Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has claimed he was misinterpreted after he seemed to suggest Kylian Mbappe could join the club in January. 

Mbappe, whose Paris Saint-Germain contract expires at the end of the season, will be free to negotiate with clubs from the turn of the year if the 22-year-old has not agreed a new deal in the French capital.

It would seem Mbappe has no intention of doing so, with the forward having confirmed this week that he asked to leave PSG in July, while explaining that there has been no further negotiations.

Los Blancos are reported to have made three bids for the France international during the last transfer window, the last one said to be worth around €200million.

However, Perez said on El Debate that Madrid remain confident of signing Mbappe, who claimed to be happy at PSG for the time being despite the speculation.

"In January we will have news from Mbappe," Perez said on Tuesday. "We hope that on January 1 everything can be solved."

But Perez quickly backtracked, saying: "My words were misinterpreted.

"What I said is that we have to wait until next year to find out, always with respect to PSG with whom we have good relations."

Madrid were granted a salary cap boost of €270m, leaving them with a spending limit seven times greater than financially stricken Barcelona and Perez also found time to provide an update on the club's financial situation post-pandemic.

"It will probably take about three years for us to return to the figures we entered before the pandemic," he continued.

"We have gone from entering €900m to just over €600m."

Kylian Mbappe revealed he would only leave Paris Saint-Germain for Real Madrid as the forward claimed there have been no new contract discussions for two months.

Mbappe, who joined from Monaco in 2017, has become unsettled at the Parc des Princes with less than a year left on his contract and Madrid attempted to secure his services last transfer window.

Los Blancos are reported to have made three bids for the France international, the last one said to be worth up to €200 million.

However, Madris's advances were turned down and with the arrival of Lionel Messi, Mauricio Pochettino and the PSG board were seemingly confident of keeping Mbappe for the final year of his deal.

RMC released part of an interview – which will be published in full on Tuesday – on Monday, in which Mbappe confirmed he had made his intentions to leave clear to PSG in July.

Speaking about his future to French outlet L'Equipe, the 22-year-old said he believed his time at PSG was drawing to a natural conclusion, though revealed he would only have left for Madrid.

"This summer my ambition was clear, I wanted to leave and put the club in the best circumstances to bring in my replacement," Mbappe said.

"Right now, my future is not my priority. I've already wasted a lot of energy this summer, it's draining.

"I thought that my adventure [with PSG] was over. I wanted to discover something else. I'd been in the French league six or seven years. I've given what I tried to at Paris and I think I've done it well. 

"To arrive at 18 post-youth development and do everything I have, I think that's something remarkable. Leaving was the logical next step. 

"I am attached to Paris, and if I had left this summer, it would have only been for Real."

Mbappe was also reported to have rejected a series of new contract offers, but he denied that was true as he remains content in Paris.

 

"I stayed and I'm really happy," he continued. 

"At no point during the season will you hear behaviour along the lines of 'you didn't let me leave, I'm going to take it easy.' I have too much love for football and too much respect for the club and for myself, to take it easy even for one game.

"With regard to my situation, we haven't been discussing a renewal for [over[ two months, since I said I wanted to leave.

"When I say that lots of things were heard, I'm talking about something else – people said that I turned down six or seven renewal offers, no way! 

"People were saying that I didn't want to talk to [sporting director] Leonardo, even though it's the president [Nasser Al-Khelaifi] who wanted to take things over. 

"When I'm told to speak with the president, I'm not going to say no. People were saying I was planning on messing around in the dressing room – again, not at all."

Louis van Gaal is worried about Georginio Wijnaldum's lack of playing time with Paris Saint-Germain ahead of the Netherlands' next batch of World Cup qualifiers.

The 30-year-old joined the Ligue 1 giants on a free transfer in June after failing to agree a new contract with Liverpool, where he had spent the previous five seasons.

Having been a regular under Mauricio Pochettino at the start of the season, Wijnaldum has since lost his place in the side to Idrissa Gueye.

He has started just half of PSG's 12 matches since arriving and has featured a further five times from the substitutes' bench.

Wijnaldum's tally of 502 minutes is only the 12th most among PSG players in all competitions this term, with Gueye and Ander Herrera featuring more frequently in midfield.

But while having concerns over Wijnaldum's situation at the Parc des Princes, Van Gaal intends to stay loyal to his vice-captain.

