Kylian Mbappe is "progressing well" as he continues to recover from a hamstring injury, Paris Saint-Germain have confirmed.

Mbappe was substituted after pulling his hamstring in a 4-0 Ligue 1 defeat of Toulouse last month.

The France forward has been working hard on his recovery over the international break but is not yet ready to return to training.

Edinson Cavani, though, is closer to making his comeback after he was injured in the same game as Mbappe.

In an update posted to PSG's official website on Thursday, the club said the Uruguay striker will make a "progressive return to training this week".

Thilo Kehrer and Julian Draxler are undergoing treatment with both players expected to miss Saturday's home game against Strasbourg as a result.

Mbappe and Cavani are unlikely to be fit to take on Real Madrid, however, with PSG opening their Champions League campaign at home to the Spanish giants on Wednesday.

Neymar is also ruled out of that game due to suspension, so PSG coach Thomas Tuchel could be without all three members of his usual front line for the Group A clash.

Former Stoke City forward Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting, who has scored three goals in two Ligue 1 games, is therefore in line to feature.

When it came to Paul Pogba during the transfer window, Real Madrid and Juventus were the teams on everyone's lips.

Manchester United star Pogba was reportedly keen to leave Old Trafford in search of a new challenge.

However, another team were apparently poised to lure Pogba from the Theatre of Dreams…

 

TOP STORY – NEYMAR STOPPED PSG FROM SIGNING POGBA

Neymar prevented Manchester United midfielder Pogba from moving to Paris Saint-Germain, according to Calciomercato.it.

PSG and United reportedly had an agreement in place for the transfer of Pogba, however, the Ligue 1 champions and their inability to offload Barcelona target Neymar stopped the deal.

The report says PSG were ready to pay €150million (£134m) for Pogba, who joined United from Juventus in 2016 for a then-record fee of €105m (£89m).

 

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid have an agreement with Chelsea for midfielder N'Golo Kante. DefensaCentral claims Los Blancos have the first chance to buy the France star should he be made available at Stamford Bridge.

- In-demand Dinamo Zagreb star Dani Olmo wants to leave the Croatian club in January or at the end of the season, according to Fichajes.net. The 21-year-old was linked with Bayern Munich, AC Milan, Atletico Madrid and Valencia during the transfer window.

Juventus have not given up on signing Fiorentina and Italy forward Federico Chiesa, according to Calciomercato.it. The Serie A champions were keen to bring in Chiesa during the off-season but were unable to lure him from Florence.

- Sport says Paris Saint-Germain are beginning their remodelling job, with Thiago Silva and Edinson Cavani facing uncertain futures. Silva and Cavani – who has been linked to incoming MLS outfit Inter Miami – are out of contract at the end of the season and are no guarantees to renew their contracts. Eric Maxim Choupo-MotingThomas Meunier and Layvin Kurzawa are available at the right price in January.

- Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic has turned down a move to Qatari outfit Al-Gharafa, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport. Mandzukic was linked to Manchester United prior to the transfer window closing.

Barcelona director Javier Bordas said the LaLiga champions will do what they can to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou.

Neymar wanted to leave Paris Saint-Germain prior to the transfer deadline and was reportedly desperate for a Barca return, though a move did not materialise.

It came just two years after Neymar left Barca for Ligue 1 giants PSG in a world-record €222million deal.

Neymar's father and agent has already claimed negotiations between Barca and PSG are not over amid ongoing speculation.

Bordas kept the door open, telling EFE: "While he wants to come, we will do what we can to bring him back.

"What happens will happen, everything is constantly changing in football, but Neymar is Neymar.

"The case of Neymar is a special one. He's an exceptional player and he wants to come to Barcelona; he hasn't adapted to Paris; he was wrong to go there, and even he has said that."

The future of Barcelona's superstar captain Lionel Messi has also dominated headlines.

Barca president Josep Maria Bartomeu confirmed reports that Messi has the option to leave the club at the end of the season.

Messi signed his latest contract in 2017, with the deal running until the end of the 2020-21 campaign.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner has been linked with a move to MLS via David Beckham's incoming franchise Inter Miami but Bordas said: "I don't see him at another club. There are few people more connected to Barcelona than Messi.

