The pressure mounted on Paris Saint-Germain again after another defeat in Ligue 1 this weekend.

The Parisians are 12 points clear at the top but have lost four of their past six games.

Lionel Messi has only netted twice in Ligue 1 since his move from Barcelona, while fellow free signing Sergio Ramos has also only played five times.

 

TOP STORY – PSG TO BLOCK MESSI OR RAMOS RETURNS

Marca reports that PSG would block any potential return to Barcelona or Real Madrid for either Messi or Ramos respectively.

The Ligue 1 giants signed both players last year from those respective clubs, yet there has been reports claiming they may want to return to Spain.

Ramos has struggled with injury while Messi has not been able to discover his best goalscoring form, but PSG are eager to hold on to them.

Messi joined on a two-year deal last August, while Ramos also penned a two-year deal last July.

 

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- Bayern Munich have made an opening bid for Ajax's Ryan Gravenberch according to Fabrizio Romano. The fee is approximately €25million but Ajax want more.

- Chelsea, Liverpool, PSG and Madrid are all circling for Monaco's Aurelien Tchouameni but the Ligue 1 club will not accept less than €50m for him claims Foot Mercato.

- Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti wants to sign Inter midfielder Nicolo Barella according to El Nacional. Barella's arrival could force Toni Kroos out too.

- Aston Villa are prepared to pay £60m for Leeds United midfielder Kalvin Phillips claims The Times.

Spotify's new $235million deal with Barcelona has given the Spanish side some extra spending money, and all eyes are on Manchester United's Paul Pogba.

The Red Devils were eliminated from the Champions League by Atletico Madrid, and currently occupy fifth spot in the Premier League table in what has been a disappointing season.

Pogba recently made headlines after his home was burgled while he played in the second leg of United's tie against Atletico, coming off the bench in the 1-0 loss at Old Trafford.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA CLOSE IN ON POGBA 

According to The Daily Star, Barcelona's recent windfall has the club looking around at options to add to Xavi's side, with Pogba now considered within their price range and near the top of the list.

Pogba, 29, has nine assists and one goal in his 16 Premier League appearances this season, with his contract set to expire this summer.

Meanwhile, TuttoJuve say Manchester United have identified Dutch 19-year-old Ryan Gravenberch as a potential replacement if they can pry him away from Ajax. 

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- Barcelona coach Xavi has said club legend Lionel Messi will "always be welcome" back at Camp Nou. However, Marca also report that Messi does not plan to leave Paris Saint-Germain during his two-year contract.

- According to Fichajes, Newcastle United are interested in signing superstar forward Neymar, who is under contract at PSG through 2025.

- Juventus are to target a move for Manchester City's Brazilian striker Gabriel Jesus, The Daily Star reports, if the English giants manage to sign Norwegian striker Erling Haaland from Borussia Dortmund.

- La Gazzetta dello Sport suggest that Antonio Rudiger is set to join Juventus when his Chelsea contract expires this summer, signing a four-year deal with the iconic Italian club.

- Chelsea's Cesar Azpilicueta has agreed to a free transfer to Barcelona, with the deal expected to be completed at the end of the season according to Football Insider.

- The agent of Chelsea midfielder Jorginho said he would one day like to return to Serie A, according to The Daily Mirror. The 30-year-old Italian spent three seasons with Hellas Verona, and five seasons with Napoli before heading to the Premier League.

Xavi has explained that Barcelona will always welcome Lionel Messi back while he is coach of the Blaugrana.

Messi left Barca last year in a move that stunned the world of football, with the Spanish giants unable to afford to fulfil the terms of a new contract that had been all but agreed with the 34-year-old.

That meant Messi could leave as a free agent and he joined Paris Saint-Germain, though his switch to the French capital has not quite hit the expected heights just yet. 

PSG look set to cruise to the Ligue 1 title yet fell to a humbling defeat to Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16.

Messi, who will miss PSG's clash with Monaco this weekend due to illness, has scored just seven goals in all competitions.

