Neymar will "return to Barcelona and become the player he always was" if he leaves Paris Saint-Germain as Patrice Evra defended the Brazilian superstar.

LaLiga champions Barcelona are reportedly negotiating with PSG to bring Neymar back to Camp Nou, just two years after his world-record €222million transfer.

Neymar – who is also believed to be attracting interest from Real Madrid – is yet to feature for PSG this season, while the 27-year-old was the subject of criticism by the club's fans during the August 11 fixture against Nimes.

Former Manchester United and Juventus left-back Evra criticised the treatment of Neymar as he leapt to his defence.

"I think Neymar, there are a lot of people who don't like him," Evra said. "The problem in this world is that when you are yourself, people hate you, and when you lie, people love you.

"Neymar, I often speak with him and I wish that God would realise his plans. It's always like that, when you arrive you are the king of the world, and when you leave... Looks like Neymar murdered someone. This is not the case.

"You'll see, people miss Neymar for his genius, his way of playing. It's true that with his dribbling, he sometimes gets annoyed, but it's his football, he has to stay himself. And I assure you, people will regret him very much."

Evra added: "It's simple, a football player must feel loved. When you feel too much negativity, you leave."

"There are people, and maybe even the media, who use that, who criticise him for diving too much during the games," Evra continued. "They create all this hatred around him. But Neymar is a good guy. He gave a lot to Paris.

"And then I'll tell you, we're talking about Neymar, but when Neymar didn't play in the Champions League, Paris didn't go any further. Neymar was not there for the two semi-finals. Neymar is too important for the PSG to lose him.

"I don't know if they're going to lose him, but if they do, they'll lose a great player. And he will return to Barcelona and become the player he always was."

Neymar has scored 34 goals in 37 Ligue 1 appearances despite both his seasons at PSG being interrupted by serious foot injuries.

In total, Neymar has managed 51 goals in 58 games for PSG – who will be without the Barca target against Metz on Friday.

Barcelona are still open to concluding a deal with Paris Saint-Germain for Neymar, according to club spokesperson Guillermo Amor.

PSG sporting director Leonardo has confirmed Neymar wants to leave the club, two years after he joined from Barca for a world-record fee of €222million.

A return to Barca has been mooted for the Brazil superstar, while LaLiga rivals Real Madrid are also reportedly interested.

Time is running out to do a deal for the 27-year-old, though, as the European transfer window closes on Monday.

Some outlets claimed Barca have reached an agreement with PSG. However, reports in France then suggested this was premature.

Ousmane Dembele is believed to have been offered to PSG as part of the deal, although the forward's agent has said he wants to stay at Camp Nou.

Croatia midfielder Ivan Rakitic is also reportedly involved in a cash-plus-players transfer, but further complicating matters is PSG needing to secure a replacement for Neymar.

While Amor was unwilling to give details about the ongoing talks, he hinted Barca will keep the door open for Neymar to come back for as long as possible.

"It's a topic it's not good to talk about," Amor said to Movistar. 

"There is nothing to be commented on. We'll see [what happens] until Tuesday."

Amor was speaking to the media after Thursday's Champions League draw, which pitted Barca against Dembele's old club Borussia Dortmund, who now have Paco Alcacer in attack, as well as Inter and Slavia Prague.

European success will be demanded of Ernesto Valverde's side after two successive frustrating campaigns since he took charge, with Barca throwing away a 3-0 lead against Liverpool in the semi-finals last term.

"It is a strong group. I have always had a lot of respect for Slavia. It is a powerful group," Amor added.

"In the end it depends on how you get there. We really want to face it, we will go for this competition again.

"We have the experience from last year and the others, we will have a lot of concentration and mentally we will be strong."

Thomas Tuchel expects Paris Saint-Germain will face big atmospheres in the Champions League after they were drawn with Real Madrid, Club Brugge and Galatasaray.

PSG are still seeking their first European crown and have been knocked out in the last 16 in each of the last three seasons, after a run of four successive quarter-finals.

Tuchel's side failed to get to the last eight in 2018-19 when they squandered a first-leg lead earned at Old Trafford to crash out at home to Manchester United in the round of 16.

