Kylian Mbappe continues to be linked with a move away from Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool are seemingly well in the race.

Mbappe, 20, has starred for PSG since arriving in 2017, but is reportedly a target for LaLiga giants Real Madrid.

However, Champions League winners Liverpool could also make a move for the France international forward.

 

TOP STORY – LIVERPOOL INTERESTED IN MBAPPE

Liverpool are set to battle Real Madrid for Mbappe, according to El Desmarque.

The report says the Premier League leaders have the funds to sign Mbappe after a quiet transfer window ahead of the 2019-20 season.

Mbappe remains the main target for Madrid despite being contracted at PSG until 2022.

 

ROUND-UP

- Bayern Munich are looking for a coach to replace Niko Kovac and Arsene Wenger may, or may not, be a target. Bild reports the Bundesliga giants have spoken to the former Arsenal manager, while The Athletic says Bayern do not want Wenger.

- There could also be a coaching change coming at Barcelona. LaLiga's champions look set to part ways with Ernesto Valverde at the end of the season, with Marca reporting Netherlands coach Ronald Koeman is the top target to take over at Camp Nou.

- Back at Anfield and Liverpool could be lining up a move for Genk midfielder Sander Berge. Norwegian newspaper VG claims Jurgen Klopp told Berge he was a "very interesting player" after Liverpool's 2-1 Champions League win over Genk on Tuesday.

- Napoli are well off the pace in Serie A and it could see Carlo Ancelotti make a January exit. FOX Sports reports Boca Juniors are interested in the Italian tactician.

- Chelsea look set to make changes to their squad in January. The Premier League side are open to listening to offers for Olivier Giroud and Pedro in early 2020, according to The Telegraph.

- Amid a lack of playing time, Nemanja Matic is considering a Manchester United exit in January, according to the Manchester Evening News. Matic has made just two Premier League starts for United this season.

Romelu Lukaku's two-goal showing for Inter at Bologna has earned him a place in the FUT Team of the Week, though Timo Werner's inclusion is arguably the most deserved of this week's selection.

Werner lit up the Bundesliga at the weekend with a hat-trick and a treble of assists in RB Leipzig's 8-0 demolition of Mainz, having a hand in all but two of Leipzig's goals in a remarkable win.

The Germany international became only the second player to be involved in six goals in a single Bundesliga match since detailed Opta data collection began in 2004-05 – the first being Claudio Pizarro with four goals and two assists in May 2013.

He is partnered in attack by Lukaku after his goals secured 2-1 comeback win on the road, while a forward-thinking back three includes Juventus star Matthijs de Ligt and Manchester City full-back Kyle Walker.

Below, we examine the entire squad that is set to be up for grabs online.

FUT Team of the Week

GK: Yann Sommer (Borussia Monchengladbach) – 86

RB: Kyle Walker (Manchester City) – 86

CB: Matthijs de Ligt (Piemonte Calcio/Juventus) – 86

LB: Alex Grimaldo (Benfica) – 85

LM: Filip Kostic (Eintracht Frankfurt) – 84

CAM: Iker Muniain (Athletic Bilbao) – 84

CM: Luis Alberto (Lazio) – 86

LM: Thorgan Hazard (Borussia Dortmund) – 84

CAM: Hakim Ziyech (Ajax) – 86

ST: Timo Werner (RB Leipzig) – 85

ST: Romelu Lukaku (Inter) – 86

SUBSTITUTES

GK: Walter Benitez (Nice) – 83

CB: Chris Smalling (Roma) – 83

LB: Frank Fabra (Boca Juniors/Buenos Aires) – 82

RM: Fabian Orellana (Eibar) – 82

CAM: Nicolas Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders) – 82

ST: Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) – 84

ST: Joao Pedro (Cagliari) – 81

RESERVES

CB: Harry Ashcroft (Finn Harps) – 69

ST: Camillo Ciano (Frosinone) – 80

CM: John Lundstram (Sheffield United) – 76

ST: Mohamed Buya Turay (Djurgardens) – 77

ST: Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Tranmere Rovers) – 71

Napoli have threatened to punish their own players after Carlo Ancelotti's first-team stars apparently abandoned a week-long training camp.