However, along with Kylian Mbappe, he does top the assists chart in Ligue 1 with 10 so far, while his 48 chances created ranks him as the most creative player in PSG's squad in the French top flight.

There has been speculation that Messi could leave PSG at the end of the season and though it seems unlikely that the Parisians would be willing to lose him and Mbappe, who is out of contract and seems set to join Madrid, Xavi would not turn down the opportunity to be reunited with his former team-mate, whether that be as a sensational transfer or simply as a visitor.

"Messi has earned having the doors open to Barca," Xavi told a news conference ahead of El Clasico on Sunday.

"As long as I'm the coach here, if he wants to come every day to watch training or talk to the coach, what he's given us is priceless, he's the best player in history.

"He deserves a big tribute from the club. But today he has a contract with PSG, I think he signed for two years."

Lionel Messi's stop-start Paris Saint-Germain career has stalled again, with the superstar forward ruled out of Sunday's game at Monaco by illness.

The Argentinian was absent from training on Saturday due to flu, and PSG have confirmed he is out of their plans for the fixture.

PSG came into the weekend with a 15-point lead over nearest rivals Marseille and Nice at the top of Ligue 1, meaning Messi remains on course to land a major trophy in his first season at the Parc des Princes.

However, the former Barcelona captain, who scored a record 672 goals for the Catalan giants, has struggled to make the impact he would have wanted in the French capital.

To date, he has only two Ligue 1 goals from 18 appearances, although he has managed 10 assists and hit the woodwork eight times in the competition. Injuries and illness have hampered Messi's progress, and now PSG will hope his latest absence is a short one.

Without Messi, PSG still have a substantial attacking threat. Kylian Mbappe, who began his career at Monaco, has scored nine goals in eight games against his former employer in Ligue 1, netting more only against Dijon (11).

Indeed, Mbappe has scored PSG's last five goals against Monaco in the competition.

Head coach Mauricio Pochettino is set to take charge of his 50th game as a coach in Ligue 1. He averages 2.29 points per game in the French top flight.

Only his two predecessors at PSG, Unai Emery and Thomas Tuchel, have a better have a better points-per-game record in the history of the league (based on a win being worth three points) – both with 2.37 points per game.

Pedri says it is "crazy" to compare his goal against Galatasaray to one of the many scored by Lionel Messi after the young midfielder helped Barcelona overcome Galatasaray.

The 19-year-old levelled up in Thursday's Europa League last-16 second leg with an impressive goal before Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang struck to earn Barca a 2-1 victory.

Pedri collected the ball in the opposition box, shimmied past both Marcao and Berkan Kutlu and then slotted past Barca loanee Inaki Pena.

It was a goal that had all the hallmarks of a trademark Messi goal in the famous Blaugrana colours, but Pedri could not see the comparisons.

"The truth is I can't really remember the goal, I'll have to see it repeated," he told Movistar+. 

"I know Ferran Torres gave it to me and I thought about shooting, but I faked the shot because I could see a leg, then I faked again until I could find a gap.

"I don't remember much about the play; these things happen on the pitch. But comparing one of my goals to Messi is crazy."

Pedri's goal arrived nine minutes after home skipper Marcao opened the scoring in the two-legged tie after getting in front of Ferran Torres to head in Alexandru Cicaldau's corner.

"Their goal helped us face up to the match better. It was difficult to come here at 0-0 and play on a pitch that is so tight – I haven't played on a pitch like that, it was crazy."

At the age of 19 years and 112 days, Pedri is the first player under 20 to score for Barcelona in the UEFA Cup or Europa League since Ivan De La Pena in April 1996.

Barca boss Xavi recently compared Pedri to club legend Andres Iniesta and reiterated after the Gala win that the sky is the limit for the Spain international.

"He is capable of this and so much more," Xavi said. "He has patience in his play and scored a great goal. He is a privilege to coach. 

"It was a spectacular goal, sublime. In addition, he generates moves with his individual actions.

