Lionel Messi will be absent when Paris Saint-Germain face Monaco on Saturday, but coach Christophe Galtier says he will return for next week's Champions League clash with Bayern Munich.

Messi joined Neymar in a two-pronged PSG attack for Wednesday's surprise Coupe de France defeat to rivals Marseille, with Kylian Mbappe missing as a result of a hamstring issue.

After PSG announced that injury could rule Mbappe out of the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Bayern, reports suggested Messi was also doubtful after sustaining a similar problem.  

However, Galtier eased fears Messi could miss Tuesday's meeting with the Bundesliga giants on Friday, although the World Cup winner is set to sit out PSG's Ligue 1 trip to Monaco.

"Leo has felt muscle fatigue, he will resume training on Monday. He is not uncertain for Bayern," Galtier said at his pre-match press conference. 

"We know the importance of Leo to our game. With his absence, we will have to play in a different way to have a more solid, more compact team structure, to use each other. 

"Obviously, going to Monaco without Leo is always annoying."

Messi's tally of 29 goal contributions this season (15 goals, 14 assists) is only bettered by three players from Europe's top five leagues, with Manchester City's Erling Haaland (34) leading PSG team-mates Neymar (32) and Mbappe (31).

PSG's reporting of Mbappe's injury has been met with scepticism in Munich, with Bayern coach Julian Nagelsmann saying the French club are "playing poker" regarding his availability.

Asked whether he would be prepared to risk Mbappe on Tuesday, Galtier said: "The player's health comes first. I will be very vigilant about the player's health, especially as the season is long.

"Regarding Kylian, the communication has been made. We spoke of a three-week period of unavailability. Kylian is undergoing treatment."

PSG have endured an underwhelming start to 2023, failing to keep a clean sheet in their past four Ligue 1 games and losing two away matches in the league since the turn of the year, only one fewer than they did in the entirety of 2022.

Galtier's men are the only Ligue 1 side yet to win 1,000 duels in the competition this season (998), and he believes they need to be more aggressive to turn their form around.

"The players were very affected in the locker room after the [Marseille] match and yesterday," he said. "You have to avoid long speeches but also show them what did not work.

"When there is so much disappointment, it is useless to get angry. You have to keep a very cool head.

"We are going to have a series against intense teams who impose duels. We will have to respond. 

"At the moment, we are not finding this aggressiveness. The players have to make a big effort on the mental aspects to win a lot more duels in the middle."

Neymar has returned to full training with Paris Saint-Germain in a big boost for the French giants ahead of three big matches across the next week.

The Brazil international has not featured in PSG's past two games – league wins over Montpellier and Toulouse – due to suffering from muscular fatigue.

However, Neymar is now in contention to return for Wednesday's Classique against Marseille at Stade Velodrome in the last 16 of the Coupe de France.

Ligue 1 leaders PSG then face fourth-placed Monaco in the league on Saturday, before hosting Bayern Munich in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie next week.

PSG posted an image of Neymar in training on Monday, while fellow recent injury absentee Sergio Ramos was also present.

Kylian Mbappe is expected to miss at least the first leg of that showdown with Bayern, however, with the prolific forward still nursing a thigh injury.

Prior to his short lay-off, Neymar – who celebrated his 31st birthday on Sunday – had scored 17 goals and assisted 14 more in 25 appearances this season.

Those 31 goal involvements put Neymar level with team-mate Mbappe and behind only Manchester City's Erling Haaland (34) among players from Europe's top five leagues.

Paris Saint-Germain are regularly a topic of transfer speculation, with plenty of discussion around Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi recently.

But Neymar is another who has been linked with a move away from Parc des Princes in the past, having been with PSG since 2017.

The former Barcelona forward signed a contract extension in 2021 after originally joining on a five-year deal.

TOP STORY – PSG OPEN TO OFFERS FOR NEYMAR IN JANUARY

Paris Saint-Germain have put Brazil superstar Neymar up for sale, according to Fichajes.

The French champions are willing to listen to offers for the 30-year-old, who is contracted until 2025.

The report claims PSG have lowered their price to €50million, which may attract the likes of Chelsea, Newcastle United and Manchester City.

