UEFA has confirmed the Champions League last-16 draw will have to be re-done after a technical error with the initial procedure.

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were set to face each other in the knockout stage, but that headline fixture and the other ties will have to be redrawn after what UEFA labelled as a "technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other."

United were initially drawn to face Villarreal, but the sides were unable to play each other as they had previously featured in the same group.

After complaints from affected clubs, including Atletico Madrid, UEFA later announced the draw would take place again at 1500 CET (1400 GMT).

UEFA's deputy general secretary, Giorgio Marchetti, spotted the mistake involving United's ball and ordered the tie to be drawn again. Manchester City were instead picked to go against Villarreal.

Yet United, due to the technical error, were subsequently blocked from being selected as one of the teams eligible to play the next team, which was LaLiga champions Atleti.

Bayern Munich were ultimately picked to face Atleti, while United were drawn in the glamour tie of the round against PSG – a game that would have seen Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi meet in the knockout stages of the Champions League for the first time since the 2010-11 semi-finals.

The re-draw could well benefit United, given the challenge of facing PSG. However, holders Chelsea and Liverpool were handed favourable draws against Lille and Salzburg respectively.

Inter had been due to face Ajax, while Sporting CP were up against Juventus. Real Madrid had been drawn against Benfica.

UEFA has confirmed the Champions League last-16 draw will have to be re-done after a technical error with the initial procedure.

Manchester United and Paris Saint-Germain were set to face each other in the knockout stage, but that headline fixture and the other ties will have to be redrawn after what UEFA labelled as a "technical problem with the software of an external service provider that instructs the officials as to which teams are eligible to play each other."

United were initially drawn to face Villarreal, but the sides were unable to play each other as they had previously featured in the same group.

After complaints from affected clubs, including Atletico Madrid, UEFA later announced the draw would take place again at 1500 CET (1400 GMT).

Lionel Messi will once again face off with old foe Cristiano Ronaldo after Paris Saint-Germain were drawn against Manchester United in the headline fixture of the Champions League round of 16.

Former Barcelona star Messi meets Ronaldo in the knockout stages, with United visiting the Parc des Princes in February before the return leg at Old Trafford will take place in March. The legendary duo also met in last season's group stage when Los Cules went up against Juventus.

PSG finished second behind Group A winners Manchester City, while United were top of Group F.

If Messi against Ronaldo was not enough to look forward to, the tie also sees Mauricio Pochettino face the side that he has long been touted as a possible manager of.

Ex-Spurs boss Pochettino remains among the favourites to replace interim boss Ralf Rangnick, who is in charge until at least the end of the season.

United have met PSG in two of the previous three seasons. Ole Gunnar Solskjaer masterminded a 3-1 win at the same stage in March 2019, a victory that saw United through 4-3 on aggregate and secured him the job on a permanent basis.

The sides played each other again in the group stage of the 2019-20 campaign, with Thomas Tuchel's PSG winning at Old Trafford after losing the home game 2-1.

There was, however, a nervy moment for UEFA's officials when United were initially drawn against Villarreal, but due to teams who played each other in the group stage not being able to face each other in the last 16, the tie had to be re-drawn.

It remains to be seen whether any clubs lodge a complaint, with initial reports suggesting the draw will stand.

United's rivals and last season's runners-up City were instead drawn against Villarreal, who were victors of the 2020-21 Europa League.

Elsewhere in Monday's draw, holders Chelsea were paired with Ligue 1 champions Lille and Liverpool landed a favourable draw against Salzburg.

Atletico Madrid, who scraped through in second place behind Liverpool in Group B, face a daunting tie with Bayern Munich.

Benfica went through in Group E at the expense of Barcelona, and the Portuguese giants were drawn against the Blaugrana's Clasico rivals and 13-time European champions Madrid.

Ajax topped a Champions League group for the first time since 1995-96, and were drawn against Inter, with Juventus meeting Sporting CP, who are making their first appearance in the knockout stage since 2008-09.

Champions League last 16 draw in full:

Benfica v Real Madrid
Villarreal v Manchester City
Atletico Madrid v Bayern Munich
Salzburg v Liverpool
Inter v Ajax
Sporting CP v Juventus
Chelsea v Lille
PSG v Manchester United

Kylian Mbappe joined a ton-up club with a first-half double against his former team as Paris Saint-Germain extended their lead at the top of Ligue 1 with a 2-0 victory over Monaco.

