Kylian Mbappe insisted there is no agreement to take him to Real Madrid after his majestic performance drove Paris Saint-Germain to a 5-1 victory over Lorient on Sunday.

The France international scored twice and assisted the other three PSG goals, with Neymar getting two and Lionel Messi the other, as Mauricio Pochettino's side maintained their 12-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit.

Uncertainty remains over where Mbappe will play next season, with Madrid leading the charge for the signature of the forward whose contract expires at the end of the current campaign.

Mbappe reiterated in the aftermath of the win against Lorient that a decision has yet to be taken, perhaps raising the possibility he could stay in Paris.

"No, no, no, I did not make my choice, everyone knows that I did not make my choice, I did not make my decision," he told Prime Video.

"I think because there are new elements, there are lots of things, lots of parameters and I don't want to be wrong, I want to make the right choice.

"I know that for the people, it's a little late, we talk about it every day. If I had made my decision I would say it, I don't have to report to anyone. It's a personal choice, if I made my decision, I come, I say it and I assume it.

"I think that, in the good things and the bad things that I have done, I have always assumed, I don't have to hide myself, I haven't killed anybody. It's just a choice, so I take my time and I want to make the best decision possible."

Neymar and Messi –,the latter ending a run of seven games without a goal – joined Mbappe on the scoresheet in the same game for the first time.

Brazilian star Neymar was delighted with the evening's work, with PSG showing positive signs after being jolted by last month's Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid.

"I'm happy with the victory," Neymar told Prime Video. "We knew this championship was difficult. We have to keep winning and show that we want this 10th title.

"Losing is very difficult. What happened against Madrid, that gave us a lot of harm. We must continue to move forward. We wanted to go to the end of the Champions League, but unfortunately we were eliminated. It's difficult for the public to accept defeat, but for us too it was hard."

Kylian Mbappe and Neymar both scored twice and Lionel Messi ended a barren spell as Ligue 1 leaders Paris Saint-Germain crushed Lorient 5-1 on Sunday.

Mauricio Pochettino's side were overwhelmed in a 3-0 loss to Monaco before the international break, but they were soon ahead at the Parc des Princes when Neymar scored after 12 minutes.

Mbappe added a second 16 minutes later, and although Terem Moffi pulled one back after the interval, PSG's star France forward restored his side's two-goal advantage with 23 minutes remaining.

Messi halted his seven-game scoring drought before Neymar collected his second of the night, with Mbappe playing a part in all five of the hosts' goals as PSG maintained their 12-point lead over second-placed Marseille.

 

Danilo Pereira headed over from Neymar's corner in the opening exchanges, and PSG took the lead shortly after.

Intricate play between Messi and Mbappe allowed the latter to find Neymar to apply the finish into the bottom-left corner.

Messi volleyed an ambitious first-time effort over, before Mbappe brilliantly wrong-footed the unsighted Matthieu Dreyer after Idrissa Gueye's offload to double PSG's lead.

Enzo Le Fee curled narrowly wide after the break as Christophe Pelissier's visitors appeared reinvigorated, and their reward arrived when Moffi poked a wayward Achraf Hakimi pass past Gianluigi Donnarumma.

But Mbappe curtailed Lorient's hopes of a comeback when he expertly drilled into the bottom-left corner from outside the area following Hakimi's offload.

Mbappe turned creator six minutes later when he cut the ball back for Messi from the byline, and the Argentina star finished off the underside of the crossbar..

Neymar grabbed his second in the closing stages as Mbappe fed the Brazil international, who slotted past Dreyer to cap a fine victory.

Mauricio Pochettino denied that Paris Saint-Germain pulled off "a miracle" after their late equaliser rescued a point against struggling Lorient. 

The runaway Ligue 1 leaders only managed to scrap a share of the spoils at Stade du Moustoir thanks to Mauro Icardi's stoppage-time header. 

PSG had trailed to Thomas Monconduit's wonderful first-half strike for the 19th-placed hosts, who were on their worst ever run having lost each of their previous seven top-flight matches. 

The visitors were also reduced to 10 men when half-time substitute Sergio Ramos was sent off for two bookable offences but dug deep to narrowly avert a first Ligue 1 defeat in 10 games. 

Although Pochettino acknowledged his players could have performed better, he insisted that they were worthy of at least a point. 

Addressing suggestions his side had pulled off a miracle, the head coach told Canal+: "A miracle? Why a miracle? We scored a very nice goal that I think we deserved earlier. We had a lot of chances in the second half. I think you have to respect Lorient, they are a Ligue 1 team. 