 

ROUND-UP

– The Mail reports Manchester United have opened talks with Monaco defender Axel Disasi, although the 24-year-old is also being tracked by a few other Premier League clubs.

– Manchester United target Mohammed Kudus has had a £40m price tag slapped on him by his Dutch club Ajax, claims The Star. The 22-year-old Ghana midfielder impressed at the World Cup.

– Real Madrid are bullish about their prospects of beating Liverpool in the race to sign Borussia Dortmund's Jude Bellingham, claims Marca.

– Calciomercato reports Madrid will rival Juventus in the chase to sign 18-year-old right-back Ivan Fresneda from Real Valladolid.

– Sevilla are circling to sign Sergio Ramos once his PSG contract expires at the end of this season, claims Fichajes, although he will need to take a pay cut for the move to transpire.

– Fabrizio Romano reports struggling Premier League club Southampton have agreed to a £6m deal to sign Croatia international Mislav Orsic from Dinamo Zagreb.

Mykhaylo Mudryk has informed Shakhtar Donetsk that he wants to join Arsenal amid talk of interest from Chelsea, reports 90min.

Chelsea have completed the signing of Benoit Badiashile from Monaco.

Badiashile has signed a seven-and-a-half-year contract after Chelsea paid a fee reportedly in the region of €38million (£33.7m).

The 21-year-old centre-back has been a regular in Monaco's defence since breaking into the first team in the 2018-19 season.

Chelsea were keen to improve their options in defence, with a left-sided player coveted following Antonio Rudiger's move to Real Madrid.

The Blues reportedly wanted to sign Josko Gvardiol, who starred for Croatia at the World Cup, but were unable to agree a fee with RB Leipzig.

Chelsea signed Wesley Fofana for £75m in August, but the former Leicester City defender has suffered several injury setbacks.

Badiashile, with 106 Ligue 1 appearances for Monaco to his name, brings plenty of experience as well as adding a youthful flavour to a defence that also includes Kalidou Koulibaly and veteran campaigner Thiago Silva.

He becomes Chelsea's second signing of the transfer window, after the arrival of David Datro Fofana, while Brazilian youngster Andrey Santos is also set to join.

"I'm very happy to be here at Chelsea," Badiashile told the club's official website. "I'm so excited to start playing for this club. I can't wait to see the fans and start playing in the best league in the world."

Chelsea co-owner and chairman Todd Boehly added: "We're delighted to welcome Benoit to Chelsea. He's an excellent young player who has quickly established a strong reputation for himself and has a huge amount of experience for his young age.

"We are sure he will form an important part of our team in the years ahead."

Chelsea also want to bring in Enzo Fernandez, after the Benfica midfielder impressed for Argentina in Qatar.

A deal appeared likely earlier this week, but on Thursday Chelsea's approach was criticised by Benfica coach Roger Schmidt, who accused the Blues of showing a lack of respect in how they have gone about negotiations.

Benoit Badiashile is on the verge of leaving Monaco after a deal was struck with Chelsea, Philippe Clement has suggested.

Reports on Sunday claimed the 21-year-old defender was on the verge of joining the Blues.

Badiashile did not feature as Monaco defeated Brest in Ligue 1, with coach Clement confirming that a deal had been agreed between the clubs.

Clement revealed no agreement had been reached between Chelsea and Badiashile, though indicated the defender would be going ahead with the move.

"I can say that this morning, Benoit Badiashile was with us at the hotel," he told reporters.

"At that moment, I was contacted by our directors who told me that there was an agreement between Monaco and another team, it's a team that I know interests Benoit, but there is no agreement with him."

Clement explained he took the decision to leave Badiashile out against Brest.

"Afterwards, our managers asked me if he could leave today or not. It was my choice. I spoke with Benoit and he wanted to be there for the team," he added.

"But I was sometimes in situations like him. I think that when there is an agreement with the team you are interested in, you don't have your head in the game at 200 per cent.

"With a player who has given everything for us over the last few months, seasons, for the club, who has always been positive, who has always been a fighter, who has always been there for us.

"It was a normal decision for me to say that he could go today to talk with the club, in this situation, when there is an agreement between the clubs."

