What does the future hold for Kylian Mbappe?

For so long, the Paris Saint-Germain forward has been tipped to join Real Madrid.

However, Mbappe is believed to be attracted to the idea of leaving Parc des Princes for Anfield.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE INTRIGUED BY LIVERPOOL

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe is interested in a move to Premier League champions Liverpool, according to Le Parisien.

Mbappe is contracted to PSG until 2022 but the France international forward has reportedly made it clear he has no plans to extend his deal in Paris.

He has long been linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid, though the 21-year-old is attracted to Liverpool's style of play. Barcelona have also emerged as a possible destination.

 

ROUND-UP

Zinedine Zidane retains the backing of Madrid following last week's shock defeat to newly promoted Cadiz, says AS. Head coach Zidane has come in for criticism after Madrid's first loss of the season. While delivering LaLiga glory last term, Zidane is reportedly under pressure to succeed in the Champions League following their last-16 exit in 2019-20.

- The Daily Star says Arsenal outcast Mesut Ozil is wanted by MLS outfit DC United. Wayne Rooney previously played for DC between 2018 and 2020.

- Todofichajes claims PSG and United are interested in Inter midfielder Christian Eriksen, who has struggled to establish himself in Milan since arriving from Tottenham in January.

Tottenham are close to agreeing a contract extension with Spurs star Son Heung-min, reports The Athletic.

Sergio Ramos has been omitted from Real Madrid's squad for their opening Champions League game against Shakhtar Donetsk. 

Madrid's captain was a fitness doubt for the match at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano after picking up a knock to his knee in the disappointing 1-0 defeat to Cadiz on Saturday. 

Ramos did not train with his team-mates on Tuesday, so it was no surprise to see him absent from a 19-man squad ahead of Wednesday's fixture in the group stage of the competition. 

Head coach Zinedine Zidane had been non-committal on Ramos' involvement when asked about his skipper at a pre-match news conference on Tuesday, prior to the squad announcement. 

"There's an issue with Sergio Ramos, he hasn't trained with the team," Zidane said. 

"We won't take any risks with the players; the players have to be fit. He's got a knock, we have to wait and see how he feels, it's true today he didn't train at the same tempo as his team-mates."

It remains to be seen if Ramos will be fit enough for Saturday's first Clasico clash of the season against Barcelona, which takes place at Camp Nou.

As well as Madrid and Shakhtar, Inter and Borussia Monchengladbach are the other teams to make up Group B.

Sergio Ramos faces a battle to be fit for Real Madrid's Champions League opener against Shakhtar Donetsk with head coach Zinedine Zidane set to make a call on his availability on Wednesday.

Los Blancos captain Ramos took a knock to his knee in Saturday's shock 1-0 LaLiga loss to Cadiz and was absent from Tuesday's training session ahead of the fixture at Estadio Alfredo Di Stefano.

With the first Clasico of the campaign against Barcelona taking place this weekend Zidane is unlikely to risk exacerbating the issue and the Frenchman plans to see how his skipper is on game day.

"There's an issue with Sergio Ramos, he hasn't trained with the team," Zidane told a pre-match news conference on Tuesday.

"We won't take any risks with the players; the players have to be fit. He's got a knock, we have to wait and see how he feels, it's true today he didn't train at the same tempo as his team-mates."

While Ramos is a fresh injury concern, forward Eden Hazard – whose time at Madrid has been blighted by fitness woes – remains a longer-term absentee.

The Belgium international, who is yet to feature this campaign, was set to return to action last month but sustained a muscle complaint during his recovery from an ankle injury.

Offering an update on Hazard, Zidane said: "Eden has been back out on the training pitch but that injury was a bit more than we hoped.

"He's in good hands and hopefully shortly he'll be back and he'll back to stay fit and hopefully he'll be able to play for the full season without further setbacks."

Hazard may be low on luck, but his Belgium team-mate Thibaut Courtois has been in sensational form for Madrid.

Of the previous 43 shots on target he has faced in LaLiga, Courtois has saved 38 and his stats for his season show he has kept out 16 of the 19 efforts on target.

Asked to explain Courtois' performances, Zidane said: "I think Thibaut Courtois has always proven his worth. He's a great goalkeeper.

"I think he just needed some time to adapt to the demands of playing for such a big club. No one ever doubted his talent.