"We started well with Mauro's opportunity and then we didn't have the right placements and every time we lost the ball, we allowed Lorient to have quick transitions.  

"We didn't have a good first half. Sergio [Ramos] entered the second half because we wanted to build with three central defenders and have more rhythm on the wings.  

"We were better in the second half, we had more chances and we could have scored more. The results are consistent for now. But we can still do better." 

Meanwhile, captain Marquinhos paid tribute to PSG's opponents, who produced a spirited display to end their lengthy losing run. 

"Teams are very motivated against PSG," he said. "They put us in trouble by all getting behind the ball. They defended well.  

"Any team that plays against them like that is going to have difficulties too."

Sergio Ramos was sent off as 10-man Paris Saint-Germain scrapped to a 1-1 draw against struggling Lorient at Stade du Moustoir.

On as a half-time substitute, the former Real Madrid defender was making only his third appearance for Mauricio Pochettino's side since making the switch from Santiago Bernabeu.

However, his involvement lasted just 40 minutes as he was dismissed for two bookable offences, while it took a stoppage-time Mauro Icardi header to spare his team-mates' blushes.

Thomas Monconduit's thumping strike just before half-time had looked like it would be enough for the hosts, who at least ended their worst ever run of seven successive defeats.

Seeking a 12th win in 14 league meetings with Lorient, PSG began brightly and almost took the lead in the second minute when Icardi steered Nuno Mendes' cross wide.

At the other end, the hosts squandered a glorious opportunity as Terem Moffi raced clear and sold Keylor Navas the dummy, only to chip the ball straight at the grounded goalkeeper.

The woodwork then came to Lorient's rescue as a fierce Lionel Messi volley rattled the post from Icardi's lay-off.

But the hosts got their just rewards for a positive first-half performance that yielded 11 attempts, Enzo Le Fee teeing up Monconduit, who beat Navas with a thumping 20-yard strike off the underside of the crossbar.

PSG turned up the pressure after the break and Angel Di Maria somehow fired over from 10 yards out with the goal at his mercy, before Paul Nardi produced brilliant reflexes to deny Messi from what was a first shot on target for the visitors.

The league leaders were reduced to 10 men as Ramos was shown a second yellow card for a body check on Moffi, yet they snatched a last-gasp equaliser with Icardi heading in from Achraf Hakimi's cross.

Sergio Ramos was sent off as 10-man Paris Saint-Germain scrapped to a 1-1 draw against struggling Lorient at Stade du Moustoir.

On as a half-time substitute, the former Real Madrid defender was making only his third appearance for Mauricio Pochettino's side since making the switch from Santiago Bernabeu.

However, his involvement lasted just 40 minutes as he was dismissed for two bookable offences, while it took a stoppage-time Mauro Icardi header to spare his team-mates' blushes.

Thomas Monconduit's thumping strike just before half-time had looked like it would be enough for the hosts, who at least ended their worst ever run of seven successive defeats.

 

Paris Saint-Germain will improve in 2022, says Mauricio Pochettino, who is satisfied with the progress he has made at the club so far.

PSG head into their final Ligue 1 game of the year, against Lorient, 13 points clear at the top of the table.

It has been a mixed bag for Pochettino since he took over in January, replacing Thomas Tuchel.

He took PSG to the Champions League semi-finals, where they were eliminated by Manchester City, who would go on to lose to Tuchel's Chelsea in the final.

Pochettino celebrated his first trophy as a coach, winning the delayed 2020 Trophee des Champions, and won the Coupe de France last season, but PSG finished second in Ligue 1 behind Lille.

They are firmly on course to regain that crown this season, with superstar Lionel Messi having arrived to form a formidable attacking trident with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe. Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakimi and Nuno Mendes also signed in a sensational transfer window.

However, doubts linger over Mbappe's future, with PSG rejecting Real Madrid's advances, but the 23-year-old is out of contract at the end of the season. Pochettino's future is also up in the air, with links to Manchester United not going away.

Asked for his thoughts on his first year in the job, Pochettino told a news conference: "You could compare the first six months and the last six months.

"I think it has been positive, because in the first few months you have to settle in, although I already knew the club, it was still new and the start of a project.

"Joining a club that I wanted to be at, where I played, with incredible supporters, I think that is my best memory. We have also achieved some of the success we wanted but I feel the best is to come next year.

