Amid growing speculation in recent months, Christophe Galtier and Luis Campos' arrivals at Paris Saint-Germain this off-season could mean Neymar's departure.

The Brazilian joined PSG in 2017 for what remains a world-record €222 million fee from Barcelona, but there has been no European silverware to complement nine Ligue 1 titles over the past decade.

Lionel Messi linked up alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last term but the team's compatibility came under examination in their dramatic Champions League exit, despite winning Ligue 1 comfortably.

TOP STORY – PSG PROPOSED NEYMAR SWAP WITH MAN CITY

PSG proposed an exchange with Manchester City which would have seen Neymar and Bernardo Silva swap clubs earlier this off-season, Le Parisien claims.

The report alleges that the English champions declined the deal, as they are unwilling to let the Portuguese midfielder go.

Relations between Neymar, who is contracted until 2017, and PSG have been slightly testy recently.

Bernardo was linked with a switch to Barcelona earlier in the off-season, having reportedly been eager to leave the club last year.

 

ROUND-UP

– Chelsea are concerned that target Presnel Kimpembe will decline their approach, the Standard claims. The Blues are in talks with PSG over a £50m deal for Kimpembe.

– The Sun reports that Chelsea have also entered the race to sign Dutch midfielder Frenkie de Jong from Barcelona, amid the latter's talks with Manchester United.

– Calciomercato claims that Tottenham have shown an interest in Roma's Nicolo Zaniolo although they will need to offload players to afford him.

– Spurs are not interested in signing Jesse Lingard according to Fabrizio Romano, meanwhile. Lingard, who left Manchester United recently at the conclusion of his contract, is hoping to decide on his future this week, with West Ham United believed to be his likely destination, while Nottingham Forest are also interested.

– Fabrizio Romano also claims that there is still no agreement between PSG and Inter on a deal for Martin Skriniar. Inter are not willing to sell the Slovakia international for PSG's last bid of €50m.

– Arsenal and Manchester City have agreed to a £32m deal for Ukraine international Oleksandr Zinchenko, reports Sky Sports.

– Football Insider reports that Liverpool have contacted Ajax about signing their Brazil international winger Antony.

Caretaker Barcelona boss Oscar Hernandez conceded it will be the "first and last time" he runs a game from the touchlines, after his side's 6-0 win over Inter Miami on Tuesday.

There were six different goal scorers for Barca as they played the opening game of their tour in the United States, with Gavi, Memphis Depay and Ousmane Dembele adding to first half-goals from Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, Raphinha and Ansu Fati.

With Xavi denied entry into the US reportedly after recent visits to Iran in the past five years with Qatari club Al-Sadd as a player and coach, his assistant was tasked with taking over on match day.

The 45-year-old, who was also an assistant at Al-Sadd, said post-match that he hopes his brother's issues can be resolved quickly, with Barcelona still to play Real Madrid, Juventus and New York Red Bulls.

Nevertheless, he was content with Barca's performance.

"Hopefully it will be my first and last game," Hernandez said. "The situation is not easy for Xavi, but let's hope a solution is found and tomorrow he can be with us.

"We are very happy, because despite being a friendly, things have been seen. Those at the front have been very switched on and deploying mechanisms that we have worked on. We have to create competitiveness and that is how we will grow."

After confirming his transfer from Bayern Munich on Saturday, Robert Lewandowski did not make an appearance but the older Hernandez sibling believes he will an influential addition going forward.

"With his arrival we make a huge leap in quality, because he is a top player in the world," he said.

"The club has made a great effort, but we needed a top player. In addition, he is a footballer with a lot of commitment.

"For Xavi and the coaching staff it is a blessing to have so many forwards, because competitiveness is going to make the team grow.

Hernandez also saved special mention for Ansu Fati, who missed significant amounts of last season due to hamstring injuries.

Along with making it 3-0, the 19-year-old was impressive on Tuesday, providing Barcelona with dynamism they sorely lacked in the last campaign.