"Of course I'm worried," he said at a news conference on Monday ahead of his side's qualifiers against Latvia and Gibraltar over the next week. 

"I already talked to him about that when he arrived here. But the alarm bells are not sounding just yet. I have lots of trust in certain players. 

"You will remember I took him to the World Cup in 2014 when he was carrying an injury. I started with [Jonathan] De Guzman but Wijnaldum soon took over and did well."

Wijnaldum is suspended for Friday's trip to Latvia as the Netherlands go in search of a third successive victory in Group G.

Van Gaal's side are above Norway on goal difference ahead of the games with Latvia and then Gibraltar three days later.

"This break is a bit calmer. Last time it was almost impossible with three matches," Van Gaal said. "We played those three games with a new group, new manager and new staff.

"I had to convince everyone of my plan, all within one and a half days. We then had one and a half days between each game."

Gianluigi Donnarumma feels he has become a better goalkeeper since joining Paris Saint-Germain after training alongside Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe.

The Italy international signed for PSG on a free transfer in July after failing to come to an agreement with boyhood club Milan over a new contract.

He was one of a number of additions at the Parc des Princes during the transfer window, the highest-profile of which undoubtedly being Messi's arrival from Barcelona.

PSG already had fellow superstar forwards Neymar and Mbappe in their ranks and the duo, along with Messi, have helped Donnarumma develop both on and off the field.

"Training with them makes you improve a lot. Sometimes there are battles that make you grow," he said at a news conference on Monday while on Italy duty.

"Training with all these champions helps you develop as a human and as a player.

"It's a good challenge for me. I'm happy to train with them and grow, to move forward in this new challenge of mine. I always try to give my best."

Donnarumma has started PSG's last two matches and now appears to be Mauricio Pochettino's first choice, with Keylor Navas as back-up.

The 22-year-old was previously sharing goalkeeping duties with Navas but insists he did not fear losing his place in the Italy side as a result of his lack of regular minutes.

"That's not a problem," he said. "I went to PSG to play. It's normal that it's like this at the beginning. I'm sure everything will be great.

"I have no problems with the national time. I'm continuing on my path and hope everything will go well for me."

 

Despite his young age, Donnarumma has already appeared 218 times in Serie A and Ligue 1 combined since making his Milan debut aged 16 in October 2015.

Only Samir Handanovic (219) and Inaki Williams (220) have featured more regularly in Europe's top five leagues across that period.

Donnarumma has kept 72 clean sheets in those 218 league games and has a save percentage of 72.72.

Eleven others to have played at least 100 times in that timeframe rank higher in that metric than Donnarumma, with Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak (78.87) leading the way.

Donnarumma, who is set to start Italy's Nations League semi-final with Spain on Wednesday, therefore believes there is still room for further improvement.

"There's always a way to learn and get better," he said. "My target is to go higher and higher. There's always something to learn from the goalkeeper coach.

"We try to understand what I need to work on and improve. There's an excellent relationship between us. We try to structure the training in the best possible way.

"With the new coaches, there's a different comparison and this makes me happy for my growth."

Italy confirmed on Monday, meanwhile, that injured Atalanta midfielder Matteo Pessina has been replaced in their 23-man squad by Federico Dimarco for this week's Nations League Finals.

Kylian Mbappe has revealed he asked to leave Paris Saint-Germain in July amid interest from Real Madrid as he wanted the Ligue 1 side to receive a transfer fee.

The France international was repeatedly linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu during the most recent transfer window after entering the final year of his contract.

Madrid are reported to have had three bids turned down for the France international in July and August, the last one said to be worth up to €200million.

Speaking about his future in detail for the first time, Mbappe confirmed in an interview with RMC Sport, which will be released in full on Tuesday, that he does not intend to sign a new deal at the Parc des Princes.

"I asked to leave," he said. "From the moment where I did not want to extend, I wanted for the club to receive a transfer fee so that they could bring in a quality replacement. 

"This club has given me a lot. I have always been happy across the four years I have had here, and I still am. I said it early enough so that the club could react. 

"I wanted everyone to come out of this stronger, that we leave hand in hand, to make a good deal and I respected that. I said, if you don't want me to go, I will stay."

Mbappe was reported to have rejected multiple offers of a new deal in the French capital, but the superstar forward has denied that was the case.

 

"People said I turned down six or seven extension offers, that I don't want to talk to [sporting director] Leonardo anymore – that's absolutely not true," he said.