Tension is building in Naples following a poor run of form that has seen Ancelotti's side win just twice since September, and the experienced head coach risks a UEFA fine after failing to hold a news conference after Tuesday's 1-1 draw with Salzburg in the Champions League.

Furthermore, widespread reports have said the Napoli players went to their homes after the game in an act of open rebellion, rather than return to a training retreat at nearby Castel Volturno that club president Aurelio De Laurentiis is thought to have ordered.

De Laurentiis spoke with his lawyers and Ancelotti on Wednesday, according to La Gazzetta dello Sport, before the club released a statement that indicated punishments could be coming.

Napoli's statement said: "With regard to the behaviour of the first-team squad on Tuesday night, the club announces that it will do everything in its power to protect its economic interests, assets, image rights and disciplinary interests.

"The club would also like to make clear that it has entrusted first-team coach Carlo Ancelotti with decision-making responsibility as regards the first-team training camp.

"There will be no more press statements for the foreseeable future."

Napoli, who finished runners-up to Juventus last season in Ancelotti's first campaign at the helm, are seventh in Serie A.

Despite some reports suggesting Ancelotti is on the brink of being sacked, the head coach has received backing from captain and striker Lorenzo Insigne.

"We're a close-knit group and that's down to the coach as he maintains calm and has tried to take the pressure off us in this difficult spell," Insigne said.

"We're grateful to him and we all want to perform well for him. He helps us so much and he deserves success.

"We must look forward and think positive. Everything is in our hands and we're determined to wrap up qualification in our two remaining games."

Jorginho wants Serie A to take a "broader look" at the issue of racism beyond just penalising Hellas Verona following the abuse Mario Balotelli suffered at the weekend.

Brescia striker Balotelli kicked a ball into the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch having heard monkey chants during the match at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi on Sunday.

Verona's coach Ivan Juric insisted there was no racist chanting, but Serie A punished the club by giving them a one-match partial stadium ban.

There have been other recent incidents of players suffering racist abuse in Italy this season, with Napoli's Kalidou Koulibaly and Inter striker Romelu Lukaku subjected to offensive chants during games, and Jorginho wants Serie A to take a wider look at the problem.

"I am really sorry, because these things shouldn't happen - neither in football nor in the world," the Chelsea and Italy midfielder said.

"Unfortunately, they happen and I am really sorry. I'd like to send my affection to Mario, who doesn't deserve this.

"And if I may, I'd like to ask not to do things like this, because it really hurts these people and it should never happen.

"Unfortunately, it happened, but I don't think this happened only in Verona. It's happening everywhere.

"Therefore, I think we shouldn't penalise or point the finger only on Verona, we should take a broader look, because it didn't happen only in Verona.

"Yes, they made a mistake and it is true that it's not the first time, but how many times [has] it happened in other cities as well? It shouldn't happen, I repeat, and I am really sorry, but we have to take a broader look to all the cities where it happened and not only to Verona."

 

Brescia striker Mario Balotelli has criticised the "idiots" who racially abused him over the weekend but holds no grudges towards Hellas Verona.

Balotelli kicked a ball into the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch after being subjected to monkey noises during the Serie A match at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi on Sunday.

The referee brought play to a halt and followed protocol, with a prepared statement read over the public address system, as players from both sides persuaded Balotelli to play on.

Serie A has since enforced a one-match partial stadium closure while Verona have banned the leader of their ultras for 11 years, despite head coach Ivan Juric claiming no racist chanting took place.

Balotelli reserved his anger for the individuals responsible for the abuse.

"I didn't accuse Verona, I didn't accuse the Verona curva, I accused the few idiots who did it. I heard them," Balotelli told SportMediaset programme Le Iene.