Chelsea drew 1-1 with Nottingham Forest on Sunday, with Graham Potter unable to offer an update on the Badiashile transfer following that match.

Manchester United are set to be busy in the January transfer window following Cristiano Ronaldo's exit in November.

Erik ten Hag's side are in the market to bolster their forward options, having already been linked to a host of players.

But United look set to settle for short-term loan deals with little money available for a transfer fee, limiting their options.

TOP STORY – MAN UTD INTERESTED IN EX-CHELSEA FLOP MORATA

Manchester United have turned their attention to signing Spain international forward Alvaro Morata on loan, according to ESPN.

United missed out on signing Cody Gakpo, who has joined Liverpool, while they face stiff competition to land Atletico Madrid forward Joao Felix along with a reported total package worth €22million for six months.

The report claims the Red Devils are hoping Atletico are willing to listen to loan offers, with the 30-year-old having been loaned to Juventus this season.

ROUND-UP

– Media Foot claims Manchester United and Tottenham have both commenced talks with Rennes on £34m-valued striker Martin Terrier.

Chelsea are rapidly closing in on a deal for 21-year-old Monaco defender Benoit Badiashile, according to CBS' Ben Jacobs, with personal terms agreed.

– The Athletic reports that Chelsea have taken positive steps in talks with N'Golo Kante on re-committing to the club on a new deal. Kante's contract expires in June and he has been linked with several clubs in the January transfer window, including Barcelona .

Manchester City will offer Milan forward Rafael Leao a contract worth €12m per season as they bid to lure him to England in January, claims TuttoMercatoWeb.

Borussia Dortmund have joined the race to sign Juventus' United States international midfielder Weston McKennie, according to Tuttosport, with the German club viewing him as a suitable replacement for Jude Bellingham.

– PSG defender Sergio Ramos is being pursued by Saudi Arabian outfit Al Nassr, claims Marca. Al Nassr are trying to convince Cristiano Ronaldo to join the club, which is their priority move.

Eliesse Ben Seghir followed in the footsteps of Thierry Henry and Kylian Mbappe as he made an impactful league debut for Monaco on Wednesday.

The youngster was introduced halfway through Monaco's trip to Auxerre in their first Ligue 1 game following the World Cup and scored twice as the visitors ran out 3-2 victors at Stade de l'Abbe-Deschamps.

An M'Baye Niang penalty for the hosts was cancelled out by Wissam Ben Yedder just before half-time, with Ben Seghir then scoring with a tidy finish from a tight angle 12 minutes after the break to put Monaco in front.

A Youssouf Fofana own goal levelled things again, before Ben Seghir struck with five minutes of normal time remaining to seal the points, coming in off the left flank and picking out the far side of the net with a gorgeous long-range strike.

At the age of 17 years and 10 months, Ben Seghir became the youngest player to score a brace in his first Ligue 1 match in the past 75 years and the first over that period to achieve this feat before his 18th birthday.

He also became the fifth-youngest player to score for Monaco in Ligue 1 behind Mbappe, Pietro Pellegri, Henry and reported Chelsea target Benoit Badiashile.

Further to that, Ben Seghir is now the second-youngest player to score a brace in the league for Monaco behind Henry, who did so in 1995 aged 17 years and eight months.

Chelsea have reportedly made Monaco centre-back Benoit Badiashile their top defensive target in the January transfer window.

They have been strongly linked with RB Leipzig and Croatia standout Josko Gvardiol, but Fabrizio Romano believes Chelsea will have to break the record for the most expensive transfer fee paid for a defender to get a deal done.

Instead, the Stamford Bridge club are said to have pivoted to 21-year-old Monaco powerhouse Badiashile, who stands at six-foot-four and has racked up 106 club appearances since debuting at the age of 17.

Badiashile also earned his first senior caps for France this year, playing a full 90 minutes in UEFA Nations League fixtures in September against Austria and Denmark before ultimately missing out on the World Cup squad.

With just over 18 months remaining on his contract, Monaco will need to decide if they can tie him down up long term, otherwise it may be time to cash-in.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TARGET YOUNG MONACO TALENT

According to The Athletic, Badiashile is a player who has been on the Premier League radar for some time, noting a £22million bid from Manchester United back in 2020.

