Former Marseille president Pape Diouf died aged 68 after contracting coronavirus.

Diouf, who served as president of the Ligue 1 club between 2005 and 2009, died in Senegal on Tuesday, it was confirmed.

In a statement on Twitter, Marseille wrote: "Olympique de Marseille learned with great sadness of the death of Pape Diouf.

"Pape will remain forever in the hearts of Marseillais as one of the great craftsmen in the history of the club.

"Our condolences to his family and loved ones."

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet also paid tribute to Diouf.

"He was an important man in our football, a quality man, atypical, listened to and respected, with a real personality who had respect for the game, the players," he said.

"He was passionate, with convictions and always extremely courteous. On behalf of the French Football Federation, I extend my sincere condolences to his family and loved ones."

More than 42,000 people have died from coronavirus, with cases around the world exceeding 854,000.

Andre Villas-Boas believes Ligue 1 should be prepared to finish as late as December before changing its schedule ahead of next season.

Sport has been brought to a standstill by the coronavirus pandemic, with Europe's top football leagues postponed with uncertainty over when they will resume.

Villas-Boas, the Marseille coach, said this season should be finished to help the clubs amid financial worries.

"Currently, all the clubs are in a catastrophic economic situation," he told RMC on Friday.

"It is very difficult for everyone. The most viable, for the health of the Ligue 1 teams, would be to leave until December to finish the current season, or hopefully in November."

Villas-Boas said the football schedule should then change heading into the 2022 World Cup.

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to be played in November and December of that year in Qatar.

"From 2021, we should base ourselves on the civil calendar," Villas-Boas said.

"That way, we will come to an agreement with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar which will take place in winter.

"And then, why not try to come back on a more classic calendar?"

Europe's top five leagues have been suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and there is widespread uncertainty over the future of the 2019-20 season.

Will tournaments be completed when conditions are suitable? Will things finish as they are? Will the campaign be declared null and void?

With the help of Opta, we look back over the previous 10 seasons to see who would have been crowned champions if the Premier League, LaLiga, Serie A, Ligue 1 and the Bundesliga had stopped where there are now.

 

Aguer-no!

It was an iconic moment in Premier League history. Sergio Aguero scored Manchester City's second stoppage-time goal as they came from behind to defeat QPR 3-2 and clinch their first top-flight title in 44 years, beating crestfallen arch-rivals Manchester United to the trophy on the final day of the season.

However, if the campaign had been stopped where it is now it would have been United who were celebrating due to a one-point advantage.

It is the only occasion since 2009-10 that the team on top after 29 matchdays has not won the Premier League.

 

Atleti's title wiped out

Atletico Madrid incredibly broke the Barcelona and Real Madrid duopoly in LaLiga in 2013-14, with Diego Godin salvaging a draw at Camp Nou on the final day to ensure they finished top of the pile.

However, it was local rivals Real Madrid, led by Carlo Ancelotti, who sat three points clear after 27 games of the season, meaning Diego Simeone's crowning achievement would not have occurred.

The only other instance of a team being displaced in the final 11 matches came in 2009-10, when Madrid sat ahead of Barca on goal difference but ended up seeing Pep Guardiola's men go on to win LaLiga for a second straight season.

 

Juventus dominance broken up

Eight straight Serie A titles have seen Juventus create history in Italy, but they would have only managed five if the previous seasons stopped after 26 games – the total the majority of clubs have completed in 2019-20.

The Bianconeri went undefeated under Antonio Conte in 2011-12, although it was Milan who topped the table at this point in the campaign, meaning Massimiliano Allegri would have won successive Scudetti at San Siro.

Maurizio Sarri would also not have had to have waited until winning the Europa League with Chelsea last year for his first major title.

Sarri's Napoli only surrendered top spot to Juve on matchday 27 in 2017-18 and they failed to recover it, missing out on their best chance to finish top since the Diego Maradona era.

 

QSI off to the perfect start

The landscape of Ligue 1 changed dramatically when Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) bought Paris Saint-Germain in June 2011, although no silverware was added to the Parc des Princes trophy cabinet in the first season following the takeover.

However, they would have been crowned champions had the 2011-12 season finished after 28 games, denying a Montpellier side powered by the goals of Olivier Giroud an unlikely first Ligue 1 title.

There would have been bad news for PSG in 2014-15, though, as the trophy would have gone to Hubert Fournier's Lyon due to a one-point margin.