"It's like a new signing and a signing at a very high level," the assistant said. "He's growing a lot, physically he's getting better and better and we're very happy, because he's a reference."

Matthijs de Ligt leaving Juventus for Bayern Munich is a "good sign" for the Bundesliga champions and the German top flight, according to Julian Nagelsmann.

The centre-back joined Bayern in a deal worth a reported €80million and signed a five-year contract on Monday, ending his three-year spell in Turin.

De Ligt became the fourth arrival this transfer window for Bayern after the additions of Sadio Mane and Ajax duo Noussair Mazraoui and Ryan Gravenberch.

Bayern reportedly beat away interest from Chelsea and Manchester United for De Ligt, who played 2,675 minutes for Juve last season – the most of any outfield player.

Nagelsmann, speaking to reporters on Bayern's pre-season tour in the United States, insists the signing of De Ligt will help his side and German football develop.

"I'm very happy that we got him. He's still very young and he's already had a great career," coach Nagelsmann said. 

"It's a good sign for us and for the whole Bundesliga that we got him. He's a leader and he can do other things, mentoring the players. I hope he can get to know his team-mates soon.

"Of course we don't have [Robert] Lewandowski anymore, so it's important that he also brings his strengths in front of goal as well. I'm hoping for seven or eight goals!"

Lewandowski scored 50 goals in all competitions last campaign, the most across Europe's top five leagues, but has left for Barcelona in a transfer worth up to €50m on a four-year contract.

Though Nagelsmann acknowledged Bayern will miss the talismanic striker, the 34-year-old suggested it is the time for other players to step up in his absence, such as Kinglsey Coman.

"He's one of the most important players for us. He's very good at solving one-on-one situations, whether he's playing left or right," Nagelsmann said of the France international.

"He's also great at crossing and finishing well. He could score more goals in the future. There were many situations in the past where he could have scored.

"We don't have Lewandowski anymore and we need players like him, Sadio, Thomas [Muller and] Jamal [Musiala].

"He's also an important part of the dressing room and speaks German very well. Last season was great but I'm already looking forward to the new season with him."

Lewandowski's 312 Bundesliga goals are the second-most scored by any player in the history of the competition, behind Gerd Muller (365), and team-mate Alphonso Davies is sad to see the forward leave.

"We didn't ask him about his decision. It was his and his family's decision. We wish him all the best," Davies said.

"It's a shame he left us because he's one of the best strikers in the world. But we still have enough quality in the squad.

"Matthijs is an incredible talent, strong, fast, a leader. It's good for us that he's coming. He will bring quality and especially leadership.

"Sadio is a great player and a great person. He's just a good guy and a hard worker."

Barcelona have confirmed the final agreement to sign Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich for €50million, including add-ons, on a four-year contract.

The Poland international travelled to Miami to meet his new team-mates on Sunday, the day after Barca confirmed they had struck an agreement in principle with Bayern.

Lewandowski subsequently passed his medical, with Bayern "officially" announcing his departure on Tuesday.

Barca soon confirmed the transfer details for the talismanic striker, who will have a €500m buyout clause.

The 33-year-old scored 50 goals across all competitions last season, the most across Europe's top five leagues, as Bayern lifted their 10th Bundesliga title in a row.

Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record by scoring 41 goals in a single season in the 2020-21 campaign, while his 43 league goals in 2021 serve as the record for a calendar year in Germany's top tier.

The forward's 312 Bundesliga goals are the second-most scored by any player in competition's history, behind Muller (365), while he leaves Bayern having accumulated 344 goals and 57 assists across 375 appearances in all competitions.

 

Though Julian Nagelsmann was reluctant to let Lewandowski leave, he suggested Bayern's game plan will become more "unpredictable" after his departure.

"When someone like Robert plays up front, you play more crosses," he told reporters on Bayern's pre-season tour in the United States. "The way we're going to play will change. It's a new Bayern Munich.