PSG were held to consecutive draws by Nice and Lens in their previous two league games, and they almost fell behind at the Parc des Princes on Sunday when Sofiane Diop struck the woodwork in the opening stages.

However, the hosts were soon in control when Mbappe rolled in a penalty before adding a second in the first half – the 22-year-old forward reaching 100 goals for PSG in the French top flight.

Rennes slipped up with a 2-1 loss to Nice earlier, meaning Mauricio Pochettino's PSG side moved 13 points clear of second spot, which is now occupied by Marseille after their 2-0 win at Strasbourg.

Diop was denied by the left post after just two minutes, before a VAR review resulted in a 12th-minute penalty at the other end for an apparent trip by Djibril Sidibe on Angel Di Maria.

Mbappe duly converted into the bottom-left corner from the spot, before a wayward Youssouf Fofana pass allowed PSG's France striker to double his account in the 45th minute.

Lionel Messi intercepted before driving forward and unleashing Mbappe, who curled with pinpoint accuracy into the bottom-right corner to reach his century of goals with PSG.

Messi whipped narrowly over the bar with a free-kick after the interval and then dragged just wide minutes later, while Monaco rarely looked like troubling Gianluigi Donnarumma in an otherwise uneventful second half as PSG cantered to victory.

Kylian Mbappe became the youngest player in Ligue 1 history to score 100 goals for a single team with his second of the game for Paris Saint-Germain against Monaco on Sunday.

The France international opened the scoring from the penalty spot after 12 minutes against his former club at the Parc des Princes following Djibril Sidibe's foul on Angel Di Maria.

Youssouf Fofana's wayward pass then allowed Lionel Messi the chance to attack on the stroke of half-time, the Argentina international offloading to Mbappe, who curled into the bottom-right corner to reach the 100-goal milestone.

Aged just 22 years and 357 days, Mbappe is the youngest player to achieve the feat for one club in French top-flight history since Opta began recording data back in 1950-51.

Mbappe has nine goals and 14 assists to his name in Ligue 1 this season for Mauricio Pochettino's side, who hold a substantial lead at the top of the table.

Messi's assist for Mbappe's landmark goal also means the former Barcelona star has been involved in goals in consecutive games for the first time in his PSG career, having netted a brace against Club Brugge in the Champions League in midweek.

Pedri would not have rejected Real Madrid had they offered him a contract as a youngster but is glad to have chosen Barcelona and have the chance to learn from Lionel Messi.

The 19-year-old landed the Kopa Trophy last month, awarded to the best player under the age of 21, following an incredible rise to prominence over the past year.

Pedri made his senior bow for Barcelona in September 2020 and has gone on to make 56 first-team appearances, 52 of those coming last season – the most of any Barca player.

He has also featured 10 times for Spain this year and played a big part in La Roja's run to the Euro 2020 semi-finals, becoming the youngest player to represent his country at a major tournament and finishing the competition with more passes completed in the final third (177) than any other player. Pedri went on to help Spain claim a silver medal at the Tokyo Olympics.

However, while Pedri is now considered a guaranteed starter for Barcelona when fit, the teenager could easily have ended up a Madrid player had he impressed in a trial.

"When I was 15 years old they called me for a test, but that day there was huge snowfall and it had to be postponed," Pedri, who has not played since September due to a thigh injury, told Tuttosport.

"The next day, I took part in some light training with the academy side. Maybe they already had their idea about me, so I went back to Tenerife. However, I would not have rejected Madrid. Opportunities must be seized, however they come. 

"Let's just say something happened, a combination of negative circumstances, and they were the ones that didn't want to sign me."

Pedri spent time in Las Palmas' academy before arriving at Barcelona in July 2020 on an initial two-year deal that has since been extended to 2026.

Though the club is going through a difficult period, Pedri is grateful to have had the chance to play alongside Messi for a season prior to the superstar forward joining Paris Saint-Germain in August.

"Playing with him was a dream. I was three years old when he won the Golden Boy. He will always be a legend for Barca fans, and for me it is an honour to have received his advice," Pedri added.

