Bordeaux have been cleared to remain in Ligue 2 just three days before they are due to start the season.

The club were facing the prospect of dropping into the third tier of French football due to financial irregularities.

Les Girondins were relegated after finishing bottom of Ligue 1 last season and were last month told they would be in the Championnat National for the 2022-23 campaign following a DNCG (National Directorate of Management Control) investigation of their finances.

The six-time champions of France, who reportedly have debts close to €40million, immediately announced their intention to appeal, but the French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed their sanctions will stand this month.

There was good news for Bordeaux on Wednesday, though, when they discovered they will not face a further demotion after demonstrating the "current and future financial robustness" of the club.

A statement on the club's official website said: "Today, the executive committee of the French Football Federation (FFF) held a special meeting to approve the recommendations of the National Olympic and Sporting Committee (CNOSF) issued on 25 July, thus definitively confirming that FC Girondins de Bordeaux will be able to play in Ligue 2 this season.

"Following the lead of the Commercial Court and the CNOSF, the FFF has now formally acknowledged the current and future financial robustness of our club, and the fact that we are more than adequately prepared to play in Ligue 2 this season, in full compliance with the relevant sporting regulations."

Bordeaux are scheduled to face Valenciennes in their first game of the Ligue 2 on Saturday, but it remains to be seen if the fixture will go ahead.

Sekou Mara is hoping to make an instant impact at Southampton after completing his move from Bordeaux. 

The France Under-21 international has signed a four-year deal at St Mary's and is rumoured to have cost £11million (€12.9m) when including add-ons.

Mara made 34 appearances for Bordeaux in Ligue 1 – just 10 of those being starts – and scored five of his seven goals in his final seven outings for the French side.

He is Southampton's sixth signing of the window and the Paris Saint-Germain youth product, who turns 20 on Sunday, believes the club will provide the perfect place for him to further his career.

"I'm really happy to sign for Southampton and to be a Saint for the next years," he told the club's official website. "Southampton have given me a good opportunity to progress.

"I'm a young player and I have to work. I think Southampton is the best club for me to develop myself and progress to be one of the best. I'm impatient to begin and score goals."

Mara, who had previously been linked with a return to PSG, could make his Southampton debut in Wednesday's friendly with Monaco.

Yacine Adli "always" had Milan in his mind while spending last season on loan at former club Bordeaux, and he arrives in Serie A with high expectations of what he could achieve.

The attacking midfielder, who turns 22 later this month, officially signed for Milan last August but remained in Ligue 1 for the 2021-22 campaign.

It ended up being a miserable one for Bordeaux, who finished bottom of the table and were then hit with a further demotion to the third tier due to their financial difficulties. The sanction was upheld after an initial appeal.

Adli knew his future was already settled, and with Bordeaux in turmoil, he unsurprisingly had greener pastures in his thoughts for much of the season.

While he was attempting to help Bordeaux dig themselves out of a hole, Milan were fighting – and ultimately won – a Serie A title battle, clinching their first Scudetto in 11 years.

As such, Adli has designs on grand achievements at San Siro.

Speaking to reporters at his official presentation on Monday, Adli said: "[Last season] wasn't an easy one. I always played my best for Bordeaux, I tried to focus on my role in the team there, although I always had Milan in mind – to get here and do my best.

"I've been wanting to arrive here in the best shape possible. I already knew some of my team-mates, but I have to adapt to the new surroundings.

 

"My French team-mates have adapted quickly to the club. I arrive with a different experience and in the team of the Italian champions. I arrive with humility and respect to achieve the greatest goals.

"I followed very closely the Milan games last season, and I saw a strong, tight, collective effort, especially towards the end of the season when no false moves could be made.

"A successful team like Milan can only aspire to [win] the Scudetto. It's not easy because in Italy there is a lot of competition. Once again this year we will try to confirm ourselves as Italian champions, we will try to defend this title in the best possible way."

The Paris Saint-Germain youth product joined Bordeaux in 2019 and developed into one of Ligue 1's most promising young players.