"It's not for me to judge, but my position was clear. I said that I wanted to leave and I said it quite early. 

"Me, personally, I did not appreciate too much the fact of 'yes, he's [saying he wants to leave] in the last week of August...' because I said at the end of July that I wanted to leave."

Since joining PSG from Ligue 1 rivals Monaco in August 2017 on an initial loan that was made permanent a year later, Mbappe has scored 136 goals in 182 games.

That is a tally bettered by only Cristiano Ronaldo (149), now team-mate Lionel Messi (163) and Robert Lewandowski (191) across that period among players from Europe's top five leagues in all competitions.

Mbappe's 61 assists over the same timeframe is the sixth-highest total, meanwhile, with Bayern Munich's Thomas Muller leading the way with 75.

The 22-year-old has made a largely underwhelming start to the 2021-22 campaign, however, having scored only four goals in 11 appearances, though he does have five assists.

That includes a run of 17 shots without scoring in Ligue 1 since netting against Clermont Foot on September 11.

Mauricio Pochettino was left "frustrated and disappointed" after Paris Saint-Germain failed to register a shot on target in Sunday's shock 2-0 loss to Rennes.

The Ligue 1 leaders' eight-game winning streak to begin their league campaign came to an end at Roazhon Park as goals from Gaetan Laborde and Flavien Tait proved decisive.

PSG registered 13 shots but failed to test opposition goalkeeper Alfred Gomis from any of those, with Kylian Mbappe having a second-half strike ruled out by VAR for offside.

Mbappe had earlier scuffed a shot over the crossbar with only Gomis to beat, while Neymar was way off target with a volleyed attempt six yards out with the scores still level.

Pochettino also started with fellow superstar forward Lionel Messi, who had a game-high five shots, the most notable of which saw him hit the crossbar from a free-kick.

Angel Di Maria was brought into the side in place of Ander Herrera from Tuesday's 2-0 win over Manchester City, but Pochettino has no regrets over his attack-minded selection.

"I don't think we can look at our system. We played 25 of our best minutes of the season [in the first half]," Pochettino said at his post-match news conference.

"We didn't start the game well, but we then had 25 or 30 minutes of good quality football. It was a shame not to capitalise.

"We then had two psychological blows, conceding just before and just after half-time. The match was then open. We created chances but had a hard time.

"Rennes grew in confidence and we started to become frustrated."

 

The defeat was Messi's first since joining PSG from Barcelona in August, the Argentina international still without a goal in three Ligue 1 matches.

Mbappe, meanwhile, has now had 17 shots since last finding the net in Ligue 1.

While Messi, Mbappe and Di Maria played the full 90 minutes, Neymar was withdrawn 14 minutes from time after managing just that one wayward attempt in the first half.

Rather than point the finger at individuals, however, Pochettino accepted the blame for his side's first league loss since early April, a run of 15 matches.

"When we won against Man City, it was down to a collective effort," he said. "The first person in charge is me. What we did for 25 minutes was of very high quality.

"We must extend that to 90 minutes. I am satisfied with one sector – we created a lot of situations and opportunities."

PSG's 13 attempts without registering a shot on target is their highest in a Ligue 1 match since Opta started collecting such data in 2006-07.

Rather than put the rare setback down to fatigue on the back of a tough European match with Man City five days ago, Pochettino accepts a lack of cutting edge was to blame.

Asked if he was feeling angry, Pochettino said: "Yes, a bit. Nobody likes to lose games. We can't underestimate what Rennes did, but we are frustrated and disappointed.

"We had chances to score and then conceded a couple of goals. Situations like this leave us bitter and disappointed.

"But it's not to do with playing in midweek. We've had five days since then. I repeat, we played 30 minutes of good football today. 

"We had control of the game and conceded when on top. We were immediately 2-0 down in the second half and then it's a different game."

Paris Saint-Germain's winning start to the Ligue 1 campaign came to an end with a shock 2-0 loss to Rennes on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino's side had won eight out of eight in the league prior to their trip to Roazhon Park and were 15 without defeat in the competition since early April.

But the visitors were made to pay for poor misses from Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as Gaetan Laborde and Flavien Tait struck for Rennes either side of half-time. 

Mbappe had a goal chalked off for offside and Lionel Messi went close from a free-kick, having earlier struck the crossbar from one, but PSG could not find a response in a rare setback for Pochettino.

