Ilkay Gundogan welcomed the return to fitness of Benjamin Mendy as "a big boost" for Manchester City at a time when the club are without two key defenders.

Aymeric Laporte and John Stones missed City's 3-0 Champions League Group C victory over Shakhtar Donetsk on Wednesday with injuries and Pep Guardiola moved Fernandinho into central defence alongside Nicolas Otamendi.

Mendy came on as a second-half substitute to make his first appearance since City's Champions League quarter-final elimination to Tottenham in April and Gundogan highlighted the importance of his return.

"It was great to see Benjamin back and it is a big boost for us," Gundogan told the club's official website.

"Having him available again will be great for the team because we have missed him for the past five months and it's also good for him.

"His fitness will improve as he gets some more game time and last night was an important step forward for him.

"We have lost a number of players recently, so having an important member of the squad return is just what we needed.

"We are competing in so many competitions and every player has a part to play so I'm really happy to see him return."

Gundogan made his fourth start of the season against Shakhtar and put in an impressive performance as he played the full 90 minutes of the win.

After playing a role in Riyad Mahrez opening the scoring, Gundogan got City's second and spent the game pulling the strings alongside Kevin De Bruyne and Rodri in midfield.

He gave a modest assessment of his own performance while looking ahead to City's clash with Watford on Saturday, when they will hope to bounce back from a 3-2 defeat at Norwich City in their last Premier League outing.

"I'm happy but I know I can still improve," said Gundogan. "It was good to get a goal and also play the full 90 minutes because I think I needed that.

"It helps me, it helps the team and it helps everyone because we wanted to respond quickly.

"As you can imagine, the defeat at Norwich was very hard to take for us, that's why beating Shakhtar was even more important and we can take this win into Saturday's game against Watford which is already very close."

Barcelona expect to announce an eye-watering turnover in excess of €1billion ahead of schedule in 2020.

The forecast is claimed to be "a new record in the world of sport" and is on course to be reached before the club's stated target of 2021.

LaLiga champions in four of the past five seasons, Barca's revenue climbed €76million to a club-record €990m for the 2018-19 season.

The Camp Nou outfit spent large sums on Frenkie de Jong and Antoine Griezmann ahead of the 2019-20 campaign but project a three per cent reduction in "sporting salaries" and nine per cent increase in income for player transfers and loans after parting with Andre Gomes, Malcom and Jasper Cillessen among other fringe members of Ernesto Valverde's squad.

Barca's finances might look less robust if the club succeeds in its attempts to sign Neymar from Paris Saint-Germain. 

The Brazil international moved between the teams for €222m in August 2017 but wants to return to his former employers, who investigated the possibility of a deal during the last transfer window.

On the pitch, head coach Valverde's hopes of retaining his job appear to hinge heavily on delivering victory in the Champions League.

Lionel Messi made the competition a priority when he spoke of being committed to Barca on the condition of sustained success.

"For me, money or a clause don't mean anything. Other things motivate me and the most important thing is having a winning team," he told SPORT this month.

Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Keylor Navas insisted he took no special satisfaction from helping to pile the pain on his former club Real Madrid in the Champions League.

A lacklustre Madrid were soundly beaten 3-0 at Parc des Princes on Wednesday and have now won just two of their opening five matches in all competitions this term.

Navas, 32, made his second start for PSG after joining the Ligue 1 champions from Madrid in a deadline-day deal that saw Alphonse Areola head in the opposite direction.

Another former Madrid player, Angel Di Maria, scored twice for the hosts before Thomas Meunier added the final blow in second-half stoppage time.

"I am very happy because we won, not because we beat Real Madrid," Navas said.

"My team-mates put in a great effort, gave their best and we won, which is really important for us.

"I have no resentment towards anyone at Real. I just want to enjoy the moment I have here at my new club. Everyone is very motivated and I will defend my new colours as I did with Madrid.

"I want to continue writing my story. The one I lived in Madrid was very beautiful. I want to be happy here, enjoy every moment and for my family to be happy, that is the main thing."

Family, Navas claimed, was the reason he accepted PSG's offer of a four-year contract, and not because he had lost his starting place to Thibaut Courtois.

