Neymar is again being linked with a return to Barcelona.

The Brazil forward left the LaLiga giants for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million deal in 2017.

But rumours of a return to Camp Nou refuse to go away.

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR CONTACTED OVER BARCELONA RETURN

Neymar has been contacted by different Barcelona presidential candidates over a return to the club from PSG, according to Sport.

It says Neymar, who was recently said to be happy to renew a PSG deal that expires in 2022, does not want to extend at the Ligue 1 champions.

Neymar has battled injuries since moving to the French capital, making 30 or fewer appearances in each of his three seasons at the club heading into 2020-21.

 

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Barcelona and Mundo Deportivo reports Lyon star Memphis Depay has a four-year agreement with the Catalans. It comes days after Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas ruled out a January exit for the forward. Depay is out of contract at season's end and Mundo Deportivo says he could make a January move for €5m or €6m.

- Dominik Szoboszlai sent Hungary into Euro 2020 on Thursday, and the Salzburg star is wanted across Europe. AS says Real Madrid are following the midfielder, who it says is valued at around €25m and also wanted by Arsenal, Milan and RB Leipzig.

- Also at Real Madrid and AS reports Martin Odegaard could play a key role in helping the LaLiga champions land his Norway team-mate Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund in 2022.

- After playing just 33 Premier League minutes for Chelsea this season, Olivier Giroud is again linked with a move. CalcioMercato reports Inter are set to go back in for the forward in January.

- Amid their defensive crisis with Virgil van Dijk and Joe Gomez facing long spells on the sidelines, Liverpool are likely to look for a centre-back in January. TeamTalk reports the Premier League champions have been offered former Newcastle United and Watford defender Daryl Janmaat.

Cristiano Ronaldo's name is still chanted at Old Trafford, 11 years on from his Manchester United exit.

The 35-year-old enjoyed great success in Manchester, while he has gone on to break records with Real Madrid and Juventus.

However, the Juventus superstar could reportedly be set for a second stint at the Theatre of Dreams.

 

TOP STORY – UNITED EYE RONALDO RETURN

Manchester United are looking to re-sign Cristiano Ronaldo from Juventus, according to ESPN broadcaster Christian Martin.

Ronaldo spent six years at United, winning three Premier League titles and the Champions League, before joining Real Madrid in 2009.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner swapped Madrid for Serie A champions Juve in 2018, but he has been linked with a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

Juve would negotiate a deal with United if Ronaldo asked to leave Turin, the report claims.

 

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Kylian Mbappe tops Real Madrid's list of transfer targets, reports Diario AS. The club's wishlist includes the PSG forward, Rennes sensation and United target Eduardo Camavinga, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and RB Leipzig defender Dayot Upamecano. It comes as United eye both Upamecano and Madrid centre-back Raphael Varane.

Matthijs de Ligt will not leave Juventus next season, reports Calciomercato. Juve are not entertaining offers, unless a club pay De Ligt's €150million release clause, which will be active in 2021.

- Calciomercato says United have set their sights on Dortmund defender Dan-Axel Zagadou. The 21-year-old arrived from PSG in 2017.

Madrid are concerned about the form of Zinedine Zidane's team, according to Cadena SER. While there are reports Madrid directors are losing faith in Zidane, the club are also unwilling to throw Raul or Mauricio Pochettino in the deep end at the LaLiga champions.

Lionel Messi's father, Jorge, rubbished reports he had been contacted by Paris Saint-Germain about the Barcelona star.

Messi, 33, continues to be linked with a move away from the LaLiga giants with his contract expiring at season's end and having requested to leave during the close season.

PSG, Manchester City and Inter have previously been most strongly connected with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

But after a report claimed Jorge was contacted by PSG to start negotiations in January, Messi's father denied the suggestion.

"Stop inventing!!! #fakenews," he wrote on Instagram.

Messi has spent his entire professional career at Barcelona, where he has won 10 LaLiga titles and four Champions Leagues among numerous other trophies.

He sensationally requested to leave the club in the close season but ultimately ended up staying.