A technically gifted midfielder, Adli is most at home in a creative role, with much of his time on the pitch for Bordeaux spent in a central attacking position behind the striker.

Over the course of his three years with Bordeaux, only nine players (minimum of 1,500 minutes played) averaged more than his 1.6 open-play chances created in Ligue 1.

 

Sixteen bettered Adli's 15 assists over the same period, though seven of those came in the 2021-22 campaign alone, and it should be noted he was a young player in a team who never finished higher than 12th.

Admittedly, his productivity suffered significantly in the second half of 2021-22, managing to set up just one goal after the turn of the year, but again he was in a side who were in free fall as they lost 11 times and won only three games in 2022.

Despite his struggles and those of Bordeaux, Milan appear to have acquired a talent who will provide guaranteed creativity behind the forwards.

As a French attacking midfielder moving to Italy from Bordeaux, Zinedine Zidane was always likely to be mentioned during Adli's presentation, yet it was instead a former Rossoneri attacker he highlighted a particular admiration for thanks to a connection with George Weah.

"I had the chance to train with Timothy Weah [at PSG], and he always advised me to watch Roberto Baggio as an example because I could learn a lot from him – and so I did," Adli said.

"Great champions like him and Zidane are players to look up to but without trying to emulate them because [their status] is unattainable.

"I believe it's important to create your own path and work every day to get better."

Bordeaux's relegation to the third tier of French football has been confirmed by the DNCG (National Directorate of Management Control), who have dismissed the club's appeal against their demotion.

Bordeaux – who have won Ligue 1 on six occasions, finished bottom of the top flight last season and were preparing for a first second-tier campaign since the early 1990s, only to be handed a further demotion to the Championnat National last month following a DNCG examination of their finances.

The club, who reportedly have debts close to €40million, immediately announced their intention to appeal, but the French Football Federation (FFF) confirmed their sanctions will stand on Tuesday.  

Gerard Lopez, the owner of the 2009 Ligue 1 champions, said the financial implications of a relegation below Ligue 2 would be "catastrophic" last month, adding: "With its structure and costs, this club cannot exist in National 1."

Lopez also warned the club would risk having to file for bankruptcy, which could lead to a further demotion to below France's professional football pyramid, in the event of losing their appeal.

Bordeaux could reportedly still appeal to the French Olympic Committee or look to have the decision suspended, but are nevertheless set to conduct a fire sale of first-team players in the transfer window.

Bordeaux have been demoted to the third tier of French football as a consequence of their financial difficulties.

The club finished bottom of Ligue 1 this season and were preparing for a campaign in Ligue 2 for the first time since the early 1990s.

But on Tuesday they were sanctioned by the National Directorate of Control and Management (DNCG), which ordered a further demotion to the National 1 division following an examination of Bordeaux's finances.

Bordeaux, Ligue 1 champions in 2009, confirmed they are appealing the ruling, which will reportedly provide them with an extra two weeks to get their finances in order, and they could yet raise additional funds.

Aurelien Tchouameni's €100million move from Monaco to Real Madrid is apparently set to bring in roughly €11m, while Bordeaux stand to gain a substantial figure if Sevilla sell Jules Kounde, who has been heavily linked with Chelsea.

Bordeaux are said to have debts close to €40m, but a statement on their website suggested confidence in getting the decision overturned.

"Heard on June 14 by the DNCG, the club presented the guarantee of the re-engagement of the majority shareholder in the amount of €10m, an agreement with the holders of the club's debt as well as offers to sell a few players, whose cumulative amount exceeds the objectives set by the [Professional Clubs Control] Commission," their statement read.

If Bordeaux are successful in overturning the demotion to National 1, they will play the 2022-23 campaign in Ligue 2.

Mauricio Pochettino said he was "sad" to hear boos and whistles from Paris Saint-Germain supporters during Sunday's 3-0 win against Bordeaux, but assured them that he and his players "share this disappointment."