"We see he's improving every day, it's great for the team, great for Thibaut. If everyone can play at 100 per cent, we'll be a tough side to beat. That is our objective: to play at 100 per cent every game."

Madrid were well below their best against Cadiz, mustering just two shots on target despite having almost 75 per cent of the possession.

Zidane's side have scored just six goals in five LaLiga games but the coach, while accepting his team deserved the criticism that came their way, said there will be plenty of peaks and troughs in a busy campaign.

"I think we deserved the criticism as published following that defeat, but now it's our opportunity to turn the tide, turn that corner and hopefully you'll see a different Real Madrid," he said.

"I think whenever things have been tough, this team have stepped up and produced the goods. There are moments during the season when there are dips in form.

"The other day we could have done things better and I'm convinced we can do things better.

"I think you have to look at the bigger picture. If you look at not just us, others too, no clubs have started in brilliant fashion, teams have struggled. There will be days when we do things very, very well."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane moved third on the club's list for LaLiga games overseen.

Zidane took charge of his 150th league match as champions Madrid suffered a shock 1-0 loss to newly promoted Cadiz on Saturday.

Only Miguel Munoz (424) and Vicente Del Bosque (153) have overseen more LaLiga matches whilst at the helm of Madrid.

Zidane, who made his coaching debut in his first spell at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2016, guided Los Blancos to LaLiga glory last season.

The Frenchman has tallied 102 LaLiga victories, only behind Miguel Munoz (257).

In two spells with Madrid, former star Zidane has won three Champions League titles, two LaLiga trophies, two Club World Cups, two UEFA Super Cups and two Supercopa de Espana crowns.

Madrid remain top of the table in 2020-21, ahead of Getafe, Cadiz and Granada on goal difference.

Zinedine Zidane offered no excuses after a Real Madrid side who lost Sergio Ramos to injury were humbled by Cadiz on Saturday.

Anthony Lozano scored the only goal of the game in the 16th minute as the reigning LaLiga champions were stunned by their newly promoted opponents, who matched their hosts' tally of 14 shots despite having just 25 per cent possession.

The result was a surprising setback ahead of a week that includes the start of Madrid's Champions League campaign – they take on Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday – and a trip to rivals Barcelona.

Zidane was full of praise for Cadiz in the aftermath, admitting they were far sharper than his own team as the minnows claimed their first away win over Madrid.

"We have no excuses, it is a bad game and we must congratulate Cadiz," Zidane said, according to Marca.

"They have shown more rhythm, more desire. We are not happy. It is what can happen in football."

He added: "We do not physically enter the game and it shows. There are no excuses and we have to see how we can change it.

"We have lacked many things. If you do not have rhythm in a LaLiga game it is complicated, they have had more rhythm and more eager."

Defender Ramos was substituted at half-time and watched the rest of the game from the stands with ice on his left knee.

"It's a nuisance, we'll see what he has," Zidane said of the Madrid captain's injury. "We hope it is not too serious, tomorrow (Sunday) we will see what it is exactly, hopefully not too much."

The Frenchman also dismissed any concerns that the result will have a lasting impact on his squad.

Madrid received some good news with Barcelona's defeat at Getafe in Saturday's late kick-off, meaning the two rivals have both lost heading into a Clasico contest for the first time since April 2003.

"We have only lost three points. They are three important points, but nothing more. Now we have to think about the next game," Zidane told the media.

"We are going to try to do things right. It is clear that today is a bad time, but we are going to try to change this."

Zinedine Zidane does not believe he will have a problem motivating Luka Jovic despite Borja Mayoral claiming the Real Madrid boss wanted to get rid of him.

Mayoral left the LaLiga champions to join Roma on loan this month after returning to Santiago Bernabeu following two seasons with Levante.

The forward this week said Zidane wanted him to remain in Madrid and offload Serbia striker Jovic instead.

Jovic responded to those comments by telling El Chiringuito TV that "maybe" Mayoral was right and "You have to ask the club."

Zidane on Friday brushed away suggestions Jovic may be surplus to requirements and says he can play a part for Madrid this season.

"The conversations I have with my footballers are behind closed doors," the Madrid head coach said during a media conference on the eve of the LaLiga clash with Cadiz.