"Messi is from Barcelona [having moved as a child and spent most of his life there]. Messi is Barcelona.

"People are worried about his contract clause, but Messi will stay because he is at home here, he feels it; he comes from La Masia, you only have to look at him when a match has been lost."

Barca vice-president Jordi Cardoner, meanwhile, added: "We are calm and there is a lot of positivity, especially in the dressing room.

"Leo will do what he thinks is fit, but Leo's contract is very special because he is who he is. It's a concession made to him and other players who deserve it. He can enter and leave the club when he sees fit. I'd love for him to stay for as long as he wants to play for our team."

Paolo Di Canio said he is not surprised by Mauro Icardi's move to Paris Saint-Germain as the Ligue 1 champions are "the natural home of undisciplined players".

Former Inter captain Icardi joined PSG on an initial loan deal on transfer deadline day after being frozen out by Nerazzurri head coach Antonio Conte.

PSG have the option to buy Icardi – who was linked to Napoli and Juventus prior to the deadline – for a reported €70million at the end of the season.

Former Lazio, Juve, Napoli and AC Milan forward Di Canio hit out at Icardi following his switch to the French capital.

Di Canio told Il Mattino: "Why did Carlo Ancelotti want someone like Icardi at Napoli? Someone unable to apologise to his team-mates for the words of his wife-agent?

"Besides which, Maurito only scores goals from crosses at the byline. For the rest, he is incapable of anything a modern striker should be able to do.

"I am not remotely surprised he went to Paris Saint-Germain, the natural home of undisciplined players."

Icardi, who arrived at Inter from Sampdoria in 2013, scored 111 Serie A goals and 124 goals in all competitions to be eighth on the club's all-time list.

Lionel Messi said he does not know if Barcelona did everything possible to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou as he appeared to take aim at the LaLiga giants.

Neymar wanted to leave Paris Saint-Germain prior to the transfer deadline and was reportedly desperate for a Barca return, though a move did not materialise.

It came just two years after Neymar left Barca for Ligue 1 giants PSG in a world-record €222million deal.

Barca captain Messi was asked about the transfer pursuit and he told SPORT: "I don't know if Barca did everything possible for his return.

"But it is true that negotiating with PSG is not easy."

"I would have loved for Neymar to return," Messi added. "He is one of the best players in the world and at the image level and sponsors we would have taken a leap that would have given us stability."

Amid reports Messi and his team-mates asked for Barca to re-sign Neymar, the five-time Ballon d'Or winner said: "In the locker room we never asked for Ney's signing.

"We gave our opinion, but it has become clear that despite what they say, I do not command."

Neymar – who has three years remaining on his PSG contract – is yet to feature for Thomas Tuchel's side this season.

The 27-year-old, however, made his first appearance of the campaign for Brazil during the international break.

Neymar made a goalscoring return in Brazil's 2-2 draw with Colombia last week, while he came off the bench in Tuesday's 1-0 defeat to Peru in Los Angeles.

PSG return to Ligue 1 action at home to Strasbourg on Saturday, while Messi's Barcelona host Valencia on the same day.

Football matches should not be stopped following incidents of homophobia, according to the president of the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP).

Ligue 1 games in Nice and Metz have been halted this season after discriminatory banners were displayed in the crowd, while a second-tier encounter early in the 2019-20 campaign between Nancy and Le Mans was also paused.

French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet was criticised when he suggested interrupting play is the wrong decision, but his view has been backed up by Nathalie Boy de la Tour.

"For a long time we have tolerated certain songs, but society no longer accepts them," she said on Wednesday. "We are not very favourable to a stoppage.

"Stopping the match is not the appropriate solution. It deprives everyone of an expected event. It is an extreme solution.

"Our supporters do not necessarily perceive the discriminating character of the words they can use.

"Our desire is to reduce this gap in perception between fan associations, LGBT associations and more generally society.

"We can chant and sing by using terms that are not in the register of discrimination and are not considered a crime."

France president Emmanuel Macron has called for the LFP and fans to work together on the issue of homophobia, while World Cup winning striker Antoine Griezmann has backed stopping matches when incidents occur.

