Could Kylian Mbappe and Erling Haaland move to Real Madrid in the same window?

Mbappe and Haaland are highly coveted by Zinedine Zidane and Madrid's hierarchy.

Zidane is reportedly keen on pairing Mbappe and Haaland with Eden Hazard in the Spanish capital.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID EYEING STAR DUO

Real Madrid will wait until 2021 to sign Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe and Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, according to the front page of Diario AS.

Madrid have been continually linked with moves for Mbappe and Haaland, though previous reports have claimed Los Blancos would target the former next year.

However, Monday's edition of Diario AS says Madrid are prepared to hold off until 2021 to ensure both players arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu.

ROUND-UP

- The Sunday Times says Juventus are interested in signing Wolves striker Raul Jimenez. The Mexico international is also reportedly wanted by Manchester United.

Barcelona and Juventus have verbally struck a deal on a multi-player transfer, reports Sport. Miralem Pjanic and Mattia De Sciglio plus €25million will move to Barca in exchange for Nelson Semedo. However, Sky Sport Italia claims Pjanic will only join Barca if Arthur moves the other way to Juve.

Milan captain Alessio Romagnoli is set to sign a contract renewal, according to Calciomercato. The Italy international defender's current deal is due to expire in 2022.

Liverpool are eyeing Real Sociedad defender Diego Llorente, reports La Razon. The 26-year-old is also wanted by Ligue 1's Monaco.

- FC Inter 1908 claims Inter are favourites to sign Brescia sensation Sandro Tonali. The midfielder has also been linked to Juventus, Manchester City and Barca.

Arsenal are looking at signing Amiens forward Serhou Guirassy, says the Daily Mail. West Ham and Bournemouth are also said to be interested.

- Le10Sport claims Paris Saint-Germain have joined the list of admirers of Lyon's Houssem Aouar, who has also been linked to United, City and Juve.

Sergino Dest is a player in demand. Mundo Deportivo says PSG are also interested in Ajax's 19-year-old United States star. Bayern Munich and Barca have been linked.

Rhonex Kipruto’s world records over 5km (13:18) and 10km (26:24), as well as Sasha Zhoya’s world indoor U20 60m hurdles record of 7.34 have been ratified.

Barcelona and Juventus are getting close to an incredible exchange deal.

Miralem Pjanic has continued to be linked with a move to Camp Nou, although there has been uncertainty over how, and if, Barcelona could get a transfer done.

It seems they are on the verge of sealing a deal for the midfielder.

 

TOP STORY – BARCELONA, JUVENTUS CLOSE TO AGREEING EXCHANGE DEAL

Barcelona and Juventus are close to agreeing an exchange deal involving four players, according to Sport.

It says Pjanic and Mattia De Sciglio will join Barca, with Jean-Clair Todibo – who is on loan at Schalke this season – and Arturo Vidal or Ivan Rakitic heading to Turin.

Barcelona have also been linked with moves for Inter star Lautaro Martinez and Paris Saint-Germain's Neymar.

ROUND-UP

- Kingsley Coman is wanted by three of Europe's biggest clubs. Sky reports Barcelona, Real Madrid and Manchester City are interested in the Bayern Munich attacker.

- Linked with a move away from Tottenham, Tanguy Ndombele may be going nowhere. The Mirror says Spurs will not allow the midfielder, reportedly a target for Barcelona, to leave this close season.

- Another Spurs player, however, could leave. Tottenham defender Juan Foyth, who is contracted at the club until 2022, is being eyed by Barca, according to the Mirror.

- It seems Angel Gomes is leaving Manchester United. The Mirror claims Chelsea feel they are close to landing the midfielder, whose deal at Old Trafford expires at the end of June.

- Real Betis and Portugal midfielder William Carvalho is drawing plenty of attention. Diario de Sevilla reports Wolves are the latest club to join the race for Carvalho, who has been linked to Tottenham, Monaco, Leicester City and Watford previously.

An international athletics season of one-day meetings is taking shape between August and October this year following the commitment of most Continental Tour Gold and Wanda Diamond League meeting directors to organise their events on rescheduled dates in 2020.

A small number of countries will be able to stage meetings through June and July (Oslo’s Bislett Games will go ahead in an altered format called The Impossible Games on 11 June), but the international season is likely to commence in earnest directly after the National Championships window of August 8-9.