Bordeaux would have made it back-to-back titles in 2009-10, too, with Marseille having made the most of a collapse that saw Laurent Blanc's side slip from first to sixth over the final 10 matches.

 

Bundesliga business as usual

What changes with the Bundesliga title winners if you stop the previous 10 seasons after 25 games? Nothing.

Bayern Munich would have won eight championships to Borussia Dortmund's two.

Marseille president Jacques-Henri Eyraud and Lyon counterpart Jean-Michel Aulas have been involved in a COVID-19 spat after the latter proposed the Ligue 1 season should be cancelled amid coronavirus.

The Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) confirmed on Friday all matches in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2 had been suspended until further notice in an attempt to combat the spread of COVID-19, which has claimed more than 5,500 lives globally.

Outspoken Lyon president Aulas called for the Ligue 1 season to end now, with no champion or relegation – meaning Paris Saint-Germain, who are 12 points clear atop the table through 28 rounds, would miss out on the title.

Aulas' position has angered Marseille's Eyraud, whose side are second in the standings, while Lyon are seventh and 10 points adrift of the Champions League places.

"When his fever has come down, Jean-Michel Aulas will see the obscenity of his opportunism and will quickly return to the values that make him a great footballing operator," Eyraud told Le Journal du Dimanche.

"We are well-versed in Jean-Michel Aulas' obsessive desire to defend Lyon with everything he has. But this is taking the mickey. Do you really love football when, without consulting anyone, you suggest annulling 28 sets of games that have already been played. 25,200 minutes worth of effort, joy and difficult moments. 25,200 minutes of sharing moments between Ligue 1 players.

"Should we dissolve them owing to the selfishness of one individual who wants his team in the Champions League? So, because his Lyon players are you to qualify for the biggest prize, there remains a joker card: the coronavirus. It is simply enough to vanish this championship into a cupboard of bad memories and for Jean-Michel Aulas to administer an anti-defeat vaccine. Come on, let's pretend that this season never existed. Let's was our hands with lotion that destroys sports results and erases reality from the field.

"The very idea of using this widespread challenge for personal gain is indecent. Let us live up to the values of sport, let us be an example as a football family that seeks to defend the general interest."

Aulas hit back via Twitter on Saturday, writing: "Good for you and your disciples that ridiculousness is less deadly than the coronavirus. In terms of everything else, I hope with all my heart that the league will get going again quickly and that we will be able to finish it like our Champions' League match and the cup final.

"For you JH, the most difficult times are just beginning. Football has never been JH's strong suit: after suggesting to increase the number of points a team could get from a match if they scored goals from outside of the box, the €200million loss that he has run up in three years, despite FFP [Financial Fair Play] only allowing him to have a €30m loss, now he has exposed himself to a potential defamation suit because he has twisted my words!"

United States international Timothy Weah tore his hamstring again in action for Lille on Sunday as he made his return from a six-month lay-off.

Former Paris-Saint Germain striker Weah suffered the same injury in August, just weeks after signing a five-year deal at Lille.

The 19-year-old - son of former Ballon d'Or winner George Weah - made only his third appearance for Lille as an 80th-minute substitute against Marseille in Ligue 1.

Although Weah played out the remainder of the 2-1 defeat, he confirmed on Instagram on Monday he had suffered a setback.

Lille then clarified the injury on Twitter as a right hamstring tear, with no time frame given for his return to the field.

"Our forward will now begin a process of rehabilitation," the post read. "The entire team at LOSC wish Tim a speedy recovery."

Weah wrote on Instagram: "Felt amazing to be on the field again with my team-mates after six months, and thank you to our beautiful supporters who came out and cheered us on.

"But unfortunately for me, things didn't go as planned and I've injured myself again.

"Better days will come and I know that God is watching over me. Small setback for a major comeback."

Lyon's last-gasp win over Nice means they will face Marseille in a Choc des Olympiques in the Coupe de France quarter-finals.

Houssem Aouar's 93rd-minute penalty ensured Lyon's progression on Thursday, with the substitute scoring just four minutes after Adam Ounas had made it 1-1, cancelling out Moussa Dembele's opener.

It means the headline fixture from the last eight will be a derby clash between Lyon and Marseille, who last met in November when Andre Villas-Boas' side won 2-1.

Meanwhile, 12-time winners PSG – who defeated Pau 2-0 in their round of 16 tie – have been handed an away match against Dijon.

Defending champions Rennes will take on fourth-tier Belfort, who defeated Montpellier on penalties in the previous round.