That defeat put pressure on PSG coach Tuchel, who also saw his side fail to defend either their Coupe de la Ligue or Coupe de France titles.

PSG were knocked out by Madrid in 2017-18, Neymar's first season at the club, with the Brazilian superstar now reportedly a target for the LaLiga giants.

Neymar's future remains uncertain ahead of the September 2 European transfer deadline, but Tuchel was satisfied with his side's position in Group A of the Champions League.

"These are three big atmospheres and very nice atmospheres to play football," Tuchel told PSG's official Twitter account.

"We know like every year that we must be ready from the first match. We will be well prepared to show form from the start."

The group stage gets under way in mid-September, with the final due to be held in Istanbul on May 30 next year.

PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi added: "We do not have an easy draw but it's the Champions League, we do everything we can to get ready.

"Real Madrid is a big club, we have a lot of respect for them, but we're PSG, we need to prepare well for this match, it's a good preparation for us, the goal is to go as far as possible."

Thomas Tuchel has admitted he cannot be sure Neymar will remain a Paris Saint-Germain player when the transfer window closes.

The PSG boss said on Thursday he intends to continue overlooking the Brazil forward for selection until there is clarity about his future.

Neymar has been strongly linked with a return to LaLiga with his former club Barcelona, just two years after swapping clubs in a world-record €222million deal, while Real Madrid are also rumoured to hold an interest.

The 27-year-old returned to training earlier this month after recovering from an injury sustained prior to the Copa America, but he has yet to feature for his club in 2019-20 and will once again be left out against Metz on Friday.

"His situation has not changed since the Toulouse match," Tuchel said, when asked for an update on the long-running transfer saga at Thursday's news conference.

"All I can say is that I am calm, relaxed. The world of football can be crazy. Now is not the time to lose our heads. Anything could happen. Perhaps nothing will change.

"It is a bit late to impose a deadline. We will see on September 2."

The transfer window for major mainland European clubs remains open until Monday and a delegation from Barcelona was reportedly in Paris earlier this week to discuss a deal.

However, PSG are said to have rejected the Spanish champions' latest offer of €150m in instalments plus Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele, who Tuchel worked with at Borussia Dortmund.

"Dembele? We know each other. A lot of things are said," Tuchel told reporters.

"I will not speak about a player from another club. He is under contract. I will not be speaking about him today."

It could be a busy conclusion to the transfer window for PSG, with Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas being tipped to join. 

"I cannot confirm anything," Tuchel said. "Alphonse Areola will be in goal against Metz. Marcin Bulka will be his number two."

PSG lost Kylian Mbappe, Edinson Cavani and Abdou Diallo to injury in the 4-0 win against Toulouse last time out and are also still without Julian Draxler, Thilo Kehrer and Ander Herrera, meaning a recall to the squad for outcast forward Jese Rodriguez.

The clock continues to wind down on the transfer window and Barcelona are no closer to reaching an agreement for Neymar.

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain and Barca want to re-sign the world's most expensive player.

But meeting PSG's needs prior to Monday's deadline is proving difficult for the LaLiga champions.

 

TOP STORY – PSG SAY NO TO BARCA… AGAIN

Paris Saint-Germain have rejected Barcelona's latest offer for wantaway superstar Neymar, according to RMC.

Barca reportedly offered PSG €150million in instalments plus Ousmane Dembele and Ivan Rakitic.

However, PSG turned down the proposal and only want cash, not an exchange.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester United are holding off on signing a striker as they eye Borussia Dortmund star Jadon Sancho, reports the Evening Standard. With Alexis Sanchez set to join Romelu Lukaku at Inter, free agent Fernando Llorente has emerged as a possible solution to improve United's forward options. However, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer is believed to be holding out for Sancho.

- AS claims Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain are negotiating a swap deal involving Keylor Navas and Alphonse Areola. Navas wants to leave the Santiago Bernabeu and the Costa Rica goalkeeper has reportedly agreed terms with Ligue 1 champions PSG.

Napoli are putting their move for Llorente on ice as they wait on Inter outcast Mauro Icardi. Llorente has been linked to Napoli, however, Sky Sport Italia and Sportitalia report Carlo Ancelotti's side will hold on until Friday for Icardi to accept an exit from Inter.