The report claims Badiashile was in no rush to leave back then as he was already a first-team regular, but he has since opened up to the idea of moving on to take the next step of his career.

Chelsea are said to be preparing a £35m offer for the man who has experience playing in a back-three, which would be less than half of the potential asking price for Gvardiol.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fichajes is reporting Aston Villa boss Unai Emery has no interest in retaining Argentinian World Cup hero Emiliano Martinez, and would prefer to replace him with Sevilla and Morocco star Yassine Bounou for a fee in the range of £40m.

Chelsea are in the best position to land 23-year-old West Ham midfielder Declan Rice as he enters the final 18 months of his contract, per The Athletic.

– Journalist Nicolo Schira is reporting Atletico Madrid have agreed to personal terms with 26-year-old Leicester City centre-back Caglar Soyuncu, and he could be allowed to join the club in January despite his contract not expiring until the end of the season.

– Atletico will allow Joao Felix to join a Premier League club on loan in January if their financial demands are met, per the Mirror.

– According to Teamtalk, Liverpool and Tottenham are included in the Premier League sides prepared to offer a contract to 27-year-old Inter centre-back Milan Skriniar for when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.

Bayern Munich are weighing up whether the "obvious solution" of bringing back Alexander Nubel from his loan at Monaco would be the most prudent move, after Manuel Neuer's shock injury blow.

Hasan Salihamidzic, the club's sporting director, has acknowledged Nubel is an option Bayern could turn to after Neuer was ruled out for the rest of the season with a broken leg.

Neuer's regular understudy Sven Ulreich may have the chance to stake a claim, but it would be no surprise if Bayern brought in another goalkeeper in January.

Whether they bring back Nubel from Monaco appears to hinge on the Ligue 1 club accepting a request to cut short his loan and on whether Bayern consider him the smart choice.

Nubel has been a regular for Monaco since joining the team in June 2021 on a two-season arrangement, having previously spent a year mostly confined to the bench with the Bundesliga champions.

Salihamidzic told Sport Bild: "It is important that we find the best solution for our team in the short term.

"Of course, Alexander Nubel would be an obvious solution. In the end, Monaco have the last word."

The injury to club captain Neuer came as he took a holiday following Germany's exit from the World Cup.

Bayern last week ruled out a move for Dinamo Zagreb keeper Dominik Livakovic, who shone at the World Cup for Croatia, with CEO Oliver Kahn saying the 27-year-old was "not within the scope of our interests".

Newcastle United are reportedly preparing an improved offer to pry midfielder James Maddison away from Leicester City in January.

Maddison, 25, is away at the World Cup with England after a blistering start to the Premier League season saw him force his way back into the national set-up after three years in the wilderness.

After scoring a career-high 18 goals last season, Maddison has continued to show it was no fluke, bagging seven goals and four assists in 13 league fixtures this campaign.

Newcastle have been fond of the Foxes star for some time, having had two bids rejected in the range of £50million in the previous transfer window, but they are said to be discussing if they should "break their wage structure" to meet the demands.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE READY ANOTHER OFFENSIVE FOR LEICESTER'S MADDISON

According to Sky Sports, Maddison's contract demands have been a stumbling point for Newcastle in their pursuit, but the club are now willing to go above and beyond to secure their key target.

The report claims Leicester value Maddison at £60m, meaning the two sides are not far apart, and with just over 18 months remaining on his contract, his value will continue to fall the closer he gets to its conclusion.

Newcastle may face some competition, as GiveMeSport also believes Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is pushing to bring Maddison to north London.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport is reporting Aston Villa are interested in a January move for Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie, and hope they can land him for a fee around €14m after he arrived in Spain as a free agent in July.

- According to 90min, Chelsea have offered goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to Tottenham amid news they are looking to replace club captain Hugo Lloris.

- Juventus and Newcastle United are discussing a potential swap deal that would send Moise Kean back to the Premier League and Allan Saint-Maximin to Turin, per Juve Dipendenza.

- Calciomercato is reporting Inter have rekindled their interest in Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram after their attempt to sign him 18 months ago was torpedoed by a knee injury at the 11th hour. 

