Eden Hazard has been named the UEFA Europa League Player of the Year for 2018-19, after leading Chelsea to the trophy.

Hazard scored twice in Chelsea's 4-1 victory over Premier League rivals Arsenal in May's final in Baku, his only goals in Europe's second-tier competition last term.

His double proved to be his final Chelsea goals, with the Belgium forward moving to Real Madrid in the off season.

The 28-year-old overcame competition from former team-mate Olivier Giroud, top scorer in last season's Europa League with 11 goals, and current Madrid club-mate Luka Jovic, who helped Eintracht Frankfurt to the semi-finals, where they were beaten by Chelsea.

"Thank you to everyone who voted for me and I'd like to wish everybody playing in the Europa League good luck," Hazard said in a video interview broadcast ahead of the draw for this season's group stage in Monaco.

Eden Hazard has been named in the Belgium squad for their upcoming Euro 2020 qualifiers against San Marino and Scotland.

Hazard joined Real Madrid in June, signing a five-year contract at the Santiago Bernabeu after Chelsea agreed to sell their prized asset.

Madrid were dealt a blow on the eve of their LaLiga opener against Celta Vigo though, when it was confirmed Hazard had sustained a thigh injury.

The 28-year-old has missed Madrid's opening two fixtures, though is reportedly in contention to make his LaLiga bow against Villarreal on Sunday, and any injury concerns have not stopped Roberto Martinez naming Hazard in Belgium's squad for their upcoming qualifiers.

Martinez did, however, confirm Belgium's star man will not be risked if not deemed fully fit.

"For Hazard, every day will be important regarding his injury. We will not take any risks. This weekend will be important and we will take a decision afterwards," the Red Devils coach told a news conference.

Hazard, who has scored three goals in qualifying, is joined by Manchester City star Kevin de Bruyne, new Inter striker Romelu Lukaku in a 28-man selection and his younger brother Thorgan, despite the Borussia Dortmund playmaker having been ruled out for "several weeks" with a rib injury.

Benito Raman and Anderlecht youngster Yari Verschaeren have been handed their first senior call-ups. 

Belgium have made a fantastic start to their qualification campaign, winning all four of their Group E matches so far, scoring 11 goals and conceding just one in return.

Martinez's side visit minnows San Marino on September 6, before facing Scotland in Glasgow three days later.

Belgium squad in full: Koen Casteels (Wolfsburg), Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid), Simon Mignolet (Club Brugge), Matz Sels (Strasbourg); Toby Alderweireld (Tottenham), Jason Denayer (Lyon), Brandon Mechele (Club Brugge), Thomas Meunier (Paris Saint-Germain), Thomas Vermaelen (Vissel Kobe), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham); Yannick Carrasco (Dalian Yifang), Nacer Chadli (Anderlecht), Kevin de Bruyne (Manchester City), Leander Dendoncker (Wolves), Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund), Denis Praet (Leicester City), Youri Tielemans (Leicester City); Michy Batshuayi (Chelsea), Christian Benteke (Crystal Palace), Eden Hazard (Real Madrid), Adnan Januzaj (Real Sociedad), Romelu Lukaku (Inter), Dries Mertens (Napoli), Divock Origi (Liverpool), Benito Raman (Schalke), Leandro Trossard (Brighton and Hove Albion), Hans Vanaken (Club Brugge), Yari Verschaeren (Anderlecht).

Maybe, just maybe, the Neymar transfer saga is coming to an end.

The Brazilian's future has dominated the headlines over recent weeks as Barcelona try to re-sign the wantaway Paris Saint-Germain superstar.

With the September 2 deadline looming, Barca may have struck a deal…

 

TOP STORY – BARCA AND PSG REACH NEYMAR AGREEMENT

According to BBC Sport, Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain have agreed terms on the value of Neymar.

The two clubs have reportedly settled on a figure of €200million for a player who left Camp Nou in a world-record €222m deal in 2017.

The LaLiga champions are also willing to offer Jean-Clair Todibo, Ivan Rakitic and Ousmane Dembele on a season-long loan, though all three players still have to agree terms.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Gianluca di Marzio, Atletico Madrid have made an enquiry for Inter outcast Mauro Icardi. However, the race seems to be between Napoli and Monaco, who are both reportedly prepared to pay €65million for the former Inter captain.

- A swap deal involving Keylor Navas and Alphonse Areola is close to completion. RMC says Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Areola has reached an agreement with Real Madrid. Marca, meanwhile, says Navas will sign a three-year deal with PSG.

Parma are confident of signing Manchester United full-back Matteo Darmian, says Alfredo Pedulla. Former Torino defender Darmian has been virtually non-existent at Old Trafford in recent months.