Fellow minnows Epinal also inflicted a shock in the round of 16, defeating Lille, and will face another Ligue 1 side in the form of Saint-Etienne.

The ties will take place on February 11 and 12.

Paris Saint-Germain will travel to Lorient in the last 32 of the Coupe de France.

Last season's runners-up PSG were handed a trip to Ligue 2 Lorient, who play on an artificial pitch, in Monday's draw.

Thomas Tuchel rested Neymar, Kylian Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Keylor Navas but his team still ran out 6-0 winners against Linas-Montlhery in the round of 64 on Sunday.

Marseille only got past Trellisac on penalties and their reward was a trip to National 2 outfit Granville, while Lyon will travel to Nantes in an all-Ligue 1 clash.

A last-gasp goal from Keita Balde Diao in Robert Moreno's first game at the helm ensured Monaco remained in the hat. They will travel to fourth-tier side Saint-Pryve Saint Hilaire, conquerors of Toulouse in the previous round.

Reunion's Saint-Pierroise, the only overseas team left in the draw, were handed a trip to National 2 team Epinal after an 18,000-kilometre round trip to Niort ended with a shock 2-1 victory.

Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas hopes to compete in the Dakar Rally again in the next five years.

Villas-Boas took part in the 2018 race in South America after leaving his position at Shanghai SIPG.

The Portuguese, a motorsport enthusiast whose uncle competed in the event in 1982, was forced to withdraw after fracturing a vertebra on the fourth stage in Peru.

However, Villas-Boas, who is contracted to Marseille until 2021, wants to have another crack while the Dakar Rally is in Saudi Arabia.

"As we granted a day of rest to the players, who deserved it, I took advantage of the invitation from David Castera [Dakar Rally director] to briefly immerse myself in the atmosphere. It reminds me of lots of good memories despite my accident," he told L'Equipe.

"The desire to drive has always been there. When I was little, I dreamed of being a football or rally driver. Then I discovered my love for coaching a little later.

"I will do it again in the next five years in Saudi Arabia. I want to finish the story. I saw pictures the other day, it's amazing.

"This year will be important for the club but I will set aside a slot [for the Dakar Rally] in the next few years."

Marseille want to propose microphones for referees and written explanations of VAR decisions after Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas bemoaned the officiating in his side's defeat at the Stade Velodrome.

Dimitri Payet scored twice as Marseille defeated their rivals 2-1 on Sunday, although the opening goal came from the penalty spot amid much controversy.

Lyon midfielder Thiago Mendes was punished for handball inside the area, yet replays appeared to show Marseille's Morgan Sanson had also handled earlier in the move.

Aulas later criticised the VAR decision, also referring to a clash between Dario Benedetto and Leo Dubois, prompting a response from Marseille on Wednesday.

While "surprised" Aulas, who holds a role on the executive committee at the French Football Federation (FFF), had questioned officials, they offered ideas for how VAR could be better implemented in the league.

In a lengthy statement, Marseille suggested they join with the FFF to approach refereeing body the International Football Association Board, with their plan to install a microphone on referees to broadcast live the exchanges between the official and players, as well as broadcasting such conversations on a slight time delay.

They also advocated slow-motion replays being aired inside the stadium "in such a way as to show the public that the picture does not explain everything", plus a report be published after each day of the championship "specifying the right refereeing decisions, the obviously erroneous decisions and the decisions that should have been made but which were not".

Marseille pointed to the successful implementation of similar systems in both rugby and the NBA.

They described the increased "transparency" of such processes, adding they would "prove that these mistakes affect all clubs equally in the long run".

In addition to Aulas' comments regarding decisions on the field, Marseille also responded to criticism of the atmosphere at their ground, where Lyon's bus was attacked as it arrived at the venue.

Lyon had been advised to use an unmarked bus, as Marseille do against Paris Saint-Germain, but chose instead to arrive in club colours.

"The match was marked in the stadium by the exemplary behaviour of the immense majority of our supporters who, with their tifos and their encouragements throughout the match, gave the most beautiful expression of support to their club," the statement read.

"The Velodrome - with a record Ligue 1 attendance - showed again a unique atmosphere in France and Europe. The show on the field and in the stands ensured our championship an exceptional promotion around the world."

The writing has long been on the wall for Gareth Bale.

Zinedine Zidane wanted him gone from Real Madrid before the previous transfer window closed, but a move did not materialise.

But as the January window approaches, Bale is reportedly ready to leave.