- Goal.com says Mario Mandzukic has turned down the chance to join Paris Saint-Germain from Juventus. The Croatia international, who was linked to Manchester United, wants to fight it out in Turin until January.

Angel Correa's proposed move to AC Milan is stalling over a transfer fee, according to Marca. The Atletico Madrid attacker is valued at €40m but Milan have only offered €25m.

- According to Gianluca Di Marzio, Serie A side Sassuolo are interested in signing Chelsea's Kenedy, who spent last season on loan at Newcastle United.

- Valencia have asked for Napoli full-back Elseid Hysaj on loan with the option to buy, reports Gianluca Di Marzio. It comes after Cristiano Piccini suffered a knee injury.

- Monaco striker Radamel Falcao is close to joining Turkish giants Galatasaray on a three-year deal, says L'Equipe.

Nice midfielder Pierre Lees-Melou and Marseille captain Steve Mandanda condemned the homophobic banners that forced Wednesday's Ligue 1 clash to be halted.

Marseille emerged 2-1 winners away to Nice midweek, but not before a controversial delay in play at Allianz Riviera.

Referee Clement Turpin decided to stop the game after two signs including homophobic language were seen in the crowd – the delay lasting around five minutes.

"We will not hide behind the interruption of the match," Lees-Melou said. "But it hurt us, we were in a strong time. 

"Was this decision justified? We are all against discrimination. We will not be able to change everything overnight.

"I heard such songs on the grounds. Now, if you have to police every game, it will be complicated."

Goalkeeper Mandanda added: "I totally understand the referees. It must be stopped.

"The stadium is supposed to be a festive and fun place. As for us, the players, this kind of interruption is always complicated. It is always difficult to return quickly then in the game."

It was Marseille's first victory of the season following a draw and loss under new head coach Andre Villas-Boas, while the result ended Nice's perfect start to the campaign.

The Ligue 1 match between Nice and Marseille on Wednesday was paused after homophobic banners were displayed.

Two signs including homophobic language were seen in the crowd at Allianz Riviera, leading referee Clement Turpin to stop the game.

A delay of around five minutes followed before the match got back under way, with Nice player Wylan Cyprien critical of the interruption.

"We can't stop a game every time that stupid people act like that," he said to Canal+. "I am against every discrimination, homophobia or racism.

"But we can't stop games for that. It's ridiculous."

Referees in France have been instructed to stop matches if homophobic banners are displayed, or homophobic chanting is heard, during the 2019-20 season.

The Ligue 2 match between Nancy and Le Mans on August 16 was the first to be temporarily suspended, while a referee threatened to do the same during the meeting of Monaco and Nimes in the top flight on Sunday.

The controversy at Nice came in the week British billionaire Jim Ratcliffe completed his long-awaited takeover.

Ratcliffe is the president of petrochemicals company INEOS, which this year bought the cycling outfit formerly known as Team Sky.

Alexis Sanchez and his horror spell at Manchester United looks set to be coming to an end.

Sanchez, who left Udinese for Barcelona in 2011, is reportedly poised to return to Serie A.

And his Italy comeback will see him reunite with a former Manchester United team-mate in Milan.

 

TOP STORY – SANCHEZ SET TO END UNITED NIGHTMARE

Inter have agreed a deal to sign Manchester United misfit Alexis Sanchez, according to widespread reports.

Sky Sport Italia, BBC Sport and Sportitalia report a season-long loan deal has been agreed, which does not include an option to buy.

Sanchez has endured a miserable spell at Old Trafford, where injuries and form issues have limited the Chilean to just five goals since arriving from Arsenal in January 2018, and he is set to reunite with Romelu Lukaku at Inter.

 

ROUND-UP

- Barcelona are optimistic Paris Saint-Germain will accept a proposal for wantaway superstar Neymar, according to Mundo Deportivo and reports in Spain. Barca and PSG held meetings in Paris on Tuesday. Le Parisien reports Barca offered €170million which would be paid in two instalments. Ousmane Dembele's name was also believed to be included in discussions.