- Radio Marte reporter Dario Sarnataro claims Chelsea have offered Michy Batshuayi to Napoli. The 25-year-old striker has recently spent time on loan at Borussia Dortmund, Valencia and Crystal Palace.

- Manchester United defender Chris Smalling is on the verge of moving to Roma on loan, according to widespread reports in Italy and England.

- Arsenal midfielder Mohamed Elneny is set to join Besiktas on a season-long loan, says Goal.com. The Egypt international only made 17 appearances last season. Il Messaggero, meanwhile, claims the Gunners and Tottenham are both monitoring Roma star Cengiz Under.

Patrice Evra said Paul Pogba will stay at Manchester United, though he does not know how long the reported Real Madrid target will remain with the Premier League giants.

Pogba has been linked with a move away from United as Madrid and former club Juventus reportedly circle the French World Cup winner.

Madrid are keen to bring Pogba to the Santiago Bernabeu before the European transfer window shuts on September 2, though United are believed to want close to the world-record €222million fee Paris Saint-Germain paid Barcelona for Neymar in 2017.

Earlier this month, Evra claimed Pogba does not feel loved in Manchester, though the former Red Devils left-back advised his countryman to stay at United.

"Paul is focused, Paul is in Manchester and he will stay in Manchester," said Evra, who won five Premier League titles and the Champions League among other honours at Old Trafford.

"There have been discussions, but it's good for the club and it's good for him [that he stays]. Now we have to concentrate, we'll see over the years if he stays, but now it would be difficult for him to leave Manchester.

"Leaving at the end of the transfer window when the season has already started, no. I hope he will have a great season with Manchester.

"I'm not divided. Paul, he's my brother, so he's the best for me. If he's not happy in Manchester, I'll tell Paul to leave. If he's happy in Manchester, I'll tell him to stay. But to tell you the truth, I would advise him to stay."

Pogba and United have experienced a mixed start to the season, with a win, draw and loss from their opening three Premier League matches.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer's United routed Chelsea 4-0 in their opening before drawing at Wolves and losing to Crystal Palace last week.

United, who will be without injured pair Luke Shaw and Anthony Martial, are away to Southampton on Saturday.

Juventus forward Cristiano Ronaldo thinks Lionel Messi has pushed him to become a better player and says he enjoys a "good relationship" with the Barcelona star.

The pair dominated the Ballon d'Or voting for a decade, winning it five times apiece before Luka Modric broke their stranglehold last year.

Messi and Ronaldo were second and third respectively for the UEFA Men's Player of the Year award for 2019, which was won by Virgil van Dijk.

Ronaldo swapped Real Madrid for Juventus in 2018 and Messi recently confessed he has missed having the Portugal international in LaLiga.

Speaking at UEFA's award ceremony ahead of Thursday's Champions League draw, Ronaldo thanked Messi for helping to raise his game and vowed to maintain his high performance levels.

"We have shared the stage [for] 15 years. I don't know if that's happened before - the same two guys, all the time," he said.

"We had that battle in Spain, I pushed him, and he pushed me. So, it's good to be part of the history of football.

"Of course, we have a good relationship. We haven't had dinner together yet, but maybe in the future!

"Leo is two years younger than me but I look good for my age. I hope to be here next year, and in two or three. People who don't like me will continue to see me here."

Messi, sitting alongside Ronaldo at the glitzy ceremony in Monaco, pipped Ronaldo to be named the Forward of the Season for the 2018-19 Champions League.

"With Cristiano, it was a beautiful rivalry," he said.

"It's nice to score goals. The goal is always to try to do things to win, before scoring. But if you can win and score, then [it's] better."

Champions League holders Liverpool have learned their opponents for the 2019-20 group stage, with Jurgen Klopp's side facing Napoli again.

The Reds were placed in Group B, which also includes Salzburg and Genk, when Thursday's draw was made in Monaco.

Inter's return to the Champions League saw them placed along with Barcelona and Borussia Dortmund in a daunting Group F, which also includes Slavia Prague.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid's bid to recapture their crown will see Zinedine Zidane's men take on Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain, as well as Club Brugge and Galatasaray.

Champions League group stage draw in full:

Group A: Paris Saint-Germain, Real Madrid, Club Brugge, Galatasaray

Group B: Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Olympiacos, Red Star Belgrade

Group C: Manchester City, Shakhtar Donetsk, Dinamo, Atalanta

Group D: Juventus, Atletico Madrid, Bayer Leverkusen, Lokomotiv Moscow

Group E: Liverpool, Napoli, Salzburg, Genk

Group F: Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund, Inter, Slavia Prague

Group G: Zenit, Benfica, Lyon, RB Leipzig

Group H: Chelsea, Ajax, Valencia, Lille

Holders Liverpool have been drawn with Napoli in the Champions League group stages, while Real Madrid will face Paris Saint-Germain.