 

Travel problems forced PSG's players to make their way to Rennes via road late on Saturday and that appeared to show as they made a sluggish start to the contest.

Rennes failed to truly test Gianluigi Donnarumma during their spell on top, though, and PSG soon got on the front foot as big chances fell the way of Neymar and Mbappe.

But Neymar sliced a volley over from six yards when unmarked and Mbappe scuffed a shot off target with only Alfred Gomis to beat less than two minutes later.

Messi then hit the crossbar from a free-kick and those near misses proved costly when Kamaldeen Sulemana's cross was turned in by Laborde, though Nuno Mendes may have got the final touch.

The home side's second arrived just 18 seconds after half-time as Laborde pulled the ball back for Tait to tuck past Donnarumma when left in plenty of space.

That goal was allowed to stand following a lengthy VAR check and PSG were undone by the technology 21 minutes from time when Mbappe's fine finish was ruled out for offside.

VAR was also required late on to overturn a penalty awarded for an Achraf Hakimi challenge on Laborde, though Rennes comfortably saw out the remainder of the contest.

Paris Saint-Germain's winning start to the Ligue 1 campaign came to an end with a shock 2-0 loss to Rennes on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino's side had won eight out of eight in the league prior to their trip to Roazhon Park and were 15 without defeat in the competition since early April.

But the visitors were made to pay for poor misses from Neymar and Kylian Mbappe as Gaetan Laborde and Flavien Tait struck for Rennes either side of half-time. 

Mbappe had a goal chalked off for offside and Lionel Messi went close from a free-kick, having earlier struck the crossbar from one, but PSG could not find a response in a rare setback for Pochettino.

 

Travel problems forced PSG's players to make their way to Rennes via road late on Saturday and that appeared to show as they made a sluggish start to the contest.

Rennes failed to truly test Gianluigi Donnarumma during their spell on top, though, and PSG soon got on the front foot as big chances fell the way of Neymar and Mbappe.

But Neymar sliced a volley over from six yards when unmarked and Mbappe scuffed a shot off target with only Alfred Gomis to beat less than two minutes later.

Messi then hit the crossbar from a free-kick and those near misses proved costly when Kamaldeen Sulemana's cross was turned in by Laborde, though Nuno Mendes may have got the final touch.

The home side's second arrived just 18 seconds after half-time as Laborde pulled the ball back for Tait to tuck past Donnarumma when left in plenty of space.

That goal was allowed to stand following a lengthy VAR check and PSG were undone by the technology 21 minutes from time when Mbappe's fine finish was ruled out for offside.

VAR was also required late on to overturn a penalty awarded for an Achraf Hakimi challenge on Laborde, though Rennes comfortably saw out the remainder of the contest.

Carlo Ancelotti said he hoped Kylian Mbappe "enjoys himself" at Real Madrid after Karim Benzema predicted the Paris Saint-Germain star would move to the Santiago Bernabeu.

In an interview with L'Equipe, Benzema claimed it was a matter of time until his international team-mate signs for Los Blancos.

Madrid reportedly saw three bids rejected by PSG for the France star during the transfer window, the last one said to be worth €200million.

Yet with Mbappe's contract expiring at the end of the season and no sign of an extension, the 22-year-old will be free to speak with foreign clubs over a possible free transfer from January onwards.

When asked about Benzema's comments ahead of Madrid's LaLiga clash with Espanyol, Ancelotti replied: "I hope Mbappe enjoys himself because Madrid are the biggest club in the world!"

Madrid's trip to Barcelona comes in the week when they were stunned by Champions League debutants Sheriff 2-1 at home.

Having won five matches in a row, Madrid are now without a victory in their previous two, having been held 0-0 at home by Villarreal in their most recent league match.

Ancelotti has been losing sleep over those recent results but is not concerned by recent criticism of his side or his methods.

 

"The game against Sheriff hurt our pride. We'll react and give everything tomorrow, as we did against Sheriff," Ancelotti said.

"It's true we committed small mistakes, weren't precise enough in finishing, in passing, in their few chances.

"It affected me physically because I don't sleep, and I think about what happened. When you don't win, you don't sleep.

"I accept it [criticism], whether it's fair or unfair, you have to accept it. It's normal. I have a fantastic position, and I'm lucky to be here, and you have to accept that they can criticise you.