"They are private and what goes on in the dressing room, stays in the dressing room. I'm not going to talk about what's going on beyond this club, on this group of footballers and that's my sole interest.

"The conversations with my footballers and private and will stay that way."

Asked if it might be tough to motivate Jovic, Zidane replied: "Jovic is a Real Madrid player. I want Jovic here.

"Lots of people can have their opinion, they are entitled to their opinion, we have to live with that. But Jovic is a Real Madrid player."

Zidane plans to rotate his squad with a hectic schedule to come.

He added: "We have spoken about this many times. To win things in a very long season we need to make rotations, and we have very good players who allow us to make changes.

"People need to remember what this team has lived through, the players never rest. We have a run of seven games and then they all go off with their national teams again.

"But I'm not complaining, I'm only explaining that it is necessary to rotate and I think we can still win while doing that."

Thibaut Courtois backed Eden Hazard to eventually "explode" for Real Madrid after his luckless injury run.

Hazard is yet to make an appearance for Madrid this season, having suffered a muscle injury just as he neared a return from an ankle issue.

The playmaker struggled to have much of an impact for the LaLiga giants in his first season following his arrival for a reported €100million (£86m) from Chelsea last year.

But Belgium and Madrid team-mate Courtois believes it is only a matter of time before Hazard delivers at the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Hazard? I have no doubt, I am sure we will see the best Eden Hazard," the goalkeeper told Cadena SER on Wednesday.

"He is the first with the desire to show it. I see him very well and hopefully soon he can prove it.

"Just before his injury, he played several games very well and there he had such bad luck and getting out of that was not easy.

"But now this month I saw him train very well. I am sure that in no time he will explode and will to give many joys to the team."

Courtois arrived at Madrid from Chelsea in 2018 and also struggled initially, but he has turned his form around.

The 28-year-old paid tribute to coach Zinedine Zidane for continuing to back him.

"Zidane has given me a lot of confidence. I have always felt that he counted on me and it is important," Courtois said.

"In those difficult moments at the beginning of last year, if you don't feel that the coach is with you, it becomes difficult."

Courtois' save percentage in LaLiga in his first season with Madrid in 2018-19 was 65.4, as per Opta.

That figure improved to 79.2 last season, as he faced 302 shots in both of those campaigns.

In four games so far in 2020-21, Courtois' save percentage is at 86.7, showcasing his improvement at Madrid.

Madrid, who are top of LaLiga with 10 points from four games, host Cadiz on Saturday.

Roma forward Borja Mayoral has suggested Zinedine Zidane wanted him to stay at Real Madrid and for Luka Jovic to instead be sold.

Mayoral was a bit-part player for Zidane in 2017-18 and spent the following two LaLiga campaigns on loan with Levante, where he scored 14 goals in 69 appearances in all competitions.

He returned to Madrid for the start of this season and was brought on as a substitute in two league games but has since joined Roma on an initial two-year loan deal.

However, Mayoral has claimed things could have turned out differently as Zidane preferred him to Jovic, who has struggled to make an impact since arriving at the Santiago Bernabeu ahead of the 2019-20 campaign.

"After doing pre-season with Real Madrid, I was going to leave the club quickly, but Zidane wanted me to stay," he said upon being presented by Roma on Wednesday. 

"I told him I had to leave to get more opportunities. I think the club listened to Zidane and that's why they instead wanted to offload Jovic. 

"Everything was done very late, but in the end, I called [Zidane's] office again and asked him if he could let me leave. 

"I thought I would have more opportunities to play and improve. In the end it's done, I'm here and this is the most important thing."

Roma paid €2million for the temporary deal and have an option to make the move permanent for €15m during the 2020-21 season or €20m in the subsequent campaign.

Mayoral has yet to make his debut for the Serie A club but is raring to get going in a new league.

"I arrived a little late, but the important thing is that I am here now," he said.

"I consider myself a young striker, who is very eager, very hungry, who gained some experience already in LaLiga. 

"I'm a striker who scores, who plays well in the penalty area, but who also moves well, who can help the team with his movements, making assists.

"I have been here for just 10 days and I am very satisfied with my choice, happy with the club and the team-mates. I feel comfortable."

Zinedine Zidane felt Real Madrid struggled to kill the game off against Levante because they are still "lacking something" in the early stages of the season.

