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    NEYMAR has backed his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Lionel Messi to return to red hot form this season. Messi, 35, has scored four goals and assisted six in only seven games so far this season. 3Neymar says he has known Messi for a long time and helped him through tough times in ParisCredit: Getty 3The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has returned to form this season as PSG sit top of the tableCredit: Reuters And old pal Neymar reckons the Argentinian forward has settled in the French captial. He said: "I’ve known Leo for a long time. I was able to help him more on the pitch in training through speaking to him. "It’s hard to make a change like that because he’d been in Barcelona for many years and now everything has changed for him and his family. "It’s tough, but I think he’s doing better now and feels more at home. READ MORE ON FOOTBALLFootball news Wolves waiting on Diego Costa deal EXCLUSIVE, Champions League build up "I want him to enjoy it and for both of us to enjoy...
    PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN are plotting a sensational move for Manchester United ace Marcus Rashford. The England international has been struggling for form at Old Trafford and a change of scenery could do him some good. 4 4Marcus Rashford is linked with a Manchester United exitCredit: Reuters Rashford's camp are claimed to be entering talks with "an open mind", although PSG are yet to make a formal bid. The 24-year-old has just one year remaining on his United contract, although the Red Devils possess the option to extend it by a further 12 months. Should PSG land their man, he would have the opportunity to rebuild his form alongside some of the world's most potent attacking talent. Fitting everyone in, however, would not be an easy task. Read More Football StoriesTRANSFER NEWS PSG eye Rashford, Man Utd and Chelsea in Frenkie de Jong battle Former boss Mauricio Pochettino struggled to squeeze Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar into an XI that could press coherently enough in the Champions League. So adding the extra element of Rashford may introduce a further dilemma. In...
    PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN have reportedly entered the transfer chase to sign Robert Lewandowski. The Polish striker, 33, has announced that he wants to leave Bayern Munich this summer after eight successful years there. 2PSG have joined the chase for Robert LewandowskiCredit: Getty 2L'Equipe claim that the French side want to add the Pole to their attack He has fired 344 goals in 375 appearances for the club and helped them to lift the Bundesliga title on eight occasions as well as three DFB-Pokals and the Champions League. But he announced his intention to depart last month following their latest title success, saying: “My era at Bayern is over. “I don't see any possibility to continue playing for this club anymore.” Lewandowski has been heavily linked with a move to Barcelona ever since. READ MORE IN FOOTBALLTransfer news live Zidane 'AGREES' PSG deal, Poch set to be SACKED, Liverpool chase Nunez However, L'Equipe now claims that PSG have identified him as a top target. And they are allegedly determined to win the race to secure his signature. PSG are still celebrating the...
    LIONEL MESSI is angry with the criticism he has been receiving in his debut season at Paris Saint-Germain, reports suggest. According to Le Parisien, Messi has confided with senior PSG team-mates in the dressing room regarding what he considers to be unfair scrutiny from the French press. 1Paris Saint-Germain superstar Lionel Messi is angry with the criticism he has receivedCredit: Alamy The seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has been experiencing a turbulent campaign ever since he ended his glittering 17-year stint at Barcelona and moved to Paris last summer. The star forward amassed a staggering total of 672 goals and 303 assists in 778 matches for Barca. But the Argentina international has only managed a mere two goals in 16 Ligue 1 matches for PSG so far. The 34-year-old also came up short in the Champions League Last-16 first leg against Real Madrid at the Parc des Princes as he missed a penalty and was outshined by team-mate Kylian Mbappe. That led to L'Equipe rating him with a poor 3/10, while ex-PSG ace Jerome Rothen claimed he "offers nothing". That led...