Marseille winger Florian Thauvin is expected to miss the rest of the first half of the season as he prepares to undergo keyhole surgery to correct an ankle problem he sustained in April.

Thauvin was injured during Marseille's 3-1 victory at Guingamp on April 20 and exacerbated the problem in training, although he recovered in time to help his side finish the 2018-19 season with back-to-back victories as they claimed fifth place in Ligue 1.

However, the issue continued to hamper the France international, who has played just 10 minutes as a substitute in the top flight this term, and he has made the decision to go under the knife in order to return to full fitness.

A statement on the club's official website said: "Florian Thauvin suffered an accidental ankle injury in a match about four and a half months ago.

"This type of lesion, small, very localised, usually allows [the player] to resume after appropriate care and rest. His current progress has allowed him to return to the group but the player still feels a discomfort.

"In order to be able to return to 100 per cent of his capacity, Florian and Olympique de Marseille have decided to carry out a small operation (arthroscopy) in the coming days.

"His period of unavailability should last until the winter break."

The news means Thauvin is likely to be out of action until January, with Ligue 1's mid-season break scheduled to run from December 20 until January 10.

Thauvin's injury problems hampered his side's progress last season, with a heel injury in October 2018 forcing him to miss a Europa League defeat to Lazio before his April absence left Marseille short of creativity at a key stage in the season.

Andre Villas-Boas' side had a mixed start to the new campaign, recovering from an opening-day defeat at home to Reims to go unbeaten in their past three league matches.

Marseille travel to Stade Louis II to face Monaco in Ligue 1 on Sunday.

Mauro Icardi's decision to turn down Napoli and join Paris Saint-Germain was a move the Italian club's president Aurelio De Laurentiis found understandable.

Icardi joined PSG on an initial loan deal ahead of the closure of the transfer window, having become a fringe figure at Inter following the arrival of coach Antonio Conte, who signed Romelu Lukaku and Alexis Sanchez.

The Argentina striker had previously endured frosty relations with the Nerazzurri, too, and his departure always seemed likely.

De Laurentiis confirmed he made a move for Icardi, yet he had no issue with the player opting to join the likes of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani at PSG instead.

"To buy [Icardi], I came to Inter with an offer of €60million, plus bonuses for a total of €65million," he told Corriere dello Sport. "For Wanda Nara, for her husband's contract, I proposed a gross of about €12million.

"Icardi is not stupid and perhaps he understood that to re-launch himself at European level, it was the best choice to go to a team like PSG, where he can stand out more easily than at Napoli."

Napoli instead signed Fernando Llorente following his release from Tottenham.

And De Laurentiis revealed head coach Carlo Ancelotti had made Llorente his preferred option all along.

"Llorente wasn't my idea but rather Ancelotti's," he said. "No-one would have turned their back on a top player like Icardi but, from the first moment, Ancelotti wanted Llorente.

"He argued that, in attack, we were already heavily stocked and only needed a champion to play in the last 30 minutes of games that required unlocking."

Therefore, with Arkadiusz Milik another option, De Laurentiis has no regrets about the failed transfer.

"I never regret in life. The arrival of Icardi would have prevented the purchase of Llorente, of whom I am as convinced as Ancelotti," he said.

"Above all, he would have overshadowed Milik, who I continue to consider the true big star of the Napoli attack."

Antoine Griezmann believes it would be a "very good" stance to stop matches in the case of homophobia or racism in the stands, disagreeing with French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet.

FFF chief Le Graet this week called for games to continue in spite of homophobic chanting or displays following a worrying number of incidents in French football.

But World Cup winner Griezmann, speaking after France's 3-0 Euro 2020 qualifying win over Andorra, was in support of halting play.

The Barcelona star believes stopping matches would be an effective way to prevent future incidents.

"For me, it's very good to stop the matches, whether for homophobic songs or racist songs," Griezmann told RTL.

"If we stop the matches, people will not be happy and they will stop doing it."

French president Emmanuel Macron called for the Ligue de Football Professionnel and its clubs to take responsibility and address the issue.

Ligue 1 games in Nice and Metz were paused in the space of a week last month after discriminatory banners were seen in the crowd.

Elsewhere, a second-tier encounter between Nancy and Le Mans in August was stopped by match officials following instructions to intervene in the event of homophobic chanting or displays.