Messi has scored six goals in 10 games this season, including three in seven in LaLiga.

Though it is still early in the LaLiga campaign, Messi is without an assist, while his two chances created per 90 minutes is his lowest since 2012-13 (1.6).

Ronald Koeman's men are eighth in the LaLiga table, nine points adrift of leaders Real Sociedad but having played two fewer games.

Marco Verratti stepped up his recovery from a thigh injury by returning to training with Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

The midfielder returned from international duty in October with the issue and has missed the past seven matches in all competitions.

It will be a boost for PSG boss Thomas Tuchel, who has been contending with a raft of injuries to key players this season.

Verratti performed light, individual exercises and Mauro Icardi is expected to follow suit this week.

PSG have won all five of their Ligue 1 games without Verratti this season, with the Italy midfielder in the line-up for their two defeats at the start of the season.

Among all players to feature in at least 10 Ligue 1 matches last season, only Leandro Paredes attempted and completed more passes than Verratti per 90 minutes.

Could Cristiano Ronaldo's time in Turin be coming to an end?

Ronaldo is contracted to Juventus until 2022 but the Italian giants are believed to be willing to part with the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

Neymar could be his direct replacement.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO OUT, NEYMAR IN?

Juventus are keen to swap Cristiano Ronaldo for Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar, according to TuttoMercatoWeb.

Ronaldo has been linked with a move away from Serie A champions Juve, while Neymar's future has often dominated headlines amid speculation over a Barcelona return.

But the superstar pair could be involved in a blockbuster swap deal as both players are on similar contracts.

 

ROUND-UP

- Marca claims Athletic Bilbao are eyeing former Tottenham boss Mauricio Pochettino, with the future of current head coach Gaizka Garitano uncertain. Pochettino has been linked to Manchester United.

Milan are targeting a January move for Schalke defender and Liverpool target Ozan Kabak, reports Gazzetta dello Sport. Hellas Verona's Matteo Lovato is an alternative, while the Rossoneri are also eyeing Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram. The French forward has been linked to the likes of Juve, Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City.

- Zinedine Zidane remains determined to bring Eduardo Camavinga to Madrid, however, Mundo Deportivo says the France sensation will not leave Rennes for below €100million.

- According to Manchester Evening News, United could rekindle their interest in Aston Villa captain Jack Grealish amid his dazzling form. Grealish and Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho were both linked with Old Trafford moves during the previous transfer window.

Thiago Silva says his early Premier League appearances have left him with headaches, but he is looking to earn a contract extension at Chelsea.

Silva joined Chelsea on a free transfer in August, having not had his contract extended at Paris Saint-Germain.

The ex-PSG captain is 36 yet has quickly had an impact at Stamford Bridge, avoiding defeat in his first eight games in all competitions and helping the Blues climb to fifth in the Premier League, a competition that has already left an impression on the centre-back.

Away with Brazil on international duty, Silva was asked how English football compares to Ligue 1 and Serie A, where he played for Milan.

"They are three very different football schools," he told a news conference. "I have had a great learning experience in Italy, one of the best schools for the back line and defensive phase.

"I also had great companions in my early days like [Paolo] Maldini and [Alessandro] Nesta, with whom I played for two years, so I was able to learn a lot from them.

"The French championship is a little more physical, stronger and now PSG has a dominance over the opponents and we had to risk a little more.

"And now in the English championship, the last two games I ended up with a lot of headaches because there are aerial plays at all times and, with a very high pace of play, it is very different from the other two leagues.

"I have learned from all that and I put it into practice to help the younger players."

Silva has contested five aerial duels in each of his past two Premier League appearances, against Sheffield United and Burnley, having had five in total across his first three games in the competition.

The Brazil international has won eight of his 15 aerial duels this season.

In Ligue 1 in 2019-20, Silva contested five or more aerial duels on four occasions, winning 31 of 50 across the campaign - the lowest totals of his time at PSG.

Silva has seemingly not been disheartened by his initial experiences at Chelsea and instead has his sights set on an extension to the 12-month deal he signed in August, which has the option of a further year.