"We need to have more balance and really assess what's happening to us. We have struggled for goals in our last two games and we need to address that in our next game. I don't think that it’s a case of this being a tough time, but it is certainly tougher than it was before, but we have to solve it by playing with balance and energy."

This weekend also sees a clash between champions Atletico Madrid and Barcelona, a game Ancelotti plans to watch as he expects both to be their main title rivals this term.

"We're going to fight with those two until the end. Atleti are maybe better coming into it," he said.

"I'm going to watch because they're two big teams, but if we do what we need to do, we're going to fight for titles."

Karim Benzema has no doubt Kylian Mbappe will play for Real Madrid and says he enjoys being part of a team trying to redevelop under Carlo Ancelotti.

Madrid reportedly saw three bids rejected by Paris Saint-Germain for the France star during the transfer window, the last one said to be worth €200million.

Yet with Mbappe's contract expiring at the end of the season and no sign of an extension, the 22-year-old will be free to speak with foreign clubs over a possible free transfer from January onwards.

France team-mate Benzema says it is just a matter of time until Mbappe becomes a Madrid player, telling L'Equipe: "He said it himself. He wants something more. He will play at Real Madrid one day. I don't know when, but he'll come. It's a question of time."

Benzema believes Madrid are going through a transition under head coach Ancelotti, with established stars such as Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane having left while youngsters including Eduardo Camavinga and Vinicius Junior take on greater prominence in the first team.

"Real Madrid are still the best club in the world," he said. "Reconstruction or not, it's a new football, a new generation, new players. We have to invest in the youngsters so they become great players one day.

"I'm here to help them. I speak a lot with them. I want to improve them."

 

It is Benzema, however, who remains the cornerstone of the side. With eight goals and seven assists in just seven LaLiga games in 2021-22, the striker has more than double the direct goal involvements of any other player in the division.

He has also attempted the most shots (26), while only Sergio Canales has created more chances from open play than Benzema (14).

His form in the past year has led to calls for him to win the Ballon d'Or, the award returning this year after being suspended for 2020, with former Madrid star Luis Figo this week backing the 33-year-old for the prize.

While he cannot deny it is on his mind, Benzema says it is important not to become too focused on personal goals at the expense of helping the team.

"We have to think about it when you have ambition, but it doesn't have to be an obsession that makes you focus on yourself, telling yourself you have to shine individually," he said.

"If you have to win it, it's because of who you are, what you show on the pitch, what you do. For Figo to say I'm one of the candidates is important."

Toni Kroos is hopeful Real Madrid will finally land Kylian Mbappe next year after a failed attempt to sign the Paris Saint-Germain in the most recent transfer window.

Madrid are reported to have had three bids turned down for the France international in July and August, the last one said to be worth up to €200million.

However, Mbappe is due to become a free agent at the end of the season and can therefore secure a pre-contract agreement with Madrid – or any other foreign club – from the start of January.

Kroos has previously talked up the prospect of his side bringing in Mbappe and remains eager to link up with the 22-year-old in 2022.

"In the summer, I already said that I would like a player like him to come, but if he doesn't, we have a good team," he told Goal.

"Let's see what happens in the future. It is difficult for me to say, because I am not the one who decides. 

"His quality has not changed – he is a good player and what we know is that Madrid wanted to sign him but in the end they didn't succeed. Everything continues, also without Mbappe here.

"I think we are doing well and for the future my opinion has not changed: the best players have to be at Madrid, and he is sure to be one of them."

Mbappe has four goals and five assists in 10 games this term – only international team-mates Karim Benzema and Paul Pogba (both seven) have set up more goals in all competitions among players from Europe's top five leagues.

The PSG star has gone five matches without finding the net himself, however, after failing to add a goal to his assist for Lionel Messi in Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League win over Manchester City.

While PSG were claiming a deserved victory over fellow heavyweights City, Madrid slumped to one of the biggest shocks in the competition's history as they fell 2-1 to Sheriff.

That was just Los Blancos' second defeat in 32 group-stage games at the Santiago Bernabeu, having previously lost to CSKA Moscow in December 2018.

Madrid have otherwise made a positive start to Carlo Ancelotti's second spell in charge, and Kroos, who made his first appearance of the season as a second-half substitute against Sheriff, believes the Italian's methods have changed over time, having been signed during his previous stint.