"It wasn't two or three, because I heard them from the pitch. If I don't react, nothing happens. It's not a mistake, it's a serious matter.

"I tell the truth, the Verona stadium and the Verona fans are also nice to me, with their banter. But if you want to distract a player, you can do it in a thousand ways. Not like this. This is not good."

Balotelli, who scored for Brescia in the 2-1 defeat, said the treatment was particularly hurtful as his daughter had been watching on television.

"It makes it three times worse," he said. "It's already happened to her. You can't insult a child with words like that. Education and respect come from us adults.

"I'm not saying that I am different from the other players who have had the same noises and the same howls, but the problem is that I am Italian, and I want to be back in the national team."

Lorenzo Insigne mounted a strong defence of Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti following the frustrating 1-1 Champions League draw against Salzburg.

Hirving Lozano cancelled out Erling Haaland's early opener at Stadio San Paolo but the Serie A side failed to find the winner that would have confirmed their place in the knockout rounds.

Tuesday's draw extended Napoli's winless run to four games in all competitions and Ancelotti's failure to appear for the customary post-match news conference did nothing to dispel rumours of division at the club.

The former AC Milan and Real Madrid boss has reportedly been at odds with Aurelio de Laurentiis over the outspoken president's decision to order the first-team squad into a training retreat.

Ancelotti appears to be under an increasing amount of pressure but retains the backing of his captain. 

"We're a close-knit group and that's down to the coach as he maintains calm and has tried to take the pressure off us in this difficult spell," Insigne said.

"We're grateful to him and we all want to perform well for him. He helps us so much and he deserves success.

"We must look forward and think positive. Everything is in our hands and we're determined to wrap up qualification in our two remaining games."

Napoli are a point behind leaders Liverpool in Group E and four ahead of third-placed Salzburg, who were on the back foot for much of Tuesday's match.

"We deserved to win the game – we created loads of chances but needed to be more clinical with our finishing," Insigne added.

"We have to play with this same spirit and belief all the time because our luck will turn."

Despite his exceptional pedigree, Ancelotti has struggled to extract the best from Napoli since taking over in the wake of Maurizio Sarri's acrimonious exit.

The Partenopei finished well off the pace of Serie A champions Juventus last term and sit seventh – 11 points behind the titleholders – after 11 games of the new season.

Juventus head coach Maurizio Sarri says it is "unacceptable" that racism is still an issue in football in 2019 after Mario Balotelli was abused by Hellas Verona fans on Sunday.

Brescia striker Balotelli kicked the ball towards a section of Verona supporters in the second half of their Serie A clash after hearing abuse, then threatened to walk off the pitch.

The referee halted play before following protocol, with a statement read out to the crowd in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Balotelli was persuaded to stay on and see out the game, the former Manchester City and Inter striker scoring a stunning late goal in Brescia's 2-1 defeat.

Serie A confirmed a one-match partial stadium closure for Verona on Tuesday, while the club have banned their head ultra for 11 years after he defended the discriminatory chants.

Speaking ahead of Juve's Champions League meeting with Lokomotiv Moscow on Wednesday, Sarri expressed his frustration that racism continues to plague not just football but also society as a whole.

"It's not like these people come from an isolated world," he told a media conference. "It is people who live in society, which means there is racism everywhere.

"It is unacceptable that in 2019 there is still talk of racism. There is only one race and it is human. We have the technology to identify those responsible and stop them from going into stadiums."

Sarri knows a win in Moscow will secure their place in the knockout stages with two games to spare.

Gonzalo Higuain is pushing for a starting place up front, with Sarri believing the striker has become a more rounded team player this season.

The 31-year-old has managed just three goals in 12 appearances but has generally performed well alongside Cristiano Ronaldo or Paulo Dybala in attack.

"He has improved in making himself available to the team," Sarri explained.