Thanks to Pedri's strike and Aubameyang's second-half effort at a hostile NEF Stadyumu, Barca are now in the hat for Friday's quarter-final draw.

The LaLiga giants are unbeaten in 11 games since the tail end of January, making this their best-such run since January 2020 when Ernesto Valverde was in charge.

Xavi recently stated his side cannot be considered the favourites, despite their standing as one of Europe's most successful ever clubs, but Pedri disagrees.

"We are enjoying playing our football and that shows on the pitch," he said. "We have to go match-by-match but, yes, I think we are the favourites. We're going to go all out."

Barcelona have now progressed from eight of their past nine ties in the last 16 of the UEFA Cup and Europa League, their only elimination coming against Celtic in 2003-04.

Lionel Messi's struggles this season have surprised Nicolas Anelka more than Cristiano Ronaldo's toils at faltering Manchester United.

Both players have endured dips in form, albeit they are judged against the absurdly high standards the pair have set for many years.

The stellar duo each suffered exits from the Champions League at the last-16 stage to compound disappointing campaigns, although Messi's Paris Saint-Germain look well set to win Ligue 1, in stark contrast to a United side who face a battle just to finish in the top four.

But while Ronaldo has maintained a respectable scoring record, with 12 goals in 24 Premier League games, Messi has netted just twice in the French top flight – a stage on which he was expected to shine.

Messi was jeered in his last outing for PSG, the club's fans still reeling from having seen their side throw away a two-goal aggregate lead to Real Madrid in Europe.

Anelka, who started his career at PSG, acknowledges the pair are bound to slow down after so long at the top, but has been more taken aback by the apparent decline of 34-year-old Messi than he has by the form of his 37-year-old nemesis.

"They have made their careers and I think they are both satisfied with what they have produced for 15 years,” Anelka told RMC's Rothen s'enflamme show. 

"I am more surprised by Messi than by Ronaldo.

"I thought that Messi was going to stroll in the French championship and that Ronaldo was going to struggle a little more because the Premier League, for me, is a more difficult championship in terms of the impact on and around the pitch.

"I think that there won't be any more players like that who will dominate world football so much. They've been above everyone for 15 years; it's logical to see them slowing down. It's normal."

Lionel Messi might be going through strife with Paris Saint-Germain, but he has received a timely reminder of how highly he is valued by Argentina.

Ahead of this year's World Cup, Argentina assistant coach Roberto Ayala said Messi can find sanctuary with the national team and stressed club matters were of little concern.

Following PSG's spectacular collapse against Real Madrid in the Champions League last week, Messi was one of the players to be booed by the club's fans in Sunday's 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux.

According to former River Plate and Valencia defender Ayala, Argentina have no worries about their captain and long-time talisman.

"For us it [the PSG knockout] is not an issue because it disconnects here with the national team," Ayala told La Red.

"We see Messi well. He is a boy who is transformed when he comes to the national team. He is very contained by the group and also wants them to see him as part of the group."

The Argentina team running to Messi at the end of the final in their Copa America triumph last year reflected the harmony within the playing group.

The team are safe in the knowledge their World Cup ticket is booked ahead of final qualifiers against Venezuela and Ecuador, for which Messi has been called up.

Irrespective of the quality of football, the harmony and Messi’s role within that is something head coach Lionel Scaloni and his staff will look to harness, heading to Qatar.

"A very nice group has been created,” Ayala said. "They enjoy it. Trainings go as we want. It becomes easy because they make it easy for us, there are no long faces."

Of Messi, he added: "For many, he is an idol but also at our side, and he wants to be treated like one of the others.

"I see him [Messi] as a leader not only on the field but with small gestures off it that you see. That is very valuable to us."

However, the 48-year-old assistant still feels the Albiceleste need to be tested by Europe's best before the tournament in November, and also hinted at the future possibility of joining the UEFA Nations League.

"I think Argentina is going to be summoned to the UEFA Nations League, which was set up so that they play against each other," he said.