- Arsenal have been joined by Monaco and Ajax in the chase of 21-year-old Palmeiras midfielder Danilo, who the club are reportedly willing to part ways with for €24m, per ESPN.

Newcastle United are reportedly preparing an improved offer to pry midfielder James Maddison away from Leicester City in January.

Maddison, 25, is away at the World Cup with England after a blistering start to the Premier League season saw him force his way back into the national set-up after three years in the wilderness.

After scoring a career-high 18 goals last season, Maddison has continued to show it was no fluke, bagging seven goals and four assists in 13 league fixtures this campaign.

Newcastle have been fond of the Foxes star for some time, having had two bids rejected in the range of £50million in the previous transfer window, but they are said to be discussing if they should "break their wage structure" to meet the demands.

 

TOP STORY – NEWCASTLE READY ANOTHER OFFENSIVE FOR LEICESTER'S MADDISON

According to Sky Sports, Maddison's contract demands have been a stumbling point for Newcastle in their pursuit, but the club are now willing to go above and beyond to secure their key target.

The report claims Leicester value Maddison at £60m, meaning the two sides are not far apart, and with just over 18 months remaining on his contract, his value will continue to fall the closer he gets to its conclusion.

Newcastle may face some competition, as GiveMeSport also believes Tottenham boss Antonio Conte is pushing to bring Maddison to north London.

 

ROUND-UP

- Sport is reporting Aston Villa are interested in a January move for Barcelona midfielder Franck Kessie, and hope they can land him for a fee around €14m after he arrived in Spain as a free agent in July.

- According to 90min, Chelsea have offered goalkeeper Edouard Mendy to Tottenham amid news they are looking to replace club captain Hugo Lloris.

- Juventus and Newcastle United are discussing a potential swap deal that would send Moise Kean back to the Premier League and Allan Saint-Maximin to Turin, per Juve Dipendenza.

- Calciomercato is reporting Inter have rekindled their interest in Borussia Monchengladbach's Marcus Thuram after their attempt to sign him 18 months ago was torpedoed by a knee injury at the 11th hour. 

- Arsenal have been joined by Monaco and Ajax in the chase of 21-year-old Palmeiras midfielder Danilo, who the club are reportedly willing to part ways with for €24m, per ESPN.

Presnel Kimpembe has been replaced in France's World Cup squad by the uncapped Axel Disasi, despite returning from injury for Paris Saint-Germain at the weekend.

After sitting out the wins over Juventus and Lorient, PSG defender Kimpembe played the final 15 minutes of Sunday's 5-0 Ligue 1 triumph over Auxerre.

Kimpembe, who has represented France 28 times, said after the match he "is feeling fine" and was looking forward to linking up with his country for Qatar 2022.

However, the French Football Federation announced on Monday the defender "does not consider himself sufficiently recovered" to be able to represent the reigning world champions.

Didier Deschamps has added centre-back Disasi, who has made 23 appearances for Monaco this season, to his 26-man squad as Kimpembe's replacement.

Borussia Monchengladbach forward Marcus Thuram has also been called up after scoring 13 times and assisting four more in 17 appearances this season.

The France squad are due to meet at their Clairefontaine training base on Monday ahead of their Group D opener against Australia on November 22.

Les Blues, who are attempting to become the third team to win back-to-back World Cups, then take on Denmark and Tunisia.

Jamaica’s Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce is among the five finalists for World Athletics Female Athlete of the Year Award.

The five-time world 100m champion made the cut after the three-way voting process determined the finalists.

The World Athletics Council and the World Athletics Family cast their votes by email, while fans logged their decisions online via the World Athletics social media platforms where a record 1.3 million votes were registered.

The World Athletics Council’s vote counted for 50 per cent of the result, while the World Athletics Family’s votes and the public votes each counted for 25 per cent of the final result.

Shericka Jackson, the 2022 World 200m champion, failed to make the cut.

Fraser-Pryce being among the finalists was not surprising given the outstanding year she had last season when she became the first running athlete to win five world titles in the same event and ran a record seven times under 10.7s including a world-leading 10.62s.

She was also the Diamond League champion for the fifth time in her illustrious career.