"Before he was more focused on scoring goals; he was more selfish. Now he is more involved in the team play. He is perhaps less dangerous in the penalty area, but he works a lot for the team."

Brescia have appointed Fabio Grosso as their new head coach.

The 41-year-old former Italy international takes charge following the departure of Eugenio Corini, who was sacked after the 2-1 Serie A defeat to rivals Hellas Verona.

Grosso was head coach of Verona last season but was dismissed in May, a month before they secured promotion back to Serie A with a play-off win over Cittadella.

The former Juventus and Inter full-back, who won two Serie A titles and the 2006 World Cup with Italy, was previously coach of Bari.

His first game in charge will be at home to Torino on Saturday, as Brescia look to arrest a run of three consecutive defeats, which has left them 19th in the table.

Last Sunday's 2-1 loss to Verona was marred by an incident of racist abuse in which fans targeted Brescia striker Mario Balotelli.

Balotelli threatened to walk off the pitch after being subjected to taunts by a section of home supporters, although Hellas head coach Ivan Juric insisted after the match that the abuse was not racist in nature.

On Monday, Serie A announced they had issued the club with a one-match partial stadium ban, specifically targeting the Poltrone Est section of the stand, where the abuse against Balotelli was heard.

Verona have also banned leading ultra Luca Castellini for 11 years after he appeared on radio and claimed the racial element was only "in [Balotelli's] own head", that Balotelli cannot be considered "completely Italian" and the fans' chants were to "make fun" of the striker, rather than racially abuse him.

The club said Castellini's remarks were "expressions seriously contrary to those that distinguish the ethical principles and values of our club".

Serie A has confirmed a one-match partial stadium closure for Hellas Verona after supporters racially abused Brescia's Mario Balotelli, while the club have banned their head ultra for 11 years after defending the discriminatory chants.

Balotelli kicked the ball into the stands and threatened to walk off the pitch in the second half of his side's 2-1 defeat at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi on Sunday after hearing monkey chants.

The referee brought play to a halt before following protocol, with a statement read out in an attempt to resolve the situation, and Balotelli was persuaded to play on, later scoring Brescia's goal.

But Verona coach Ivan Juric subsequently insisted there was no racist chanting, while the club's president claimed he did not hear any abuse, and Luca Castellini – the head of their ultras – was involved in a controversial radio interview.

In the conversation, Castellini said the racial element was only "in [Balotelli's] own head", that Balotelli cannot be considered "completely Italian" and the fans' chants were to "make fun" of the striker, rather than racially abuse him.

Serie A's disciplinary commission on Tuesday confirmed the closure of the Poltrone Est stand by way of punishment, opting against more severe sanctions because the chants only came from that sector.

The confirmation of the punishment came shortly after Verona released a statement condemning Castellini's comments and barring him from attending matches until June 30, 2030 for "expressions seriously contrary to those that distinguish the ethical principles and values of our club".

Matthijs de Ligt will miss Juventus' Champions League clash with Lokomotiv Moscow due to an ankle injury.

After scoring the winner in the derby against Torino in Serie A on Saturday, centre-back De Ligt was diagnosed with "a slightly sprained left ankle".

The 20-year-old was consequently left out of a Juve team that will clinch qualification from Group D with a victory over Lokomotiv in Moscow.

Maurizio Sarri will hope to have De Ligt available to face AC Milan at Allianz Stadium on Sunday.

Adrien Rabiot was included in the 20-man group for the trip to Russia after sitting out the 1-0 victory over Torino because of a suspension.

Antonio Conte has challenged his Inter side to play with "personality" in Tuesday's mouth-watering Champions League clash with Borussia Dortmund.

Inter ran out 2-0 winners over the Bundesliga outfit a fortnight ago to leave both sides on four points in Group F, three points behind leaders Barcelona.

Conte believes Barca are assured of a place in the knockout stages and knows his side will have to stand strong in the face of a red-hot atmosphere at Signal Iduna Park to ensure they join them in the last 16.