The Costa Rica international spent five seasons at the Santiago Bernabeu, winning the Champions League three times.

"I did not leave Real Madrid because of that," he said, when asked about the rivalry with Courtois.

"I left because my family and I thought this was the best option for us. I was welcomed as if I had been here for a very long time.

"The best I can give is to defend these colours to the death, to work hard and to try to win important games."

Manuel Neuer moved to protect his relationship with Marc-Andre ter Stegen after Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness admonished the Barcelona goalkeeper.

Germany captain Neuer and positional rival Ter Stegen were locked in a public exchange in the lead-up to this week's Champions League matches after the latter ended the international break unhappy with being overlooked for a pair Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Neuer, 33, suggested his international team-mate was putting himself before the team, criticism which Ter Stegen described as "inappropriate".

The tension seemed to be easing until Hoeness hit out at Ter Stegen following Bayern's routine 3-0 Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade on Wednesday.

Hoeness accused sections of the German media of treating the 27-year-old as if he had won the World Cup "17 times" and insisted Neuer was the "much better" goalkeeper.

Though appreciative of his president's backing, Neuer refrained from adding to the sense of disharmony.

"It's always good to have some people support you in general," the Bayern skipper said when asked about Hoeness' comments.

"I basically said one thing about it because I got asked after a game.

"I don't want to have a debate and talk about who can do what better than the other. We are a team and I am a team player. We know that we have four good goalkeepers who play together and do everything for Germany.

"So, I don't want to talk about it anymore."

Hoeness' tirade involved a shot at the German Football Association for a perceived failure to adequately support Bayern players.

Earlier this year, Germany boss Joachim Low made the sudden decision to move forward without 2014 World Cup winners Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and Mats Hummels, who has since moved to Borussia Dortmund.

Neuer remains firmly in Low's plans and recently won his 90th cap international cap, 68 more than Barca star Ter Stegen.

Manchester City midfielder Fernandinho says he felt fully prepared to play in defence against Shakhtar Donetsk after training as a centre-back all season.

The Premier League champions overcame fitness issues to commence their Champions League campaign with a comfortable 3-0 victory in Ukraine.

Aymeric Laporte and John Stones missed the match due to knee and muscle injuries respectively, forcing Fernandinho to shuffle backwards in a makeshift central-defensive partnership with Nicolas Otamendi.

The pair performed admirably at Metalist Stadium, recording a clean sheet to temporarily ease Pep Guardiola's headaches.

"It was easier at the back because we played as a team and the guys up front closed down the space," Fernandinho told BT Sport.

"I've been training in this position since the start of the season.

"Of course, Pep knows everything about our squad, our team and when he needs you. I think every player should be ready.

"Today was my time, my opportunity and I hope I can get better and improve a little bit more."

City expect to regain England international Stones, a starter in last weekend's Premier League loss to Norwich City, in around a month.

Laporte will not return until next year after damaging cartilage and the lateral meniscus in his right knee in the win over Brighton and Hove Albion on August 31.

Guardiola's men have five matches to battle through before the next international break and the City boss accepts it will be impossible for Otamendi, 31, and Fernandinho, 34, to play without rest.

"For one or two games it's okay, but for three or four months, I don't know what's going to happen," Guardiola said.

"Both were incredible [against Shakhtar]. Nico showed incredible personality. Maybe Kyle [Walker can play at centre-back], I don't know, but these two cannot play every three days.

"Fernandinho can play many positions with a good personality and that's why it's so important for us."

Marco Giampaolo and AC Milan are bringing back the Rossoneri identity as they eye a long-awaited return to the Champions League, according to former goalkeeper Zeljko Kalac.

Milan have not featured in the Champions League since 2013-14 after narrowly missing out on qualification by a single point under Gennaro Gattuso last season.

The Italian giants – seven-time winners of the European Cup/Champions League – have since turned to former Sampdoria head coach Giampaolo in their pursuit of a return to the premier club competition.

Milan great Zvonimir Boban, who won the Champions League and four Serie A titles during his time at the club, has also returned to San Siro as chief football officer, while legendary former captain Paolo Maldini is technical director.