"What young player would not like advice from someone like him? He congratulated me and told me never to give up. If someone like him tells you that, what can you do at 17? All you can do is obey."

Pedri, who backed Jude Bellingham and team-mates Gavi and Ansu Fati to battle it out for next year's Kopa Trophy, sees no reason to depart Camp Nou regardless of who comes calling.

"With my buyout clause, neither the sheikhs of Paris or Manchester will be able to sign me," he said. "I'm happy here. I was born in a Barca environment and I have crowned my dream. Let me play here until 2026, as my contract says, and then we will talk."

Kylian Mbappe said Paris Saint-Germain are "going to need Lionel Messi" as the Frenchman revealed why he gave up a chance to compete a hat-trick from the penalty spot in the 4-1 victory over Club Brugge.

Mbappe struck twice inside the opening seven minutes before setting up Messi's first goal in a scintillating first-half performance.

Despite being on a hat-trick, the 22-year-old was not the man to step up to the spot when a penalty was awarded to PSG in the second half, with Messi grabbing his second goal of the game instead.

Mbappe explained that it was more important for Messi, whose start to life in France has been mixed, to build form and confidence than it was for him to take home the match ball.

"We are going to need Lionel Messi," Mbappe said after the game. "He remains Lionel Messi. We are going to need him during the season, and I am sure he will help us when the important [games] arrive.

"He has to arrive with confidence for these matches. It is good for him that he finishes with two goals, but it is also good for us for the future."

Mbappe insisted he was more concerned with the wider welfare of the team than his own individual goals and praised his colleagues for their part in his strong showings this term. He has 11 goals and 12 assists in 22 appearances across all competitions so far.

"I'm trying to help the team," Mbappe told RMC Sport. "It's not my goal to show who the boss is. I try to help the team, and my team-mates give it back to me so that I perform well too."

PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino gave the penalty decision his blessing, waxing lyrical about the blossoming relationships among his set of superstar players.

Pochettino said: "I'm happy that Leo and Kylian scored two goals, they are attacking players who need to know the way to the net.

"They can all take the penalty, with their quality. It is up to them to identify, at the moment, who needs it most, who is the most confident. This is something they decide for themselves on the pitch.

"You can say Leo, Kylian, Ney [Neymar], Angel [Di Maria], Marquinhos, Verratti. They can all take a penalty, but in the moment it's a matter of trust and taking responsibility.

"I believe that creating these relationships, the way they get closer, appreciate each other, respect each other, gives even more strength to their talent. But all these things take time. The seed is planted, the buds come out and in time there will be a plant, a tree and beautiful flowers."

Kylian Mbappe produced a magnificent individual display as he and Lionel Messi both scored twice to steer Paris Saint-Germain to a crushing 4-1 win over Club Brugge at the Parc des Princes.

The 22-year-old Mbappe netted the opener with less than two minutes played before adding to his tally with a thumping volley just five minutes later as PSG came out of the blocks flying.

Mbappe added an assist later in the first half, nutmegging his marker on the left flank before switching the play to Messi in the centre and the Ballon d'Or winner lashed home from the edge of the box.

The visitors scored a consolation through Mats Rits in the 68th minute, but PSG regained their three-goal advantage just eight minutes after conceding as Messi rifled home a penalty.

PSG wasted no time in opening the scoring, with Mbappe curling in off the right post after Simon Mignolet failed to deal with Nuno Mendes' left-wing cross, parrying it back into a dangerous area.

Mbappe struck again in just the seventh minute with an emphatic volley after a delightful dink over the Club Brugge defence by Angel Di Maria.

The French striker turned provider in the 38th minute, bursting away down the wing before finding Messi, who curled a fantastic strike inside the left post from just outside the area to make it a 3-0 lead.

Club Brugge pulled one back midway through the second half as Noa Lang darted into space from the left and squared to Rits, who curled a low effort into the bottom-left corner despite a touch from Gianluigi Donnarumma.

However, Messi drew a foul from substitute Ignace Van der Brempt in the area and stepped up to drill a superb penalty into the bottom-right corner that left Mignolet rooted to the spot and rounded off the scoring.