"It's an important match as we are on equal points," he told a media conference. "Barcelona have already guaranteed their place. 

"We were good when we beat [Dortmund] at home and we know the difficulties we will face tomorrow. We face a strong and proven club, who have been in the Champions League for many years. 

"The environment will be hot and electric; we know what motivation Dortmund fans can give to their players. It will be important for us to play with personality.

"We want to play offensively everywhere. If it is a defensive game, it will be only because Dortmund have forced us to do it. Our mentality is to always hurt the opponent. We always want to attack."

Meanwhile, Conte had strong words for the Hellas Verona supporters who racially abused Brescia striker Mario Balotelli in Sunday's Serie A clash, describing them as "ignorant" and "morons".

Former Inter star Balotelli kicked the ball angrily towards Verona supporters early in the second half after hearing abuse, before threatening to walk off the pitch.

The referee brought play to a halt before following protocol, with a statement read out to the crowd in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Balotelli was persuaded to stay on and see out the game by team-mates and Verona players, before he scored a stunning late goal in Brescia's 2-1 defeat at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi.

"I was not in the stadium, but I believe it is necessary to be very strict and inflexible," Conte said. "We must punish these ignorant people. The morons must be punished. It is absurd that, in 2019, we are still faced with things like this."

Napoli head coach Carlo Ancelotti has praised Mario Balotelli's reaction to the racist abuse he received during Brescia's Serie A clash with Hellas Verona on Sunday.

Balotelli kicked the ball angrily towards Verona supporters early in the second half after hearing abuse, before threatening to walk off the pitch.

The referee brought play to a halt before following protocol, with a statement read out to the crowd in an attempt to resolve the issue.

Balotelli was persuaded to stay on and see out the game by team-mates and Verona players, before the former Manchester City and Inter striker scored a stunning late goal in Brescia's 2-1 defeat at Stadio Marcantonio Bentegodi.

Ancelotti believes Balotelli was right to highlight the abuse and suggested the stoppage shows football is making advances in its efforts to combat racism.

Speaking ahead of Napoli's Champions League clash with RB Salzburg on Tuesday, Ancelotti said: "He did the right thing, he had the right reaction.

"There have already been a couple of episodes when the match has been stopped, so we are on the right path."

Ancelotti's Napoli are top of Champions League Group E and will qualify for the knockout stages if they beat Salzburg while Genk fail to beat Liverpool in the pool's other game.

The former AC Milan coach says it would be "exceptional" if they qualified with two games to spare but the experienced boss is refusing to get carried away.

"The Champions League is a way shorter competition than Serie A," he added. "For this reason, we have to be focused and our first goal is to go through.

"If we can manage it with two matchdays to spare, it would be exceptional. Tomorrow we have this chance and all our energy will be spent on getting it done. Then we will see.

"Many things can change and usually the Champions League is decided on little details."

The writing has long been on the wall for Gareth Bale.

Zinedine Zidane wanted him gone from Real Madrid before the previous transfer window closed, but a move did not materialise.

But as the January window approaches, Bale is reportedly ready to leave.

 

TOP STORY – GARETH WANTS TO BALE

Gareth Bale wants to leave Real Madrid in January amid links to the Chinese Super League, according to Cadena Ser.

Bale was poised to make a shock switch to China after being told to move on by Madrid head coach Zinedine Zidane, though the Welshman remained at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, Bale is reportedly desperate for a January exit and wants Madrid to listen to offers from the CSL.

 

ROUND-UP

- According to Calciomercato, Zlatan Ibrahimovic has offered himself to former club Juventus. Bologna have confirmed their interest in the LA Galaxy striker, whose contract is set to expire. A-League team Perth Glory want to bring the 38-year-old to Australia. Ibrahimovic spent two years at Juventus, however, the Serie A champions are reportedly not prepared to bring back the veteran as they look to trim their squad in January.