    LAURENT KOSCIELNY has been banished from Bordeaux's first-team indefinitely. The former Arsenal skipper has also been stripped of the captain's armband after poor performances. 1Laurent Koscielny has underperformed for BordeauxCredit: AFP or licensors Bordeaux have struggled in Ligue 1 this season, currently sitting 17th in the table. And Koscielny, 36, is one of three players believed to be at the heart of their woes. According to RMC Sport, Koscielny and team-mates Paul Baysse and Mehdi Zerkane have been removed from the first-team group. Bordeaux are desperate to get Koscielny off their payroll. MORE FOLLOWS... Most read in SoccerBRANCHING OUT What to know about Megan Rapinoe and Sue BirdWIN OR BUST Lionel Messi 'could quit PSG after one year if they don't win Champions League'TROPHY PUNTER Biggest FA Cup shocks revealed... with Oldham at 200-1 to beat Fulham in 2019GILT EDGE PSG wear gold-tinted kit to celebrate Lionel Messi's SEVENTH Ballon d'Or
    RIO FERDINAND believes that Cristiano Ronaldo's form for Manchester United can return him to Ballon d'Or contention next year. The Portuguese isn't currently among the favourites for this year's award. 2Cristiano Ronaldo bailed Man Utd out against Atalanta on Tuesday nightCredit: Getty 2Ferdinand is a big fan of former team-mate CR7Credit: AFP Lionel Messi, Robert Lewandowski and Mo Salah are fancied ahead of the 36-year-old to claim the prestigious gong for 2021. But Ferdinand, 42, doesn't believe that Ronaldo's days of winning Ballons d'Or are over. On this year's contenders, he told BT Sport: "There ain't a stand out, it's hard to say. "This would never have been a table before, it would have just been two names on there; Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. "Cristiano's not on there because his teams didn't win the league and he didn't get as many goals maybe but Cristiano Ronaldo doing what he's doing now, next season could be on this list. "I think this year Lewandowski, yeah. 56 goal involvements in 38 games is ridiculous. Most read in Premier LeagueUNITED LATEST Raiola blames...
    A look at what’s happening in European soccer on Friday: FRANCE Paris Saint-Germain hosts Angers without its contingent of Argentine and Brazilian players, who are busy abroad playing World Cup qualifiers. The French league leaders will also be missing goalkeeper Keylor Navas. PSG suffered its first defeat of the season before the international break, a 2-0 loss to Rennes. In the absence of Lionel Messi and Neymar, coach Mauricio Pochettino is counting on Kylian Mbappe, who scored the winner for France in the 2-1 win over Spain in the Nations League final last weekend. GERMANY Cologne is flying high in sixth place in the Bundesliga and is unbeaten in five games before a visit to struggling Hoffenheim, but has conceded at least one goal in every game this season. Occupying a European place is a pleasant surprise for a Cologne team which is more used to fighting against relegation. Midfielder and joint top scorer Ellyes Shkiri is out after injuring his knee with the Tunisian national team. Hoffenheim has had a mixed season so far in 11th and has...
    PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN manager Mauricio Pochettino wants his best players to 'form a great team' and win silverware this season. The French giants have recently signed Barcelona captain Lionel Messi but their talented striker Kylian Mbappe has been linked with Real Madrid. 3PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino wants to win silverware this seasonCredit: AFP 3The manager is likely to deploy Neymar, Messi and Mbappe up front togetherCredit: Alamy DREAM TEAM 2021/22 - IT'S NOT TOO LATE!PLAY DREAM TEAM FOR THE 2021/22 SEASON £100,000 prize pot up for grabs £50million budget to build your best XI Play in Mini Leagues against your mates, colleagues, etc Click here to play for FREE Dream Team app available through Apple Store and Google Play Store Mbappe, 22, has just one year left on his existing deal and it's believed Spanish giants Real are considering a £102million offer for the player. Pochettino will be hoping the World Cup winner stays at PSG, allowing the manager to deploy Mbappe alongside Messi and fellow superstar Neymar. As quoted by Firstpost, Pochettino said: "Our challenge is for the...
    TO THE surprise of pretty much nobody, Joan Laporta is the new club president of Barcelona. Laporta, 58, won more than half the votes, trouncing his two rivals for the gig.  4Joan Laporta is back in charge of LaLiga giants BarcelonaCredit: AP:Associated Press One of those secret votes for Laporta, I would bet a brand new pair of size 10 football boots, was from Lionel Messi. He happily posed for the camera's yesterday as he dropped his vote in the box at the Camp Nou with his eight year-old boy, Thiago. And that's the most pressing task in Laporta's in-tray - to make sure the club keep hold of their talisman and legend.   Barca's skipper will be 34 in June, an age many a football war horse has been put out to pasture or left to graze gently in lower leagues. But Messi is teetotal, eats efficiently, trains well and is as fit as a prize fighter.  Plus, most important of all, he still has the belly for it. He still wants to win and is crushed whenever he loses. ...
    Getty Barcelona coach Ronald Koeman discussed Lionel Messi’s fine form and his team’s chances of beating Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League after Saturday’s emphatic 5-1 win over Alaves in La Liga. The Catalan giants enjoyed a comfortable win at the Camp Nou but now turn their attention to Tuesday’s last-16 first leg against the French champions. Koeman says his team are confident but will need to be at their best if they are to get a good result against Mauricio Pochettino’s men, as reported by Marca. The team is doing well.  We’re confident we’ll be able to win the tie knowing that we played against a strong defensive unit.  They have injuries, but so do we. The tie is evenly matched. We have to play well to go through. We’re in a good run of form, with a good streak of wins. We’re confident. Saturday’s comfortable win made it seven straight victories in La Liga for the Catalan giants. Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!Koeman Praises In-Form MessiMessi...