Kalac – winner of the Champions League, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup during his four years at Milan – believes the 18-time Serie A champions can build on Gattuso's work with Giampaolo's entertaining brand of football.

"They've appointed a very good manager," ex-Australia international Kalac told Omnisport ahead of Saturday's derby against Inter. "The way I think they'll play and the way Giampaolo will get them to play, it will be very good for Milan.

"Milan have always been known as a footballing team. All the success we've had and in the Champions League, it's because of the way they play football – it's a brand.

"They want to bring that back. With Maldini being back and Boban too, you're bringing back legends. The culture of the club. You can't forget what Gattuso done, he brought back the Milan culture. They'll just go forward from that."

"If they can get into the top four and qualify for the Champions League, that's a very big success," Kalac continued, with Giampaolo's side collecting six points from their opening three games. "They were close under Rino, it was a good push. It's where they belong, a club of Milan."

Milan were active again in the transfer market – Giampaolo trying to shape his squad with the deadline-day signing of Croatia star Ante Rebic after bringing Theo Hernandez, Rafael Leao, Ismael Bennacer, Leo Duarte and Rade Krunic to the club.

Rebic – who scored 10 goals across all competitions during a memorable run to the Europa League semi-finals last season – was linked to Inter before joining Milan from Bundesliga outfit Eintracht Frankfurt.

The 25-year-old returns to Italy, having previously struggled after moving to Fiorentina from RNK Split in 2013, before being loaned out to RB Leipzig and Hellas Verona.

"I don't see why not. We all have our ups and downs in football," Kalac said when asked if Rebic can be a success in his second stint in Serie A. "The one thing at Milan that people don't realise, the expectations are so high. It doesn't matter who you play against, they expect you to win. You need to win and supporters expect it. The club is built to win.

"Once these players play and train regularly, they work out things together and combinations form. I've seen many great players come to Milan and not be successful because it's a different expectation. When you're the main man or focal point at a smaller club, it's easier because the team works for you. Whereas at Milan, you need to be part of the parcel in the big cog, but he can be a success."

Rebic will have his first taste of a Milan derby against a high-flying Inter side looking to make it four wins from four Serie A matches under coach Antonio Conte.

Inter are two points clear atop the table following the arrivals of Conte, club-record signing Romelu Lukaku, Diego Godin, Stefano Sensi, Nicolo Barella, Alexis Sanchez and Cristiano Biraghi.

"They've recruited really well," Kalac, who predicted a draw in the first Milan derby of the season, said. "It all starts with the recruiting of the head coach – Conte is fantastic. They've brought in some really good players who will be successful.

"But I think it will still take time. They won't have instant success but they will go very close. I think [eight-time reigning champions] Juventus this season, if there's any season to win it off them, it's this term."

Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski revelled in scoring his 200th competitive goal for the Bundesliga champions.

Lewandowski celebrated a milestone as Bayern opened their Champions League campaign with a 3-0 victory over Red Star Belgrade in Munich on Wednesday.

The 31-year-old striker, who moved onto 199 competitive goals for Bayern in their draw at Bundesliga rivals RB Leipzig last week, poked home the team's second goal with 10 minutes remaining against Red Star.

"We always had the game under control and played well, we upped the pace and created a lot of chances," Lewandowski said as he reflected on the Group B clash.

"But we didn't score enough goals. We always tried to get forward. Sometimes we might have made wrong decisions, but these are little things. In the end it was only three goals, but it could have been five or six.

"You need games like today to help with a good analysis, to see what you can do better. After the second goal, it got easier. I'm glad I scored again."

Lewandowski – the highest-scoring foreigner for Bayern – is fourth on the club's all-time list, behind Rainer Ohlhauser (215), Karl-Heinz Rummenigge (218) and Gerd Muller (564).

The Poland international has flourished since arriving from Borussia Dortmund in 2014, winning five successive Bundesliga titles.

Lewandowski – who has also won two DFB-Pokal trophies and three DFL-Supercups – has topped the Bundesliga scoring charts for the past two seasons and four of the past six.

Virgil van Dijk insisted there was no reason for Liverpool to panic after their Champions League loss to Napoli on Tuesday.

