Italy legend Filippo Inzaghi has outlined the areas Kylian Mbappe must improve upon if he is to reach Cristiano Ronaldo's level.

Two of world football's biggest names go head to head on Wednesday evening when France face Portugal in the group stages of Euro 2020.

Les Bleus know their place in the knockout stages is already guaranteed but will be out to secure top spot in Group F and a kinder last-16 draw.

Portugal, meanwhile, are at risk of crashing out of the tournament unless they secure at least a point from their meeting with the world champions.

Mbappe and Ronaldo are likely to have a big say for their respective teams but Inzaghi believes one man might find it easier to influence proceedings thanks to his starting position.

"Being the main point of reference up front could be an advantage for Ronaldo, but he could be an easier target for defenders," he told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Mbappe can look for spaces and sometimes he can hide."

Mbappe is often hailed as a potential successor to Ronaldo - or indeed Lionel Messi, dependent on taste - as the world's best player.

But Inzaghi feels the Frenchman, who has scored 78 goals in 80 Ligue 1 appearances over the last three seasons, is capable of showing a greater killer instinct in the box.

"Ronaldo was unique in the central part of his career at Real Madrid," he added.

"Now Mbappe is in Paris, then we'll see. For now, he doesn't seem attracted by goals as Cristiano is.

"Mbappe's dribbling in tight spaces and his change of pace are stunning. It really looks like he has gears in his legs.

"Even more, it looks easy for him to make the difference, even in one metre. He can be devastating, whether he has space or not.

"However, Cristiano's heading and ability to lose his marker are unreachable, and he is so accurate whether he shoots with his right or left foot. 

"This is something Mbappe still needs to improve."

The Premier League's big-money clubs are circling for Aston Villa's Jack Grealish.

The England midfielder is drawing interest from multiple suitors keen to lure him away from Villa Park.

Could a move be on the cards after the Euros? 

 

TOP STORY – BLUES WANT GREALISH

Chelsea are strong contenders to sign Jack Grealish from Aston Villa, Football Insider reports. 

The England international has also drawn interest from Manchester City, but the Blues' involvement could change the dynamic. 

Football Insider claims owner Roman Abramovich has approved the type of expenditures that would be necessary to land players like Grealish, and winning the Champions League will only loosen the reins on Chelsea's spending. 

 

ROUND-UP

- Kylian Mbappe wants to move on from Paris Saint-Germain, according to RMC Sport, which says the France international will depart on a free transfer when his contract expires next year if he does not move during this window. 

- Lionel Messi's long-anticipated new contract with Barcelona could be announced as soon as Thursday, according to Le 10 Sport. 

- If Man City are to complete a deal to land Harry Kane from Tottenham, they will need to do it without using Raheem Sterling in a swap deal. Sterling has no interested in joining Spurs as part of the reported £100million move for Kane, ESPN said. 

- Sergio Ramos plans to join PSG, AS reports, spurning interest from City and Manchester United

- Chelsea see Villarreal's Gerard Moreno as a fall-back option if they cannot sign Erling Haaland, according to Fichajes. 

- Milan are looking at Rafinha of PSG as a potential addition as Hakan Calhanoglu moves on, Calciomercato reports. 

- England defender James Tarkowski is drawing interest from Wolves and West Ham, the Telegraph reports, while the Mail says Leicester City also are eyeing the Burnley man. 

- Scott Parker is set to depart Fulham and become Bournemouth's new manager, The Athletic reports. 

Didier Deschamps believes Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann are developing a useful understanding in France's attack at Euro 2020.

The world champions will seal top spot in Group F on Wednesday if they are able to beat Portugal, their conquerors in the last 16 of Euro 2016.

An already enviable array of talent at Deschamps' disposal was bolstered by Benzema's return from a near six-year international exile ahead of the tournament, allowing the head coach to field a dream forward line of Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe alongside the Real Madrid striker.

The returns so far have been occasionally promising, if not prolific, with Mats Hummels' own goal the difference in a 1-0 opening win over Germany before Griezmann salvaged a 1-1 draw against group outsiders Hungary – his solitary shot of the competition so far.