Madrid took the lead at the Estadio de la Ceramica on Sunday through Vinicius Junior in the 16th minute, but Nikola Vukcevic hit the crossbar before half-time.

Karim Benzema struck the post and Vinicius missed a pair of chances to add to his tally within 10 minutes of the restart.

Levante did not wilt but they were unable to find a way past Thibaut Courtois, who did superbly to deny Enis Bardhi on three occasions.

Madrid finally put the game to bed in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Rodrygo released Benzema on a fast break and the Frenchman scored his first goal of the season.

Zidane saw some positives as his team moved top of LaLiga but knows the reigning champions remain some way short of their best.

"It was a game we suffered in. We had chances to kill the game off in the second half, and it could have been a very different match," Zidane told Movistar.

"We suffered a lot because they had chances too. I'm happy about the first half but the game is 90 minutes.

"It's the beginning of the season and we know we're lacking something in attack and defence. We are not playing perfectly. I'm happy with the effort, they've given their all.

"I've seen it against this same opponent, they have good chances that you have to contain.

"Maybe physically we're not quite there. The opponent put a little more energy in and had two or three chances.

"I'm very happy going into the international break. The team is working well together, wanting to show what they can do."

Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema were on target as Real Madrid overcame Levante 2-0 in LaLiga on Sunday.

After netting the winner against Real Valladolid in midweek, Vinicius scored in successive LaLiga games for the first time in his career.

The Brazilian spurned a couple of chances at the Estadio de la Ceramica to add to his tally after Benzema struck the post early in the second half. Levante also had opportunities – Nikola Vukcevic hit the crossbar in the first half and Thibaut Courtois twice kept out Enis Bardhi around the hour mark.

But Levante's push for an equaliser was punished in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Rodrygo released Benzema and the striker got off the mark this season with an emphatic finish at the end of a fast break.

Madrid moved in front in the 16th minute when a corner fell to Vinicius at the back post and he made the most of not being closed down by bending a delightful effort into the far side of the net.

The champions struggled to create further openings and only the bar stopped Vukcevic restoring parity after he climbed above Nacho Fernandez – deployed at right-back with Dani Carvajal and Alvaro Odriozola out injured – to get his head on Jose Campana's corner.

Madrid showed greater urgency after the restart and, in the space of four minutes, Benzema struck the base of the post before Vinicius shaved the upright and missed the target from six yards out.

Levante were unperturbed and Bardhi saw a 25-yard thunderbolt parried by Courtois, who then kept out the midfielder's next effort, which took a deflection off Casemiro, with his leg.

Sergio Ramos had a goal ruled out for offside but Madrid put the game beyond doubt when Benzema showed great composure to polish off a swift counter-attack.

 

Vinicius Junior and Karim Benzema were on target as Real Madrid overcame Levante 2-0 in LaLiga on Sunday.

After netting the winner against Real Valladolid in midweek, Vinicius scored in successive LaLiga games for the first time in his career.

The Brazilian spurned a couple of chances at the Estadio de la Ceramica to add to his tally after Benzema struck the post early in the second half. Levante also had opportunities – Nikola Vukcevic hit the crossbar in the first half and Thibaut Courtois twice kept out Enis Bardhi around the hour mark.

But Levante's push for an equaliser was punished in the fifth minute of stoppage time when Rodrygo released Benzema and the striker got off the mark this season with an emphatic finish at the end of a fast break.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane is unsure how long Eden Hazard will be sidelined, but said the attacker was "upset" after another injury setback.

Hazard, 29, is enduring a torrid run in Madrid, and is yet to make an appearance this season.

The Belgium international was ready to return from an ankle problem, but suffered a muscle injury that saw him miss Wednesday's 1-0 LaLiga victory over Real Valladolid.

Zidane is unsure how long Hazard, signed for a reported €100million from Chelsea last year, will be unavailable.

"I can't tell you how long it'll be. He picked up a bit of a knock in training before the game," he told a news conference.

"It looked like a muscle spasm but in the end it turned out to be a bit more than that. It's something muscular. It's nothing to do with the injury he's had and these things happen.

"He's been out for a long time. I don't think this one will be long but I can't tell you exactly."

Hazard has struggled to impress since arriving at Madrid, where he scored one goal and provided three assists in 16 LaLiga appearances last season.