The first World Athletics Continental Tour Gold meeting of the year, the Paavo Nurmi Games in Turku, Finland, will be held on August 11

Eight of the 10 Continental Tour Gold meetings originally scheduled for 2020 have been confirmed for this year, although many have been rescheduled to fall between August and October.

The Nairobi meeting, originally planned to open the tour in May, has been rescheduled for 26 September, and the Nanjing and Tokyo meetings are considering dates in September-October, but these have yet to be finalised.

A total prize money purse of at least US$200,000 will be offered for each Gold meeting

Some Continental Tour Silver and Bronze meetings will also be able to go ahead, primarily as domestic competitions, starting from the Memorial Josefa Odlozila in Prague on 8 June.

 As the Wanda Diamond League has announced today, its schedule of one-day meetings will begin with the Monaco meeting on 14 August and continue through until mid-October.

 Due to the uncertainty created by the coronavirus pandemic, the Diamond League organisers have announced that these will be individual meetings and will not include a series point score, so there will be no overall league winners this year and the final in Zurich will not be held.

 The format of each Diamond League meeting and the disciplines included will be announced by each meeting organiser two months in advance.

 World Athletics President Sebastian Coe has praised the cooperative efforts of the meeting organisers to work with World Athletics to put together a substantial competition season for the sport’s top athletes.

 “As we have worked through the challenges posed by the pandemic and the disruption it has caused to our sport, as well as the wider community, our first priority was the health and safety of our athletes. And the next priority has been to find a way to get our professional athletes back into international competition this year as their incomes rely on this.

 “I’m delighted that it now looks like we will be able to offer them a solid international season between August and October where they can earn prize money and assess their training progress in preparation for next year’s Olympic Games, although we know this will not be easy for everyone.

 “Inevitably international travel restrictions will affect the ability of some athletes to attend some meetings, but we hope that there will be a wide enough range of meetings available for most elite athletes to access some competition before the end of the year.”

 Of the World Athletics Series events that were scheduled for 2020, only the World Half Marathon Championships will go ahead this year, on 17 October in Gdynia, Poland.

 The World Indoor Championships will be held in Nanjing,  March 19-21, 2021, but the World U20 Championships in Nairobi, Kenya, and the World Race Walking Team Championships in Minsk, Belarus are still being rescheduled.

 

2020 international competition calendar:

August

11 Turku – Continental Tour Gold

14 Monaco – Wanda Diamond League

16 Gateshead – Wanda Diamond League

20 Szekesfehervar – Continental Tour Gold

23 Stockholm – Wanda Diamond League

 

September

2 Lausanne – Wanda Diamond League

4 Brussels – Wanda Diamond League

6 Paris (tbc) – Wanda Diamond League

6 Silesia – Continental Tour Gold

8 Ostrava – Continental Tour Gold

15 Zagreb – Continental Tour Gold

17 Rome/Naples – Wanda Diamond League

19 Shanghai – Wanda Diamond League

26 Nairobi – Continental Tour Gold

 

October

4 Eugene – Wanda Diamond League

9 Doha – Wanda Diamond League

17 World Athletics Half Marathon Championships

17 China (venue tba) – Wanda Diamond League

 

Note: dates for the Continental Tour Gold meetings in Tokyo and Nanjing are still to be finalised.

Monaco star Cesc Fabregas feels the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season may have been cancelled too soon amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Paris Saint-Germain were declared champions and Amiens and Toulouse were relegated after the season was called off last month, with most teams still having 10 games remaining.

As the Bundesliga prepares to restart on May 16 and the Premier League, Serie A and LaLiga try to resume, Fabregas believes the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) could have waited before ending the season.

"It was a big decision that was made and I can understand why they took it," Spanish midfielder Fabregas told beIN SPORTS. 

"But maybe it was taken a little too soon, considering a lot of the big league are still all trying to resume. 

"Although I completely understand the meaning behind it and it's better to be safe in all accounts, because the most important is the families and the health security of everyone and support this 100 per cent.

"But maybe we could've considered individual training, where you have basically no risk. You're not touching anyone, you're not close to anyone. See if everyone was getting closer to football behind played all over the world.

"Obviously, it's very difficult and I understand someone needs to make decisions. We just have to do what they're telling us. Difficult moment in our professional lives and personal lives, but we just have to hold on and everything will be fine in the future for sure."