Real Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane only wants Manchester United star Paul Pogba. That is according to Marca, as Ajax's Donny van de Beek and Tottenham midfielder Christian Eriksen wait in the wings.

- According to Tuttosport, Juventus have not given up on signing Inter outcast Mauro Icardi. The former Inter captain is not wanted by Antonio Conte or the club and while the Nerazzurri are reluctant to sell to Juve, the Serie A champions are waiting.

- AC Milan remain in pursuit of Atletico Madrid's Angel Correa, reports Gianluca Di Marzio. Correa wants to move to San Siro, however, a deal is yet to be reached. If Milan are unable to sign the attacker, they are reportedly set to turn to Gremio star Everton.

- According to FCInter1908, Inter are expected to sell Gabriel Barbosa to Brazilian side Flamengo. Gianluca Di Marzio says Gabigol will join Flamengo permanently in an €18m deal. The 22-year-old forward moved to Inter in 2016 but struggled to settle before spending time on loan at Benfica and former club Santos.

PSG are interested in signing Juventus forward Mario Mandzukic, claims Gianluca Di Marzio. The Croatia international has been linked to Manchester United in the past.

- Roma's Patrik Schick is close to accepting a move to RB Leipzig on loan. Goal.com reports the Bundesliga side have an option to purchase the forward for a fee in the region of €28m at the end of the loan deal. With Schick poised to depart, Roma have now been linked to Atletico Madrid veteran Nikola Kalinic.

- Napoli winger Adam Ounas has agreed to join Ligue 1 outfit Nice on loan. Gianluca Di Marzio's website says Nice have a €25m option to buy the 22-year-old, who left Bordeaux for Napoli in 2017.

Gerard Pique said he would like to see Paris Saint-Germain superstar Neymar return to LaLiga champions Barcelona.

Neymar wants to leave PSG and has been linked with a move back to Barca, two years on from his world-record €222million transfer.

Real Madrid have also emerged as a possible destination for Neymar before the transfer window shuts on September 2, but Barca defender Pique would be happy if the 27-year-old returned to Camp Nou.

"Of course we'd like him to come back," Pique told La 1 of Television Espanola.

"But it's something we can't control. We'll leave it in the hands of those who decide [these things] and from there we'll see in a few days."

Neymar – who missed the Copa America due to an ankle injury – is yet to feature for Ligue 1 champions PSG this season amid the ongoing speculation over his future.

The Brazilian forward was targeted by PSG fans during the home clash against Nimes on August 11, with banners criticising Neymar.

"He's thought a lot about everything and he's done everything right," Pique added.

Neymar has scored 34 goals in 37 Ligue 1 appearances despite both his seasons at PSG being interrupted by serious foot injuries.

In total, Neymar has managed 51 goals in 58 games for PSG – who have won two of their opening three Ligue 1 games in 2019-20.

Barcelona's pursuit of Neymar has become the saga of the transfer window in Spain and they are rumoured to have met with Paris Saint-Germain for negotiations on Tuesday.

Neymar left Barca in a world-record €222million move two years ago and, although the Brazilian has generally impressed on the pitch with 34 Ligue 1 goals and 20 assists in just 37 matches, it has not been a happy marriage.

The player's attitude has not helped endear himself to the club's hierarchy nor supporters, as he has been regularly flirting with other clubs and engaged in public disagreements with Edinson Cavani.

PSG have seemingly run out of patience with him, confirming they are happy to sell the Brazilian for the right price, with the transfer deadline on September 2 looming.

But with Barca understood to be unable to reach the desired fee – reportedly in the region of the €222m PSG paid in 2017 – several players have been suggested as potential makeweights…

Ousmane Dembele

Signed from Borussia Dortmund as part of the initial splurge after Neymar's departure, Dembele's time at Barca has been curious. While few doubt his ability and potential, the French winger has missed a frustrating amount of games through injury at Camp Nou, while various stories in the media have suggested the 22-year-old isn't as professional as he should be. The latest transfer rumours claim Barca have offered €170m plus Dembele for Neymar – and they might not get a better bid, as the winger would be a like-for-like replacement. Similarly, if Neymar signs and Dembele stays, he could be the main victim of the Brazilian's arrival.