In the latter match, Benzema passed to Griezmann on two occasions, receiving possession from the Barcelona man three times.

Against France, an instant understanding between Benzema and Mbappe was notable, as the Paris Saint-Germain superstar was found 12 times by his elder team-mate.

By contrast, Griezmann passed to Benzema once and received the ball from him on three occasions.

 

"That was your impression. I don't think that was our opponents' impression," Deschamps told a pre-match news conference in Budapest when it was put to him the Griezmann-Benzema link was not yet as fruitful as had been hoped.

"They had some really good actions together.

"Of course, we can always do better but, speaking of misunderstandings, this is impossible.

"There's also Kylian and the whole team, because the ball comes from the defenders and the midfield players and it is always about getting the ball as fast as possible in front of the opponent's goal."

Griezmann is playing in a slightly more withdrawn right-sided attacking role, with Benzema as the central focal point and Mbappe using his electrifying pace to get in behind opponents down the left.

While Deschamps acknowledges this is not Griezmann's preferred position, he believes his versatility and adaptability will help to make the trident a success.

"I didn't teach him anything. Since I've known him, I knew he could play in all offensive positions," he added,

"Maybe it's not his preferred position, but it's a more general thought in terms of can it have a positive impact on the balance of the team and make us more dangerous for the opponent, can it make us better?"

A host of European football's heavyweights were in action on another day of high drama at Euro 2020 on Saturday.

The stand-out result was Germany's thumping 4-2 win over holders Portugal at the Allianz Arena in Munich, which featured yet another landmark strike from Cristiano Ronaldo. 

In the same group, tournament favourites France were held to a surprise draw by Hungary, while, in Group E, Spain's stuttering start continued with a 1-1 draw against Poland.

Using Opta data, Stats Perform takes a look at some of the best facts from across the day's action.

Portugal 2-4 Germany: Holders give Die Mannschaft a helping hand

Portugal made some unwanted history as they slipped to a resounding defeat against Germany at the Allianz Arena.

It had started so well for Fernando Santos' men, Ronaldo putting the holders ahead early on with a strike that took him level with Miroslav Klose as the European player to have scored the most combined goals (19) across the World Cup and European Championship. 

However, Portugal became the first European nation ever to concede two own goals – through Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro – in a single match at a major tournament to give Germany a half-time lead. 

Kai Havertz added a third to become Germany's youngest goalscorer in a European Championship game, aged 22 years and eight days, before Robin Gosens got in on the act. 

That meant Portugal, who pulled one back through Diogo Jota, became the first reigning champions in European Championship history to concede four goals in a single match in the competition.

Hungary 1-1 France: Fiola finds a way through stubborn defence

Few gave Hungary a chance of getting anything from their clash with the world champions, but Marco Rossi's side claimed a memorable point.

Attila Fiola opened the scoring shortly before half-time, ending a run of 527 minutes of play for France without shipping a goal.

Fiola has now scored two goals in his last four appearances for Hungary after failing to find the back of the net in his first 33 games for his country. 

Aged 31 years and 122 days, right-back Fiola is the oldest player to score against France in a European Championship match since Rui Jordao scored a brace against them for Portugal in 1984 (31y 319d).

However, France stretched their unbeaten run at major tournaments to nine matches when Antoine Griezmann levelled midway through the second half. 

The Barcelona forward has now scored 11 goals at major international tournaments, with only Michel Platini (14), Just Fontaine (13) and Thierry Henry (12) having scored more. 

France could have sealed victory had Kylian Mbappe shown more accuracy in front of goal. The Paris Saint-Germain forward attempted six shots – the most he has ever had in a single match for his country. 

Spain 1-1 Poland: La Roja's sluggish start continues

This draw meant Spain have failed to win either of their first two games in a European Championship tournament for the first time since 1996. 

It had started so well for them, however, with Alvaro Morata firing home from close range in the 25th minute. The on-loan Juventus striker has scored four of Spain's last five goals at European Championship finals – only Fernando Torres (five) has ever scored more goals in the competition for the nation.