Zidane said the former Lille star was disappointed after his latest injury.

"He's upset because he was all right. We talked about it at the press conference before the match, but he's had a setback and these things can happen," he said.

"He's not happy, he knows that it's not a big thing and we have to take it easy with him. It's a question of little time, I'm sure."

After earning seven points from their opening three LaLiga games, Madrid visit Levante on Sunday.

Zinedine Zidane says "anything can happen" with Luka Jovic ahead of the transfer deadline after he struggled in Real Madrid's win over Real Valladolid.

Jovic has been consistently linked with a loan departure in the current window, having netted just twice for Madrid in all competitions since signing last year.

Manchester United have been mentioned as potential suitors this week, yet the Serbia striker was in Zidane's XI for a second consecutive match.

Jovic had three shots in total but could not find the net, missing the target with his first two before the break when he looked set to score from the start for the first time in his Madrid career.

With the deadline now just days away, Zidane appeared open to either keeping or loaning the forward.

"I can't confirm anything until October 5," the coach said of Jovic. "He is a player in the squad. I decide and that's it.

"I'm not going to say anything about what's going to happen. Anything cran happen. He's here and he played today."

Zidane introduced Vinicius Junior in place of Jovic and the Brazil winger netted the winner in a 1-0 success.

But Madrid and their coach were also grateful to goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois for a string of good stops.

"He saved us last week and today too," Zidane said. "That's what Thibaut is for."

Courtois added to Movistar+: "We knew it was a difficult game against a team that drew with us last year.

"We had chances in the first half and they did not create danger. In the second, I had to make good saves but then we finished the game.

"What counts are the three points. We have to keep improving."

Vinicius Junior felt his introduction alongside Marco Asensio turned Real Madrid's LaLiga meeting with Real Valladolid in the champions' favour.

Brazilian Vinicius grabbed the only goal in Wednesday's 1-0 win after arriving from the bench in the 58th minute.

Madrid had dominated up to that stage, but Luka Jovic – the man Vinicius replaced – missed two big chances and had a third well saved by Roberto.

With Jovic continuing to toil amid reports of interest from Manchester United, Zinedine Zidane turned to his bench and made a triple change, with Dani Carvajal joining Vinicius and Asensio.

Although the pattern of the game did not vastly change, Vinicius found the net and later hailed Zidane's substitutions.

"We are all happy with the game," the 20-year-old said. "The first half was more complicated, but Zidane changed the system in the second.

"He brought Asensio and I on and we were able to change the game."

It was a second straight win for Madrid, although they were similarly made to work hard in a 3-2 success at Real Betis.

"It was a different game from Betis," Vinicius said. "[Valladolid] put a lot of people behind the ball, but the important thing is that we won both games."

Jovic's struggles were further evidence of a slow start for Madrid's attack this season, having drawn 0-0 at Real Sociedad in their LaLiga opener.

But Vinicius is encouraged by the way the team's defence is performing to keep their misfiring team-mates in matches.

"It's the beginning of the season – we haven't play friendlies and we had little time to train," he said.

"We know that if we do not concede, we have many options in attack. We continue working with Zidane to improve up front. The system depends on the players and each opponent."

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane addressed speculation over Luka Jovic's future amid links to Manchester United and clubs in Serie A.

Jovic has struggled for game time since his €60million arrival from Eintracht Frankfurt in June last year, with form, fitness and Zidane's preference to play Karim Benzema up front hindering the Serbia international.

United have emerged as a loan option for Jovic, while Roma, Milan and Inter have also been linked with temporary moves for the 22-year-old.

Asked about Jovic – who was handed a rare start alongside Benzema in the 3-2 win over Real Betis last week – on the eve of Madrid's LaLiga clash against Real Valladolid, Zidane told reporters: "You have to take everything into account.

"Until the fifth [of October], the market is open. We will see.

"The players are fine and that's what interests me."

Jovic endured a turbulent first season with Madrid in 2019-20 following his big-money arrival from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht, managing just two goals in 25 appearances.

The former Red Star Belgrade and Benfica forward was prised from Germany after scoring 27 goals in 2018-19 as Eintracht reached the Europa League semi-final.

Madrid have four points from two games to sit seventh in LaLiga, three points behind leaders Getafe – who have played three matches.

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