 

TOP STORY – GARETH WANTS TO BALE

Gareth Bale wants to leave Real Madrid in January amid links to the Chinese Super League, according to Cadena Ser.

Bale was poised to make a shock switch to China after being told to move on by Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, though the Welshman remained at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Bale is reportedly desperate for a January exit and wants Madrid to listen to offers from the CSL.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has offered himself to former club Juventus. Bologna have confirmed their interest in the LA Galaxy striker, whose contract is set to expire. A-League team Perth Glory want to bring the 38-year-old to Australia. Ibrahimovic spent two years at Juventus, however, the Serie A champions are reportedly not prepared to bring back the veteran as they look to trim their squad in January.

Roma are close to reaching an agreement with Manchester United for on-loan defender Chris Smalling. Calciomercato reports the Serie A side are preparing to present a €17million (£14.6m) offer for the Englishman.

William Saliba is yet to play a match for Arsenal but he could already be on the move. Saliba signed for the Gunners in July before he was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season. However, Defensa Central claims Real Madrid are eyeing the 18-year-old French defender. Monaco's Benoit Badiashile and Boubacar Kamara of Marseille are also on the list to potentially replace Raphael Varane.

- The Telegraph says Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is a target for clubs in the Chinese Super League and MLS. Lallana is out of contract at the end of the season.

Ronald Koeman dominates the frontpage of Monday's SPORT newspaper. The Netherlands boss is heavily linked to Barcelona having revealed a release clause in his contract, and amid growing pressure on head coach Ernesto Valverde .

- Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta are among the candidates to replace Unai Emery should the Gunners sack the Spaniard, according to the Mirror. Allegri has also been linked to Bayern Munich and Manchester United, while Arteta is serving as Pep Guardiola's Manchester City assistant. Jose Mourinho has also reportedly emerged as an option.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel insisted the Classique must be respected in response to Andre Villas-Boas' comments about the Ligue 1 rivalry after Marseille's crushing defeat.

Ligue 1 holders PSG routed visitors Marseille 4-0 in Paris on Sunday thanks to braces from star forwards Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe.

It was a one-sided clash in the first Classique of the season in the capital, where French giants PSG extended their lead atop the table to eight points.

Prior the match, Marseille boss Villas-Boas claimed PSG were in "another league" due to their financial strength, while adding the clash at the Parc de Princes mattered little to him.

Asked if he regretted not putting more pressure heading into the game, Villas-Boas told Canal +: "No, I do not think so. We do not need pressure. 

"Thomas Tuchel can invent the things he wants to invent, with the size he has, the millions he has, the billions he spends ... For me, he must focus on the Champions League."

Responding to the former Chelsea, Porto and Zenit coach, Tuchel said: "It's a match with a great history in France, we must respect. It's not a meeting like the others for our supporters, for the city of Paris. Advantaged or not [financially], we must win, show our quality. 

"In football, anything is possible, this is for a match of the Champions League as for a match of the Coupe de France.

"OM were fourth in the standings after the last day. We respect history, we respect the game, we respect football. To play against OM, you have to play with the heart, with aggression, not just be tactical, or good technically. 

"We have shown the necessary mentality for a Classique. They tried everything against us, with their style of developing the game."

Icardi – on loan from Serie A side Inter – started ahead of Edinson Cavani and the Argentine forward opened the scoring in the 10th minute before doubling the lead 16 minutes later.

Mbappe joined in on the action with a pair of goals prior to the interval thanks to Angel Di Maria.

"I felt really good tonight. I scored two goals in my first Classique - more than I could have hoped for," said Icardi, who made it seven goals in five games for PSG.

"We won this big match in style and that's the most important. 4-0 is a great score and we need to keep working hard to continue getting results like this.

"Angel Di Maria he supplied me with two great passes to try and score and at the end of the match, we had a good moment with the supporters to celebrate the match together. It was fantastic."

The signs on Sunday evening were ominous for Marseille inside the opening 20 seconds of Le Classique.

Angel Di Maria struck just wide following slick interplay with Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe, and the Paris Saint-Germain trio would go on to dominate the headline match of the Ligue 1 weekend.

Neymar, expected to be out for at least another two weeks due to a hamstring injury, was looking on from the stands at Parc des Princes as PSG's new-look front three ran riot against fallen giants.

As far as attacking performances go, it was as close to perfect as you will get. PSG were 4-0 up by half-time, meaning there was no pressing need to inflict further damage on their floundering rivals, though the champions certainly tried.