Poland pulled level shortly after half-time, though, Robert Lewandowski becoming only the third player to score in three major tournaments for Poland, after Grzegorz Lato and Andrzej Szarmach.

Spain did have the opportunity to claim all three points, but Gerard Moreno struck the post from the penalty spot, meaning they have failed to score five of their last eight penalties (excluding shootouts) at the tournament.

There was also a landmark moment for Poland's Kacper Kozlowski (17 years and 246 days), who became the youngest ever player to make an appearance at the European Championship, overtaking Jude Bellingham's record (17y 349d) set for England six days ago.

Harry Kane reportedly informed Tottenham of his desire to leave the club in the final week of the 2020-21 season.

The England international has since been linked with Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.

Tottenham are desperate to retain their talisman, let alone allow him to join a rival English club.

 

TOP STORY – KANE OPEN TO CONTINENTAL SWITCH

Harry Kane is willing to move abroad for his next challenge as Ligue 1 giants Paris Saint-Germain circle for his signature, according to 90min.

The report claims Kane is unimpressed with Tottenham's search for a new manager to replace Jose Mourinho and the England international has been linked to Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United.

PSG, who are in the market for a striker having been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland amid doubts over the future of Real Madrid target Kylian Mbappe, are led by Kane's ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino.

 

ROUND-UP

PSG have renewed their efforts to sign United star French midfielder Paul Pogba, reports to Le Parisien. Juventus and Madrid have also been linked.

United, PSG and Sevilla are keen to sign superstar defender Sergio Ramos after he left Real Madrid, claims 90min.

- Diario AS says Real Sociedad's Swedish forward Alexander Isak is attracting interest from Chelsea, joining Arsenal in the race to sign him.

Liverpool are interested in Sassuolo's Italy international winger Domenico Berardi, claims Gazzetta dello Sport.

- Corriere dello Sport reports Miralem Pjanic could be headed back to Juventus from Barcelona on a two-year loan, part financed by the Catalans. Inter and Chelsea have also been linked.

Kylian Mbappe needed clear-the-air talks with Olivier Giroud, but their argument is now in the past, according to France captain Hugo Lloris.

Les Bleus' preparations for Euro 2020 have been overshadowed by an apparent spat between two of their forwards, which stems from the friendly win over Bulgaria last week.

Giroud indicated he was unhappy with some of the service he received in the 3-0 victory, comments that were perceived to be aimed specifically at Mbappe, who exchanged passes with the Chelsea forward just three times in 43 minutes.

The Paris Saint-Germain star admitted last weekend that he had been "a little affected" by Giroud's remarks, while coach Didier Deschamps held a discussion with both players.

Lloris said Mbappe felt the need to speak his mind, but insisted the problem was overblown.

"It made more noise outside than inside," he said on Monday ahead of France's Euro 2020 opener with Germany. "The two explained things the next day.

"There were some small differences, but these things happen. It didn't affect the group. Kylian needed to speak out. It's behind us now."

Giroud is expected to start on the bench in Munich, with Deschamps more likely to keep faith with the front three of Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann, who all started against Bulgaria.

Lloris thinks the thought of facing such an attack is likely to give the Germany defenders some sleepless nights, even if France's collective performance will be more important.

"They are players of a very high level, who have been regulars for many years," he said.

"Mbappe is younger than Benzema and Griezmann, but he has already done great things.

"I understand there is some fear among our opponents, but if we want to achieve a big result, we'll need to have great collective strength and be well balanced on the pitch."

Lloris also praised the actions of Denmark and Finland players and fans during Saturday's match in Copenhagen, in which Christian Eriksen collapsed on the pitch and required emergency treatment before being taken to hospital.

The midfielder, a former Tottenham team-mate of Lloris, was confirmed by Denmark's doctor as having suffered cardiac arrest. He was said to be awake and stable in hospital and issued a statement on Monday to thank those who looked after him.

"We learned about him after training," Lloris said. "There was a lot of concern and stress, but we were quickly assured of his condition.