"There aren't many bad memories. The most important thing is health, a key topic at the moment during this pandemic, so bad things in sport don't affect us in the day-to-day.

"The bad things are this pandemic made us live in a different way and has caused so much harm to loved ones, in many cases."

PSG have played 62 games in all competitions under Pochettino in 2021, with only two sides in Europe's top five leagues – Chelsea (62) and Man City (65) – playing more.

Only City (51) and Bayern Munich (42) have managed more wins than PSG's tally of 41, with Pochettino's side also ranking third for goals scored (128), while they have lost 10 times in total.

Mbappe has played the most games under Pochettino, tallying 53 appearances, five more than second-ranked Danilo Pereira.

 

The forward's 43 goals, at an average of one strike every 104 minutes, is way out in front of any other player, with Mauro Icardi next on 15.

Mbappe also leads the way for assists (16), but while Messi has gradually worked his way into consistency since signing from Barcelona, it has been a poor year for Neymar by his own standards.

The Brazil star came 16th in the Ballon d'Or voting and has played just 33 times, directly contributing to 19 goals (11 scored – six were penalties – and eight assists).

Neymar, who is injured, and the rest of PSG's South American contingent will be given freedom to return home over Christmas, with Pochettino happy to give his squad a break.

"It has been a year of a pandemic and there have been very high levels of competition," he said.

"Due to the competitiveness and the fact we are pleased with how we are doing, we are going to be back on January 1 to work hard.

"As for the South American players who are going to spend time with their families, they should be back on the 31st, so they have seven or eight days to recover with a specific plan. They will be ready to play at Vannes on January 3."

Europe's top five leagues all conclude this week and there are still plenty of matters to be resolved – not least who will be crowned champions in Spain and France.

Every division has something riding on the final days of the season, whether it be top spot, European qualification, or relegation.

Ahead of what is set to be a dramatic conclusion to the Premier League, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Serie A and the Bundesliga campaigns, we look at the state of play in each league.

 

PREMIER LEAGUE

Manchester City wrapped up the Premier League title with three games to spare, making them the first team in the competition's history to win the title despite being as low as eighth on Christmas Day.

All three relegation places were also decided with three games remaining – a Premier League record – with Fulham joining Sheffield United and West Brom in dropping down a division.

That leaves just the European spots to fight for, and it is shaping up to be an entertaining end to the English top-flight season in that regard. Manchester United are guaranteed a top-four finish, but five other teams – Leicester City, Chelsea, Liverpool, Tottenham and West Ham – are in the mix for the two other Champions League berths with two rounds of games to go.

There is also the small matter of the Europa League places for the teams finishing in fifth and sixth, as well as a spot in the inaugural Europa Conference League, which goes to the team in seventh, meaning everyone from 10th-placed Leeds United to Leicester in third have something to play for. That includes Arsenal, who have not missed out on European football of some sort in 25 years.

LALIGA 

The Spanish title race appeared to take a dramatic twist on Sunday as Real Madrid leapfrogged Atletico Madrid at the summit for around 20 minutes. However, Atleti scored two late goals to beat Osasuna, meaning they are two points ahead of their city rivals heading into the final round of games.

Atleti, who have led the way at the top for 29 matchdays, now need to match Madrid's result against Villarreal when they travel to relegation-threatened Real Valladolid on the final day of the season. It is worth noting that Los Blancos have the superior head-to-head record, so a draw would not be enough for Atleti if Madrid win.

Barcelona are officially out of the title race, meanwhile, but they are assured of a top-four finish along with Sevilla. Real Sociedad and Real Betis occupy the Europa League spots, while Villarreal are in a Europa Conference League berth, though just one point separates the three teams so that could all yet change.

To complicate matters, Villarreal could still qualify for the Champions League by winning the Europa League final against Manchester United.

At the bottom end of the division, Eibar are already relegated and they will be joined by two of Valladolid, Elche or Huesca. Valladolid must beat Atletico in their final game to have a chance of staying up, while the onus is on Elche to better Huesca's result as they are level on points but have an inferior head-to-head record.

LIGUE 1

The Ligue 1 title battle is also going right down to the wire in a three-way dogfight. After a thrilling race that has lasted the course of the season, underdogs Lille lead heavyweights Paris Saint-Germain by one point with one matchday left.

Monaco have won seven of their previous eight games and are three points off leaders Lille, though they require both Les Dogues and PSG to slip up on the final day, as well as beating Lens. Should it come down to goal difference, PSG hold a big lead over their two title rivals.