"Later on, we will be able to participate and have the friction we need. We aim for the players to arrive in good condition."

Mauricio Pochettino said he was "sad" to hear boos and whistles from Paris Saint-Germain supporters during Sunday's 3-0 win against Bordeaux, but assured them that he and his players "share this disappointment."

The runaway Ligue 1 leaders were made to work for victory against the bottom side, but goals from Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Leandro Paredes were enough to secure the three points.

However, the home crowd made their feelings known after Wednesday's chastening defeat in the Champions League round of 16 to Real Madrid, appearing to reserve their loudest boos and whistles for Neymar and Lionel Messi.

Speaking at a media conference after the game, Pochettino said regarding the fans' jeering: "Nobody likes this background, it made me sad. Everyone who loves PSG after the Madrid disappointment is sad. I am saddened by what I experienced here today.

"We have all been affected. We understand the disappointment and frustration. We all experience this together, as a team. We have a responsibility to take responsibility for what happened. We share this disappointment of the supporters."

The former Tottenham manager also addressed the fact he started Keylor Navas rather than Gianluigi Donnarumma in goal against Bordeaux, with the Italian goalkeeper coming in for criticism for his error that led to Madrid's first goal at the Santiago Bernabeu in the 3-1 defeat.

"It's not a goalkeeper's error but an arbitral error [Donnarumma's mistake in Madrid]. Donnarumma is fine, we chose Keylor today. Gigio and Keylor are both disappointed. It is the results that decide the choice and not an error."

Presnel Kimpembe also sympathised with frustrations from the home fans after Wednesday's capitulation, telling Amazon Prime Video: “Inevitably, we hear [the boos and whistles] anyway, even if we are focused, concentrated in our match. 

"We understand their disappointment, we understand their hatred and their cries. Now we are professional, we must know how to remain so too. It is now that we must raise our heads and be able to move forward in order to be able to win this league."

Luis Suarez sent a message of support to Lionel Messi and Neymar after the Paris Saint-Germain duo were booed by their own fans.

Mauricio Pochettino's team threw away a 2-0 aggregate lead to exit the Champions League at Real Madrid in midweek, prompting fury on their return to domestic action on Sunday.

Messi and Neymar were roundly jeered during PSG's 3-0 Ligue 1 win over Bordeaux, even when Neymar tapped home the team's second goal after a move which included a sublime defence-splitting pass from Messi.

Messi has not enjoyed his finest campaign since arriving in the French capital, scoring just two goals from 60 attempts (18 of them on target) in Ligue 1 this season, although he has hit the woodwork eight times in the league, more than any other player in the top five European divisions.

The treatment of his former Barcelona team-mates prompted Atletico Madrid striker Suarez to show support on his Instagram story, accusing the fans of having "no memory".

"As always, football has no memory," the 35-year-old wrote alongside a picture of the three players.

"[I'm] always with you. I love you."

The Messi-Suarez-Neymar 'MSN' trio enjoyed a fruitful relationship in their time with the Catalan giants, hitting a combined 81 LaLiga goals in a stunning 2014-15 season. They led the Blaugrana to the LaLiga, Copa del Rey and Champions League titles in that campaign.

Neymar's goal against Bordeaux means he has scored eight Ligue 1 goals against them, more league goals than he has managed against any other team since arriving in Europe in 2013. 

The dominant victory at Parc des Princes also means that PSG have won seven of their nine Ligue 1 games immediately following a Champions League exit since their Qatari takeover in 2011.

Lionel Messi and Neymar felt the wrath of Paris Saint-Germain fans as the Ligue 1 leaders moved 15 points clear at the top of the table with a 3-0 win over bottom side Bordeaux.

Boos and whistles were aimed at Messi, Neymar and their team-mates before and during the clash at the Parc des Princes, four days after PSG were dumped out of the Champions League by Real Madrid.

Kylian Mbappe was not targeted, despite reportedly being bound for Madrid, and the in-form striker opened the scoring on Sunday with his 26th goal of the season.