"These are pictures you don't want to see on the pitch. I want to highlight the personality of the Danish and Finnish players and the supporters. They were able to handle the incident with dignity and solidarity.

"What happened affected the world of football. The most important thing is that Christian is in good condition."

Didier Deschamps has confirmed he held talks with Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud following their recent dispute.

Giroud caused a stir after scoring a double in Les Blues' 3-0 friendly win over Bulgaria last Tuesday when appearing to suggest some irritation at a lack of service.

He did not mention any player by name, but the comments were perceived to be aimed at strike partner Mbappe, who failed to pick out the Chelsea forward on several occasions.

There were only three passes between the pair during their 43 minutes together on the field.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe had the opportunity to respond at a news conference on Sunday and admitted to being "a little affected" by Giroud's remarks.

However, Deschamps has insisted the incident was soon put to bed and France are now fully focused on their Euro 2020 opener against Germany at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

"I spoke to them, in the same way I have spoken to other players," he told L'Equipe. 

"When I feel I have to do it for certain reasons, I do it. Dialogue is a part of management, but listening is also good. 

"These players at a very high level are easier to manage than those at a lower level. Yes, they have pride, but also ego – though I'm not sure if it's ego.

"They are competitors and a balance has to be found. We need room in the team for everyone."

Asked about the affect the exchange of words has had on the France camp, Deschamps said: "Everyone got back in the saddle on Thursday.

"We are all working in the same direction with the same objective. It is also a question of generations, with different interests. Don't forget we spend 24 hours together.

"On the pitch, they all wear the same jersey and I know they will all make the same effort as the others."

Mbappe was reportedly blocked from speaking at a news conference last week, with Paul Pogba instead put up to speak to the press, but Deschamps denied that was the case.

"To be clear, I was not opposed to that," he said. "Pogba offered to go and I validated. It's a reality, it happens.

"Honestly, internally, I cannot talk about tensions because that is not the case."

Kylian Mbappe has insisted he has never asked Paris Saint-Germain to sign any players in response to recent comments made by president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

The 22-year-old's future at the Parc des Princes remains a hot topic of discussion as he is soon to enter the final year of his contract.

He did little to quell speculation earlier this week in an interview with France Football when admitting he is unsure whether PSG is the best place for him.

That comes on the back of rumours that Mbappe is stalling on signing a new contract until more high-profile signings are made by last season's Ligue 1 runners-up.

In response to that, Al-Khelaifi stated earlier this week "it is not possible" for Mbappe to have any say over the club's recruitment and that he will not be sold in the current transfer window.

When asked about those comments at a news conference while on France duty, Mbappe denied ever discussing transfer targets with Al-Khelaifi or director Leonardo.

"I have never asked for a single player from the president or Leonardo. I am a simple football player," he told reporters on Sunday ahead of France's Euro 2020 opener against Germany.

"But I'm here to represent France – the team is the most important thing. I don't want to disrupt the group."

Mbappe is coming off the back of another impressive campaign for PSG in which he scored 42 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions, an average of one every 88.62 minutes.

In Europe's top five leagues, only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (48) scored more goals in all competitions than Mbappe in 2020-21.

Mbappe scored at a greater rate than his expected goals (xG) number, which averaged out at 34.14, while also providing 11 assists.

He is expected to start France's Group F showdown with Germany at the Allianz Arena on Tuesday.

Les Blues are taking part in their 10th European Championship finals, and their eighth in a row, last failing to make the competition in 1988.

Only Germany and Spain (three each) have won more European Championships than the two won by France in 1984 and 2000.

Kylian Mbappe was left disappointed by Olivier Giroud's comments over a perceived lack of service, though he insists the situation between the pair will not overshadow France's bid for glory at Euro 2020.

The reigning world champions kick off their campaign in the delayed tournament on Tuesday, as they take on Group F rivals Germany at the Allianz Arena in Munich.

Les Bleus recorded successive 3-0 wins in warm-up fixtures against Wales and Bulgaria, Giroud scoring twice against the latter after coming on as a substitute.