"Yes, there is a difference, but our relationship still remains very good," he said. 

"I had a good relationship with him in 2014. I haven't played many games so far [this season], so I can't say exactly what has changed because I haven't had many talks with him."

Gianluigi Donnarumma has laughed off "nonsense" claims he is unhappy at Paris Saint-Germain and seeking a swift return to Serie A.

The 22-year-old only joined PSG in July after reaching the end of his Milan contract and failing to agree fresh terms with his boyhood club.

However, according to reports from Italy this week, Donnarumma is already eyeing up a move to Juventus in January as he is not happy about having to challenge Keylor Navas for a starting spot.

Donnarumma was given an extended break after playing a huge part in Italy's Euro 2020 success and had to wait until six games into the campaign to make his debut in a 4-0 Ligue 1 win over Clermont.

He has played a further two games since – the 2-1 league win over Lyon and 2-0 victory over Manchester City in the Champions League on Tuesday – compared to eight appearances for Navas in all competitions.

But after being given the nod to start the big game with City, Donnarumma dismissed reports he is unwilling to share goalkeeping duties with Navas 

"I laugh at it," he told Sky Sport when asked about the recent speculation. "Every time I open the phone, I read a lot of it. 

"I know my strength, I know who I am and there is no problem whatsoever. I am here, and I am happy to be here. 

"I have a club that always supports me, and I just laugh when I read all this nonsense. I'm fine, and I'm going to continue."

Donnarumma impressed on his Champions League debut for PSG by making seven saves at the Parc des Princes, as goals from Idrissa Gueye and Lionel Messi earned the hosts a deserved win.

"I dreamed of a night in the Champions League like this," Donnarumma said. "It was a great match and gives me immense joy. 

"I thank all the people who have been close to me, from my parents to my girlfriend. It hasn't been an easy time, but I have an incredible family. I knew this moment would come.

"Playing with these champions is fantastic, they help you a lot and make you grow. Congratulations to Leo as well for his first goal. He is a phenomenon – there's nothing more to say."

Mauricio Pochettino must now decide whether to stick with Donnarumma in goal for Sunday's league trip to Rennes or instead turn to Navas.

Navas has conceded eight goals in his eight appearances for PSG this campaign, compared to one goal shipped in three outings for Donnarumma, who also boasts a better save percentage (92.86 compared to 75.76).

Donnarumma's save percentage of 92.86 is the best of any player from Europe's top five leagues to have played at least three times across all competitions, with Arsenal's Aaron Ramsdale (91.67) and Chelsea's Edouard Mendy (88.89) next on the list.

Youri Tielemans has not yet committed his long-term future to Leicester City.

Tielemans is only contracted with the Foxes until the end of the 2022-23 season.

And Leicester may consider selling their FA Cup final hero at the end of this season if they cannot strike a new deal.

 

TOP STORY – SPANISH GIANTS KEEN ON TIELEMANS

Spanish giants Barcelona and Real Madrid are circling for Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans, reports The Athletic.

The 24-year-old Belgium international publicly said he is "keeping his options open" as he negotiates a new Leicester deal.

Barcelona and Madrid would be interested in Tielemans, who has also been linked with Liverpool, should he become available next off-season.

 

ROUND-UP

– Football Insider reports Tottenham are still planning to sell Dele Alli, although they will wait until the end of this season. Spurs are hoping Alli's value will rise throughout the season to land a significant transfer fee.

– Everton are considering moves for Real Madrid pair Isco and Luka Jovic in January on six-month loan deals, according to Defensa Central.

– Liverpool are keeping an eye on Porto's Colombian star Luis Diaz, reports The Independent, with the two sides having met in the Champions League on Tuesday.

– Juventus have joined Chelsea in showing interest in Monaco midfielder Aurelien Tchouameni, claims the Daily Mail.

– Newcastle attacker Allan Saint-Maximin has interest from Chelsea and Liverpool, according to the Express.

Lionel Messi cannot consider himself the number one player at Paris Saint-Germain and "must serve" Kylian Mbappe, according to Nicolas Anelka.

Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Messi joined PSG on a free transfer in August after Barcelona were unable to fulfil a new contract that had been agreed with the Argentina international.

Messi has yet to score or assist in his first three appearances for the Ligue 1 giants and has missed their past two matches with a knee injury.