Ivan Rakitic

A Barca regular over the past five years, Rakitic's popularity among fans has steadily declined. While some supporters suggest that's down to him being a somewhat conservative midfielder, from the outside it seems the Croatian is being castigated for a lack of "Barca DNA". According to Sport, PSG were "delighted" at the prospect of getting Rakitic in the deal, understandably given a lack of midfield depth. He could fill a similar box-to-box role like at Barca or be pushed further forward, a position in which he thrived previously at Sevilla.

Nelson Semedo

Now into his third season at Barca, the Portugal international has slowly won fans – and Ernesto Valverde – over. The 25-year-old appears to have ousted the maligned Sergi Roberto at right-back, with Semedo's far superior attacking attributes suggesting he could yet be the Dani Alves heir Barca have been searching for. Le Parisien claimed PSG want Semedo as part of any deal to compete with – and likely usurp – Thomas Meunier.

Samuel Umtiti

Spending €25m on Umtiti in 2016 initially looked a masterstroke by Barca and he has generally impressed when in action. But injuries have wreaked havoc on him and he now finds himself behind compatriot Clement Lenglet in the pecking order. Links with PSG have gone quiet in recent times due to their strong collection of centre-backs and he would likely struggle to dislodge Thiago Silva, Marquinhos or Abdou Diallo when he returns from injury.

 

Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid)

The curveball on the list. While it has been claimed Neymar only wants to join Barca, it's difficult to imagining him rejecting Madrid if it came to a choice between Los Blancos and PSG. However, for that to happen, AS believe the Ligue 1 champions will only accept a deal involving Vinicius. The 19-year-old looked a thrilling prospect in his debut campaign at the Santiago Bernabeu and would be about as close to Neymar – stylistically and positionally – as PSG can possibly get. How he may cope with the pressure of being his compatriot's replacement is another matter, however.

Real Madrid forward James Rodriguez and Radamel Falcao not been included in Colombia's squad for next month's friendlies against Brazil and Venezuela.

Madrid confirmed on Monday the 28-year-old had suffered a calf injury in his right leg but did not say how long he would be out for.

James started for the Spanish giants for the first time since May 2017 on Saturday, when Zinedine Zidane's side were held to a 1-1 LaLiga draw by Real Valladolid.

Atletico Madrid and Napoli were reportedly interested in signing James during the transfer window, but a deal failed to materialise and it looks likely he will stay at the Santiago Bernabeu beyond the transfer deadline of September 2.

Falcao is yet to make an appearance for Monaco this season due to injury and in his absence Colombia have called up Duvan Zapata, Rafael Santos Borre, Luis Muriel and Roger Martinez in attack for the double header.

Neymar made a mistake leaving Barcelona and the club should do everything to bring him back, according to former player Rivaldo.

The Brazil superstar has been heavily linked with a return to the Catalan giants two years after he joined Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million deal.

A delegation from Barca was reportedly in the French capital on Tuesday to discuss a deal, which would need to be completed before the transfer window closes on September 2.

Real Madrid have also been rumoured to be interested in the 27-year-old, but Rivaldo – who played for Barca between 1997 and 2002 – has urged his former side to act decisively and not allow another club to purchase him.  

"Everyone knows what happened with Neymar. His exit from Barcelona was wrong; he never should have left one of the biggest clubs in the world. But now he is anxious to return and accept his mistake," Rivaldo wrote on Instagram.

"I hope the president and the other members of the board don't let him go to another club and that everything is resolved with PSG and he can return to where he never should have left."

France defender Adil Rami has joined Fenerbahce following his sacking by Marseille.

The 33-year-old's contract with the Ligue 1 side was terminated two weeks ago for gross misconduct, after he reportedly skipped training to take part in a reality TV show.

Rami, who spent two years at Marseille following spells with Lille, Valencia, AC Milan and Sevilla, has been handed a one-year deal by Fenerbahce with the option of a further 12 months.

"I'm very happy to be here," he told his new club's official website. "I've watched the derbies before - there is a real passion here.

"I'm going to start training now with my new team-mates. I'm going to try to find myself slowly, then I will prepare for the matches.

"I'm so proud to be here. I will do my best as a part of the Fenerbahce family."