Monaco were ninth and nine points outside of the European qualification places when the season was called off.

Former Barcelona assistant Robert Moreno has no doubt the LaLiga giants want to sign Neymar again.

Neymar, 28, has been linked with a return to Camp Nou, having left for Paris Saint-Germain in a world-record €222million move in 2017.

Moreno, an assistant at Barca while the Brazil international was there, said he knew the LaLiga side wanted Neymar again.

"I would re-sign Neymar for Barcelona," the Monaco coach told El Transistor.

"In the end, Barcelona have to have the best players in the world and Neymar is one of them, a player who makes the difference.

"Furthermore, he makes his team-mates play. I know for sure that they want him."

Moreno took over as Monaco coach in December last year, and his side finished ninth as the Ligue 1 campaign was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Spaniard said he had mixed feelings over the decision to call off the rest of the season.

"On one hand, we didn't like it because we didn't agree on the standings and we've been left out of Europe," Moreno said.

"But it's given some certainty because [the government] has extended the measures until July.

"That allows us to start pre-season in July and start the league at the end of August."

Kylian Mbappe wants to see fellow France international Wissam Ben Yedder also recognised as the top scorer in Ligue 1 this season.

Paris Saint-Germain were declared Ligue 1 champions for the seventh time in eight seasons on a points-per-game basis after the 2019-20 campaign was abandoned due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mbappe won his second consecutive top scorer's trophy thanks to 18 strikes in the top flight.

His haul was matched by Monaco's Ben Yedder but, in a statement on their official website, Ligue 1 explained Mbappe was given the award because he reached his total by scoring more of his goals in open play.

"Thank you all for your messages," Mbappe quote tweeted in response.

"I do think that Wissam also deserves a trophy, as they did in the Premier League last season, to reward his year."

In the 2018-19 season, Liverpool duo Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane shared the Golden Boot with Arsenal striker Pierre Emerick-Aubameyang after the trio all finished on 22 goals.

Mbappe retained his award after being out on his own in France last term, hitting 33 in 29 Ligue 1 outings.

Kylian Mbappe has been confirmed as the Ligue 1 golden boot winner for 2019-20 following the decision to end the season.

Last week, league officials decided to bring the campaign to a close prematurely after French authorities decreed there would be no sporting events until September due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Paris Saint-Germain were declared champions on a points-per-game basis, having been leading the top flight by 12 points from Marseille when the competition was suspended.

Mbappe was joint-leading goalscorer in the division on 18 goals, level with Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder.

However, Ligue 1 confirmed via its official website on Thursday that Mbappe will be recognised as the season's top scorer as all his goals came from open play, while three of Ben Yedder's were penalties.

Mbappe's goals-per-game ratio was also superior, his 18 coming in 20 games, while Ben Yedder scored his in 25.

Lyon forward Moussa Dembele finished third in the standings on 16 goals.

Mbappe also won the golden boot last year, scoring 33 times in 29 league games as PSG romped to the title.

Eden Hazard has looked self-conscious for Real Madrid this season but can still be a success at the club, according to former Chelsea team-mate Cesc Fabregas.

Hazard joined Madrid from the Blues for €100million last June but has endured a difficult first season in LaLiga.

The Belgium star has started only nine league matches in 2019-20 having been beset by fitness and injury problems, most recently a broken shinbone.

Fabregas, though, is confident Hazard can prove his worth to head coach Zinedine Zidane.

"He's played several good games for Madrid, but it's true that sometimes he's looked a little self-conscious," Monaco midfielder Fabregas told RTVE.

"He's always been a player who's had a hard time starting seasons. But I predict a great future."

With Hazard struggling, Madrid have been persistently linked with a move for Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, who is reportedly keen on playing at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Fabregas has no doubt the France forward would thrive in the Madrid set-up.

"He's a very hungry boy who wants to be the best. Because of the way he plays, he'd fit in very well at Real Madrid," he said.

Fabregas' Ligue 1 campaign is at an end, with authorities in France having decided to finish the season early and decide placings on a points-per-game average.

LaLiga still hopes to resume 2019-20 but there remain concerns about the feasibility of staging the remaining matches safely.

Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois made it clear this week that settling the season in a similar way to France, which could see league leaders Barcelona awarded the title, would be unfair given Los Blancos have a better head-to-head record this term.

Fabregas thinks Barca would be worthy winners, though.