"It will be a challenge – and I like challenges. It's good for everyone, we have to find new ways and be creative.

"In the past it might have been easier for the opponent to prepare for our game. Now we're going to be even more unpredictable."

Sergio Busquets is hopeful Robert Lewandowski will prove to be LaLiga's signing of the season after he joined the Blaugrana from Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski sealed his long-awaited move to Camp Nou on Monday, having expressed his desire to leave Bayern after scoring 50 goals in all competitions for the Bundesliga champions last season. 

The 33-year-old has finished as the Bundesliga's top goalscorer in seven separate seasons, equalling the record set by fellow Bayern great Gerd Muller, and will now spearhead Barca's bid for a first league title since 2018-19.

Speaking to Inter Miami's media channels ahead of Barca's pre-season friendly against the Major League Soccer side, both Busquets and new team-mate Andreas Christensen heaped praise on the Poland striker.

Asked whether the capture of Lewandowski represented LaLiga's signing of the season, Busquets said: "Well, at the media level, because of his name, it could be. But before starting any competition and before playing matches, it is not that useful to value this. 

"Hopefully we will be saying this when the season is over and after he had a great season individually, because that will mean that the collective also went well. 

"Hopefully it will be like this."

Former Chelsea defender Christensen has joined Lewandowski in moving to Camp Nou during the transfer window, and he believes the experience of the eight-time Bundesliga champion will be invaluable for Xavi's side.

"It's obvious that he's got the qualities, he's won a lot of trophies, he's got the winning mentality that we need," Christensen said.

"So I think he brings all these qualities. I think it's quite obvious what they are. So I don't think I need to mention it but yeah, everyone's just happy that he's here.

"He can push us and you know, share his experiences. I think it's just a good thing for the team."

 

Meanwhile, Busquets has just one year remaining on his contract with the Catalan giants, and refused to rule out a future move to MLS after claiming to have followed the league when former team-mate David Villa joined New York City.

"I have always liked this league a lot since David Villa came to play here," the 34-year-old added. "I started following the league when I can, because of the time difference.

"I'm not dismissing anything. It is true that this is my last year of contract, and everyone knows that.

"But I am focused on finishing well this season, which is full of things at both club and national team level. My focus is to enjoy, compete to the maximum and show my best level and in the future, we will see. 

"I have always said that I like coming to the US and their league a lot. But the future is still unknown, because there isn't anything yet and it is too early."

Barcelona are looking to strengthen their defence in the transfer market after club president Joan Laporta claimed they had seen off competition from Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain for Robert Lewandowski.

The Catalan giants have made several additions as Xavi bids to better last season's second-placed league finish, acquiring Milan midfielder Franck Kessie, Chelsea's Andreas Christensen, Leeds United's Raphinha and Bayern Munich great Lewandowski.

Barca finished some 13 points behind rivals Real Madrid last season, although that represented an achievement of sorts with the Catalan giants having sat ninth in LaLiga when Xavi replaced Ronald Koeman.

In an interview with Hristo Stoichkov for TUDN during Barca's pre-season tour of the United States, Laporta said their business is not yet complete.

"Now we are going to work on the defence," Laporta said. "Xavi has us oriented with a series of players and I hope that the Catalans will have new joys, because the Catalans like Lewandowski.

"This team gives you a guarantee of work, it gives you a guarantee that the players have a profile that is hungry, and we are trying to ensure that they have a better environment. 

"Xavi knows what the fans want, so that when we go to the stadium we have a good time and see that genuine style, playing football with maximum expression and also with goals. 

"Verticality, pressure, possession, control of the ball, all this Xavi wants to implement at its maximum expression."

Barcelona have been strongly linked with moves for Chelsea duo Cesar Azpilicueta and Marcos Alonso after boasting just the sixth-strongest defensive record in LaLiga last season, conceding 38 goals (more than Sevilla, Madrid, Athletic Bilbao, Real Sociedad and Villarreal).