"This is my first experience in the Premier League but I hope to continue doing well and to have a contract renewal as well," he added.

Silva has made five blocks so far this season, the most of any Chelsea defender, while only centre-back partner Kurt Zouma (36) can better his 18 clearances.

Fikayo Tomori (96.6 per cent), who has played just 45 minutes, is the sole team-mate who beats Silva's passing accuracy of 92.8 per cent.

Paris Saint-Germain are in talks with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe over contract extensions and will look to make progress in the coming weeks, sporting director Leonardo assured.

Neymar and Mbappe are the world's two most expensive players, having joined PSG for €222million and €180m respectively.

Both attacking superstars are into the final two years of their existing deals, however, making the club potentially vulnerable in upcoming transfer windows.

PSG are determined to keep the duo in the French capital and have already opened negotiations, with Angel Di Maria - out of contract at the end of 2020-21 - another key target for Leonardo.

"We must adapt to the current context with the coronavirus pandemic," he said in a Q&A on PSG's social media channels.

"With Neymar, Mbappe, [Angel] Di Maria, [Juan] Bernat and even the young players, they are all the extensions we have already started discussions for and we will try to intensify this in the next few weeks.

"We have started talking [with Neymar]. There is the timing; at the moment, people cannot even move [in the transfer market]. The idea of ​​renewing exists."

Mbappe has consistently been linked with a move to Real Madrid, but Leonardo is not concerned by the noise in Spain.

"There is a lot of talk," he said. "And in the Spanish teams, there are a lot of politics. We speak directly with Kylian, that's the truth of the negotiation.

"The truth is that PSG are in a complicated moment, but it will be the team of the next five years that will have a shot.

"There are teams that have gone through a very long, successful cycle and are starting to struggle. We have young but very experienced players.

"We have Neymar, Mbappe, who are in the top three [in the world] because [Cristiano] Ronaldo and [Lionel] Messi will come out with age.

"That's the idea. I see this future and that's what we're working on.

"We know this season is weird. We knew it would be difficult, that we will play all our games behind closed doors and that we would not have the same income."

But PSG's immediate concerns relating to Neymar and Mbappe are their respective returns to fitness.

Between coronavirus cases, suspensions and injuries, Neymar has played just six times in all competitions this season, while Mbappe has been restricted to eight appearances.

The pair are both carrying knocks heading into the international break but have each been called up by their national teams.

"If it is an official call-up, the club cannot say anything - even if the player is injured," said Leonardo, who defended PSG's awful injury record this season.

"There have been moments of shock and times when we try to have something logical, some common sense.

"With Brazil and France, it was clear: they are injured, they have a schedule, they have to respect the time [required to get fit]. They follow a programme as if they were here.

"They are not going to play the first game with their national teams, maybe the second. That's the only thing we could do.

"The federations assured us that they would not take any risk with the health of our players. Then the schedule is hellish. We will try to live with it but it's incredible."

Thomas Tuchel believes it is "really hard to play against" Moise Kean after the Paris Saint-Germain forward continued his goalscoring form.

Kean, who is on loan at PSG from Everton, scored his fifth goal in as many games in Saturday's 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Rennes.

The 20-year-old's three goals in four Ligue 1 games are already more than the two he managed in 31 Premier League appearances for Everton.

Tuchel praised Kean's form for PSG, who are five points clear atop Ligue 1.

"[Kean] has a big heart, he puts on intensity. He is not afraid, he is courageous. He does what is necessary," the PSG coach told a news conference.

"I wouldn't want to be a defender against him right now, it's really hard to play against him.

"It's very important for us because we miss that in certain times."

Kean has scored two of his four big chances in Ligue 1 this season, while he has a shot conversion rate – excluding blocks – of 30 per cent.

After Kean's opener against Rennes, Angel Di Maria struck a brace for Tuchel's men.

PSG are next in action with a trip to Monaco on November 20.

Thomas Tuchel is delighted with the way Paris Saint-Germain are performing through an injury crisis as they lost three more players in Saturday's win over Rennes.