However, the Chelsea striker – who now has 46 international goals, just five behind Thierry Henry in the country's all-time scoring list – said in a post-match press conference that he did not feel team-mates had looked for him enough when in possession.

His remarks were perceived to be aimed at Mbappe - the pair completed just one pass between each other during their time together on the pitch – and the 22-year-old had the opportunity to respond on Sunday, having been denied the opportunity to speak to the media earlier in the week.

"We talked about it, we discussed it, it made people talk, everyone knows what happened. I was a little affected, but we are not going to make a big deal out of it," Mbappe said.

"The team remains the most important thing, such situations are not going to disrupt our preparation. We are focused on the same objective."

Asked again about the relationship between the pair, the Paris Saint-Germain forward made clear he was not happy with Giroud airing his feelings to the media, rather than in the changing room after the friendly fixture.

"What he said didn't bother me more than that, I'm a striker and I've had this feeling 365 times in a game," Mbappe continued.

"I congratulated him in the locker room, he didn't say anything to me and then I heard from the press. He didn't say anything bad. It's more the fact of him talking publicly, I would have preferred him to come and be more open in the locker room.

"But that's not a problem, these are small things. The team does not need us to get in the way."

He added: "The most important thing is to talk about it, to straighten things out and put it all after the group.

"I repeat, the most important thing is the group and this European Championship. This micro-episode disturbed the fact that we are focused on one thing and one thing only, it is the Euros and this first match against Germany."

Mbappe made clear that while he may not pass the ball as often to Giroud during games as, for example, France team-mate Karim Benzema or PSG colleague Neymar, that is due to situational factors, rather than any personal preference.

"Neymar touches the ball 150 times per game. Benzema touches it 80. Olivier touches it a lot less given his profile. If you compare the number of passes I make to Benzema or Neymar compared to Giroud, of course it is fewer to Olivier," he said.

"But that doesn't mean that I don't look for him. It's just that his profile is different. Benzema comes 40 metres from the goal to get touches, Giroud prefers to stay up front and be present in the box.

"You imply that I do not want to pass to Giroud. I say that these players have different profiles."

Kylian Mbappe has raised questions over his future at Paris Saint-Germain, revealing he is unsure if the French club is the best place for him.

France superstar Mbappe was in sensational form in the 2020-21 season, yet while PSG won the Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions, his efforts were not enough to help them successfully defend their Ligue 1 title, or propel them to Champions League glory.

In Europe's top five leagues, only Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowksi (48) scored more goals in all competitions than Mbappe, who managed 42 in 47 appearances, averaging out at one every 88.62 minutes.

Like Erling Haaland, Europe's other free-scoring youngster, Mbappe achieved at a greater rate than his expected goals (xG) number, which averaged out at 34.14, while also providing 11 assists.

Now, Mbappe will be looking to drive France to glory at Euro 2020, with Les Bleus kicking off their campaign against Germany on Tuesday.

However, while his current focus is on contributing to Didier Deschamps' side, speculation continues over Mbappe's future at club level.

PSG have already tied Neymar down to a new contract, but despite reported discussions, have yet to agree a deal with Mbappe, who could leave the club on a free at the end of next season.

And it seems Mbappe is considering his options, with the 22-year-old World Cup winner telling France Football: "I don't necessarily need to go fast. I have to make the right decision, which is difficult, and give myself every chance to make up my mind.

"I am in a place where I like myself, where I feel good. But is this the best place for me? I don't have the answer yet.

"I know that a project with or without me is not quite the same for the club."

Mbappe, however, insists he has been, and will continue to be, up front with PSG over his plans.

"PSG understand my feelings. Probably also because they know that I will not be sneaky," he added.

"Being a great player also proves itself outside the field where you have to know how to do things cleanly and with class."

Real Madrid have been heavily linked with Mbappe, with Carlo Ancelotti asked about the possibility of signing the player during his unveiling as Los Blancos' new head coach last week.