Robert Lewandowski has clarified his comments and expressed delight at Lionel Messi's praise after beating the Poland striker to the 2021 Ballon d'Or.

Messi claimed a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or last week, with Lewandowski having to settle for second and the inaugural Striker of the Year award.

The Bayern Munich forward may feel somewhat hard done by, given he scored 53 times in 42 games for the Bundesliga champions between the start of 2021 and the winner being announced by France Football.

That was the most of any player in Europe's top-five leagues across all competitions, with 2021 Copa America winner Messi down in joint-fifth with 32 goals.

Gerd Muller's long-standing record for the most goals (40) scored in a single Bundesliga season was also broken by Lewandowski, who netted 41 in 29 league games last term to make him favourite for the award that was cancelled last year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

After accepting the award again, Messi made special mention of Lewandowski as he suggested the forward deserved a Ballon d'Or of his own for his 2020 performances.

Lewandowski appeared ungrateful for the praise, apparently saying to Polish channel Kanal Sportowy that he hoped Messi's words were "a sincere and courteous statement from a great player and not just empty words," though he has since looked to clarify exactly what he meant.

"My statement, which I made in an interview with a Polish TV broadcaster, is currently being misinterpreted," Lewandowski told Kicker. "I never wanted to say that Lionel Messi's words were not serious or sincere.

"On the contrary. I was very touched and delighted by Lionel Messi's speech at the event in Paris, in which he expressed that, in his opinion, I deserved the Ballon d'Or 2020. I just wanted to express that I would of course be very happy if Messi's words were heard.

"I respect and appreciate Lionel Messi beyond measure and once again congratulate him on winning the Ballon d'Or 2021."

Robert Lewandowski has questioned whether winner Lionel Messi was sincere with his praise towards him after beating the Bayern Munich striker to the 2021 Ballon d'Or award.

Messi claimed the coveted accolade for a record-extending seventh time last week, with Lewandowski finishing second as he settled for the inaugural Striker of the Year award.

Lewandowski was somewhat unfortunate to miss out to Messi, having scored 53 times in 42 games for Bayern between the start of 2021 and the award being handed out.

That was the most of any player in Europe's top five leagues across all competitions, with Messi – who won the Copa America with Argentina – joint-fifth on the list with 32 goals.

Poland international Lewandowski averaged a goal every 67 minutes over the same period. Among those with 10 goals or more, club-mate Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting was the next-most regular scorer, netting every 84 minutes.

Lewandowski would also have been favourite to win the award last year had it not been scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

In his acceptance speech when collecting the award, Messi said Lewandowski deserved a Ballon d'Or of his own for his exploits in 2020.

"Last year, everyone was in agreement to say that [Lewandowski was] the big winner," Messi said. "Hopefully [France Football] give you the Ballon d'Or 2020."

However, Lewandowski appeared unmoved by those comments from Messi and admitted to feeling upset about once again missing out on football's top individual honour.

"I felt sadness," he told Polish channel Kanal Sportowy. "I can't deny it. I can't say I was happy – on the contrary, I have a feeling of sadness. 

"To be so close, to compete with Messi, of course I respect how he plays and what he has achieved. The mere fact that I was able to compete with him shows me the level that I was able to reach.

"I'm not that enthusiastic about getting the 2020 award. I would like [Messi's statement] to be a sincere and courteous statement from a great player and not just empty words."

Milan host Liverpool knowing they need a win to keep their Champions League hopes alive in one of the headline fixtures on Tuesday.

Real Madrid and Inter meet in a battle for top spot in Group D, with both already qualified as the Italian side travel to Spain with a woeful recent record.

Manchester City and Paris Saint-Germain are already through in Group A as well, with Lionel Messi aiming to follow in the footsteps of George Weah and Neymar at home to Club Brugge.

Stats Perform takes a look at the key Opta data behind the next set of matches.

Milan v Liverpool: Reds eye English record

Milan are searching for their first win against an English side in Europe since February 2012, while the Rossoneri have recorded victory in just one of their past nine home games in the Champions League group stage.

In contrast, Liverpool have triumphed in all five of their opening games this season as they look to become the first English side to win all six of their group-stage matches in a single campaign.