Meanwhile, 12 teams in the Spanish top flight bettered Barca's tally of 11 clean sheets last season.

The signing of Lewandowski, who scored 50 goals in all competitions during his final season with Bundesliga champions Bayern, represents the biggest coup of the transfer window for Barcelona, and Laporta claims they were not the only party pushing hard to sign him.

"We made a first offer and it ended at 45 [million euros], plus five. It's within our possibilities, the player has also adjusted his salary to be within our possibilities and the Catalans are now very happy", Laporta added. 

"We have competed with teams like PSG and Chelsea, and the player wanted to come to Barca. This is what I like.

"As Johan [Cruyff] said, 'I want players who want to come to Barca', and we have to thank him because he has been earning less and enduring great pressure from Bayern, for whom I have great respect.

"Barca needs, like any great team, a goalscoring striker. He is a goalscoring machine gun. 

 

"This player has been awarded the golden boot several times, if you look at his record he guarantees a goal, and every great team needs a striker who guarantees you goals.

"I think that Johan would like Lewandowski – he is a goalscoring striker, different from others we have had.

"Also, with [Ousmane] Dembele, Raphinha, Ferran Torres, who for me is a player who has a goal and has a lot of potential, all of them and Ansu [Fati], [Pierre-Emerick] Aubameyang - it's going well, it's progressing very well, we have a forward [line] with guarantees of putting on a show and scoring goals.

"I want Barca to become a world reference again. In the economic sphere, we are recovering the club, we are achieving it, although we have to work more. 

"But the football side of things does not wait and I think we are doing a good job."

West Ham are reportedly confident they will be able to land 20-year-old Lille midfielder Amadou Onana after increasing their bid for the Belgium international.

Onana, who made his senior international debut on June 3 against the Netherlands in Nations League action, enjoyed a terrific first season in Ligue 1 after leaving Hamburg in Bundesliga 2 for a £6million fee.

The defensive midfielder totalled 41 club appearances in the season, including eight games in the Champions League, but the Hammers may face some competition for his signature from within the Premier League.

 

TOP STORY – WEST HAM SET SIGHTS ON LILLE'S BIG BELGIAN YOUNGSTER

According to The Athletic, West Ham had a £25million bid rejected by the French club, but the Evening Standard claims that the English side are confident an increased bid of £30m plus add-ons will get the job done.

However, The Athletic's report states that there is also interest in Onana coming from Arsenal, Liverpool and Newcastle United, which could throw a wrench in West Ham's plans.

West Ham appear to still have plenty of business to take care of, with the Evening Standard also linking them with a £30m move for 20-year-old Chelsea striker Armando Broja, as well as trying to convince Jesse Lingard to return after a successful loan stint in the latter half of the 2020-2021 season.

 

ROUND-UP

– According to Sport, Barcelona are trying to attach Memphis Depay to their offer for Sevilla centre-back Jules Kounde after not meeting the €65m asking price, while Marca claims Chelsea have already agreed to personal terms with him and have offered Sevilla €55m.

– AS is reporting that Atletico Madrid have enquired with Cristiano Ronaldo's representatives about the superstar's interest in joining the club.

Leeds United and West Ham are said to be competing for £34m Rennes striker Martin Terrier, according to L'Equipe.

– Calciomercato claims Paris Saint-Germain have been offering Georginio Wijnaldum to Roma and Milan in an effort to move him on from the club, despite arriving on a free transfer 12 months ago.

– Fabrizio Romano claims Manchester City have a bid ready to go for 23-year-old Brighton fullback Marc Cucurella to replace the outgoing Oleksandr Zinchenko.

Lionel Messi moving to Major League Soccer side Inter Miami would serve as a "reference point for football in the U.S." as David Beckham's franchise look to make high-profile signings.

That is the message from Miami's chief business officer Xavier Asensi, who hinted to Mundo Deportivo that his side will look to make a move for Messi.

Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini made their MLS debuts on Sunday for Los Angeles FC in a 2-1 win over Nashville SC.

Five-time Champions League winner Bale and Chiellini, who won Euro 2020 with Italy last year, joined Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Beckham as some of the biggest names to play in MLS.

With Messi's Paris Saint-Germain contract set to expire at the end of the upcoming season, Asensi suggested Miami will attempt to sign Messi but conceded the aim may be unrealistic.

When asked whether signing a player like Messi was a target for Beckham's side, Asensi said: "Yes, with some caveats. You can't compare Leo Messi with any other player; he's different.

"Having said that, what we're looking for is to be the reference point for football in the U.S., and to do that, the important thing is the players and the show that you can put on.

"To do so, you need the best players, and having them is a genuine objective at this club. In terms of Leo Messi, there's him and then there's everyone else.

"It depends on him and what he wants. We want to have the best players in the world, and I think Messi is the best in history. From there it's up to him."

 

Messi, 35, experienced a lean first season by his own high standards for PSG, scoring 11 goals in 34 appearances in all competitions.

That return was 17 fewer than he managed for Barcelona in the 2020-21 campaign, his final campaign before ending a 21-year association with the Blaugrana.

Though his goal tally diminished, Messi set up 14 league goals – only once in his last five seasons at Camp Nou (21 in 2019-20) did he assist more in a term.

After making his intentions and admirations for Messi clear, Asensi's focus turned to the pre-season friendly against Barca on Wednesday.

"From an emotional point of view it's marvellous and professionally it's exceptional," he added. "Barca are, if not the biggest, one of the three biggest clubs in the world for sure, and clubs are the ones that capitalise on the passion for football.

"I don't know of any fans of FIFA or UEFA. In international football everyone supports their country, but clubs don't have any borders, they go everywhere. And in terms of clubs, Barca are among the biggest, looking at the numbers.

"Emotionally, it's the biggest thing for me. To have them here, for the people of Miami, is spectacular."

Robert Lewandowski declared it was time for Barcelona to "get back on track" after securing his long-awaited move to Camp Nou, as the Poland international revealed he had always dreamed of playing in LaLiga.

Barcelona confirmed on Saturday they had reached an agreement in principle to sign Lewandowski from Bayern Munich, before completing a deal reportedly worth €50million for the 33-year-old on Sunday.

Lewandowski scored 50 goals across all competitions as Bayern won a 10th consecutive Bundesliga title last term, but made his desire to join the Catalan giants clear at the end of the season.

The 33-year-old leaves Bayern having scored 312 Bundesliga goals, a tally only bettered by legendary striker Gerd Muller (365), and will provide a new focal point for a Barcelona team which scored 12 goals fewer than LaLiga champions Real Madrid last season. 

Having joined his new Blaugrana team-mates in Florida ahead of a friendly against Inter Miami, Lewandowski has targeted restoring Barcelona to the top of the Spanish game, with the league title having evaded the club since 2018-19.

"Finally I'm here, I'm very happy," Lewandowski told the club's media channels. "The last few days were very long days but in the end, the deal is done, so I can focus on a new chapter in my life, a new challenge.

"I am always the guy who wants to win, not only the games but the titles, so I hope from the beginning of the season we're going to start by winning, and go to [win] titles at the end of the season.

"I always wanted to play in LaLiga, I wanted to play for the big clubs.

"Now it's my next step, this opportunity that I had. Also for my private life, it's a new challenge, a new life.

"It's time to get [Barcelona] back on track and that's why I'm here, to help Barcelona be on top and win as many titles as possible.

"For me, the goals are always high. We have so many good players with amazing quality, and we know that with this team we can achieve a lot this season, I'm sure it's going to be like that."

 

Lewandowski joins the likes of Franck Kessie, Andreas Christensen and Raphinha in signing for Barcelona in this transfer window as Xavi looks to reshape his squad after finishing a distant second to Madrid in LaLiga last season.