It remains to be seen as to whether Madrid would have the finances to pull off such a move this year, however, while Premier League champions Manchester City have also been rumoured to hold an interest.

Paul Pogba has dismissed rumours of a rift between France team-mates Kylian Mbappe and Olivier Giroud – while also stating he has not yet been offered a new Manchester United contract.

Giroud came off the bench to score a double in France's friendly win over Bulgaria on Tuesday, though he caused a stir in a post-match news conference when he seemed to suggest some irritation at strike partner Mbappe, who failed to pick out the Chelsea forward on several occasions.

During their time together on the pitch, there was only one pass between Giroud and Mbappe, with the former Arsenal man finding the Paris Saint-Germain star, who did not return the favour on any other occasion.

According to reports, a furious Mbappe wanted to hold a news conference to defend himself after hearing Giroud's comments.

Pogba, however, scotched rumours of any discontent in the squad as France prepare for their Euro 2020 campaign.

"The only tensions are on the back, on the legs. The physiotherapists are there for that," Pogba joked in a news conference.

"Frankly, I'm on the inside, there is nothing, there has always been a very good atmosphere with everyone. We will go directly to the subject – between Olivier and Kyky, there is nothing at all.

"I think that what was said may have been poorly conveyed. Kylian, his qualities, he can score and do a lot of assists, he does it, he plays for the team even though I always tell him that it would be good if he defended a little more!

"There is nothing, nothing has come out, I don't feel any tension, nothing at all."

The reports concerning Mbappe and Giroud were not the only rumours Pogba had to contend with.

On Thursday, several reports suggested his club United had started talks over a new deal, with Pogba's current contract expiring in 2022, while there has also been talk of interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

Though he did not confirm if initial talks had started or not, Pogba insisted no offer was on the table.

"Contacts with Paris? I have one year of contract left. Everyone knows that," Pogba said.

"No concrete proposal [from United] yet. I am still at United. My thoughts are about the Euros. I am focused. I have more experience than before, I am focused on the present. I have an agent who takes care of all that."

Having been scrapped last year due to the disruption caused by the pandemic, the Ballon d'Or returns in 2021.

With Euro 2020 and the Copa America rescheduled for this year, the stars of Europe and South America have the chance to use those tournaments as a springboard towards claiming the game's top individual prize.

Following club seasons either laden with trophies or padded with statistical achievements – or, in some cases, a bit of both – a few elite-level performances could make the difference in the race to win France Football's famous award.

Stats Perform has chosen a shortlist of 14 players who could make themselves Ballon d'Or favourites should they sparkle over the next month...

 

Karim Benzema

Remarkably, Karim Benzema failed to win a trophy with Real Madrid despite registering 30 goals and nine assists in 46 games in all competitions.

That form did bring his international exile to an end, though, and if he keeps it up for France over the coming month, a Ballon d'Or challenge is not out of the question.

Kevin De Bruyne

A second successive PFA Players' Player of the Year award for Kevin De Bruyne came after another standout season for Manchester City in which he won the Premier League and EFL Cup.

Had Pep Guardiola's men finally got their hands on the Champions League trophy, the Ballon d'Or might be De Bruyne's already. Leading Belgium to Euros glory would probably do the job.

Ruben Dias

The other prime candidate for City's player of the season, Ruben Dias was a colossal performer at the heart of their defence after joining from Benfica, winning the Premier League's Player of the Season award.

Defenders' difficulties winning big individual prizes are well documented, and the last to lift the Ballon d'Or – Fabio Cannavaro in 2006 – did so after leading Italy to the World Cup.

Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes was heartbroken to lose the Europa League final on penalties as his wait for a trophy with Manchester United goes on.

However, a combined 46 direct goal involvements – the most of any Premier League player – means individual glory could be on the cards should Fernandes and Portugal shine.

Phil Foden

The PFA Young Player of the Year winner, Phil Foden blossomed in 2020-21 from prodigious talent to integral player for both City and England.

His Ballon d'Or chances are probably slimmer than those of a couple of his City team-mates, but long-awaited success for the Three Lions could put him right in the mix.