The Reds are also aiming to record victories in six consecutive games in the European Cup/Champions League for the first time in their history, with Alisson on the hunt for three consecutive clean sheets in the continental competition for his first time.

Paris Saint-Germain v Club Brugge: Mbappe and Messi await leaky defence

Club Brugge were defeated by five goals in their last clash against RB Leipzig, the third consecutive group game in which they conceded at least four times.

No team has ever gone four straight games letting in at least four, but the Belgians will have to negotiate with Messi, who could become just the third player – after Weah in 1994 and Neymar in 2017 – to score in his first three consecutive home games for PSG in the competition.

The visitors will also have to contend with Kylian Mbappe, the France international managing five goal involvements in three matches against Brugge – his joint-most against a single opponent in the competition, along with Red Star and Istanbul Basaksehir.

RB Leipzig v Manchester City: Guardiola's men out to defend German record

City are unbeaten in their previous 14 games against German opposition, including a six-game undefeated streak on the road, in a run that stretches back to November 2014 in the Champions League.

The reigning Premier League champions have won their past nine such fixtures, scoring 28 goals and conceding just nine in return, while Leipzig are winless in their most recent three meetings with English sides.

If Leipzig fail to defeat Pep Guardiola's side, it will be the first time they have not registered a single home win during the group stages in Europe.

Real Madrid v Inter: Los Blancos looking for goalscoring milestone 

Inter have claimed just one win in their past 11 meetings with Spanish opposition in European competition and their last away win against such sides came all the way back in October 2004.

The Serie A outfit have not beaten Madrid in Europe since March 1967 as Carlo Ancelotti's side look to score their 1,000th goal in the European Cup/Champions League in just their 455th game.

Karim Benzema could be central to Madrid hitting that milestone if he is passed fit, the forward already with five group-stage goals to his name this term as he sits two behind Raul in the club charts in the competition (66).

 

Other fixtures:

Ajax v Sporting CP:

16 - Ajax have scored 16 goals in their five games in the Champions League this season, with only Bayern Munich (19) and Manchester City (17) finding the net more.

15 - The previous three meetings between Ajax and Sporting have seen a total of 15 goals scored, at an average of five goals per game. Indeed, neither side has managed to keep a clean sheet in any of their three clashes to date.

Borussia Dortmund v Besiktas:

60 - Jude Bellingham has had a direct hand in 60 per cent of Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League goals this season (one scored, two assisted), with the last Englishman to enjoy more than three goal involvements during the group stages of a season before the age of 19 being Jack Wilshere in 2010-11 for Arsenal (one scored, three assisted).

5 - Besiktas remain the only Champions League side in 2021-22 to lose all five of their matches and are looking to avoid being the first team since AEK Athens in 2018-19 to lose each of their six group games.

Porto v Atletico Madrid:

5 - Porto will be aiming to qualify for the knockout stages of the Champions League for a fifth time in their past five tournament appearances (2016-17, 2017-18, 2018-19 and 2020-21). The last time they failed to do so was in 2015-16 under Julen Lopetegui.

786 - Luis Suarez's only goal in 11 appearances for Atletico Madrid in the Champions League was a penalty against Milan in September, giving him a minutes-per-goal ratio of 786. At previous club Barcelona, the Uruguay striker scored 25 goals in 55 appearances, with a minutes-per-goal ratio of 192.

Shakhtar Donetsk v Sheriff: 

1 - Shakhtar Donetsk have only won one of their past 11 home games in the Champions League (D5 L5), while they have failed to score in seven of the games in this run, including both in 2021-22 (D1 L1).

25 – Sheriff's 2-0 victory over Shakhtar in this season's tournament came despite the Moldovan side having just 25 per cent possession – since 2003-04, only Atletico (23) versus Barcelona in April 2016 have won a Champions League game by multiple goals with a lower possession percentage.

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe admitted he was "disappointed" not to join LaLiga powerhouse Real Madrid after his failed off-season transfer.

With his contract expiring at the end of the 2021-22 campaign, Mbappe was heavily tipped to swap PSG for Madrid, who have made no secret of their admiration.

However, a transfer did not materialise as Ligue 1 giants PSG – still determined to re-sign the France international – refused to part with Mbappe.