PSG were already missing Neymar, Mauro Icardi, Marco Verratti and Julian Draxler and then saw Idrissa Gueye, Thilo Kehrer and Alessandro Florenzi all bow out before half-time at the Parc des Princes.

Angel Di Maria ensured the Ligue 1 champions claimed a 3-0 victory regardless, creating the opener for Moise Kean and then adding a double himself.

The three points provided some respite for the league leaders and coach Tuchel heading into the international break, and the coach took with the opportunity to defend his side's display in a 2-1 reverse to RB Leipzig in the Champions League in midweek.

"The result is better, but we didn't play better than Wednesday," he told Canal+. "We had a great fight and the mentality was exceptional.

"The guys have been amazing despite the new injuries. I am very happy and proud. It's one of the best wins since I've been here."

On the team's latest fitness setbacks, which saw Tuchel make two changes before the interval for the fifth time in Ligue 1, the coach added: "It was already too much before the game and it's getting worse.

"We were playing with Kehrer, who wasn't ready. It was the same thing for [Leandro] Paredes and [Ander] Herrera. It's like that."

Di Maria's quality told as he scored with both of his shots on target, while creating three chances – more than any other PSG player.

"We try to do the best we can, but it's not easy," Di Maria said. "We can't pretend nothing has happened.

"We didn't have time to work after last season, there was COVID and many injuries, so it's not easy.

"We still support Tuchel. He is a great coach, who led us to the final of the Champions League. He did the maximum for us, and we are giving the maximum for him.

"He has our full confidence, and he trusts us too."

Rennes had more possession than their hosts and recorded 16 attempts to PSG's nine, yet Keylor Navas was required to make only three saves.

Despite their selection issues, last season's Champions League finals have won eight league games in a row, keeping seven clean sheets in the process.

Angel Di Maria made up for lost time in Ligue 1 by scoring twice in a starring role in Paris Saint-Germain's 3-0 victory over Rennes at the Parc des Princes on Saturday.

The Argentina winger was banned for four matches for spitting at Marseille defender Alvaro during an ugly Classique and last featured in France's top flight against Reims on September 27.

But it was his pressing that forced the error from which Moise Kean scored his third Ligue 1 goal and Di Maria added a second after 20 minutes with an audacious chip.

Di Maria added somewhat unfair gloss in the second half as PSG provided a good riposte to a damaging 2-1 reverse against RB Leipzig in the Champions League, although Kean was one of four enforced subs for Thomas Tuchel as the PSG coach's injury list mounted.

Rennes mixed bright play with careless passing early on and it was from one such lax interchange between goalkeeper Alfred Gomis and James Lea Siliki that Di Maria toed into the path of Kean, who drilled expertly into the bottom-left corner.

Only the post denied Di Maria's excellent long-ranger on the half-volley but the awesome Argentine doubled the lead with a sumptuous piece of skill after collecting Ander Herrera's throughball.

Steven N'Zonzi's aerial prowess caused a couple of nervy moments, while Kean put a free header over the top himself.

PSG did not show a great deal of adventure, though the fact Kean limped off in the 61st minute after Idrissa Gueye, Thilo Kehrer and Alessandro Florenzi had already been subbed perhaps explained a more measured approach.

Instead, Rennes asked more second-half questions without ever troubling the opposition, handball claims against Leandro Parades and Danilo Pereira from the same Hamari Traore cross not interesting the VAR.

But it was game over when Di Maria drifted in from the right and picked out the far corner with a deflected daisy-cutter in the 73rd minute to cap a fine outing.

Thomas Tuchel has "no doubt" he still has the support of his Paris Saint-Germain players as he hit back at the recent criticism aimed his way.

The German faced yet more questions over his future on the back of Wednesday's 2-1 loss to RB Leipzig, which left PSG third in Champions League Group H at the midway point.

Tuchel guided the French giants to a domestic treble last season and to the final of the Champions League, where they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich.

But defeats to Leipzig and Manchester United in Europe, plus some questionable tactical decisions, have led to suggestions PSG are on the lookout for a new head coach.