Madrid and PSG will also meet Club Brugge and Galatasaray in Group A, with the action set to get underway on September 17 and 18, while the final will be played in Istanbul on May 30.

Liverpool's attempt to defend their title will see Jurgen Klopp's Reds come up against Napoli, Salzburg and Genk in Group E.

Meanwhile, beaten finalists Tottenham are in Group B with Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich, as well as Greek giants Olympiacos and Red Star Belgrade.

The strongest group is arguably F, where Barcelona, Borussia Dortmund and Antonio Conte's Inter are joined by Slavia Prague.

Perhaps the most open is Group G,where Russian champions Zenit are in with Benfica, Lyon and RB Leipzig.

Juventus take on Atletico Madrid in a repeat of last season's quarter-final in Group D, where Bayer Leverkusen and Lokomotiv Moscow were also placed.

Manchester City, among the favourites for the tournament, take on familiar foes in the form of Shakhtar Donetsk, along with Dinamo Zagreb and tournament debutants Atalanta.

Europa League winners Chelsea meet last term's semi-finalists Ajax in Group H, with those sides meeting in European competition for the first time. Valencia and Lille complete that section.

Cristiano Ronaldo made his first competitive appearance for Real Madrid 10 years ago in a 3-2 LaLiga victory against Deportivo La Coruna.

The Portugal forward reached superstar status after being made the world's most expensive player at the time when joining Madrid from Manchester United for a reported €94million.

He went on to become the club's all-time leading scorer and won 15 trophies, including four Champions League crowns and two LaLiga titles, before leaving for Juventus in 2018.

To mark the decade anniversary since it all began for Ronaldo at Madrid, we look back at their team from that day and where they all are 10 years on.

Goalkeeper: Iker Casillas

Synonymous with the number one shirt at Real Madrid and widely considered one of the greatest goalkeepers of all time, Casillas brought an end to his 25-year spell at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2015 by joining Porto. The veteran suffered a heart attack during a training session in May and doubts remain over his future in the game, with an administrative role at Porto likely if he retires.

Right-back: Alvaro Arbeloa

Arbeloa returned to Madrid for a second spell at the club the month after Ronaldo joined and he became a regular at the back for several years before joining West Ham in 2016. The World Cup-winning defender retired after one season at West Ham. He has lived a somewhat low-key retirement, but did briefly coach Mambo FC in 2018, a team formed of freestyle footballers from YouTube.

Centre-back: Ezequiel Garay

Garay's Real Madrid career never managed to take off and he was sold to Benfica in 2011 after falling down the pecking order. He moved to Zenit St Petersburg three years later and is now back in the Spanish top flight with Valencia, where he has featured regularly over the past three seasons.

Hay que seguir luchando,no hay otro camino,los resultados positivos seguro que van a llegar,gracias a la afición por el apoyo de siempre #G24 #amuntvalencia pic.twitter.com/Wo7PVLl97z

— Ezequiel Garay (@Garay_24) February 17, 2019

Centre-back: Raul Albiol

Another player signed the year Ronaldo arrived, Albiol was snapped up from LaLiga counterparts Valencia and played 43 matches in all competitions in his debut campaign. He left for Napoli in 2013 after seeing his playing time gradually reduce, spending six seasons there before returning to Spain with Villarreal in July.

Left-back: Marcelo

One of only two players from this side still at Madrid, Marcelo is now into his 14th season at the club and has been a regular in most of those campaigns. Despite strong links with a move to Juve earlier this year, Marcelo remained at the Santiago Bernabeu and has started both league matches this term.

 

https://t.co/ZW98dzRll2

— Marcelotwelve (@MarceloM12) July 28, 2019

Central midfielder: Lassana Diarra

Diarra made a positive start to his Los Blancos career and later featured 17 times in their title-winning season of 2011-12, but the Frenchman moved to Anzhi Makhachkala in 2012 after playing time decreased. He then spent time with Lokomotiv Moscow, Marseille and Al Jazira, before a surprise move to Paris Saint-Germain in January 2018. He retired in February, though he was an unused substitute once for Belgian side Sporting Charleroi in March.

Central midfielder: Xabi Alonso

Alonso was signed from Liverpool and became the linchpin of Madrid's midfield for five years, winning five major honours, including the Champions League in 2014. He then linked up with Pep Guardiola at Bayern Munich, before bowing out on a high in 2017 after adding five more trophies to his collection. He has since moved into coaching, taking charge of boyhood club Real Sociedad's 'B' team.

