Rumour Has It: PSG ramp up renewal efforts for Real Madrid target Mbappe, Galaxy keen on Ramos

By Sports Desk March 01, 2022

Kylian Mbappe is widely expected to join Real Madrid at the end of this season.

The Paris Saint-Germain forward is out of contract and has not renewed with the French giants.

Madrid have long admired Mbappe and attempted an audacious bid to sign him in August.

TOP STORY – PSG STEP UP MBAPPE RENEWAL BID

Paris Saint-Germain are ramping up their efforts to convince Mbappe to renew with the club, reports Marca.

Mbappe has previously hinted he will join Madrid at the end of this season when his PSG contract expires.

PSG are pulling out all the stops to persuade Mbappe, who has been with the club since 2017.

 

ROUND-UP

- MLS club LA Galaxy have enquired about PSG defender Sergio Ramos according to Footmercato. Ramos has made five appearances for PSG since his off-season move and may be available on a free transfer.

- Manchester United are not willing to match Napoli's eye-watering £100m price tag for Nigerian striker Victor Osimhen reports the Daily Star.

- Gazzetta dello Sport reports that Juventus are hopeful that they can retain Spanish forward Alvaro Morata, who is on loan from Atletico Madrid.

- Juventus are also in front in the race to sign Roma winger Nicolo Zaniolo, who is yet to recommit to the Giallorossi, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Fulham want to sign ex-Manchester City and Liverpool forward Mario Balotelli if they win promotion back to the Premier League, claims Turkish outfit Star. Balotelli currently plays his football in Turkey with Adana Demirspor, with good form prompting an Italy recall.

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    De Ligt came on as a 93rd-minute substitute in the Netherlands' 3-1 win over the United States in Saturday's last-16 encounter.

    That marked the 23-year-old's first appearance for the Oranje since starting in their World Cup opener, the 2-0 win over Senegal, having been demoted to the bench by Van Gaal for the ensuing three games.

    "It's not so frustrating, honestly," De Ligt told The Athletic. "Every player wants to play but we are a group of 26 players.

    "Honestly, I have played more than I expected to play at this World Cup. I expected to play nothing. I'm quite okay. We won together and we are in a quarter-final."

    The defender, who has established himself at Bayern Munich since his off-season switch from Juventus, has seen Ajax 21-year-old Jurrien Timber take his place alongside Nathan Ake and Virgil van Dijk in Van Gaal's back three.

    "No, it's just the way of playing," De Ligt replied when asked if injury was behind his non-selection. "Maybe the coach doesn't put me in the team and I am okay with that. I expected it.

    "So for me it's fine. I know my role and I train hard every day to be important for the team."

    Meanwhile, Van Dijk backed 23-year-old Netherlands team-mate Cody Gakpo to take the next step in his career.

    Gakpo, who scored in all three of the Dutch's World Cup group-stage wins, has been linked with Manchester United and Real Madrid.

    "Are Manchester United and Real Madrid the same level at this moment? No disrespect, not at all," Liverpool defender Van Dijk told The Athletic.

    "I think he definitely has a next step in him. I definitely feel like it could happen. Whether it happens in the winter or next year, time will tell.

    "But he's a great boy. Works hard, is very talented and there's definitely more in him. We are very pleased he's doing so well and long may it continue."

    Gakpo would not be drawn on his future after the win over USA, while United defender Tyrell Malacia backed him to step up should an opportunity arise.

    "He's good enough for the top, there's no doubt," Malacia said.

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    While Scaloni acknowledges the Oranje's current crop may not be as easy on the eye as some of their predecessors, he expects a tough test against Louis van Gaal's men.

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    "It will be a beautiful game between two historic national teams, and one will be knocked out, unfortunately."

    Argentina are hopeful of receiving a fitness boost ahead of Friday, with Scaloni revealing Angel Di Maria – who was an unused substitute on Saturday after suffering a thigh injury – could return.

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    Saturday's hard-fought 2-1 win over Australia carried Argentina into the quarter-finals, with Messi scoring the ninth World Cup goal of his career to put Lionel Scaloni's team 1-0 in front in the first half.

    That nudged Messi ahead of Maradona's career haul of eight goals, while he has moved to 23 World Cup appearances during this tournament, two ahead of his late compatriot and fellow number 10 shirt wearer's previous national team record.

    Messi is just one behind Gabriel Batistuta's record of 10 World Cup goals with Argentina, and he may have that in the back of his mind ahead of Friday's last-eight clash with the Netherlands.

    The Paris Saint-Germain forward is picking off records as he goes during this tournament, and he will surely overtake two more Maradona marks in that clash with Louis van Gaal's team.

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    They have both created 67 chances, and with each man, 48 of those chances have come about in open play, Opta data shows.

    Messi created four chances in all against Australia, including a golden opportunity for Lautaro Martinez that the substitute ballooned wastefully late in the game as Argentina looked to put the game beyond their gallant opponents.

    Where Maradona beats Messi is in goal assists. Maradona's eight from 1982 to 1994 beats Messi's haul of six assists to date, since his World Cup debut at the 2006 finals.

    Maradona was the driving force behind Argentina's 1986 World Cup triumph in Mexico, and later coached the national team, notably at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

    He died in November 2020 at the age of 60.

    Saturday's game against Australia was the 1,000th of Messi's career for club and country.

     

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