David Beckham and Inter Miami have set their sights on Lionel Messi.

Messi, 32, has regularly been linked with one day switching to MLS and it appears Inter are making their move.

Beckham seems to be trying his best to land the Barcelona superstar.

 

TOP STORY – BECKHAM IN TALKS WITH MESSI OVER INTER MIAMI MOVE

Beckham has spoken to Messi about joining Inter Miami, according to Catalunya Radio.

It comes in the wake of reports the forward can leave Barcelona at the end of any season, regardless of when his contract runs until.

The economic bid for Messi would be "brutal", the report said, as Inter look to sign the five-time Ballon d'Or winner.

 

ROUND-UP

- Inter Miami may not stop there. The MLS club, due to begin playing in 2020, are also eyeing Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, according to AS. Napoli boss Carlo Ancelotti has previously said he is open to coaching Inter Miami.

- After the latest transfer saga ended with Neymar staying at Paris Saint-Germain, it is set to come back to life in January. PSG sporting director Leonardo wants the Brazil international to leave the Ligue 1 champions, according to Tuttosport, and a move could happen in January, with Barcelona and Real Madrid sure to again be linked.

- Barcelona are already looking ahead and are set to track Napoli midfielder Fabian Ruiz throughout this season, Mundo Deportivo reports. Fabian joined the Serie A side from Real Betis for a reported €30million in July last year.

- Expecting their transfer ban to be cut, Chelsea have identified Nice defender Youcef Atal as a target, according to The Sun. The Algeria international is also wanted by Valencia, Calciomercato.com reports.

- AC Milan have identified Stade Rennes teenager Eduardo Camavinga as a player to follow, according to Calciomercato.com. The 16-year-old made seven Ligue 1 appearances last season.

- Gonzalo Higuain is continuing to turn around his career at Juventus. Calciomercato.com says the forward – linked with a move away throughout the close season – will start alongside Cristiano Ronaldo when the Serie A champions face Fiorentina on Saturday.

Emmanuel Macron called for the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) and fans to work together after a spate of domestic matches were marred by homophobia.

Ligue 1 games in Nice and Metz were paused in the space of a week last month after discriminatory banners were seen in the crowd.

A second-tier encounter between Nancy and Le Mans was the first to be stopped earlier in August as match officials acted on new instructions to intervene in the event of homophobic chanting or displays.

French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet believes referees have been wrong to halt matches, while sports minister Roxana Maracineanu backed the LFP's attempts to stamp out discrimination.

Macron, the president of France, wants to see authorities and fans work together.

"It's a question of discernment," he said on Tuesday.

"It's the role of the referee, it's the role of the league with the clubs. The LFP and the clubs have to take their responsibilities, talk to the fans, not edit a fixed rule."

It comes after Le Graet criticised referees for stopping matches, saying homophobia was a society-wide issue.

"I would not stop the matches," he told France Info.

"It's a mistake, totally, because I don't want to be held hostage to homophobia. I would stop a match for racist abuse, that's clear, or for security reasons.

"We're going to make sure the banners disappear, there is security to make sure that happens, but stopping matches is something else.

"It's not football but society in general that has to think about the problem, at school and in companies, everywhere."

Addressing the fans responsible, Le Graet said: "Do not come to the stadium with banners, it's as simple as that.

"You can support your team, but [homophobia is] absolutely wrong morally."

Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona may yet seal a deal for Neymar as negotiations are not over, according to the forward's father and agent.

Neymar was strongly linked with a return to Camp Nou before the European transfer window closed this month.

The Brazil superstar was said to be keen to go back to Barca two years after controversially leaving for a world-record €222million.

PSG sporting director Leonardo confirmed Neymar wanted to leave the club and was available for transfer if the right offer was made.

But Barca and PSG were unable to come to an agreement, with LaLiga giants Real Madrid also reportedly seeing offers rejected.

Neymar, who has three years remaining on his PSG contract, has yet to play for the Ligue 1 champions this term.

PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said he would not select the 27-year-old until his future was resolved.

Neymar Sr, though, has cast fresh doubt on his son's long-term future in the French capital.

