the second half and he covers the ground, he gets up to men without trying to tackle. The ball that he actually gets a yellow card for though, the tackle, that's nowhere near a foul. So, if you see that again, that's a mistake by the referee.

"But that's also human error, it's allowed. You can't, I can't sit there and complain about that now. I thought Fred was unlucky there, but he was probably lucky enough to come off for the first half."

Neymar's brace and Marquinhos' goal was enough to move PSG onto nine points, alongside United and RB Leipzig, in Group H.

Marcus Rashford had equalised for United in the first half, becoming the first player to score in all three home games for the club in a single group stage in the Champions League since Ruud van Nistelrooy in 2004-05.

Solskjaer was pleased with the forward, who has scored more goals in five Champions League games this season (six) than he managed in 18 appearances in the competition across his previous two campaigns.

"He's really taken to that role really well. And he's certainly giving us threat down the side, penetration, crosses, finishes. I've been very pleased with Marcus on there," he said.

"I know sometimes a right-footed striker would like to play on the left to come inside and score goals, but he's proving very efficient from the right side as well.

"And through the middle, he's played through the middle this season, as well, really well. So he's developing really well into the top forward for us."

Rashford was substituted with 16 minutes remaining and Solskjaer revealed the England international is struggling with a shoulder problem ahead of Saturday's Premier League trip to West Ham.

"It's just niggling him, that shoulder injury," Solskjaer told BT Sport. "Let's see how quickly he can recover. Let's hope he can be ready for the West Ham game. But we don't know."

Neymar insisted he did not leave Barcelona for Paris Saint-Germain to play in the Europa League after boosting the club's Champions League qualification hopes on Wednesday.

PSG are in control of their own destiny thanks to a Neymar-inspired 3-1 victory over 10-man Manchester United at Old Trafford midweek.

United only required a draw to progress to the last 16, but their passage to the knockout stage was put on hold after Neymar's double and a Marquinhos goal threw Group H wide open heading into the final matchday.

PSG, United and RB Leipzig are all level on nine points through five matches, with the Ligue 1 champions – who reached last season's final – only needing a draw against Istanbul Basaksehir next week to secure a round-of-16 berth.

"That is why I said that we needed to change attitude or else we could forget about our Champions League dream," Neymar, who joined PSG in a world-record €222million deal in 2017 after winning the Champions League with Barca, told Eleven Sports.

"But we have changed. And today our dream has more life in it. Of course, I have never been eliminated in the Champions League [group stage] or played in the Europa League.

"That never crossed my mind and it never well. When these difficult moments come, I am able to evolve and take my responsibilities. I did not come here to play in the Europa League."

Neymar opened the scoring inside six minutes away to United before Marcus Rashford scored in his third successive Champions League appearance against PSG.

After Anthony Martial wasted a gilt-edged opportunity and former PSG forward Edinson Cavani rattled the crossbar, it all went pear-shaped for United – who watched Marquinhos bundle the ball over the line with 21 minutes remaining and saw Fred receive a second yellow card moments later.

Neymar added gloss to the scoreline in the first minute of stoppage time and he said: "I have always felt like a leader, since I was 17, I have never needed to have an armband to feel that way. Today, I am a figure at PSG.

"Everything that I can do on the pitch has an impact on my team-mates and what I want, is to help them, to give the best of myself. I am a very annoying guy on the pitch, I follow up a lot with my team-mates, but I am also ready to accept criticism, about myself too.

"I am not untouchable. Everyone is fighting for the same thing. I am very happy to be able to help my team-mates."

PSG have won both of their last two away matches against English opposition in all competitions (both versus United) – they had only won one of their first 10 such visits prior (drawn four and lost five).

Since his Champions League debut in 2013, only Cristiano Ronaldo (79), Robert Lewandowski (60) and Lionel Messi (59) have more goals in the competition than Neymar (38).

Neymar's double in Manchester was the Brazilian's first goals in his six Champions League games away to English sides.