    Getty Ivan Rakitic has heaped praise on former Barcelona team-mates Antoine Griezmann and Ousmane Dembele as he prepares to face the Catalan giants in Wednesday’s Copa del Rey semi-final first-leg clash. Ronald Koeman’s side will face Sevilla over two legs for a place in this year’s final against either Athletic Club or Levante in April. Rakitic spoke to AS ahead of the match and offered his thoughts on Barca’s in-form Frenchmen. I’m so glad they’re standing out. Antoine is one of my favorites, because he is a very open and very close guy, who treats you in an incredible way, and he is also a hard worker and scorer. Dembelé is one of the highest quality players I have ever played with. He has been unlucky. I’ve gotten along very well with Ousmane and he deserves things to go well for him, he has the whole race ahead of him. It will be difficult to compete against them. Griezmann has been in superb form for Barca since the turn of the year. The World Cup winner has seven...
    ANTOINE GRIEZMANN has been left 'hurt' after Barcelona presidential candidate Victor Font claimed the striker should have never have been signed. Griezmann moved to Barca last year in a £108million transfer from Atletico Madrid but has yet to live up to his hefty price tag. 2Antoine Griezmann has failed to reproduce his form with France at Barcelona Font told Cadena Cope: "Griezmann was a signing that shouldn’t have been made." Griezmann is reportedly unhappy with the presidential candidate's comments which have undermined his role at the club. The forward's form for France has been in stark contrast to his club performances but he has been played centrally in the national team. Griezmann has had to play second fiddle to Lionel Messi at Barca and playing out wide has failed to maximise his talent. The 29-year-old has also fallen out with coach Ronald Koeman with their relationship souring after a disappointing start to the season. Griezmann is under pressure to live up to his huge transfer fee and needs to deliver with Barcelona languishing in eighth place in...
    Getty Ronald Koeman has detailed the conversation he had with Lionel Messi in the summer after the captain informed Barcelona via burofax that he wanted to leave the Camp Nou. The Barcelona boss, who was only appointed manager in August after replacing Quique Setien, met the 33-year-old at his home and had a chat about his plans for the future, according to Sport. When I arrived, they told me that Messi was unhappy. We spoke at his house. He explained his reasons to me and I was honest,  I told him that the only thing I can change is football; the game system, his position on the field, his importance in the team. But the things that he had had with the club I could not change. Messi has shown me to be a person who wants to win things, be the best, and continue to be the best, even though he had his problems with the club. Messi ended up staying but made his frustration at the club evident in an interview with Goal’s Ruben Uria. He...
    Getty Lionel Messi is rarely out of the spotlight out of Barcelona, but there’s a renewed focus on the 33-year-old after the first six games of the season. The Barca captain has not managed a single goal from open play in 2020-21 and the only two goals the Argentina international has scored have come from the penalty spot against Villarreal and Ferencvaros. His lack of goals has not gone unnoticed either. Marca highlights how the skipper “is beginning to become a cause for concern” for Barcelona and think he “struggles in a new position as part of a new system.” The report also notes how Messi has been outscored so far this season by 17-year-old team-mate Ansu Fati, long-time rival Cristiano Ronaldo, former Barcelona team-mate Suarez and international colleague Lautaro Martinez. Follow the Heavy on Barcelona Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors and content!Messi Hasn’t ‘Found His Place’ in Koeman’s SystemMessi is also struggling to find his place in Koeman’s 4-2-3-1 system, according to Goal’s Rik Sharma. The report adds that if Messi “can no longer...
    ANGEL DI MARIA has blasted Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni for dropping him from the latest national squad. Lionel Messi and Co will play Ecuador and Bolivia in World Cup qualifiers next month. 1Angel Di Maria is furious he's been dropped by Argentina while other veterans like Lionel Messi are still includedCredit: AFP or licensors But Di Maria, 32, will not be involved despite starring in Paris Saint-Germain’s run to the Champions League final in August. The former Manchester United and Real Madrid winger admits he’s gobsmacked by his exclusion. And if he’s being profiled purely on age, Di Maria claims the likes of Messi, 33, and Manchester City star Sergio Aguero, 32, should also be getting the boot. Di Maria told Clos Continental: “I can’t find an explanation, I have no words. For me, Argentina is the best. “At my club it’s to try to have a chance with the national team and compete. It’s difficult to understand that being in good form, I’m not called up. “If I’m not called, it’s because they don’t want me, but I will...
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