The runaway Ligue 1 leaders were made to work for victory against the bottom side, but goals from Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Leandro Paredes were enough to secure the three points.

However, the home crowd made their feelings known after Wednesday's chastening defeat in the Champions League round of 16 to Real Madrid, appearing to reserve their loudest boos and whistles for Neymar and Lionel Messi.

Speaking at a media conference after the game, Pochettino said regarding the fans' jeering: "Nobody likes this background, it made me sad. Everyone who loves PSG after the Madrid disappointment is sad. I am saddened by what I experienced here today.

"We have all been affected. We understand the disappointment and frustration. We all experience this together, as a team. We have a responsibility to take responsibility for what happened. We share this disappointment of the supporters."

The former Tottenham manager also addressed the fact he started Keylor Navas rather than Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal against Bordeaux, with the Italian goalkeeper coming in for criticism for his error that led to Madrid's first goal at the Santiago Bernabeu in the 3-1 defeat.

"It's not a goalkeeper's error but an arbitral error [Donnarumma's mistake in Madrid]. Donnarumma is fine, we chose Keylor today. Gigio and Keylor are both disappointed. It is the results that decide the choice and not an error."

Presnel Kimpembe also sympathised with frustrations from the home fans after Wednesday's capitulation, telling Amazon Prime Video: “Inevitably, we hear [the boos and whistles] anyway, even if we are focused, concentrated in our match. 

"We understand their disappointment, we understand their hatred and their cries. Now we are professional, we must know how to remain so too. It is now that we must raise our heads and be able to move forward in order to be able to win this league."

Luis Suarez sent a message of support to Lionel Messi and Neymar after the Paris Saint-Germain duo were booed by their own fans.

Mauricio Pochettino's team threw away a 2-0 aggregate lead to exit the Champions League at Real Madrid in midweek, prompting fury on their return to domestic action on Sunday.

Messi and Neymar were roundly jeered during PSG's 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux, even when Neymar tapped home the team's second goal after a move which included a sublime defence-splitting pass from Messi.

Messi has not enjoyed his finest campaign since arriving in the French capital, scoring just two goals from 60 attempts (18 of them on target) in Ligue 1 this season, although he has hit the woodwork eight times in the league, more than any other player in the top five European divisions.

The treatment of his former Barcelona team-mates prompted Atletico Madrid striker Suarez to show support on his Instagram story, accusing the fans of having "no memory".

"As always, football has no memory," the 35-year-old wrote alongside a picture of the three players.

"[I'm] always with you. I love you."

The Messi-Suarez-Neymar 'MSN' trio enjoyed a fruitful relationship in their time with the Catalan giants, hitting a combined 81 LaLiga goals in a stunning 2014-15 season. They led the Blaugrana to the LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles in that campaign.

Neymar's goal against Bordeaux means he has scored eight Ligue 1 goals against them, more league goals than he has managed against any other team since arriving in Europe in 2013. 

The dominant victory at Parc des Princes also means that PSG have won seven of their nine Ligue 1 games immediately following a Champions League exit since their Qatari takeover in 2011.

Lionel Messi and Neymar felt the wrath of Paris Saint-Germain fans as the Ligue 1 leaders moved 15 points clear at the top of the table with a 3-0 win over bottom side Bordeaux.

Boos and whistles were aimed at Messi, Neymar and their team-mates before and during the clash at the Parc des Princes, four days after PSG were dumped out of the Champions League by Real Madrid.

Kylian Mbappe was not targeted, despite reportedly being bound for Madrid, and the in-form striker opened the scoring on Sunday with his 26th goal of the season.

Neymar then responded to abuse from his own supporters by scoring in the second half and Leandro Paredes was also on target, with Messi involved in all three goals and also hitting the post as Mauricio Pochettino's side ended a tough week with a resounding win.

 

PSG were almost caught cold when Remi Oudin let fly with a rasping drive that was well saved by Keylor Navas in the first minute and Jean Onana's glancing header from the resulting corner flashed just wide.