Incredibly, PSG are still not yet technically assured of a Champions League place as Lyon in fourth are only three points worse off, although it would take a defeat for the reigning champions and victory for Lyon, plus a goal swing of 16, for them to miss out.

Monaco's opponents Lens, incidentally, also have plenty to play for at the weekend as they are sixth – enough for Europa Conference League qualification – but can still be caught by Rennes in seventh, while they could yet overtake Marseille in fifth if results go their way.

At the opposite end of the table, there may only be one spot left to be settled in the bottom three – Dijon and Nimes are both already down – but six teams are still very much in danger of the drop. Nantes occupy the relegation play-off spot, with Lorient, Brest and Strasbourg just a point better off, and Bordeaux and Reims only two points clear.

SERIE A

With Inter being crowned Scudetto winners for the first time in 11 years at the start of the month, the biggest storyline in Serie A regards Juventus' top-four fate. The dethroned champions, who had finished top nine years running before this season, are currently down in fifth.

Juve are one point behind Napoli and Milan in the two spots directly above them, while Atalanta are three points better off in second and have the better head-to-head record against the Bianconeri.

Andrea Pirlo's side are therefore in need of favours on the final day in what is poised to be a nail-biting finale in terms of those Champions League places. Lazio will finish sixth, so they are assured of Europa League football next term, while Roma hold a two-point advantage over Sassuolo in the Europa Conference League position.

Parma and Crotone are both down already and one of Benevento or Torino will join them, the latter currently three points outside of the relegation zone and with a game in hand to play on Benevento.

BUNDESLIGA

RB Leipzig provided Bayern Munich with some stern competition for a while, but the Bavarian giants' quality eventually told and they are Bundesliga champions for a ninth year running.

It's not only the title race that's done and dusted in Germany, in fact, as RB Leipzig are certain of second place, and both Borussia Dortmund and Wolfsburg will join them in the Champions League next season.

Eintracht Frankfurt and Bayer Leverkusen, meanwhile, will finish in fifth and sixth respectively regardless of events later this week.

However, Union Berlin have work to do if they are to finish seventh for a place in the Europa Conference League play-offs as Borussia Monchengladbach are a point further back, while Stuttgart and Freiburg are two behind with a game to go.

Seven-time German champions Schalke will be competing in the second tier of German football next season, but Cologne and Werder Bremen are hanging on in there, sitting two and one point behind Arminia Bielefeld respectively in 15th place.

Mauricio Pochettino is prioritising Ligue 1 over other competitions in his first season at Paris Saint-Germain and is backing Sergio Rico after a difficult showing in the defeat to Lorient.

PSG were beaten 3-2 at Stade du Moustoir on Sunday, as the Parisians suffered their first loss under new head coach Pochettino.

Spanish goalkeeper Rico deputised for Keylor Navas between the posts, with PSG's first choice missing due to a stomach injury.

But Rico received widespread criticism for his performance, raising further doubts regarding his suitability as Navas' understudy and highlighting the Costa Rican's importance.

Navas looks set to miss Wednesday's visit of Nimes as well due to a groin complaint, meaning Rico is likely to keep his place in the team.

Since the start of last season, PSG have boasted a far better win percentage with Navas in the team (78.4 per cent of 37 games) than when Rico has started (57.1 per cent of seven matches).

They also concede twice as often on average when Rico is in the starting XI (1.4 goals per game) compared to Navas (0.7 goals per game), but Pochettino was keen to offer his backing to the 27-year-old.

"It is important that all the players are available so that the competition between them helps them to reach their best level," Pochettino told reporters on Tuesday.

"We have such a team that those who play less often have to be able to play and perform well when they are on the pitch.

"It is sometimes difficult to find positive elements when you lose a game, but we are happy with Sergio and his level in the team, and we expect him to perform well."

The decision to not risk Navas seems a wise one given the important matches on the horizon for PSG, as they go to Marseille on Sunday for Le Classique and have the first leg of their Champions League last-16 clash with Barcelona on February 16.

PSG reached the final of Europe's elite competition last season under Thomas Tuchel, though that seemingly only earned him a certain amount of credit given his recent dismissal.

Despite PSG's apparent fixation with the Champions League since their QSI takeover in 2011, Pochettino insists it is not his focus, instead urging his team to respond to the Lorient setback as they look to prioritise domestic success.

"We have to improve collectively," he said. "We lost the match in Lorient in two actions. We are looking for solutions.

"We do not have much time to train, but we discuss to try to find solutions. With my staff, we arrived with the circumstances that you know.