And the striker believes Xavi is the ideal man to revive Barca after a difficult few seasons, as he revealed he had been in contact with the former midfielder throughout his transfer saga.

"I was speaking with Xavi, from the beginning I knew that his idea was going in a good way, with this idea it was easy for me to decide to come to Barcelona," he added.

"I know I'm the guy who wants to play, to win, and I think with Xavi it's very possible. 

"He knows exactly how to coach Barcelona because he was amazing player, now he's also a very good coach with an amazing future and I want to be part of this as well."

Roma's project under Jose Mourinho may have approached a fork in the road, despite winning the Europa Conference League last season.

Confirming the departures of Henrikh Mkhitaryan and Pau Lopez, while bringing in Zeki Celik and Nemanja Matic, the squad is slowly starting to look more like Mourinho's.

They still need a creative talent to tie it all together, though, and it appears they might land one of the biggest free agents on the market.

 

TOP STORY – ROMA MAKE MOVE FOR DYBALA

Paulo Dybala could make a shock move to Roma, reportedly accepting their offer for him to join the club on a free transfer, according to Gianluca di Marzio.

After Inter backed out of the race to secure his signature following the expiry of his contract at Juventus, Napoli and Roma emerged as potential destinations for the 28-year-old.

The Argentina international has reportedly accepted Roma's offer, a three-year deal worth a gross salary of €6million a season plus bonuses.

 

ROUND-UP

Frenkie de Jong is opposed to joining Manchester United and has imposed on Barcelona his preference for Bayern Munich, Sport is reporting.

– The same publication is also reporting Tottenham are prepared to pay £14.4m (€17m) for Memphis Depay but the 28-year-old is also reluctant to leave Barcelona.

– Meanwhile, Barca have turned their attention to signing Sevilla defender Jules Kounde, per Marca.

Chelsea striker Armando Broja will join West Ham on a season-long loan, according to the Daily Mail.

Barcelona made it official on Sunday night by confirming the arrival of last year's Ballon d'Or runner-up Robert Lewandowski from Bayern Munich.

Lewandowski, who turns 34 next month, netted 50 goals in all club competition this past season, making it seven consecutive seasons with at least 40 goals.

He has also scored a combined 33 goals across his past three Champions League campaigns – seven more than his closest challenger, Real Madrid's Karim Benzema with 26.

With Bayern facing the prospect of keeping an unhappy player and then losing the Poland captain on a free transfer next year, they instead elected to cash in and grant Lewandowski's wish to join Barca.

The Catalan club have been hampered by financial difficulties but managed to put together a bid reportedly worth €50million which has been enough to convince Bayern to part company with their superstar forward.

Barcelona announced on Saturday an agreement in principle had been reached for Lewandowski, with completion of the deal contingent on him passing a medical and contracts being signed.  

Ronald Araujo insists he will welcome competition for places at Barcelona amid continued speculation Jules Kounde will join the Blaugrana.

Barca have already signed Andreas Christensen, Franck Kessie and Raphinha despite financial difficulties for the LaLiga side.

Xavi's side have also struck an agreement to bring Bayern Munich star Robert Lewandowski to Camp Nou for a reported €50million, including add-ons.

Ousmane Dembele has penned a contract extension with Barca as well, but the Blaugrana's spending looks set to continue with the Catalan giants reportedly on the brink of purchasing Kounde from Sevilla.

Chelsea and Manchester City have also been linked with the in-demand France centre-back, who Sevilla coach Julen Lopetegui appears resigned to losing.

With Gerard Pique, Eric Garcia, Christensen and potentially Kounde as competition, Araujo suggested he wants the best for Barca to compete, and will welcome any addition to Xavi's squad.

Asked about Kounde after training on Barca's pre-season tour of the United States, the Uruguay international responded: "He is a great player; the best players being at Barca is good for the group.

"They know what I can contribute, my characteristics; what I want is for us to have the best possible team.