Messi and Neymar continued to be targeted by PSG fans when they touched the ball, but the Argentina captain played a big hand in Mbappe's opening goal 24 minutes in.

The former Barcelona playmaker's reverse pass found Georginio Wijnaldum, who slipped Mbappe in with a perfectly-weighted ball and the France forward finished clinically with his right foot from inside the penalty area.

Messi was then given too much time to thread a pass through to Achraf Hakimi, whose cross was coolly dinked over Bordeaux goalkeeper Gaetan Poussin and into the net seven minutes into the second half.

Although PSG were denied a penalty due to offside following a VAR check, Paredes extended their lead just after the hour mark with a sweet left-foot finish after showing great skill and composure to leave two Bordeaux players on the deck.

Messi struck the woodwork with a long-range strike following a surging run late on as the boos continued to sound, with Pochettino looking distinctly unimpressed with the hostility as his side cruised to victory following back-to-back defeats.

Lionel Messi and Neymar were booed by some Paris Saint-Germain fans during the first half of Sunday's Ligue 1 match with Bordeaux.

Supporters made their displeasure clear towards the star duo following the Champions League exit to Real Madrid this week.

Neymar set up Kylian Mbappe to score at the Santiago Bernabeu and give PSG a 2-0 aggregate lead, but a collapse during the final half-hour saw Madrid triumph 3-1 in the last-16 second leg and 3-2 in the tie thanks to Karim Benzema's hat-trick.

Neither Messi nor Neymar was able to inspire PSG to a comeback as Mauricio Pochettino's side failed once more in their quest to win Europe's biggest prize.

The defeat prompted further speculation over the future of Mbappe and, according to some reports in Spain, the France star has now signed an agreement to join Madrid on a free transfer at the end of the season.

However, Mbappe's early touches against Bordeaux were generally met with cheers from the home fans and it was his strike that gave them the lead 24 minutes in after Messi found Georginio Wijnaldum.

Kylian Mbappe is widely expected to join Real Madrid as a free agent at the end of this season.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward has stalled on signing a new deal with the French giants.

Madrid have long courted Mbappe with a view to signing him, but PSG remain determined to keep their man.

TOP STORY – PSG RE-ENTER TALKS WITH MBAPPE

PSG have launched a determined attempt to retain Mbappe after making the France frontman a new contract offer, claims Telefoot.

The Parisians are said to have offered Mbappe a massive two-year deal to fight off attempts to woo him by Real Madrid.

Mbappe is reported to be unwilling to make a decision yet and could let his contract expire. It runs only until the end of June.

 

ROUND-UP

- La Repubblica reports Arsenal are closing in on a deal for Serbian striker Dusan Vlahovic, with Fiorentina said to be considering accepting a £58million offer from the Gunners.

- Italian journalist Fabrizio Romano claims both Barcelona and Bayern Munich are keen to sign Chelsea defender Andreas Christensen at the season's end.

- Manchester United are interested in Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi taking over as their manager next season, according to Corriere dello Sport.

- Southampton have contacted Manchester United about signing goalkeeper Dean Henderson, reports Football Insider. Saints also want to sign Chelsea's Armando Broja permanently but will stiff competition, claims Sky Sports.

- Lille are pursuing former Newcastle United winger Hatem Ben Arfa, reports L'Equipe. Ben Arfa left Bordeaux at the end of last season.

Mauricio Pochettino praised Neymar after his two-goal display in Paris Saint-Germain's 3-2 victory over Bordeaux in Ligue 1.

Neymar starred in the absence of Lionel Messi, scoring a brace as league leaders PSG outlasted Bordeaux away from home on Saturday.

Having not scored from open play in Ligue 1 since May, Neymar ended that run with two sublime first-half strikes.

Neymar scored only his third and fourth Ligue 1 goals from open play in 2021 (eight goals in total), while taking his tally to seven top-flight goals against Bordeaux – his favourite Ligue 1 opponent.