Neymar then responded to abuse from his own supporters by scoring in the second half and Leandro Paredes was also on target, with Messi involved in all three goals and also hitting the post as Mauricio Pochettino's side ended a tough week with a resounding win.

 

PSG were almost caught cold when Remi Oudin let fly with a rasping drive that was well saved by Keylor Navas in the first minute and Jean Onana's glancing header from the resulting corner flashed just wide.

Messi and Neymar continued to be targeted by PSG fans when they touched the ball, but the Argentina captain played a big hand in Mbappe's opening goal 24 minutes in.

The former Barcelona playmaker's reverse pass found Georginio Wijnaldum, who slipped Mbappe in with a perfectly-weighted ball and the France forward finished clinically with his right foot from inside the penalty area.

Messi was then given too much time to thread a pass through to Achraf Hakimi, whose cross was coolly dinked over Bordeaux goalkeeper Gaetan Poussin and into the net seven minutes into the second half.

Although PSG were denied a penalty due to offside following a VAR check, Paredes extended their lead just after the hour mark with a sweet left-foot finish after showing great skill and composure to leave two Bordeaux players on the deck.

Messi struck the woodwork with a long-range strike following a surging run late on as the boos continued to sound, with Pochettino looking distinctly unimpressed with the hostility as his side cruised to victory following back-to-back defeats.

Lionel Messi and Neymar were booed by some Paris Saint-Germain fans during the first half of Sunday's Ligue 1 match with Bordeaux.

Supporters made their displeasure clear towards the star duo following the Champions League exit to Real Madrid this week.

Neymar set up Kylian Mbappe to score at the Santiago Bernabeu and give PSG a 2-0 aggregate lead, but a collapse during the final half-hour saw Madrid triumph 3-1 in the last-16 second leg and 3-2 in the tie thanks to Karim Benzema's hat-trick.

Neither Messi nor Neymar was able to inspire PSG to a comeback as Mauricio Pochettino's side failed once more in their quest to win Europe's biggest prize.

The defeat prompted further speculation over the future of Mbappe and, according to some reports in Spain, the France star has now signed an agreement to join Madrid on a free transfer at the end of the season.

However, Mbappe's early touches against Bordeaux were generally met with cheers from the home fans and it was his strike that gave them the lead 24 minutes in after Messi found Georginio Wijnaldum.

The Ballon d'Or voting process will undergo a number of reforms ahead of the next ceremony, it was announced on Friday.

France Football editor-in-chief Pascal Ferre confirmed in L'Equipe there will be a number of changes, with the most notable being an alignment with the European club season, as opposed to the traditional calendar year awards.

While there was little debate regarding Alexia Putellas' win in the Ballon d'Or Femenin, Lionel Messi controversially won for a record seventh time in 2021, ahead of Robert Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah.

Messi's performances with Argentina in their Copa America triumph propelled him to that win, despite – in the eyes of many voters – Lewandowski and Salah having stronger years on the whole.

As a result of the changes, though, performances from the 2022 World Cup in November will be taken into account for the 2023 award. Meanwhile, the 2023 Women's World Cup aligns with the 2024 award.

Secondly, given the Ballon d'Or voting jury has drastically expanded from the initial 16 in 1956 to 2021's 170, the jury for the men's trophy will be limited to representatives from countries in the top 100 of FIFA rankings, and 50 for the women’s award.

On top of that change to the body of jurors, Ballon d'Or ambassador Didier Drogba is among those who will now help to compile a shortlist of nominees.

While voting criteria in the Ballon d'Or has always been deeply subjective, France Football will seek to create a clearer rationale for individual cases.

A change in criteria will now not only consider individual performance but also that of the individual's teams, the "class" of the player and their fair play record. The "career of the player" will no longer be taken into account.

As soon as the December draw for the Champions League round-of-16 threw out Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain, all eyes were on a certain French striker.

And for a long time Kylian Mbappe looked set to be the difference-maker between two European giants who are also in a tug-of-war for the forward's future.