Ahead of Saturday's Ligue 1 clash with Rennes, however, Tuchel rejected talk of his position at the Parc des Princes being under threat.

Asked if his players are still motivated, Tuchel said: "Yes, I have no doubts. We've given everything and played with good energy. It is necessary to continue training with a smile.

"Of course we are disappointed when we lose games - we don't want to get used to that feeling. At the same time, we know it was possible to win that match.

"The atmosphere is one of disappointment but calm. We have a great opportunity tomorrow to widen the gap at the top of Ligue 1."

Tuchel's position has been called into question numerous times during his two-and-a-half-year tenure.

One of those occasions was on the back of a defeat to this weekend's opponents Rennes in the 2019 Coupe de France final.

But Tuchel has put his side's recent travails into perspective, with the reigning champions winning seven league games on the spin and keeping a clean sheet in six of those.

"These questions about my future were asked after various finals, the game with Atalanta [in last season's Champions League quarter-finals] ... it's always the same," he said.

"Is it a more difficult time for me now? I don't know. But some wanted to finish me off after the loss to Manchester United. That was probably the most difficult moment for me.

"We are first in Ligue 1. We lost a match in Leipzig but these are semi-finalists in the Champions League, where there was a penalty and a red card.

"Losing a game in the Champions League is not the worst situation in the world."

Former midfielder Thiago Motta is the latest name in the frame to replace Tuchel, who has an uneasy relationship with sporting director Leonardo.

The pair publicly fell out in October over the club's transfer spending and Tuchel says it can sometimes be a lonely job when results are going against his side.

"Maybe, but that's not a big deal," he responded when asked if he feels separated from Leonardo and chairman Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

"We are together here. We work together and have a good relationship, from the guys in the kitchen to those in the media department.

"I don't feel like I'm alone, but it is always difficult when you don't get wins. The club are not used to not winning and that's good - we just can't let our emotions go up and down.

"We need to be focused and have some confidence in our players. We have a final against Leipzig at home later this month and have to be prepared for that."

Thomas Tuchel would prefer it if Neymar and Kylian Mbappe had not been called up by their national sides but concedes there is nothing Paris Saint-Germain can do.

Both players have been struggling with injuries and will play no part in PSG's Ligue 1 clash with Rennes on Saturday.

Mbappe missed Wednesday's 2-1 loss to RB Leipzig with a "minor" muscular issue sustained against Nantes last week, while Neymar has sat out two games with a groin problem.

However, Mbappe is part of France's squad for their November internationals and Neymar is due to travel to South America for Brazil's World Cup qualifying double-header against Venezuela and Uruguay.

Speaking at a news conference previewing the match with Rennes, Tuchel told reporters: "It's the right of the national teams to call up their players. We can't do anything about it.

"I prefer that if the players are injured and cannot play, we get them back. But at the same time we have to trust the national teams to take good care of the players."

Since his arrival in August 2017, PSG have played as many Ligue 1 games with Neymar as without, winning 86 per cent of matches he has been involved in and 70 per cent in his absence.

PSG are also without Marco Verratti, Mauro Icardi, Julian Draxler, Keylor Navas, Presnel Kimpembe and, potentially, Pablo Sarabia for the visit of Rennes.

The champions have lost 13 league games against Rennes this century – only against Lyon have they had as many defeats.

Julien Stephan's side finished third in last season's shortened Ligue 1 campaign and are in the same position this time around after nine games.

Tuchel has been impressed by what he has seen from Rennes, who also beat PSG on penalties after a 2-2 draw to win the 2019 Coupe de France final.

"During my time in France, this team has always been progressing," he said. "They have a good unity between the team and the coach and deserve to be in the Champions League.

"They won a cup, too, unfortunately against us. They are a strong, solid and courageous team.

"They are very impressive and we are preparing for what should be a great match."

Kylian Mbappe has been included in the France squad despite being a doubt for Paris Saint-Germain's next game due to a hamstring injury.