"We assume our great responsibility. The objective is to win, to optimise the team. We want to win Ligue 1, which is our priority objective and there is time to do so."

PSG head into the midweek round of fixtures sitting third in Ligue 1, three points adrift of pacesetters Lille.

Mauricio Pochettino gave a damning assessment of Paris Saint-Germain's 3-2 Ligue 1 defeat at Lorient, declaring the performance to be "an accident".

PSG had the chance to return to the top of the table on Sunday and were on course to do so after a Neymar penalty in either half overturned Laurent Abergel's opener.

But Yoane Wissa netted a superb solo strike in the 80th minute before fellow substitute Terem Moffi streamed into the PSG half unchallenged to seal the points after an injury-time breakaway.

"We never got into the rhythm of the match, except when we managed to score the goal for 2-1," Pochettino told reporters.

"We are really sad with the result. We were too slow in the game, we gave Lorient too many options. We wanted to do something else but we did not succeed."

The defeat was PSG's first since Pochettino was appointed as Thomas Tuchel's successor at the Parc des Princes and the former Tottenham boss conceded there is plenty of work ahead as he tries to shape the team to his specifications.

"It is a problem of collective coordination," he said. "At 2-2, we wanted to go for the victory, which caused disorganisation and ended in our defeat.

"We are constantly looking to improve, to work. It's an accident, like can happen in football. We hope to be better in the next game."

PSG's central midfield two of Leandro Paredes and Danilo Pereira struggled to stamp their authority on the contest despite completing 92.2 and 95.5 per cent of their respective passes.

Marco Verratti was unavailable after testing positive for coronavirus but Pochettino refused to cite the Italy international's absence in mitigation

"Of course Marco is an important element, but you have to know how to play without certain players," he added. "It shouldn't be an excuse."

Lille subsequently beat Dijon 1-0 to move three points clear of PSG at the top, with Pochettino's side down in third behind Lyon.

Neymar converted a penalty in each half but Paris Saint-Germain collapsed to a sensational 3-2 defeat at relegation-threatened Lorient in Ligue 1

Mauricio Pochettino's first loss as head coach means PSG missed out on the chance to return to the top of Ligue 1 in place of Lyon after sub Terem Moffi broke clear to net a stoppage-time winner.

Lorient were the better team before half-time and led through Laurent Abergel's first goal in almost a year

However, a tale of woe then unfolded for Houboulang Mendes, who conceded 45th and 58th-minute penalties, from which Neymar made no mistake.

Yoane Wissa replaced the embattled right wing-back soon afterwards and levelled with a fine solo effort before fellow sub Moffi snatched glory.

Mauricio Pochettino refused to be drawn on whether Paris Saint-Germain will go into the transfer market ahead of Monday's deadline amid reports he could be reunited with Dele Alli.

PSG have won four and drawn one of their five games since Pochettino was appointed as head coach this month.

Pochettino has been linked with a loan move for out-of-favour Tottenham midfielder Alli, although Jose Mourinho this week said he expects the 24-year-old to stay at the London club.

Inter's Christian Eriksen, another midfielder who played under Pochettino at Spurs, has also been mentioned as a potential target for the Ligue 1 champions.

Pochettino, who confirmed his assistant Miguel D'Agostino has tested positive for coronavirus, was giving nothing away ahead of Sunday's trip to Lorient and said "we will see" when asked if Bandiougou Fadiga could join Brest.

He said in a press conference on Saturday: "You have reminded me about there being three days left [before the window closes], but we are not paying attention to that right now.

"I am focused on the team improving and performing at its best."

Lyon beat Bordeaux 2-1 on Friday to go a point clear of champions PSG at the top of the Ligue 1 table.

PSG will be expected to return to the summit when they take on struggling Lorient, but Pochettino warned they must not be complacent.

"For PSG, every single game is important and we want to win every game. The priority is always the next game ahead of you, which is Lorient," he said.

"We always expect the same from our team, which is to win and compete in the best way possible, knowing that we are against a side that will make it very tough for us."

Pochettino plans to fully utilise his squad with such a demanding schedule to contend with.

The former Argentina international said: "Before every game every week we analyse every player individually and all the players train hard.

"All the players here, whether they are playing more or less regularly, they have to know that they will have an opportunity and must take it when they get one.

"That way, they are ready to fit straight into the team. We are always open to changes, as a coaching staff we are always open to giving players the chance to improve. They need to be ready to show they deserve a place in the starting line-up."

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