Attacking midfielder: Kaka

Kaka arrived at Madrid in June 2009 as a one-time Ballon d'Or winner and was the most expensive player in the world for all of a month, a record that was taken from him by Ronaldo. The Brazilian struggled under Jose Mourinho and returned to AC Milan four years later, with Gareth Bale's arrival pushing him further out of the picture. He was unable to match his previous heights in San Siro and saw out his career in Major League Soccer with Orlando City. Rumours of a return with Silvio Berlusconi-backed Monza failed to materialise.

Forward: Cristiano Ronaldo

Ronaldo got off the mark in his first outing for Madrid with a penalty. The five-time Ballon d'Or winner went on to add a further 450 goals, becoming Madrid's all-time leading goal-scorer. If last year's switch to Juve was surprising, his form for the Old Lady was anything but. He was crowned Serie A's Player of the Year in his debut campaign after guiding Juve to an eighth straight Scudetto with his 21 goals in the league.

Forward: Raul

Club icon Raul was into the latter stages of his Madrid career when Ronaldo arrived, spending just one season alongside him. Ronaldo was handed Raul's number seven shirt when the Spaniard left for Schalke 04 in 2010 and many of his goalscoring records have since fallen to arguably the club's greatest ever player. Raul spent a combined five years with Schalke, Al Sadd and New York Cosmos before moving into coaching with Real Madrid's age-grade and reserve sides.

Forward: Karim Benzema

The other member of this team still at the Santiago Bernabeu, Benzema has managed to see off a succession of strikers to remain Los Blancos' go-to man up top. The Frenchman joined the same year as Ronaldo and formed an impressive partnership with his attacking colleague. He is sixth on the club's list of all-time leading scorers with 224 goals, but is still a long way short of Ronaldo's record.

Substitute: Esteban Granero

Granero started his career with Madrid and returned in 2009 following a spell with neighbours Getafe. He never became first-choice and is now at Espanyol, having also played for QPR and Real Sociedad.

Substitute: Gonzalo Higuain

The Argentine striker was prolific for Madrid and Napoli between 2007 and 2016, before controversially swapping Naples for Turin. After unsuccessful loan spells with AC Milan and Chelsea, he is back with the Old Lady under Maurizio Sarri.

Substitute: Guti

Guti spent 15 years with Madrid and is renowned as one of the most talented players to have come through their academy. He left in 2010 and spent the final year of his career with Besiktas and is now part of their coaching staff, having also previously worked behind the scenes with Madrid.

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.

UEFA has confirmed the seedings for Thursday's Champions League draw with Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund all in pot two.

Champions League holders Liverpool are in the top pot along with fellow Premier League sides Manchester City and Chelsea, as well as league winners Paris Saint-Germain, Juventus and Bayern Munich.

Zenit complete the pot one line-up as the Russian Premier League champions are designated by UEFA to be given a place among the other top seeds.

That means last season's beaten finalists Tottenham go into pot two with the two Madrid clubs, as well as Napoli, Shakhtar Donetsk, Benfica and Ajax – the 2018-19 semi-finalists who beat APOEL in the play-off round to secure qualification.

Club Brugge and Slavia Prague also came through the play-off round on Wednesday and they have been placed in the third and fourth pots respectively.

The draw will be made at the Grimaldi Forum in Monaco, with the group stage set to get under way in mid-September while this season's final is scheduled for May 30 in Istanbul.

Pot one: Barcelona, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Juventus, Paris Saint-Germain, Zenit

Pot two: Real Madrid, Atletico Madrid, Borussia Dortmund, Napoli, Tottenham, Shakhtar Donetsk, Ajax, Benfica

Pot three: Lyon, Bayer Leverkusen, Salzburg, Olympiacos, Club Brugge, Dinamo Zagreb, Inter, Valencia

Pot four: Lokomotiv Moscow, Genk, Red Star Belgrade, RB Leipzig, Lille, Atalanta, Slavia Prague, Galatasaray

Isco has joined Real Madrid's mounting injury list after suffering a hamstring issue.

Scans on Wednesday revealed muscle damage in the attacking midfielder's right leg.

Spain international Isco was substituted in the 68th minute of the weekend meeting with Real Valladolid as Madrid were held to a 1-1 home draw.

The Spanish side have not confirmed the severity of the setback, but the 27-year-old is likely to miss Sunday's visit to Villarreal.

"His recovery will continue to be monitored," the club added in a statement.

Isco's injury is another blow to Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane, who has been without Eden Hazard, Ferland Mendy and long-term absentee Marco Asensio during LaLiga's opening two rounds.

Los Blancos have also lost James Rodriguez to a calf problem, while youngsters Rodrygo Goes and Brahim Diaz remain sidelined.

Isco might additionally be forced to sit out his country's Euro 2020 qualifiers against Romania and Faroe Islands on September 5 and 8, respectively.

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.

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