His excellent goal in the first leg at the Parc des Princes was decisive then, and he terrorised Los Blancos further in Madrid.

But almost out of nowhere the tie was turned on its head, with Karim Benzema once again proving his master status with a truly exceptional display of ruthlessness as Madrid won 3-1 at the Santiago Bernabeu to secure their passage to the quarter-finals 3-2 on aggregate.

This was anything but predictable. After all, the tie was all set up perfectly for 'The Narrative' to settle things in this clash of titans.

For months, maybe years, Madrid have flirted with the idea of bringing Mbappe to the Spanish capital, even going as far as submitting huge bids for him last August.

Carlo Ancelotti is asked about him at pretty much every pre-match news conference, such is the obsession in the Spanish press, but PSG's resolve in August seemed to be paying dividends just over six months later, with Mbappe crucial last time and in the mood here.

Ahead of the trip to Madrid, PSG communicated how the Frenchman was a doubt due to a training knock. Whether that was the truth or subterfuge can only be confirmed by Mauricio Pochettino, but one thing's for certain, Mbappe looked as sharp as ever.

The warning signs were there – twice – inside the first 13 minutes. On both occasions, Mbappe managed to get in behind Madrid's riskily high defence, but he let the hosts off the hook each time.

Despite worrying signs for Madrid, at no point did you expect a tactical change from Ancelotti given Madrid's desperate need to get at least one goal.

As such, the Mbappe 'cheatcode' was seemingly always going to be a possibility for PSG as long as the other 10 remained focused. For all the obsession over tactics, Pochettino's approach seemed to resemble that of millions of FIFA video game players from down the years: kick the ball beyond the defence for the really, really fast chap.

And that was exactly how the breakthrough came. PSG defended a corner and Neymar picked up possession deep inside his own half. Mbappe was already on the charge and the Brazilian clipped a first-time ball over Dani Carvajal.

Mbappe surged forward, shaped to curl his shot around Eder Militao and then picked out the near corner instead, usurping Zlatan Ibrahimovic as PSG's all-time leading scorer in the process.

The offside flag then cruelly, but crucially correctly, denied Mbappe what would have gone down as a classic Champions League goal early in the second, latching on to a throughball and beating Thibaut Courtois with an exquisite stepover before he'd even touched the ball and slotting into an empty net.

And almost instantly PSG's performance went stunningly awry.

Gianluigi Donnarumma's dawdling on the ball gifted Madrid an equaliser as Benzema charged down his clearance and then stabbed in from Vinicius Junior's cut-back.

Suddenly Madrid were like a pack of rabid wolves. Donnarumma's hesitancy and indecision began to overcome the rest of his back four, with PSG almost in a flash going from in control to utterly terrified.

Just 15 minutes later, 1-1 turned into 2-1, with Luka Modric doing brilliantly in midfield to pick out Vinicius, who had the presence of mind to patiently wait for the Croatian to appear on the edge of the box, and he slotted the ball through to Benzema to steer home.

Then, within seconds of PSG restarting the game, Marquinhos panicked in his own area, flicking the ball into the path of Benzema who unleashed an impossibly cool finish into the bottom-right corner, picking it out with the outside of his foot without breaking stride.

It sparked bedlam in the stands of the Santiago Bernabeu as it quickly dawned on the Madrid faithful and players that the tie was theirs. While PSG had the best part of 15 minutes to fight back, their mystifying lack of composure since the hour mark had already sapped them of belief.

Mbappe looked on, having gone from unstoppable to helpless in the space of just a few second-half minutes.

Of course, a key difference between the goalscorers was their respective supporting casts. While Lionel Messi, Marco Verratti and Neymar looked impressive in the first half, they were nowhere to be seen after half-time.

Madrid, on the other hand, had already looked a threat with Vinicius up top alongside Benzema. The Brazilian excelled where his compatriot Neymar could not – the young winger was relentless, working exceptionally hard throughout to ensure Benzema didn't have to do it alone, even if the headlines will suggest it was all him.