Harry Kane

Another star performer in 2020-21 to end the season empty-handed, Harry Kane finished top for goals (23) and assists (14) in the Premier League despite Tottenham finishing seventh.

Winner of the Golden Boot at the last World Cup, Kane is England's undisputed star going into Euro 2020 and has every chance of topping the scoring charts again.

N'Golo Kante

Arguably the popular choice for the award, N'Golo Kante won the Champions League with Chelsea after being named man of the match in both legs of the semi-final and the final against City.

France are most observers' favourites to win the Euros and, if they do, Kante will surely be facing short odds to win the ultimate individual trophy – even if it's one in which he has little interest.

Robert Lewandowski

It's widely accepted that, had the award been handed out last year, it would have gone to Robert Lewandowksi, the man whose 55 goals in 47 games delivered Bayern the treble.

How do you follow that? Well, he scored 41 times in the Bundesliga alone in 2020-21, breaking Gerd Muller's 49-year-old single-season record. Winning the Euros with Poland might be a stretch, but finishing as top goalscorer is certainly achievable.

Romelu Lukaku

The best player in Serie A as Inter ended an 11-year wait to win the title, Romelu Lukaku enjoyed the best season of his career, with 41 direct goal involvements in 44 appearances.

With eight goals in his past nine games for Belgium, the 28-year-old could well be the man to fire Roberto Martinez's side to glory, which would make him very hard to overlook.

Kylian Mbappe

Paris Saint-Germain lost their Ligue 1 title to Lille and could not reach back-to-back Champions League finals, which seems incredible given Kylian Mbappe managed 42 goals and 11 assists in just 47 appearances.

Departing Bayern Munich boss Hansi Flick this year said there was no question Mbappe would win the Ballon d'Or one day. The Euros could be his ticket to glory in 2021.

Lionel Messi

The winner of the previous award in 2019 – the sixth of his astonishing career – Lionel Messi amazingly plundered 28 goals and had nine assists for Barcelona from January 1 onwards.

It wasn't enough to win Barca the LaLiga title, but it does put him right in the mix. If he can finally win the Copa America with Argentina, Ballon d'Or number seven may well follow.

Neymar

Even Neymar would admit he has only an outside chance of winning this year's Ballon d'Or, his 17 goals and eight assists in 2020-21 a modest return for the world's most expensive footballer.

He typically produces in a Brazil shirt, though, and winning the Copa America would propel him right back into the mix for the individual prize he supposedly craves above all others.

Cristiano Ronaldo

Juventus may have lost their grip on Serie A, but Cristiano Ronaldo still finished as top goalscorer (with 29), and they won the Supercoppa Italiana and Coppa Italia.

Ronaldo won his fourth of five Ballons d'Or after Portugal triumphed at Euro 2016, and there's little doubt he would be vying for a sixth if they defend that trophy.

Luis Suarez

Discarded by Barcelona for being past his usefulness, Luis Suarez responded with 21 goals in 32 games to propel Atletico Madrid to a first league title since 2013-14.

Should Uruguay upset the odds at the Copa America, you can bet Suarez will be in the running for the Ballon d'Or. Quite what Barca fans would make of that is hard to say.

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi insisted Kylian Mbappe will never be sold or leave on a free transfer amid ongoing links with Real Madrid.

Mbappe has long been tipped to swap Ligue 1 giants PSG for LaLiga powerhouse Madrid, while Premier League outfit Liverpool have also been linked previously.

The 22-year-old star is out of contract at the end of 2021-22, but PSG have remained defiant over Mbappe's future in the French capital.

Al-Khelaifi reiterated that stance as speculation grows heading into Euro 2020 and the off-season.

"I will be clear," Al-Khelaifi told L'Equipe. "Mbappe is going to stay in Paris.

"We will never sell I'm and he will never leave on a free [transfer]. Mbappe has everything he needs in Paris.

"Where can he go? What club, in terms of ambition, can compete with PSG today?

"All I can say is that things are going well, and I hope we can reach an agreement [on a new contract]. This is Paris, this is his country.