The 34-year-old is sharing the spotlight with fellow superstar forwards Neymar and Mbappe at the Parc des Princes, the latter of whom is into his fifth season with the club.

Messi and Mbappe have spent a combined 160 minutes on the field together this term and have passed the ball to one another just 18 times.

By comparison, Messi and Neymar linked up on 23 occasions in PSG's recent 2-1 win over Lyon alone.

While Messi was the main man during the majority of his time at Barca, former PSG forward Anelka insists the French club must build their team around Mbappe.

"Mbappe has to lead the attack because he's number one," Anelka told Le Parisien.

"Messi was at Barcelona, but now he has to serve Mbappe. He's been at the club for five years and Messi has to respect him."

 

Mbappe has four goals and four assists in nine games for PSG in all competitions this term, those eight direct goal involvements bettered by only six players across Europe's top five leagues.

The France international has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid after entering the final year of his contract, and Anelka can understand why his compatriot would want to join a new club.

"He's a phenomenal player in terms of his speed – there's no one better on the planet," Anelka said. "If Paris want to have the best team, they have to do everything they can to keep him.

"But I think it's very clear in Kylian's head. He wants to see something else, and that makes sense. He's dreaming of the Ballon d'Or, and how can he win it if he's playing in the sixth-best league [now fifth-best] by UEFA coefficient?

"If Kylian had been in England or Spain for the last three years, he would have already won the Ballon d'Or."

Mbappe is expected to start PSG's Champions League clash against Manchester City on Tuesday, while Messi is also in line to face off against former coach Pep Guardiola after recovering from a knee issue.

Messi was substituted by Mauricio Pochettino in his most recent appearance for PSG, and Anelka fears the pair may now struggle to repair their relationship.

"You don't take off a six-time Ballon d'Or winner in the 65th minute, when he hasn't scored for his team. That plays with his head a lot," he said.

"A forward needs his coach to show him confidence, and that right there won't do it. I'm getting ahead of myself, but Messi will not forget what Pochettino has done. 

"It will stay with him. He's the star of the team, and it was his first game at the Parc des Princes. It's going to be very difficult to recover from that as a situation.

"Messi didn't play against Metz, and for me that's already a response. You can't manage Messi like that. The coach wanted to send out a strong message, which is good, but this is Messi."

Mauricio Pochettino wants Lionel Messi to be given time to adapt to his new surroundings at Paris Saint-Germain, who are preparing to go up against "the best coach in the world" in Pep Guardiola. 

Messi has yet to score or assist in three appearances since joining PSG on a free transfer amid financial difficulties at Barcelona, but Pochettino is prepared to be patient with the iconic superstar. 

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner has been struggling with a knee injury of late, though he may be involved when the French club host Manchester City in a titanic Champions League clash. 

"[Messi] is progressing very well, and I think he'll be in the squad, but I don't know if he'll start," Pochettino said in his pre-match media conference ahead of Tuesday’s meeting in the French capital.  

"He's the best player in the world, but he's still a human like everyone else. He also needs to adapt to this new team, new culture and new country. He was at Barcelona for 20 years, everything is new here for him.  

"With time, I have no doubt that everything will go well and we're going to have real success together." 

The former Tottenham and Southampton boss also attempted to downplay expectations as his side chase European glory, claiming that PSG are not yet the finished article - unlike their next opponents. 

"We're a work in progress," Pochettino said. "It's not an opinion, it's a fact. We have to look at where we have come from and where we are today. 

"We're going to face Manchester City and the best coach in the world, Pep Guardiola. They're a great team, a club that dreams of winning the Champions League, as we do. They're perhaps ahead of us, but anything can happen in a football match. 

"We're going to try and cause them problems with a lot of desire, determination, and also by applying our ideas and limiting their qualities, and finding weaknesses to exploit. It's a match for the players in which they can show their potential." 

Pochettino also dismissed the idea that the contest with City is their first real challenge of the season, having won all of their first eight Ligue 1 games to sit nine points clear at the top of the table. 

"A first test? I don't think so. We've had a different challenge in each game. The start of the season hasn't been easy because we have got players back gradually. Since we've had a complete squad, we've worked,” he said.

"We know the expectations on us and we know we have to work with responsibility and rigour today, not tomorrow. We have to stand up and be counted when a game comes up." 

There was also an update on the fitness of Marco Verratti, who, like Messi, is set to be part of the squad but may not be ready to start. 

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