Kylian Mbappe was also on target for PSG – Neymar and the former have exchanged 23 assists with each other in Ligue 1 since 2017, at least six more than any other top-flight duo.

"I think Ney [Neymar] played a good game. I think that overall, also scoring two goals it is noteworthy," PSG head coach Pochettino told reporters.

"It is clear that both him and Kylian [Mbappe], who have scored the goals, it is important for our offensive players, of course, that they touch, that they were close to the goal and that they scored."

 

With one goal and two assists, Mbappe has been involved in three goals in the same Ligue 1 game for only the second time in 2021, after January against Montpellier (two goals and one assist).

Mbappe scored his first goal from open play in the top-flight since September (against Clermont), ending his longest such streak of his career in Ligue 1 (23 – five shots on target).

PSG, who led 3-0 with 27 minutes remaining before Bordeaux scored twice, are 10 points clear of Lens atop the Ligue 1 standings after 13 games entering the international break.

"The explanation is clear, we have made two mistakes and we have conceded two goals," Pochettino added. "The goals come from mistakes or the success of the opponents. In this case it was a mix of everything, the opponent's success and our mistakes.

"We must have much more strength in defending these types of situations. It is clear that with the 3-0, Bordeaux attacked, creating some chances, especially from corners, but the game was controlled. A pity that we finished 3-2 because the team had played a good game up to that point."

Neymar and Kylian Mbappe starred as Paris Saint-Germain returned to winning ways on the road in Ligue 1 with a tightly contested 3-2 victory at Bordeaux.

Lionel Messi was again absent through injury, though the other two stars of Mauricio Pochettino's deadly attacking trident combined to brilliant effect.

Neymar had not scored from open play in Ligue 1 since doing so against Lens in May, but ended that run with two sublime first-half strikes.

Mbappe – who had teed up Neymar's double – got in on the act midway through the second half to ensure late goals from Alberth Elis and M'Baye Niang were not enough for Bordeaux.

It was far from plain sailing for PSG at first, as Bordeaux had the better of the opening exchanges, regularly catching the visitors dawdling in their own half.

Yet Bordeaux were soon lamenting their failure to make PSG pay, with Neymar taking Mbappe's floated pass under his spell before drilling a wonderful finish beyond Benoit Costil.

Costil had to be at his best to prevent Mbappe making it 2-0, but could do little to prevent Neymar doubling PSG's tally before the break.

The combination with Mbappe again came to the fore, Neymar playing a slick one-two with the France star before sliding a cool effort into the bottom-left corner.

Mbappe looked set to go from provider to scorer early in the second half, only for Laurent Koscielny to make a fantastic last-ditch block.

He was not to be denied again, though, and he tucked home into a gaping goal after Ander Herrera's pass had set Georgino Wijnaldum away.

Elis' close-range finish gave Bordeaux hope, with substitute Niang then slotting in after a fantastic one-two with Jimmy Briand in stoppage time, but it was too little too late.

What does it mean? No Messi, no problem

Messi's niggling injury issues have prevented the superstar getting into full flow for PSG, at least in domestic football, but Neymar and Mbappe were more than enough to shrug aside Bordeaux.

With Nice not in action until Sunday, PSG sit clear at the top with 11 wins from 13 games. After a 2-0 defeat at Rennes and a 0-0 draw at Marseille, Saturday's result also saw the capital club avoid a run of three away games without scoring – a streak they last went on in 2010.

Neymar's happy hunting ground

Neymar has now scored seven goals against Bordeaux in Ligue 1, making them his favourite opponent in the competition.

Ahead of this much-needed performance, the 29-year-old had not scored in his previous five league matches, which was his longest drought since arriving at PSG in 2017.

More Girondins misery against PSG

Bordeaux have not won any of their last 13 Ligue 1 games against PSG (D4 L9). The Girondins have only had two longer runs without a win against a specific opponent in the top-flight: against Lyon between September 1999 and August 2006 (15) and against Reims between September 1978 and December 2020 (14).