Liverpool's six-match winning run was ended with a 2-0 defeat in the Group E encounter at Stadio San Paolo, where Dries Mertens' penalty and Fernando Llorente's goal were enough for Napoli.

Ahead of a trip to Chelsea in the Premier League on Sunday, Van Dijk said the European champions would not overreact to their loss.

"I don't know if it's a wake-up call," the star defender told UK newspapers.

"Both sides were full in the game and thought it was going to be a draw. Obviously the penalty changed it all and we're going home with no points but it shouldn't be a wake-up call.

"We've been performing since the start of the season outstanding so there's no reason for panic. The majority in the game we played well, we put them under pressure and we created opportunities on the break.

"There's a lot of positive things apart from the result. We have to try to win our other games and we now focus on Chelsea."

Liverpool squandered numerous good chances in Naples before the hosts broke through after Andy Robertson was harshly adjudged to have fouled Jose Callejon in the area.

Van Dijk believes Jurgen Klopp's men were set to earn a point before the spot-kick was awarded.

"It happens, it's football. Things happen like that. Sometimes you wish in the end something different, or you pick the other pass instead of the right pass. It's always like that sometimes," he said.

"We had moments in the game we could've done better. If the penalty wasn't there I think it was going to be a draw. The reality is we conceded the penalty and unlucky that Adrian is unable to save it."

Bayern Munich president Uli Hoeness hit out at disgruntled Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen, the German Football Association (DFB) and the media amid the ongoing debate involving Manuel Neuer, who he believes is the "much better" shot-stopper.

Tension between Bayern keeper Neuer and Barcelona's Ter Stegen has been high after the latter voiced his frustration about the lack of international opportunities for Germany.

Despite 22-time international Ter Stegen's fine form with the LaLiga champions, captain Neuer is Germany's number one and started ahead of the 27-year-old during the latest round of Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Neuer – a World Cup winner with Germany having amassed 90 caps – accused Ter Stegen of putting himself before the team when he expressed frustration with the selection order, and his positional rival described the 33-year-old's criticism as "inappropriate".

Hoeness fiercely weighed into the Neuer and Ter Stegen debate following Bayern's 3-0 win over Red Star Belgrade in their Champions League opener on Wednesday.

"I think that this is a joke and especially the Munich press I think it's not okay what they do," Hoeness told reporters. "The West German press is heavily supporting Marc-Andre ter Stegen as if he won 17 times the World Cup. And from the South German press I don't see any support.

"I think it's impossible to make such a topic public because he has no claim to play there [in the national team]. With the goalkeepers it's different than with the other.

"He [Neuer] was the best goalkeeper in the world for many years. Now he was injured sometime but it was clear that if he becomes the old one again – and he is the old one again - there is no discussion if just him can be the number one. I hoped for more support from the German football federation. We frequently have troubles with DFB.

"First of all, I remember how our three players were kicked out in a very bad way of the national team [Thomas Muller, Jerome Boateng and former defender Mats Hummels] and now this with Manuel Neuer is the same. I don't know how you cannot do something against it when a player goes public with a topic that he should only discuss with [head coach] Joachim Low. This is not okay.

"We have our opinion and we won't let this happen in the future that our players will be damaged without reason because Ter Stegen is a good keeper but Manuel Neuer is much better. And has more experience. There is no discussion necessary. Nobody in the world can have doubts with Manuel Neuer being Germany's goalkeeper. Neuer can play as long as he stays healthy. He will always be the best. There is no discussion about it."

Thiago Silva played down suggestions Paris Saint-Germain sent a message to the rest of Europe with their resounding victory over Real Madrid.

Angel Di Maria's double and Thomas Meunier's late goal helped PSG to a 3-0 win against Madrid in their Group A clash in the Champions League on Wednesday.

Thomas Tuchel's PSG produced their performance without stars Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

But, Silva insisted there was no message sent to rivals in Europe, praising his team for their display and lauding head coach Tuchel.

"This is not a message sent to the other European teams," the defender told RMC Sport.

"But it's true that we have mastered the game well, that we have prepared well, have been effective, strong and what's what you need to do, even in the league.

"You have to play like today, with the character, the personality and in the aggressive state. I have to congratulate the staff who prepared this match. We deserved to win 3-0."