PSG head coach Tuchel added: "Neymar was again decisive. He is not 100 per cent but he is decisive.

"Marquinhos was also decisive. These two players were already decisive for us in Portugal. They are leaders, they take responsibility when necessary. Congratulations to both players!"

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel insisted the French giants have not achieved anything after boosting their Champions League qualification hopes by defeating Manchester United 3-1.

A Neymar brace and Marquinhos' goal placed United's last-16 progression on hold, while putting last season's runners-up PSG in control of their own destiny heading into the sixth and final matchday in Group H.

Neymar opened the scoring inside six minutes at Old Trafford on Wednesday before United star Marcus Rashford scored in his third successive Champions League appearance against PSG.

After Anthony Martial wasted a gilt-edged opportunity and former PSG forward Edinson Cavani rattled the crossbar, it all went pear-shaped for United – who watched Marquinhos bundle the ball over the line with 21 minutes remaining and saw Fred receive a second yellow card moments later.

Neymar added gloss to the scoreline in the first minute of stoppage time as PSG joined United and RB Leipzig on nine points with one fixture remaining – Tuchel's side only require a draw against Istanbul Basaksehir to secure a place in the knockout stages.

But Tuchel urged calm post-match, telling RMC Sport: "Nearly qualified, is not qualified. Nearly pregnant, is not being pregnant. That does not exist, I am not going to let a single guy think that everything has been done.

"We have made a big step forward but I am not going to let a single guy think that we are already qualified.

"We need to make the last step and for that, we will need to play with the same mentality, the same fire and the same spirit."

PSG have won both of their last two away matches against English opposition in all competitions (both versus United) – they had only won one of their first 10 such visits prior (drawn four and lost five).

Since his Champions League debut in 2013, only Cristiano Ronaldo (79), Robert Lewandowski (60) and Lionel Messi (59) have more goals in the competition than Neymar (38).

Neymar's double in Manchester was the Brazilian's first goals in his six Champions League games away to English sides.

"We can be proud tonight," PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi told RMC Sport. "We showed the real PSG, a real team who is fighting for the Champions League. It was important for us, this was a decisive match.

"We needed to show that we are always present in the big moments. I am proud of my players. It was difficult, it was a match that everyone wanted to win, I think that we created goals.

"Now we need to continue, we are not yet qualified, that is our aim. We also have the Ligue 1 match with Montpellier."

Ronald Koeman believes Antoine Griezmann is growing in confidence and the Barcelona head coach hopes the forward's run of form can continue.

Griezmann scored for the third straight game for the first time in his Barca career with the opener in Wednesday's 3-0 Champions League win at Ferencvaros.

Martin Braithwaite doubled the lead before Ousmane Dembele's penalty as Barca, without the rested Lionel Messi, won their first five group stage games in a Champions League campaign for the first time since 2002-03.

But Griezmann's form is a particular boost amid the club's inconsistencies in LaLiga and Koeman praised the forward.

"It is always a matter of trust of a player. As I said many times, Antoine has always worked hard to improve his game and effectiveness for the team," he said.

"Now the goals come in and he is convinced because he has quality. I think this is important for any player.

"I hope he can continue with this effectiveness he's having lately."

After Griezmann's brilliant flicked finish for the opener, Dembele set up Braithwaite before getting on the scoresheet himself.

No player had more shots than Dembele's five and Koeman said the forward's performance would give him selection headaches.

"Dembele is a great player. He has a lot of quality, one on one, he is very fast, he is effective and manages both legs," he said.

"The most important thing is he is physically very well. He is working well.

"We know there are different players at the front and it is difficult for the manager to decide when people like Dembele are playing at this level."

Sitting seventh in LaLiga, Barca are away to Cadiz on Saturday.

Olivier Giroud refused to be drawn on his chances of keeping a place in Chelsea's starting XI after he scored all four goals in a 4-0 Champions League rout of Sevilla.