Madrid are expected to sign Mbappe as a free agent at the end of the current campaign but the 22-year-old was asked about his frustration at the failed swich to the Santiago Bernabeu.

"Disappointed with not leaving? A little," Mbappe told Amazon while speaking to France great Thierry Henry.

"It's not easy, but whatever happened, I was going to play for a great club. I'm Parisian, I feel great, but I wanted to discover something else."

Speculation had mounted about Mbappe's future at Euro 2020, when the forward missed the decisive spot-kick in France's last-16 penalty shoot-out defeat to Switzerland.

Mbappe failed to score at the Euros and provided one assist as world champions France fell well short.

"During the Euros they asked me a lot of questions. I talked a lot with my parents, I knew I wanted to go out," Mbappe said. "My parents told me to concentrate on the pitch. Maybe I was putting too much energy into other things."

Mbappe, who joined PSG from French rivals Monaco initially on loan in 2017, has won three Ligue 1 titles with the capital club.

PSG top Ligue 1 this season, boasting an 11-point advantage over Rennes after 17 rounds.

Despite PSG's lead, Mbappe, Neymar and off-season signing Lionel Messi are yet to fully play a cohesive attacking brand of football.

"We are aware that the three of us must do more, we cannot hide, we assume it," Mbappe said.

"If I am the boss? It is difficult when you are in a team with Neymar and Messi, it would be audacious to say it, although it matters little."

Mbappe has been involved in 15 goals this season in Ligue 1 (seven goals, eight assists), with only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (17), Madrid forward Karim Benzema (19) and Liverpool star Mohamed Salah (22) doing better in the top five European league.

In the 1-1 draw against Lens, Mbappe was decisive in coming off the bench for the first time in the top flight since 5 December 2020 (goal against Montpellier).

Robert Lewandowski was spurred on by Borussia Dortmund supporters chanting the name of Lionel Messi ahead of Bayern Munich's clash with Borussia Dortmund.

That was the verdict of Julian Nagelsmann, the head coach who saw his Bayern side prevail 3-2 in a thrilling Klassiker to move four points clear of their closest rivals at the Bundesliga summit.

Lewandowski scored twice for the leaders, the second of those goals a late penalty, in the same week he missed out to Lionel Messi for the Ballon d'Or.

Dortmund fans, who worshipped Lewandowski during his four seasons at Signal Iduna Park, taunted the striker by singing Messi's name while both sides were warming up.

The Poland international took revenge with his double, however, taking his tally against BVB to 26 goals in all competitions – his most against a single side.

Speaking after the game, Nagelsmann said: "All of this rather spurred him on. He scored the significant goals and paid the fans back after all the Messi calls in the stadium."

 

Bayern were 2-1 up at half-time in Saturday's top-of-the-table clash after Lewandowski and Kingsley Coman struck to cancel out Julian Brandt's early opener.

Erling Haaland hit back for Dortmund, who saw a couple of big decisions go against them in what could well be a defining moment in the Bundesliga title race.

Lucas Hernandez avoided conceding a penalty despite appearing to commit a foul on Marco Reus, shortly before Mats Hummels was deemed to have handled at a corner.

Lewandowski converted the resulting penalty, leading to strong comments being made by the Dortmund camp in regard to the performance of referee Felix Zwayer.

Despite the controversial conclusion to the game, Nagelsmann felt his side were good value for their seventh successive win against Dortmund in all competitions.

"I think we deserved to win, but I also understand the discussions over the two penalty situations," said Nagelsmann.

"It was a very tight game that was worthy of its reputation. We could have scored more in the first half.

"Dortmund did it well early in the second half, but we found our rhythm again and had good control."

Bayern ended the game with an expected goals (xG) return of 2.27 compared to Dortmund's 1.44, backing up Nagelsmann's assertion that his side deserved all three points.

Dortmund had more possession (53 per cent) and outshot Bayern seven to six in the second half, however, and Thomas Muller conceded the visiting side rode their luck in the end.

"Dortmund's first goal has probably helped us," Bayern stalwart Muller told Sky Sport. "We got into the gaps relatively easily afterwards, with the goals scored after mistakes.