Idrissa Gueye, who arrived at PSG from Everton in July, impressed during the clash at Parc des Princes.

The midfielder was happy to help the Ligue 1 champions to their win, telling RMC Sport: "Today, we played against a big club, it was important to win this game. It was important to start this competition well.

"My instructions? I cannot give the keys of our match, because there will be a return game. We will continue to work and then we'll talk about it again.

"The most important thing is to be on the field and help the team. I try to do the best I can and today it worked."

Mislav Orsic hailed Dinamo Zagreb's 4-0 thrashing of Atalanta on Wednesday as the club's greatest display in the Champions League.

Orsic notched a hat-trick after Marin Leovac opened the scoring to send Dinamo top of Group C in impressive fashion.

Nenad Bjelica's side face Manchester City – who beat Shakhtar Donetsk 3-0 – in their next game, with Orsic keen to ensure they carry momentum from their opening triumph into that encounter.

"This is the best ever Dinamo Zagreb performance in the Champions League and Europa League," he said.

"But this is a small step for us, we need to continue this way and see if we can achieve something big.

"We played a really good game, it was an excellent performance. We changed the formation for this match and I think we caught the opponents by surprise."

Dinamo captain Arijan Ademi added: "This is a miracle, what can I say?

"It's down to everyone in the team. I really can't say what our limits are now. We showed them early in the match that this is our venue."

Atalanta midfielder Marten De Roon acknowledged the defeat was painful to take but felt the display was not reflective of their overall ability.

"It wasn't the real Atalanta tonight. We suffered and lost badly," he said.

"We gave everything we had, and it's difficult to analyse what was missing. It hurts."

Niko Kovac believes Philippe Coutinho has brought "another dimension" to Bayern Munich after he impressed in their Champions League win over Red Star Belgrade.

Kingsley Coman, Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Muller goals earned Bayern a 3-0 victory over Red Star in the German giants' Group B opener.

However, it was Coutinho – on loan from LaLiga champions Barcelona with a view to a permanent move – who particularly caught the eye pulling the strings in Munich midweek.

"He played a really good game and with his football intelligence he brings another dimension to our game," Bayern head coach Kovac told Sky in Germany.

"I think we can be very happy. The team has been very focused and we scored three goals, that's befitting."

Muller came off the bench to make a club record 106th appearance in the Champions League for Bayern, but he played down its significance.

Muller said: "Such game records are something for after the career, and I'm not going to give up my shoes up in the near future, so it's not that important."

Red Star captain Marko Marin came agonisingly close to an equaliser before Lewandowski and Muller's strikes late on, and the 30-year-old attacker insisted the result was not a fair reflection of the game.

"We saw that Bayern are on another level," Marin said. We could have scored from our chances. They deserved a win but not the last two goals, they hurt the most. 

"Let's not forget that this is our first group match and playing away, so I hope that we will make up against Olympiacos."

Olympiacos held Tottenham to a 2-2 draw in the group's other game and head coach Vladan Milojevic added: "As I said before the match, Bayern and Tottenham are the favourites in the group, and we saw why tonight. We are aware that we played against a possible winner of the Champions League." 

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel said his team delivered a complete performance in beating Real Madrid 3-0 in their Champions League opener.

PSG, still seeking a first Champions League crown after a series of knockout disappointments, were without strike trio Neymar, Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe for Wednesday's Group A game in Paris.

But PSG still easily beat a struggling Madrid side thanks to a double from Angel Di Maria and a late strike from Thomas Meunier midweek.

A delighted Tuchel warned PSG's absent stars they will have to learn from the performances of Di Maria, Mauro Icardi and Pablo Sarabia, who started as the front three.

"I'm very happy with the whole team because it was really difficult," Tuchel said to RMC Sport. 

"We had a lot of chances, but there were also some stages for Real where we suffered.

"But we stayed structured, always tight, aggressive and compact. Really, it was a complete performance.

"Mbappe and Neymar saw the match, and they have to do what the others did on their return.

"A problem for the coach? That's good, but we are happy to have such a team, which was not always the case.

"We can make a good team match without our stars, and it's absolutely necessary. 

"I should make tough decisions, but it's good, the competition must be like that in a club like PSG."