What's next? 

PSG welcome Nantes to the Parc des Princes after the international break on November 20, while Bordeaux visit Metz a day later.

Lionel Messi has been ruled out of Paris Saint-Germain's Ligue 1 clash with Bordeaux through injury, but the forward is expected to be available for Argentina's upcoming World Cup qualifiers.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi was replaced at half-time in PSG's 2-1 comeback win over Lille last week and subsequently missed Wednesday's 2-2 draw with RB Leipzig in the Champions League.

The Barcelona legend is continuing to struggle with a knee and hamstring issue and will not be risked against Bordeaux on Saturday as Mauricio Pochettino's side look to tighten their grip on top spot.

Messi also missed a string of games upon joining PSG from Barca in August, but Pochettino is hopeful his compatriot can return to action during Argentina's games with Uruguay and Brazil over the next fortnight.

"Lionel's not available on Saturday and will not travel with us," Pochettino said at Friday's pre-match news conference. "We hope that he'll be available for Argentina and return to us afterwards."

Messi has had 15 shots in Ligue 1 without finding the net since arriving on a free transfer from Barcelona, failing to score from an expected goals value of 1.9, with his only three goals for PSG coming in the Champions League.

 

The superstar forward is not alone in enduring a frustrating start to a new career outside of Spain, with team-mate Sergio Ramos yet to feature for the club since joining on a free transfer from Real Madrid in July.

Reports from France this week suggested PSG chiefs are growing restless with Ramos on his road to recovery, but the experienced centre-back is now closing in on a return to action.

PSG confirmed on their official website on Friday that Ramos is set to take part in full training next week, potentially meaning he could make his long-awaited debut against Nantes on November 20.

Pochettino's side are eight points clear at the top of the table, but they have often had to rely on late goals to pick up victories and were held by Leipzig in the Champions League in midweek.

Despite that setback, Pochettino is happy with the progress made by his side since he took charge at the start of the year.

Indeed, PSG have won 76 per cent of their Ligue 1 games in 2021 (25 of 33) – only Manchester City (26 of 34) have a better success rate in the top five European leagues over the year.

"I am a satisfied coach," Pochettino said. "The commitment is there to see, though there is the requirement to do better each game. If we score 100 goals, we want more; if we stop a penalty, we want to stop two.

"Today I am satisfied with the state of mind. If the results are there, it's because there is will. We know that the performances will get better and better.

"We are progressing collectively and individually. We have recruited many players and have a squad of 33. We are in a process of construction and have to tackle the priorities, such as helping players adapt.

"From there we can develop a way of playing based on a collective organisation and solid foundations. As a coach I want to win every match 5-0, to have 75 per cent possession, to play attacking and recover the ball as quickly as possible.

"But this is a long process, this is not something I think about while I sleep."

PSG are unbeaten in their last 12 Ligue 1 meetings with Bordeaux and have scored at least once in their last 17 meetings in the competition.

Lionel Messi has joined Paris Saint-Germain training and was given a warm welcome by superstar team-mate Kylian Mbappe.

Messi this week completed his stunning free transfer to PSG having left Barcelona.

The deal was completed on Tuesday, before the six-time Ballon d'Or winner faced the media on Wednesday. On Thursday, he was able to link up with his new team-mates.

On their official Instagram page, PSG posted a short video clip to their story showing Messi going through running drills.

Meanwhile, Mbappe – whose contract talks are now the club's chief focus – posted pictures of an embrace with the 34-year-old great.

"Welcome to Paris, Leo," he wrote, adding a further caption on his story: "Legend."

PSG are expected to move some squad players out to offset the cost of Messi's deal and a tentative first transfer was secured on Thursday.

Timothee Pembele, the 18-year-old defender who featured six times in Ligue 1 for PSG last season, has joined Bordeaux on loan until the end of the season.

Bordeaux have the option to sign Pembele permanently, too, with a PSG statement telling the teenager to "develop the qualities he has already shown".

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