"He has a mission, not only to play football, but to promote Ligue 1, his country and his capital."

Mbappe enjoyed another remarkable season in which he scored more goals (21) and landed more shots on target (55) than anyone else in Ligue 1, though PSG were dethroned by Lille.

The France international also converted 60.5 per cent of his big chances – a rate that would help ease Madrid's problems with lack of goals outside of Karim Benzema.

Kylian Mbappe's future continues to dominate headlines.

The Paris Saint-Germain star is a long-term target of Real Madrid.

With speculation over Cristiano Ronaldo's future, the two players could impact each other.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE OUT, RONALDO IN AT PSG?

Kylian Mbappe potentially joining Real Madrid could see Cristiano Ronaldo swap Juventus for Paris Saint-Germain, according to Gazzetta dello Sport.

Mbappe has long been linked with LaLiga giants Madrid and a blockbuster move could impact Juve superstar Ronaldo.

If Ronaldo – also linked with Madrid and Manchester United – joins Ligue 1 powerhouse PSG, it could see Mauro Icardi leave Paris and land at Juve.

 

ROUND-UP

- Former Inter and Chelsea head coach Antonio Conte is in talks with Tottenham over a move to London, reports Gazzetta dello Sport and other media outlets. Conte is available after leaving Inter following their Serie A-winning season. Spurs have been linked with ex-coach and current PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino, but they appear keen on Conte. Tottenham are also reportedly close to appointing former Juve sporting director Fabio Paratici.

- The Telegraph claims Manchester City are willing to sell Bernardo Silva. It comes as City look to raise funds to bolster their attack after Sergio Aguero's exit amid strong links with Borussia Dortmund star Erling Haaland and Tottenham forward Harry Kane. Eintracht Frankfurt's Andre Silva has also emerged as a target, though Atletico Madrid and United have also been linked.

- Miralem Pjanic could return to Italy via former club Juve or Inter, says Sport. Pjanic has struggled for game time under Ronald Koeman at Barca.

United remain interested in signing Atletico and England right-back Kieran Trippier, according to the Daily Mail. The Red Devils are also working on a deal for Madrid defender Raphael Varane and are still targeting Jadon Sancho of Dortmund.

- Football Insider claims Celtic have finalised a deal for Yokohama F.Marinos boss Ange Postecoglou to take charge of the Scottish giants.

Karim Benzema missed a penalty and hit the post on his return to the France side, but the hosts took advantage of Neco Williams' contentious red card to beat 10-man Wales 3-0 in Wednesday's friendly at the Allianz Riviera.

Real Madrid striker Benzema was making his first international appearance since October 2015 in a star-studded starting line-up that also included Antoine Griezmann and Kylian Mbappe, who both found the net.

Mbappe opened the scoring from close range shortly after Benzema had his penalty saved by Danny Ward following Williams' handball – an infringement that also saw the Liverpool youngster sent off after a lengthy VAR check.

Fellow forward Griezmann doubled France's tally early in the second half and substitute Ousmane Dembele added a third as the world champions saw out the job in their penultimate match before beginning their Euro 2020 campaign.

Benzema had a glancing header well saved by Ward and the Wales goalkeeper was then equal to the returning striker's spot-kick with a little under half an hour played in Nice.

However, Wales were down to 10 men at that point as Williams was harshly sent off for deliberately handling the ball in front of goal when blocking Benzema's shot, coming after Ward had produced another stop to keep out Paul Pogba.

France made the most of the extra man seven minutes later as Mbappe got his boot to a loose ball first following Ward's low save to keep out Adrien Rabiot's deflected effort.

Griezmann gave the hosts some breathing space with a curled finish into the top-left corner with 47 minutes played after some nice link-up play with Mbappe.

Dan James was played in by substitute Aaron Ramsey and forced Hugo Lloris into a rare save, with that proving to be Wales' best chance of ending a run that now spans eight away friendly matches without scoring.

There was still time for France to add a third goal late on through Dembele's simple finish after Benzema's shot crashed back off the post and into his path.

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