"They told us everything was cancelled and nothing else was being played. It took us by surprise," he said of the decision to end Ligue 1.

"If it [LaLiga] stops as it has in France, Barca would be the right winners. We're not stopping because we like it. We're doing it for an unavoidable reason."

The great-grandmother of Monaco midfielder Cesc Fabregas has recovered from coronavirus.

The former Arsenal, Chelsea and Barcelona star confirmed the news via his Twitter account on Wednesday.

"She has overcome the virus at 95 years old. Yesterday, the test came out negative!" the tweet said.

"My great-grandmother is a super-heroine, but none of this would be possible without the help of all the nurses and doctors who are giving their lives at every moment so that all of us can be better and live a little better in such difficult times."

Fabregas went on to pay tribute to the staff at his great-grandmother's care home in Barcelona, adding: "All our respect. Nothing is impossible."

The 32-year-old has reportedly offered to defer his Monaco salary until July to help the club cope with the economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Tuesday, it was confirmed the 2019-20 Ligue 1 season will not restart as all major sport in France remains suspended until September.

The Wanda Diamond League today suspended a further two meetings in June as it continues to adapt the 2020 season calendar in the face of the coronavirus crisis, while Oslo’s Bislett Games are to be staged in an alternative format.

In recent weeks, the Wanda Diamond League has been forced to suspend a number of its early-season meetings as a result of health and logistical concerns brought about by the global coronavirus crisis.

Today the series announced the postponement of further meetings in Eugene, scheduled for 7 June, and Paris, June 13.

As with previous suspensions, this decision was reached in close consultation with all relevant parties and based on concerns over athlete safety as well as widespread travel restrictions which make it impossible to stage the competitions as planned.

Meanwhile, the Bislett Games also announced plans to host an alternative athletics competition, an exhibition event dubbed 'The Impossible Games', on June 11, the original date of this year’s Oslo Diamond League meeting.

The concept will see a number of world-class athletes take part in a one-off showpiece event in full observation of Norway’s coronavirus regulations and social distancing rules.

The programme is currently set to include a world record attempt from Norwegian hurdles star Karsten Warholm and a long-distance pole vault battle between world record holder Mondo Duplantis and record Diamond League Champion Renaud Lavillenie.

Organisers were nonetheless keen to stress that the full programme is yet to be confirmed and subject to changes.

The hour-long event will be shown live by Norway’s public broadcaster NRK and will be partly financed by the Norwegian National Athletics Association and World Athletics.

“This is really positive news for athletes and fans and promises, even in this early stage, to be another great night of athletics from the Bislett stadium. Congratulations to the Oslo Bislett Games for dreaming this up and following it through, working within the pandemic guidelines set out in Norway,” said World Athletics president Sebastian Coe.

“We are delighted to support the event by releasing the funds World Athletics makes to each Diamond League event but with one caveat, which is that the entire amount we are contributing goes to prize money for the athletes competing.”

Oslo meeting director and Bislett Alliance CEO Steinar Hoen said the athletes were “hungry for competitions”.

“We want to give them a high-class event. We have had a very positive dialogue with both the municipality of Oslo and the infection prevention superior in Oslo, and have confirmed a concept that is well within the government's infection control requirements,” he added.

 

 

Cesc Fabregas is "fully confident" Lionel Messi will see out his career at Barcelona, while the Monaco star left the door open to coaching LaLiga rivals Real Madrid.

Messi's future has dominated headlines, having clashed with board members at LaLiga champions Barca this season, a campaign which has been halted by the coronavirus pandemic.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner, who is contracted until 2021, has been linked to Serie A outfit Inter and boyhood club Newell's Old Boys – speculation Messi branded as "fake news" earlier this month.

Fabregas spent three years alongside Messi at Camp Nou, where the pair won LaLiga, the UEFA Super Cup, Club World Cup, Copa del Rey and Supercopa de Espana.

Asked about Messi, Fabregas told Cadena COPE: "I speak with Messi and his idea has always been to end his career at Barcelona.

"Many things can happen at a club but I am fully confident that his career will end at Barca."

Fabregas came through Barca's youth system, leaving at 16 to join Premier League giants Arsenal in 2003.

The Spaniard established himself as one of the best midfielders in the world before returning to Barca in 2011.

Despite his strong links to Barca, Fabregas has not ruled out coaching Madrid in the future.

