PSG confident Messi will extend contract and confirm Rashford interest

By Sports Desk December 08, 2022

Lionel Messi will extend his contract with Paris Saint-Germain after the World Cup, according to president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

The Argentina superstar is out of contract at the end of the season and it has been reported during the tournament in Qatar that he had already agreed to terms to move to MLS, where he would join Inter Miami.

Those links have since been downplayed, however, with Messi not set to make a decision on his future until after the World Cup, where Argentina are preparing for a quarter-final showdown against the Netherlands.

Al-Khelaifi is optimistic his two-year spell at Parc des Princes will be extended as, when suggested by Sky Sports that Messi wants to stay in the French capital for longer, he said: "Definitely. He's very happy, you can see that with the national team.

"If a player's not happy you will see their performance is not good for the national team. He performed fantastic this season for us, he's scored a lot of goals and assists for the national team and for the club.

"So, what we agreed together – that after the World Cup, sit down together. But both sides – our side of the club and him – are very happy, so we will talk after the World Cup."

Another player who could be a topic of discussion for PSG after the conclusion of the action in Qatar is England forward Marcus Rashford, who has scored three goals for Gareth Southgate's side in the tournament.

Rashford's contract at Old Trafford is due to expire at the end of the season, though Manchester United have an option to extend for a further year, and Al-Khelaifi confirmed the French champions would look to revive their interest in such a scenario.

"He's another player that is really amazing. And for free? To have Rashford for free, every club would run after him, definitely," he added.

"We're not hiding it, we spoke before and [there was] interest. But the moment was not a good moment for both sides. Maybe, at the end of the season, why not?

"Today if he's a free agent of course we can talk to him directly, but we are not going to talk to him now. Let him focus on the World Cup. Then in January, hopefully, if we're interested we will talk to him."

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    Milan star Pulisic stole the show with an eye-catching strike into the top corner, and he added an assist for Folarin Balogun as the USA opened their campaign with a 2-0 win on home soil on Sunday.

    Pulisic became only the second USA player after Clint Dempsey to register a goal and an assist in a Copa America match, while he is also now the country's quickest player to reach 30 goals, doing so in his 69th game.

    An inspired performance from the captain also ended a woeful run for the USA against CONMEBOL sides at this tournament, given Gregg Berhalter's side had previously lost eight of 10 such games.

    Pulisic felt that USA could easily have won by a greater margin, with the strong performance making a statement ahead of their next group games against Panama and Uruguay.

    "We should build some confidence from this and feel good," Pulisic said after the game.

    "We came out flying with a lot of intensity and obviously that early goal helped us a lot.

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    "All around, it was a pretty dominant performance. I think we could have put it away and had more goals there.

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    Defender Antonee Robinson also felt USA could easily have won by more.

    "If we were being picky, we could have been a lot more clinical," the Fulham player said. "We could have put another two or three goals away, but getting off to a win to start with is massive for us.

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    USA head coach Berhalter was delighted with the impact made by Pulisic, whose opening strike had an expected goals (xG) tally of just 0.037.

    The tournament hosts racked up 20 shots, finding the target with eight, compared to tallies of six and three respectively for Bolivia.

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    "I like the performance for an opening game against a difficult opponent. We are in a good position."

    Bolivia, meanwhile, have now lost their last four international outings by a concerning margin of 9-1, having suffered defeats against Mexico, Ecuador, Colombia and USA.

    They face Uruguay, who won their opener 3-1 against Panama, on Thursday.

    USA will play Panama earlier on the same day before concluding their Group C campaign against Uruguay on July 1.

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    Uruguay's win saw them move level on points with hosts the United States following their victory over Bolivia in the other Group C encounter. 

    The 15-time winners were rewarded for their fast start when Maximilian Araujo curled home his first international goal in the 16th minute. 

    However, Panama would grow into the contest as Jose Fajardo and Jose Rodriguez squandered golden opportunities for Thomas Christiansen's side. 

    And their wastefulness was punished late on as Darwin Nunez, who had missed several chances in the game, settled Uruguay's nerves with a calm finish. 

    Matias Vina furthered La Celeste's advantage in the first minute of injury-time with a header, only for Michael Amir Murillo to net a late consolation for Panama. 

    However, Bielsa was quick to temper expectations despite the triumph, insisting his side must improve to secure a record 16th Copa America crown. 

    The 68-year-old took charge of Uruguay in May last year, beating both Argentina and Brazil in World Cup qualifiers. 

    "When it comes to Uruguay's aspirations, we will see that and build it match by match," he told reporters.

    "My expectation is that each match will increasingly help us to improve on our level. Uruguay has players of a very good level and we need to see if I can build with those players."

    Uruguay continue their group campaign against Bolivia in New Jersey on Thursday, before facing the USA at the Arrowhead Stadium next Tuesday. 

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    Uruguay's win saw them move level on points with hosts the United States following their victory over Bolivia in the other Group C encounter. 

    The 15-time winners were rewarded for their fast start when Maximilian Araujo curled home his first international goal in the 16th minute. 

    However, Panama would grow into the contest as Jose Fajardo and Jose Rodriguez squandered golden opportunities for Thomas Christiansen's side. 

    And their wastefulness was punished late on as Darwin Nunez, who had missed several chances in the game, settled Uruguay's nerves with a calm finish. 

    Matias Vina furthered La Celeste's advantage in the first minute of injury-time with a header, only for Michael Amir Murillo to net a late consolation for Panama. 

    However, Bielsa was quick to temper expectations despite the triumph, insisting his side must improve to secure a record 16th Copa America crown. 

    The 68-year-old took charge of Uruguay in May last year, beating both Argentina and Brazil in World Cup qualifiers. 

    "When it comes to Uruguay's aspirations, we will see that and build it match by match," he told reporters.

    "My expectation is that each match will increasingly help us to improve on our level. Uruguay has players of a very good level and we need to see if I can build with those players."

    Uruguay continue their group campaign against Bolivia in New Jersey on Thursday, before facing the USA at the Arrowhead Stadium next Tuesday. 

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