Giroud scored with his left foot in the first half at Estadio Ramon Sanchez Pizjuan before adding further goals with his right and his head as well as a penalty to help the Blues secure first place in Group E on Wednesday.

Frank Lampard's Chelsea are in action against Leeds United in the Premier League on Saturday but Giroud – who is the second player from France to score four goals in a single Champions League match after Bafetimbi Gomis for Lyon in December 2011 – could yet lose his place to Chelsea's regular forward Tammy Abraham.

"Let me enjoy the night and that great win and after that we will rest and we will see what the gaffer's plan is," France World Cup winner Giroud told BT Sport.

4 - Olivier Giroud is the first Chelsea player to score four goals in a game since Frank Lampard in March 2010 vs Aston Villa, while he's the first to net four for Chelsea in a European Cup/Champions League game. Incredible. pic.twitter.com/p3k9sdCz9k

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 2, 2020

"When you win 4-0 in a Champions League away game it's always a great feeling and a good performance from the team. We took the game from the front foot and we were efficient up front, especially for me because I scored four goals.

"I will try to carry on like that to finish the good job of the team. It's always nice to be in the club history and we play football to mark our history so I'm pleased to help the team to win and to score the four goals."

Giroud, who scored three goals for Arsenal against Olympiacos in December 2015, is the second player to score a Champions League hat-trick for multiple English sides after Michael Owen (Liverpool and Manchester United).

He is the third player to score a perfect hat-trick (left-foot, right-foot and header) for an English team in the Champions League after Alvaro Negredo and Harry Kane.

Commenting on that feat, Giroud said: "I didn't know until two years ago that you called it a perfect hat-trick, when I scored against Kiev in the Europa League I said 'what do you mean?'

"It was good, I had good assists though."

4 - Chelsea have won four consecutive Champions League matches for the first time since the 2011-12 campaign, when they went on to win the competition. Firing. pic.twitter.com/Io1zuCrIdH

— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) December 2, 2020

 

The 34-year-old, who is the second player to score four goals for an English outfit in a Champions League match after Ruud van Nistelrooy in Manchester United's 4-1 home win over Sparta Prague in November 2004, said Chelsea's players are looking forward to welcoming supporters back to Stamford Bridge for the first time since March on Saturday.

"It's been a long time," said Giroud. "We miss our fans, football is not the same sport, the passion is not the same without the fans, so obviously we are looking forward to Saturday and we hope for a nice welcome."

Neymar caused a stir after inspiring Paris Saint-Germain to victory over Manchester United when he said he wants to link up with Lionel Messi in 2021.

The Brazil star scored twice to help PSG to a 3-1 win at Old Trafford, a result that puts them in a strong position to reach the Champions League knockout stages.

Neymar joined the Ligue 1 champions from Barca for a world-record €222million fee in 2017, partly, it has been suggested, to escape the shadow of Messi at Barcelona.

The Catalans won the treble in 2014-15 with an attacking trident of Neymar, Messi and Luis Suarez, but it has been claimed the former Santos man left Camp Nou so he could have a better chance of winning the Ballon d'Or.

Neymar has since repeatedly been tipped to return to Spain but has made it clear he will stay in Paris until at least the end of the 2020-21 season.

Messi failed to engineer a move away from Barca in the previous transfer window but, with his contract running out next June, it remains unclear whether he will choose to leave next year.

For his part, Neymar wants nothing more than to reunite with his old team-mate, telling ESPN on Wednesday: "What I want most is to play with Messi again.

"I want to play with him. I'll let him play in my position if he wants!

"Next year, we have to play together, for sure."

Neymar's two goals over United took him to 38 in the Champions League in his career. Since his debut in 2013, only Cristiano Ronaldo (79), Robert Lewandowski (60) and Messi (59) have scored more.

PSG's victory means they are level on nine points with United and RB Leipzig in Group H heading into matchday six next week.

A win for Thomas Tuchel's side over Istanbul Basaksehir will guarantee they progress as winners of the group.

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