"The negotiations between clubs are not over," he said in an appearance at Edinburgh Sports Conference. 

"A Brazilian just wants to be where he is happy and he was very happy at Barcelona. When his friends asked him if he want to go back, it upset him."

Barca reportedly made cash-plus-players bids to PSG in a bid to force a move through, with Ousmane Dembele and Ivan Rakitic among those said to have been offered.

"As an agent, you feel weak when there is no structure that allows you to come and go," added Neymar's father.

"There was no release clause in his contract and this makes things very difficult.

"We fought to find an agreement. We gave the best of ourselves for him."

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet believes referees have been wrong to halt a spate of domestic matches marred by homophobia.

Ligue 1 games in Nice and Metz were paused in the space of a week last month after discriminatory banners were seen in the crowd.

A second-tier encounter between Nancy and Le Mans was first to be stopped earlier in August as match officials acted on new instructions to intervene in the event of homophobic chanting or displays.

French sports minister Roxana Maracineanu backed the Ligue de Football Professionnel's attempts to stamp out discrimination but Le Graet, a FIFA Council member, thinks interrupting play is misguided.

"I would not stop the matches," Le Graet told France Info.

"It's a mistake, totally, because I don't want to be held hostage to homophobia. I would stop a match for racist abuse, that's clear, or for security reasons.

"We're going to make sure the banners disappear, there is security to make sure that happens, but stopping matches is something else.

"It's not football but society in general that has to think about the problem, at school and in companies, everywhere."

Addressing the fans responsible, Le Graet said: "Do not come to the stadium with banners, it's as simple as that.

"You can support your team, but [homophobia is] absolutely wrong morally."

Andrea Ranocchia insists Inter's playing squad had nothing to do with Mauro Icardi's departure from the club.

Former captain Icardi left for Paris Saint-Germain last week, agreeing a season-long loan deal with an option to buy.

The striker inked a one-year contract extension at San Siro before moving on deadline day but appears unlikely to revive his Inter career after months of tension.

Luciano Spalletti stripped him of the armband last term and new boss Antonio Conte signed another striker in Romelu Lukaku during the close season.

Centre-back Ranocchia claims the issues, which are said to have stemmed from stalled contract talks, never affected Icardi's relationship with his team-mates, despite reports they grew unhappy with public criticism from his wife and agent Wanda Nara.

"As I've always said, it was a problem between the club and the player," Ranocchia told Sky Sport Italia.

"They found a suitable solution for both sides and now we must continue what we started.

"During pre-season and in these first weeks of the league, the Icardi issue did not take any energy away from us."

Conte guided Inter to two Serie A wins from two before the international break to stir hopes of an improvement on last season's fourth-placed finish.

Ranocchia started both games and believes the Nerazzurri can achieve great things under the former Juventus and Chelsea boss.

"It's a very long season, there are many things that can happen and now the games will start every three days," the 31-year-old said.

"But the work we are doing is aimed at creating something extraordinary.

"All the players who have arrived are very good, some young and some a little older. They all bring great experience and seriousness."

Brazil head coach Tite refused to reveal whether or not he has given life advice to Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar following a turbulent off-season.

Neymar scored his first goal of the season for club or country as Brazil drew 2-2 with South American rivals Colombia in an international friendly on Friday.

His goalscoring display came after the 27-year-old forward – yet to play for PSG this season – was unable to secure a return to LaLiga champions Barcelona prior to the transfer deadline.

Neymar was the topic of conversation again as Brazil prepare to face Peru in a rematch of the Copa America final and Tite told reporters on Monday: "Whatever is good for Neymar, I will never say publicly.

"But we can do it here in the national team. In the areas that are competent to us, the 10 days we are here, we always try to create situations that are good for him and for selection.

"Not primarily for one or the other. Because I also understand that he is top three worldwide."

Brazil beat Peru 3-1 in the Copa America final in July and the two nations will meet again in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Previewing the clash, Tite said: "If I were on the side of the Peruvian national team, I would have a feeling of revenge but with loyalty.

"They don't have to beat us up but play to show that they are better. We have to play a great game, since we have been working under pressure

"The ideal would be to have friendly against European teams, but there is a calendar problem and sometimes it is incompatible."

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