The 32-year-old added: "You can never say never, I know this very clearly. As a player, maybe, but as a coach it is different because you can manage 30 teams in your career.

"As a player the contracts are longer but as a coach you are likely to have many more opportunities because they can kick you out after two days."

The pause in the football calendar (except in Belarus, of course) gives players across Europe plenty of time to reflect on their efforts so far this season.

While some have a few things to work on when matches return, there are others for whom 2019-20 has been a showcase of the very best they have to offer.

In the latest piece in our series, we look at the best-performing forwards in the Bundesliga, LaLiga, Ligue 1, Premier League and Serie A.

Goals might be the most obvious (and fundamentally important) of metrics for these players, but the number of times the ball crosses that white line is not the only measure of their quality.

To that end, we have also examined seven other parameters: minutes-per-goal rate, shots on target, shooting accuracy, shot conversion rate, big chance conversion rate, dribbles completed and dribble success rate. And these are for those players to make at least 10 league appearances this season, to avoid any unfair imbalance in the results (we're looking at you, Florin Andone).

Without further ado, we present the most ruthless forwards elite-level football in Europe has to offer...

THE MOST RUTHLESS FORWARDS IN EUROPE'S TOP-FIVE LEAGUES 2019-20:

 

BUNDESLIGA:

Most goals scored: Robert Lewandowski (25)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Robert Lewandowski (81.7)
Most shots on target: Robert Lewandowski (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Marcus Thuram (76.3 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Paco Alcacer (35.7 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Rouwen Hennings (71.4 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Marcus Thuram (57)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Lucas Alario (83.3 per cent)

LALIGA:

Most goals scored: Lionel Messi (19)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Lionel Messi (99.5)
Most shots on target: Lionel Messi (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Lionel Messi (68.9 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Lucas Perez (40.7 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Charles (83.3 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Lionel Messi (118)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Pione Sisto (76.9 per cent)

LIGUE 1:

Most goals scored: Kylian Mbappe and Wissam Ben Yedder (18)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Kylian Mbappe (84.1)
Most shots on target: Kylian Mbappe (49)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Kasper Dolberg (78.1 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Mauro Icardi (37.5 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Moussa Dembele (72.2 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Neymar (90)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Zaydou Youssouf (85.7 per cent)

PREMIER LEAGUE:

Most goals scored: Jamie Vardy (19)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Sergio Aguero (87.6)
Most shots on target: Mohamed Salah (43)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Anthony Martial (68.2 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang (36.2 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Harry Kane (70 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Adama Traore (144)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Billy Sharp (86.7 per cent)

SERIE A:

Most goals scored: Ciro Immobile (27)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Luis Muriel (70.2)
Most shots on target: Cristiano Ronaldo (53)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Romelu Lukaku (65.5 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Ante Rebic (42.9 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Felipe Caicedo (85.7 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Jeremie Boga (106)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Sergio Floccari (72.2 per cent)

AND THE TOP EIGHT:

Most goals scored: Ciro Immobile (27)
Best minutes-per-goal rate (Min. five goals scored): Luis Muriel (70.2)
Most shots on target: Lionel Messi and Robert Lewandowski (55)
Best shooting accuracy (Min. 30 shots): Kasper Dolberg (78.1 per cent)
Best shot conversion rate (Min. five goals scored): Ante Rebic (42.9 per cent)
Best big chance conversion rate (Min. five big chances): Felipe Caicedo (85.7 per cent)
Most dribbles completed: Adama Traore (144)
Best dribbles success rate (Min. 10 completed): Billy Sharp (86.7 per cent)

Thierry Henry engaged the minds of his Monaco team with "bright, engaging" training sessions and could have been "fantastic" for the club had he not been sacked so quickly during the 2018-19 season, according to Rony Lopes.

After a difficult start to the campaign that saw them win just one of their first nine matches, Leonardo Jardim was dismissed in October and replaced swiftly by Henry, who had previously been Roberto Martinez's assistant with Belgium.

With an injury crisis ravaging the squad, results were little better under Henry, who won two of his 12 matches in charge, finding himself dismissed in January after a crushing 5-1 home defeat by Strasbourg and subsequently moving on to Montreal Impact in MLS.

Curiously, Jardim was reinstated after Henry's sacking, but he only lasted until December and Lopes – who was a part of the Monaco squad last season – feels the Frenchman was shown the door too soon, convinced he was having an impact on a squad that had felt the full force of bad luck with injuries.