The Parisians were spearheaded by players who have ensured the absences of Neymar and Edinson Cavani have not only not been felt, but rather embraced as an opportunity. Thomas Tuchel's side are eight points clear in Ligue 1 and have looked imperious in the Champions League.

Winning over PSG's fans again after his public attempt to leave the club may not be the only battle Neymar faces once he returns to fitness.

Marseille are winless in the last 16 Classique meetings in Ligue 1, but with their opponents in this kind of form, Andre Villas-Boas' side never stood a chance as PSG's fearsome front three reigned supreme in the capital.

MARVELLOUS MBAPPE TAKES THE SPOTLIGHT... AGAIN

Neymar strutted into PSG as the club's superstar signing, but it is Mbappe who is now the leading frontman in this show. It did not take him long to claim the starring role on Sunday.

With Icardi having helped himself to PSG's opening two goals, Mbappe - who scored a hat-trick and provided an assist after coming on as a substitute against Club Brugge in midweek - got in on the act with a tap-in just after the half-hour mark.

A typical poacher's goal was followed by the typical Mbappe goal, France's prodigy racing onto a perfect Di Maria pass before beating Steve Mandanda.

Mbappe is a force of nature and, despite his own injury struggles this term, already has eight goals from 10 appearances in all competitions.

DI MARIA DAZZLES

Di Maria thundered in an outrageous free-kick as PSG went on to win the corresponding fixture 3-1 in March last season. This time, he settled for a playmaking role, and did not disappoint.

After teeing up Icardi's opener, Di Maria slipped in Mbappe to put PSG 3-0 by the 32nd minute, though it was his sublime, sensational throughball for the France forward just prior to half-time which topped the lot.

Arguably in the form of his career, Di Maria has surely cemented himself as the first player on Tuchel's team sheet, whether Neymar is fit or not.

CAVANI'S BOOTS A GOOD FIT FOR ICARDI

If you are going to phase out the leading goalscorer in a club's history, then having a replacement of Icardi's quality certainly helps.

While Romelu Lukaku's fine form has meant Inter are not exactly feeling the loss of their former captain, Icardi has played like a man with a point to prove since his arrival in Paris. Heading into Sunday's encounter, the Argentina striker had scored a goal every 24 touches during his time in Ligue 1.

Record scorer Cavani came on as a substitute for Mbappe, yet at 32 and with injury problems having plagued his start to the season, his days as PSG's chief marksman look to be at an end.

Icardi's deal is at this stage a temporary one, but with seven goals in as many matches, surely PSG have found the heir to Cavani's throne.

Mauro Icardi and Kylian Mbappe both scored twice in the first half as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Marseille 4-0 in Sunday's Ligue 1 clash.

Free-scoring PSG had reeled off five wins in a row in all competitions heading into the first Classique of the season and made light work of seeing off their rivals.

The reigning French champions scored all four goals before half-time thanks to clinical doubles from Icardi and Mbappe in the space of 34 devastating minutes at Parc des Princes.

Edinson Cavani was brought on in the second half for his first appearance since August, but PSG - now eight points clears of closest challengers Nantes at the top of the table - could not add to their tally of 17 goals in their last four matches.

Valere Germain failed to make the most of a good chance early on and, less than a minute later, Icardi converted a rebound at the other end after his initial header was parried by Steve Mandanda.

Icardi was denied by Mandanda when played through by an exquisite flick from Mbappe, but the on-loan striker got to Marco Verratti's floated delivery ahead of the Marseille keeper three minutes later to double his tally.

Despite the best efforts from Mandanda, who produced another fine save to thwart Mbappe from a one-on-one, PSG further extended their advantage through the France forward's tap-in after being teed up by Angel Di Maria.

The home side's fourth goal arrived before half-time, Mbappe rounding off a swift counter with a shot from the edge of the box that Mandanda was unable to keep out.

Mbappe spurned his big chance for back-to-back hat-tricks when firing wide 19 minutes from time, while Leandro Paredes had a free-kick saved as Marseille managed to keep down the scoring.

What does it mean? PSG in a league of their own

Marseille boss Andre Villas-Boas said in the build-up to this match that PSG are "in another league" to the rest of their top-flight rivals due to their financial strength.

On the basis of this victory, and a run of nine wins from 11 to begin the campaign, there can be little disputing those comments.