"We should have taken the lead in the first half. In the second half, I don't know whether we deserved to win from the way we played.

"The first-half display was definitely better – we moved the ball well and won our challenges. Based on the second-half performance, we didn't deserve it. It was more of a fight."

Lionel Messi insists outdoing supposed rival Cristiano Ronaldo has never been a source of extra motivation after the Argentinian won a record-extending seventh Ballon d'Or crown.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Messi finished ahead of serious challenger Robert Lewandowski on Monday to cement his status as the world's best player.

The Argentina international has now won the award two times more than Manchester United striker Ronaldo, who finished outside of the top three for the first time since 2010.

Between them, the pair have won the Ballon d'Or – widely considered to be the most prestigious individual accolade in football – in 12 of the last 13 years it has been awarded.

They also battled it out for team honours during their time in LaLiga with Barcelona and Real Madrid, but Messi says he has only ever been focused on himself rather than others.

"I always wanted to surpass myself and not look at what others were doing," he told France Football. "With Cristiano, we kept our battle going within the same league for years. 

"It has been wonderful and has helped us both to grow in our careers, but without looking at each other. I just wanted to surpass myself, to be the best I could be, and not better than any other."

Messi had previously been criticised for failing to match the international achievements of Diego Maradona, but he finally guided Argentina to a first major trophy in 28 years back in July, as La Celeste won the Copa America.

The 34-year-old admits comparisons with Maradona "have sometimes bothered me in the past", and he also does not feel comfortable with being a role model himself.

"I don't like giving advice," he said. "I fought for my dreams. At first it was to be a professional player, then I tried to surpass myself and achieve new goals every year.

"In the midst of it all, there is also an element of luck. It also depends on God, and I believe he chose to have all of this happen to me."

The former Barcelona man added: "I've been Messi for 34 years, so I'm starting to get used to it. I'm happy with everything that's happened.

"But sometimes, I have to admit, I'd quite like to go unnoticed, to enjoy being with my family without people recognising me.

"I'm not complaining, though, on the contrary. It's always nice to receive a compliment, a smile or someone asking for a photo with me. I'm used to it and for me it has become normal."

Sergio Ramos has been ruled out of Paris Saint-Germain's clash with Lens as the defender's injury-plagued start to life in the French capital goes on. 

The 35-year-old has endured a frustrating time of things since arriving at the Parc des Princes from Real Madrid, whom he had represented for the previous 16 seasons.

Ramos made his long-awaited debut in last weekend's 3-1 win over Saint-Etienne, but he was not included in the squad for the midweek stalemate against Nice.

Spain international Ramos will again be absent on Saturday when PSG travel to Lens as Mauricio Pochettino's side attempt to get back to winning ways in Ligue 1.

"Ramos' workload has been adapted for muscle fatigue following his return to play. He will resume training with the squad on Sunday," read an update on PSG's official website.

Madrid legend Ramos has played just six matches at club level this calendar year, totalling 485 minutes on the field, while his last appearance for Spain came in March.

The 15 LaLiga games Ramos started last season was the fewest he managed for the club and a big drop from the 35 games started in the season before.

 

As well as being without Ramos against Lens, Ander Herrera, Julian Draxler and Neymar are also absent for PSG, with the latter ruled out for the remainder of the year.

Pochettino confirmed at Friday's pre-match news conference that he intends to make changes following his side's 0-0 draw with Nice.

That was the third time PSG have failed to score in their last 11 games, with Lionel Messi again firing a blank to leave his tally at one goal in eight Ligue 1 appearances.

Indeed, Messi has the highest differential (2.95) between his goals scored (1) and his expected goals (xG) (3.95) in Ligue 1 this term.

However, Pochettino is confident his compatriot will soon find his scoring touch in front of goal.

"It's a question of efficiency," Pochettino said. "Leo is someone who has always scored goals. It's also a matter of time and he's going to score a lot of goals here."

With the January transfer window now less than a month away, Pochettino is not yet thinking about bringing in any new recruits to bolster his star-studded squad.

"I'm not waiting for signatures at the winter break. I didn't talk about that after the Nice match. This is not the time to talk about this at all," he added.

"When the time comes, we will talk to the club to see if there are any needs in the team, but we are far from that."

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