"The time with Henry was a very hard campaign because it was a moment in the season when we had 17 injured players," Lopes said to the Athletic. "We played in the Champions League with five strikers who were 18 years old.

"Even if they are good players, they do not have the experience to play games like that. It was a hard season for them. I have never been in a situation like that in my life.

"I think people don't really know what happened with Thierry. In my opinion, the club did not give him enough time. The training sessions were really good and the ideas were bright, engaging and good.

"When he had the players back fit, and the team starting to be how he wanted, the club sacked him. I did not agree with that. If they had given him more time, he could have been a fantastic coach for Monaco.

The last Coupe de la Ligue final should have been taking place on Saturday.

Paris Saint-Germain were scheduled to face Lyon at the Stade de France, but the coronavirus pandemic bringing almost all sport to a halt has thrown the postponed match into doubt.

It remains to be seen whether the final game in the competition's history will actually be contested, French football's governing body having voted to expunge the tournament at the end of this season.

The Coupe de la Ligue may not have the same prestige as the Coupe de France, but over the years it has delivered some memorable finals.

Here we pick out the five best showpieces.

1998 – Paris Saint-Germain 2-2 Bordeaux (4-2 on penalties)

PSG claimed the second of their eight Couple de la Ligue titles in a bona-fide thriller at the Stade de France. 

They were behind 30 minutes in when Sylvain Wiltord played in Johan Micoud to lash in the opener. However, PSG dominated thereafter and 10 minutes from time they levelled as Marco Simone fired home on the rebound after Ulrich Rame had kept out Rai's penalty.

Simone then struck the crossbar with a thunderous long-range volley, but Rai put PSG ahead in extra time with a bullet header.

The legendary Jean-Pierre Papin restored parity in the 114th minute but he was among those to miss in the shoot-out, blazing over the bar before Patrice Loko slotted in the decisive penalty.

It marked the second successive year Bordeaux had lost on spot-kicks in the final. Less than a month later, PSG made it a double with Coupe de France victory over Lens.

2000 – Gueugnon 2-0 Paris Saint-Germain

PSG suffered humiliation two years later as Gueugnon became the first and only team from outside the top division to win the trophy.

Marcelo Trapasso gave the second-tier side the lead as he reacted quickest to Nicolas Esceth-N'Zi's drive rattling the post.

Gueugnon withstood a barrage of PSG pressure but ensured a historic victory through Sylvain Flauto's individual effort.

2001 – Lyon 2-1 Monaco (aet)

A meeting between the previous season's top-flight champions and the club that would go on to dominate the decade lived up to expectations and ended in dramatic fashion.

Claudio Cacapa was the unlikely man to break the deadlock, the Brazilian defender chipping over Stephane Porato in the 35th minute. 

Shabani Nonda forced extra time as his volley squirmed past Gregory Coupet, but two minutes from the end of the second additional period substitute Patrick Muller met Sonny Anderson's left-wing cross to settle an absorbing encounter.

2003 – Monaco 4-1 Sochaux

There was no late drama for Monaco this time around as Didier Deschamps' side produced the kind of performance they dazzled Europe with en route to the Champions League final in the subsequent season.

It was Ludovic Giuly who lit up the Stade de France with a stunning display marked by two wondrous goals as Monaco netted four in the space of 21 second-half minutes.

He opened the scoring by finding the bottom-left corner with a vicious half-volley and, after Sebastien Squillaci and Dado Prso had effectively put the game beyond doubt, Giuly added gloss with an exquisite lob to cap one of the finest individual Coupe de la Ligue final performances.

2008 – Paris Saint-Germain 2-1 Lens

Ten years on from their previous triumph in the competition, PSG reclaimed the trophy with the help of a dreadful late error from Lens defender Hilton.

Lens had looked the more likely to emerge victorious after Eric Carriere cancelled out Pauleta's deft lob.

However, with the game on the brink of extra time, Hilton bundled over Peguy Luyindula and Bernard Mendy's staggered run-up fooled Ronan Le Crom as he calmly converted from 12 yards to send PSG fans into delirium.

PSG were subsequently banned from the 2008-09 competition for an insulting banner unfurled by some of their supporters. The punishment was overturned on appeal, and they have since won the competition five further times under their Qatari owners.

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