The 21-year-old attacker sat out PSG's 2-1 Champions League loss to RB Leipzig on Wednesday with a muscular problem sustained against Nantes last weekend.

Thomas Tuchel said the issue was "very minor" and Mbappe was due to be reassessed on Thursday ahead of Saturday's home Ligue 1 game against Rennes.

Reports had suggested Mbappe could be forced to miss that game and France's upcoming friendly with Finland and Nations League clashes against Portugal and Sweden, but Didier Deschamps included him in his 26-man squad.

"Today there is no certainty that he cannot be available," Deschamps said when asked about Mbappe's inclusion.

"If I put him in the list today, it is because it is very likely he will be available to face Portugal on Saturday. If all goes well, he should be there.

"I understand the position of club coaches. There is no conflict to be had with anyone. Interests may diverge between those who are tired or have injury doubts.

"I have never taken any risks with anyone. We have the same interest with this player, whether it's Kylian or someone else, but there is no conflict.

"I'm not against Tuchel. He has to manage his matches with the obligations of results, like me with the France team."

Mbappe responded to news of his selection by tweeting a photo of himself in a France shirt with the caption "blessed", which when translated to French sounds similar to the word used for injured.

Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram was handed a first call-up to the senior team, while Dayot Upamecano and Ferland Mendy were left out.

"I've been following him for a while. He does good things. He has the ability to create differences. He scores and assists and has this ability in big games to be very present and good," said Deschamps of Thuram.

Teenage midfielder Eduardo Camavinga missed out through injury and there was no place for Houssem Aouar.

 

France squad:

Benoit Costil (Bordeaux), Hugo Lloris (Tottenham), Steve Mandanda (Marseille), Mike Maignan (Lille); Lucas Digne (Everton), Leo Dubois (Lyon), Lucas Hernandez (Bayern Munich), Presnel Kimpembe (Paris Saint-Germain), Clement Lenglet (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), Raphael Varane (Real Madrid), Kurt Zouma (Chelsea); N'Golo Kante (Chelsea), Steven Nzonzi (Rennes), Paul Pogba (Manchester United), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Moussa Sissoko (Tottenham), Corentin Tolisso (Bayern Munich); Wissam Ben Yedder (Monaco), Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Nabil Fekir (Real Betis), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea), Antoine Griezmann (Barcelona), Anthony Martial (Manchester United), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach).

Cristiano Ronaldo is contracted at Juventus until 2022, but the superstar seemingly has no plans to retire then.

Ronaldo, 35, has made another fine start to the season with Juve, where he arrived from Real Madrid in 2018.

But with his contract expiring in 2022, the Portugal star's future is again set to be a talking point.

 

TOP STORY – RONALDO WANTS TO STAY AT TOP LEVEL BEYOND 2022

Ronaldo wants to play at the top level beyond 2022 but there are no guarantees he will stay at Juventus, according to Tuttosport.

The report says Ronaldo, who has been linked to Paris Saint-Germain previously, would prefer not to head to a competition like MLS or the Chinese Super League.

Ronaldo has scored five goals in three Serie A appearances for Juve this season.

While early in the campaign, Ronaldo has a better shooting accuracy (66.7), shot conversion rate (31.3) and big chance conversion percentage (66.7) in 2020-21 than in his previous seasons in Serie A.

 

ROUND-UP

Sergio Ramos reached 100 goals for Real Madrid on Tuesday, but there has been talk about the club captain's future. ESPN says Ramos and Madrid have begun talks over a new contract, with the 34-year-old's current deal expiring at season's end.

Chelsea were reportedly chasing West Ham midfielder Declan Rice in the close season, although they proved unsuccessful. However, Fabrizio Romano reports Chelsea will try to land the England international again in January.

- As Tanguy Ndombele begins to impress at Tottenham, Barcelona are considering a move for the midfielder, according to Fabrizio Romano.

- Amid uncertainty over his Real Madrid future, Luka Jovic is again linked with a move away. CalcioMercato reports Milan and Napoli could return to move for the forward in January. The Serbian is without a goal in four games for Madrid this season.

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