Rami was part of France's World Cup-winning squad last year but did not play a single minute in Russia.

Kylian Mbappe has become more driven in pursuit of success since joining Paris Saint-Germain two years ago, according to club captain Thiago Silva.

France forward Mbappe is in his third season with the Ligue 1 champions, for whom he scored 39 times in all competitions last term.

The 20-year-old's goals spearheaded PSG's charge to a second successive league title and more responsibility has been thrust in his direction due to Neymar's omission from matchday calculations amid ongoing transfer rumours.

Mbappe is set to miss around a month with a hamstring injury suffered in the weekend win over Toulouse, but experienced defender Silva has seen enough to know the World Cup winner can bounce back and resume his role as a burgeoning leader.

"It's a pity, this hamstring injury, but that's football," Silva told RMC Sport.

"I'm sure he'll come back stronger.

"He hasn't changed much, for me he's still the same player, although this year I see a little difference in his intensity in training, his desire to win the game, to score goals.

"He is more motivated, he has progressed a lot in his mind, he is very professional and a hard worker."

Unlike former Monaco striker Mbappe, who is contracted until 2022, skipper Silva has under 12 months left to run on his PSG deal.

The Brazil international previously outlined a plan to leave the club as a free agent in 2020 but now wants to end his career in the French capital.

"I want to finish here but it's going to depend on this season," the 34-year-old said.

"We're going to start talking about it soon, that's normal.

"I don't want to think about it now - I'm only focused on my work, on the team. If we do a good job this season, things will come naturally.

"I'm prepared to stay, if the club wants it of course."

All eyes remain on Neymar as Barcelona and Real Madrid continue trying to work out a deal with Paris Saint-Germain for the superstar forward.

Neymar, 27, is heavily linked with a return to LaLiga before the transfer window closes on September 2, but there has seemingly been limited progress.

The slow developments continue as numerous Barcelona players are either being asked for or offered to PSG, who know what they want from Madrid.

 

TOP STORY – PSG DEMAND VINICIUS FROM MADRID IN NEYMAR DEAL

PSG have told Real Madrid they will only negotiate for Neymar if Vinicius Junior is part of a deal, according to AS.

The LaLiga giants have already rejected a proposal involving Vinicius three times, the report says.

Barcelona are expected to be in Paris on Tuesday, according to Le Parisien, who report PSG have revealed what they want for Neymar.

According to the report, PSG want €100million plus Nelson Semedo and Ousmane Dembele.

Barcelona are willing to offer a maximum of €170m for Neymar if it can be paid over two years, according to Sport.

ROUND-UP

- Manchester United and Inter have spoken again and the Serie A giants are optimistic they will reach an agreement for Alexis Sanchez, according to Sky Sport. The difficulty in negotiations continues to be around the attacker's salary.

- Just what Christian Eriksen's future holds remains unclear. Tottenham have offered the midfielder a new contract but his representatives are unwilling to talk, according to the Mirror. Eriksen wants a move to either Real Madrid or Barcelona, who are yet to make a bid for the Denmark international, the report says.

- Mesut Ozil has been linked with a move away from Arsenal, but it seems the playmaker could stay at Emirates Stadium. Turkish Football claims Ozil will not leave Arsenal during this transfer window.

- Fred's time at Manchester United could be over. Fiorentina have offered €20m (£18.2m) for the Brazil midfielder, according to La Nazione. Meanwhile, The Times report Fred is expected to stay after holding talks with manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Staying at Old Trafford, Nemanja Matic wants talks with Solskjaer after losing his first-team place, according to the Mirror.

- Merih Demiral's stay at Juventus may be brief. AC Milan and Juve are set to meet again regarding the defender, with the Rossoneri prepared to offer €35m for the Turkey international, who joined the Serie A champions for €18m last month. According to Gianluca Di Marzio, that would mean Daniele Rugani would stay in Turin and Roma would again turn their attentions to Liverpool centre-back Dejan Lovren.

- After scoring his first Chelsea goals, Tammy Abraham is set to earn a new deal. The Telegraph reports the Premier League giants are ready to offer the striker a deal that would more than double his £50,000-per-week wages.

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