Mbappe makes his point

Mbappe scored a second-half hat-trick as a substitute against Club Brugge in midweek and later admitted to being frustrated at not starting the 5-0 Champions League win.

The France forward is now fully over his recent injury issues and marked his return to the starting line-up with another couple of goals, making it six in his last three matches.

Germain miss proves costly

Had Marseille forward Germain scored the chance that fell his way at 0-0, it may have been a different story in the French capital.

As it was, he fired his first-time shot wide of the target after being picked out by Dimitri Payet and his side were four goals down in the blink of an eye.

What's next?

Marseille are in Coupe de la Ligue action at Monaco on Wednesday, while PSG head to Dijon on Friday for their next Ligue 1 match.

Thomas Tuchel wants to start Kylian Mbappe in Paris Saint-Germain's clash with Marseille on Sunday but refused to confirm whether the forward is fully fit for La Classique.

Mbappe has not started a game since PSG beat Toulouse 4-0 on August 25, with Tuchel easing him back into action following his recovery from a thigh muscle strain.

But the 20-year-old's hat-trick as a substitute in PSG's 5-0 victory over Club Brugge on Tuesday, which followed his goal from the bench in a 4-1 win at Nice four days earlier, has increased pressure on Tuchel to give Mbappe a starting berth.

"I won't tell you if he will start," head coach Tuchel told reporters on Saturday. "I have not spoken with him since Tuesday.

"We talked on the ground, a perfectly normal discussion. Yes, we had a meeting in a meeting room in Bruges, but that's it. He could not play more than 50 or 60 minutes, depending on the intensity. He has not had a particular muscle reaction since.

"It's always complicated to say how many minutes a player could play, as for example a player could run 25 sprints, it could be too much, and on another game he would run less sprint and play more time. It's hard to say.

"We will decide tomorrow if he can start against Marseille. Everyone knows that I want to play with him."

Tuchel was pressed for updates on the fitness of Neymar, who missed the win over Club Brugge due to a hamstring injury he sustained on international duty.

The injury occurred during Brazil's 1-1 draw with Nigeria, and Neymar has since been left out of his national team's squad to face Argentina and South Korea in November.

Tuchel dodged questions about whether Neymar could yet be passed fit to join up with the Selecao, saying: "I have to prepare my team, and they [Brazil] have to prepare their team. Fair enough.

"We have different goals. It's a discussion between the club and the Brazil team.

"We will do whatever it takes to get him back as quickly as possible."

Thomas Tuchel believes Andre Villas-Boas' claim Paris Saint-Germain are in "another league" to their domestic rivals was simply an attempt to manage Marseille fans' expectations ahead of Le Classique.

Villas-Boas said this week that Sunday's clash at the Parc de Princes matters little to him, given PSG's vastly superior financial muscle.

The Ligue 1 champions have dominated in France since they were taken over by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011, winning six out of a possible eight league titles.

PSG are also responsible for paying the two biggest transfer fees of all time, shattering the world record when they spent €222million to get Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, while Kylian Mbappe cost a reported €180m from Monaco.

Tuchel brushed off Villas-Boas' claim PSG – who went into this weekend with a five-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit – have an unfair advantage, saying the nature of their rivalry means anything can happen.

"Maybe I would say the same thing if I was the Marseille coach to manage the expectations of the fans," he told a media conference.

"I can understand his opinion because we are in a good period at PSG. We are strong and we have won a lot of titles in recent years. I also consider this to be an isolated match in the league, where the standings of either club don't matter.

"We are not afraid of Marseille and we expect a special atmosphere, like you would have in a Champions League or cup game.

"We like these kinds of atmospheres and are very competitive in them. We are ready to challenge them. This is a big challenge; we expect Marseille to play with intensity and aggression."

Edinson Cavani failed to make it off the bench for the second consecutive game against Club Brugge on Tuesday as he nears a comeback from a hip injury.

Tuchel says the Uruguay international was disappointed not to feature but the PSG boss stands by his decision to reintroduce him slowly.

"He was disappointed, of course, because it's Edinson and he's used to playing with us," he added.

"He missed a lot of games because of his injury. I talked with him. On the one hand, I want to give him minutes because he deserved it and worked super hard to be ready. 

"On the other hand, I have to think about the team, to balance it. I cannot promise him he will play 15 or 20 minutes. It depends on tactical circumstances and injuries. It's hard for me to know.

"I know he's disappointed, but he does not show it in training. I hope he will stay with the same state of mind and I will try to give him some minutes. He needs it to regain rhythm."

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