There is a school of thought that this tie will ultimately determine where Mbappe ends up next season. On the evidence of this, a front three of him, Benzema and Vinicius will be mouthwatering.

Mbappe has so far been very calm and unequivocal when asked about his future, but Madrid have given him a glimpse of what awaits.

Cristiano Ronaldo's return to Manchester United may be coming to a premature end.

The Portuguese forward has struggled since Ralf Rangnick's arrival as interim manager in December.

United are also battling to finish in the Premier League's top four.

TOP STORY - RONALDO COURTS MOVE TO MESSI'S PSG

FootballTransfers claims that Ronaldo has decided that he will leave Manchester United if they do not qualify for the Champions League, with a move to join Lionel Messi at Paris Saint-Germain on his agenda.

Speculation about Ronaldo's future at Old Trafford ramped up after he missed Sunday's Manchester derby due to a hip flexor injury and flew to Portugal.

The report that claims that Ronaldo returning to Juventus has been ruled out, along with his original Portuguese club Sporting CP, with the five-time Ballon d'Or courting a move to Paris.

 

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- Defensa Central reports that Newcastle United have commenced talks with Real Madrid over a move for 31-year-old ex-Chelsea forward Eden Hazard who has had an underwhelming spell with Los Blancos.

- Manchester United's Marcus Rashford has a list of clubs circling for his services with Arsenal, Newcastle and West Ham all interested, according to 90Min.

- The Mail claims that PSG will make a move for Rashford too, should Kylian Mbappe leave the French capital to join Madrid.

- Manchester City and Madrid are in the lead to sign Borussia Dortmund forward Erling Haaland ahead of Bayern Munich and Barcelona claims The Athletic.

- RB Leipzig midfielder Christopher Nkunku is being tracked by Chelsea and Man City according to FootMercato.

Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland are the natural heirs Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, so says Gonzalo Higuain.

Both players have been linked with moves to Real Madrid, and Mbappe recently scored a superb solo goal to give Paris Saint-Germain a 1-0 lead over Los Blancos in their Champions League round-of-16 tie.

Madrid had multiple bids for Mbappe turned down in August. The 23-year-old will become a free agent at the end of the season.

Reports had suggested that Mbappe could miss Wednesday's return leg in Spain after suffering a knock in training, but with PSG hoping that he will be fit for the trip, former Madrid forward Higuain claims the forward is one of the two heirs apparent to Messi and Ronaldo.

The Inter Miami forward, who scored 107 goals in 190 LaLiga appearances for Madrid between 2007 and 2013, also believes Mbappe's arrival could take his old club back "to the top" of European football.

"[Mbappe] has all the characteristics," Higuain told Stats Perform.

"I believe that Leo and Cristiano at some point will stop playing, because life is like that, and Mbappe and Haaland will be their successors. 

"Of course, Mbappe has all the characteristics to take Real Madrid to the top."

Mbappe recently moved level with Zlatan Ibrahimovic as the joint-second highest goalscorer in PSG's history, with his tally of 156 goals for the French giants bettered only by Edinson Cavani, who scored 200 goals for the club.

Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti called Mbappe "unstoppable" after he downed the Spanish giants at the Parc des Princes last month.

PSG sporting director Leonardo, meanwhile, recently referred to Mbappe as the "best player in the world today", hinting the in-demand striker could yet elect to remain in the French capital.

Mbappe was suspended for PSG's 1-0 Ligue 1 loss to Nice last time out, and is the only player in the French top flight to have reached double figures for both goals and assists this season, with his 24 goal contributions (14 goals, 10 assists) helping the Parisians to a 13-point lead at the summit. 

Haaland, meanwhile, is one of the most prolific forwards in European football, and it has been reported that Madrid and Manchester City are leading the chase for the 21-year-old.

Since making his debut for Borussia Dortmund in January 2020, the Norway international has netted 80 times in all competitions, a tally which ranks behind that of only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (112) in the same timeframe of players in Europe's big five leagues.

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