Also among the finalists is the newly minted 100m hurdles world-record holder Tobi Amusan of Nigeria, who added the Diamond League and Commonwealth Games title to her resume during the past season. She set a new world record of 12.12 during the semi-finals of the World Athletics Championships in Eugene, Oregon in July before running a wind-aided 12.06 to win her first global title.

Another world-record holder, Sydney McLaughlin of the United States, is also among the finalists. The super-talented American broke the 400m hurdles world record twice during the season – 51.41 at the US Championships before lowering it to a jaw-dropping 50.68 in the final of the World Championships.

McLaughlin won a second gold medal in Oregon as a member of the USA’s 4x400m relay team.

Also among the finalists is Venezuela’s Yulimar Rojas, the 2022 World Indoor and Outdoor triple jump champion. The 2022 Diamond League champion also improved upon her own world record in the event with a 15.74m performance in Belgrade.

Peru’s Kimberly Garcia completes the five finalists. Garcia, the World 20km race walk champion is her country’s first ever World Athletics Championships medallist. Garcia is also the World 35km race walk champion in a South American record that saw her complete a race walk double.

She is also World Athletics Race Walking Team Championships 20km bronze medallist.

The winner of World Athletics Women Athlete of the Year will be announced in early December.

 

 

 

Barcelona will face Manchester United in their return to the Europa League after the Blaugrana were drawn against the Premier League club in the knockout round play-offs.

Xavi's side dropped into Europe's second-tier competition for the second season running after failing to progress from the Champions League group stages, finishing behind Bayern Munich and Inter.

It sets up the outstanding tie with Erik ten Hag's United, who are looking to end a trophy drought stretching back to when they last won the Europa League under Jose Mourinho in 2017.

United came second to Real Sociedad in the Europa League group stage, ultimately missing out to La Real by one goal.

They have paid the price for their failure in that regard, with Barca arguably the toughest draw they could possibly get and La Real already through to the competition's last 16.

Joining Barca in dropping down from the Champions League are Juventus, though they will likely be much more content with their draw after being paired with Ligue 1 side Nantes.

Europa League knockout round play-offs:

Barcelona v Manchester United
Juventus v Nantes
Sporting CP v Midtjylland
Shakhtar Donetsk v Rennes
Ajax v Union Berlin
Bayer Leverkusen v Monaco
Sevilla v PSV
Salzburg v Roma

Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes has only played 27 games for the club since arriving from Lyon, and he has been so impressive that he is now a target of Barcelona.

Guimaraes, 24, spent three seasons with Lyon before Newcastle secured his services in a £40million move in January.

He scored five goals in just 11 starts this past Premier League campaign, and has added two goals and two assists this season, with Newcastle unbeaten in the 10 games he has started.

The Brazil international with eight senior caps to his name is a key part of why Newcastle currently occupy fourth place in the Premier League table, but they will now reportedly have to fend off interest from Barca.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA INVESTIGATE A MOVE FOR GUIMARAES

According to The Sun, Barcelona have officially moved on from their chase of Manchester City's Bernardo Silva and are instead focusing their attention on Newcastle's Guimaraes.

The report claims Barcelona were "priced out" of a move for Silva after City slapped a price tag of £80m on him and Guimaraes would certainly not come cheap.

With his contract tying him to Newcastle until 2026, it would need a huge offer to land the 24-year-old. 

While their spending spree will eventually need to be balanced out with some sales, the Magpies are said to be offering Guimaraes a new contract that will pay him £200,000 per week to put any questions about his future to bed.

 

ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato is reporting both Roma and Juventus are expected to pursue 23-year-old Sassuolo midfielder Davide Frattesi, who is valued in the region of €30m.

– According to The Mirror, Sporting will attempt to bring in Cristiano Ronaldo in January, and are preparing a second contract offer despite previously stating they can not afford the Portugal legend.

– Relevo claims N'Golo Kante is seen by Barcelona as a potential successor to Sergio Busquets, with the Chelsea midfielder's contract set to expire at the end of the season.

– It could be a busy January for Barcelona as Sport are reporting they hope to sell Memphis Depay, while Fichajes believe Franck Kessie will push for a move back to the Serie A.

– According to IG Esporte, Brighton and Everton are interested in 25-year-old Monaco left-back Caio Henrique.

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