Idrissa Gueye thrived in midfield on his first Champions League appearance for PSG since signing from Everton.

The Senegal international added balance to PSG's side, bite in the middle of the park and helped create Di Maria's second strike.

"It's good that he's with us," Tuchel added. "He is very important to us, he has a lot of qualities and he is very humble.

"He is huge. He was there with Marquinhos in the middle, and it was a good partnership. We are happy with their match."

Lokomotiv Moscow defender Benedikt Howedes lapped up a "dreamy" return to Germany after his side's 2-1 win over Bayer Leverkusen in their Champions League Group D opener.

Goals from Grzegorz Krychowiak and Dimitri Barinov secured the win for Lokomotiv at the BayArena on Wednesday – their first away victory in the competition since the 2002-03 campaign.

Howedes, a World Cup winner with Germany in 2014, was back on home soil for the second time since his move to the Russian side in July 2018.

He played in Lokomotiv's 1-0 defeat at his former club Schalke last season but was triumphant this time around.

"This win is incredibly important for us," Howedes said. "We came into this group as massive underdogs; Atletico and Juventus are without a doubt the favourites. 

"It's great to be back in this neck of the woods – it's dreamy.

"I used to live in Dusseldorf where our hotel was and I'm just 45 minutes from where I grew up. So it was really nice for me to come home.

"Leverkusen can compete and may be competing with us for third place so the fact we took three points was crucial for us."

Howedes scored an own goal to put Leverkusen on level terms before Barinov got a decisive second.

The Lokomotiv centre-back reckoned a protective bandage he wore on his head from an injury sustained in a previous match may have caused him to put the ball into his own net.

"In hindsight I can smirk about the own goal, but in that moment I was absolutely livid," Howedes added.

"The bandage I was wearing didn't help. The physio warned me it would be difficult and wanted me to wear a mask, but it definitely prevented me from being able to take in my surroundings as easily. 

"That's why I ripped it off in the second half."

Leverkusen goalkeeper Lukas Hradecky took responsibility for an error which led to Lokomotiv's second goal and lamented their lack of a killer instinct further forward.

"The whole team is obviously disappointed. Personally, my mistake sucks. I tried to play the ball out, which is part of how our possession-based style works," said the Finland international.

"We want to have a lot of the ball and that does mean that sometimes our game looks a little risky. I'd love to say otherwise, but this won't be my last mistake.

"We were incredibly unlucky not to grab a second goal early in the second half. We were all over them, but the goal just didn't fall our way. It's a disappointing evening on the whole."

Zinedine Zidane criticised Real Madrid for a lack of intensity during their 3-0 Champions League loss to Paris Saint-Germain on Wednesday.

Madrid were humbled at the Parc des Princes, where an Angel Di Maria brace and a late Thomas Meunier goal saw the Ligue 1 giants to victory in their Group A opener.

Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema had efforts ruled out for Madrid, who fell to a PSG side that were without Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani.

Zidane, whose team failed to record a shot on target, was unhappy with Madrid's intensity in Paris midweek.

"They have surpassed us in everything, especially what bothers me is the intensity," the Madrid head coach told a news conference, via AS.

"At this level, in this competition, it is complicated if you don't enter the field well. They have surpassed us."

Zidane added: "They are good at creating chances. What has worried me is to see my team without the necessary intensity.

"We know that the opponent was going to put a lot of pressure on us. We have almost never entered the game. We had only two chances and made two goals, but the VAR has ruled them out."

Di Maria opened the scoring for PSG when the attacker beat Madrid goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois at his near post in the 14th minute.

However, Zidane refused to blame his shot-stopper – later beaten by Di Maria from 20 yards before Meunier's late sealer – following the defeat.

"We are all in the same boat. When we win, we all win. And when we lose, we all lose," he said.

"I don't want to point at anyone. It is everyone's fault when it is lost."

While Madrid failed to have a single shot on target in a Champions League game for the first time since Opta started recording the data in 2003-04, Zidane is unworried about his side's ability to create.

"I didn't like not creating opportunities with the players we have on the field. It is what it is. We have almost never entered the game," he said.

"I am not worried. Normally we have occasions."

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