Roma are close to reaching an agreement with Manchester United for on-loan defender Chris Smalling. Calciomercato reports the Serie A side are preparing to present a €17million (£14.6m) offer for the Englishman.

William Saliba is yet to play a match for Arsenal but he could already be on the move. Saliba signed for the Gunners in July before he was immediately loaned back to Saint-Etienne for the 2019-20 season. However, Defensa Central claims Real Madrid are eyeing the 18-year-old French defender. Monaco's Benoit Badiashile and Boubacar Kamara of Marseille are also on the list to potentially replace Raphael Varane.

- The Telegraph says Liverpool midfielder Adam Lallana is a target for clubs in the Chinese Super League and MLS. Lallana is out of contract at the end of the season.

Ronald Koeman dominates the frontpage of Monday's SPORT newspaper. The Netherlands boss is heavily linked to Barcelona having revealed a release clause in his contract, and amid growing pressure on head coach Ernesto Valverde .

- Former Juventus head coach Massimiliano Allegri and ex-Arsenal midfielder Mikel Arteta are among the candidates to replace Unai Emery should the Gunners sack the Spaniard, according to the Mirror. Allegri has also been linked to Bayern Munich and Manchester United, while Arteta is serving as Pep Guardiola's Manchester City assistant. Jose Mourinho has also reportedly emerged as an option.

Brescia have sacked head coach Eugenio Corini as the club languish in the Serie A's relegation zone.

Sunday's 2-1 loss at Hellas Verona proved to be the final straw for Brescia's hierarchy, with the Italian side one point adrift of safety after 10 games.

Brescia turned to former Juventus and Napoli midfielder Corini in September last year as the club struggled in Serie B.

Corini – who emerged from Brescia's youth team in 1986 and enjoyed two spells with his boyhood club – led the squad to an unexpected promotion to Italy's top flight last season.

However, three consecutive defeats and six games without a win prompted Brescia to part with the 49-year-old.

AC Milan head coach Stefano Pioli believes his side are moving in the right direction despite suffering a sixth loss in just 11 Serie A matches this season.

Lazio beat Milan 2-1 at San Siro on Sunday, Joaquin Correa's 83rd-minute winner proving decisive as the victors climbed to fourth in the standings.

Milan remained mired in midtable mediocrity, sitting 11th, and they are already eight points off the European places and 16 behind leaders Juventus.

Pioli only took over from Marco Giampaolo in October and feels the Rossoneri are getting better, even if results remain mixed.

"In my view, the team is improving," former Inter boss Pioli told Sky Sport Italia.

"Of course, for the table and the situation, it was important to win, but the performance was there tonight.

"We took a few risks in order to create danger for the opponents, matching them all the way to the end, and I believe we are on the right path now.

"All we can do is keep improving along these lines. I saw a team that fought hard for 95 minutes. I did not see a team that was struggling, afraid or let their heads drop.

"We do still make a lot of mistakes, such as passing when we should keep it, and vice versa, but I saw these players looking anxious and afraid when I arrived. I don't see that in them now."

Pioli also made a point of mentioning Rafael Leao, who he felt failed to impact the contest off the bench.

"I expected more from him tonight. When coming on, he was meant to give changes of pace, fresh energy, work with the team," he added.

"He has a lot of potential, but he absolutely has to do more. His contribution tonight was not up to his standards."

Lazio coach Simone Inzaghi was happy with his side after they won a Serie A match at Milan for the first time since 1989.

"We won an important game, I think deservedly, against a side that in my view had a good performance but Lazio played very well and did everything to win," Inzaghi told Sky Sport Italia.

"It wasn't easy after the equaliser but we wanted to break this 30-year taboo, especially as we won here last season in the Coppa Italia semi-final.

"I told my players we needed more hunger and determination than Milan."

Ciro Immobile scored his 100th Lazio goal in the victory, which helped the capital club move above Atalanta in the table and within one point of third-placed rivals Roma.

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