"Competition is always good in football because it makes you get the best of you, and players arrive who can contribute. I always say that I want the best for Barca, and that they add to the team."

As for Dembele's extension and the new arrivals, Araujo was quick to express his delight as Barca prepare to challenge Real Madrid for the LaLiga title.

"We all wanted Ousmane to continue in the team," he added. "We know [Lewandowski's] quality; it is tremendous that he is with us. 

"Raphinha, Christensen, Kessie also arrived. It's important that good players arrive to continue growing as a team."

Barcelona face friendlies against Inter Miami, Real Madrid, Juventus and New York Red Bulls before their LaLiga opener against Rayo Vallecano on August 13, and Araujo stressed the importance of pre-season.

"It is important to have a good pre-season, at a tactical and physical level. I think it's going to be a nice season," he continued. "It's important to win titles for the group, but you have to go step by step."

Robert Lewandowski believes the scheming that has pushed him to the brink of joining Barcelona will be worth any upset it has caused.

After hitting 50 goals across all competitions for Bayern Munich last season, Lewandowski is on the brink of ending his eight-year spell with the Bundesliga champions.

It emerged that Lewandowski wanted to leave as Bayern wrapped up their 10th consecutive German league title.

The 33-year-old Poland international spoke of his clear desire to move on, a year before the end of his contract, and such straight talking left no doubt that he considered his time in Bavaria to be over.

It left Bayern needing to negotiate the best possible deal with Barcelona, and it was confirmed on Saturday that a fee has been agreed, reported to be around the €50million mark.

Bayern had denied they wanted to sell Lewandowski, and in doing so managed to drive up the offer to a level that suited them.

Speaking to German newspaper Bild, Lewandowski outlined his feelings now that he is set for the switch to LaLiga.

"I said that both sides did things that were unnecessary," Lewandowski said. "But maybe certain things had to happen so that the transfer was possible in the end.

"I think both sides are happy now. Bayern get a lot of money, I can go to Barcelona. It was a long, difficult road, but I think that in the end everyone can look each other in the eye."

In the 2020-21 campaign, Lewandowski broke Gerd Muller's long-standing Bundesliga record by scoring 41 goals in a single season, while his 43 league goals in 2021 serve as the record for a calendar year in Germany's top tier.

Lewandowski's total of 312 Bundesliga goals is the second-most scored by any player in the history of the competition, behind Muller (365), while he leaves Bayern having accumulated 344 goals and 57 assists across 375 appearances in all competitions.

"I wanted to play in a league other than the Bundesliga, I had made that decision a long time ago," Lewandowski said. "But I have to emphasise that it was the most difficult decision of my life."

The former Borussia Dortmund striker said he needed to make a decision due to his daughter, Klara, being about to start school.

"If not now, it would probably never have been possible," he said. "It was a unique opportunity."

Sebastian Haller says he does not want to be labelled as "someone's successor" after replacing Erling Haaland at Borussia Dortmund.

Haaland scored 86 goals in 89 appearances during his two-and-a-half-year spell at Dortmund before making a big-money move to Manchester City last month.

That tally was bettered by only Robert Lewandowski (123 in 108 games) and Kylian Mbappe (93 in 111 games) of players from Europe's top five leagues during that period.

Dortmund swiftly acted to replace the Norway international, signing Haller from Ajax for a reported €36million and exciting forward Karim Adeyemi from RB Salzburg.

Haller caught the eye with Ajax during a talismanic 18-month spell that included 11 goals in just eight Champions League appearances in the 2021-22 season.

But the Ivory Coast striker was quick to dismiss comparisons with Haaland, insisting he did not want to be viewed as a replacement for the prolific striker.

"I'm not coming to Borussia Dortmund as someone's successor, but because the club needs my quality," he told reporters on Sunday at Dortmund's Bad Ragaz training camp in Switzerland. 

"So I'll do my best to give back the confidence. I knew that BVB had been interested for a long time, by that I mean during the last season.

"But there is a big difference between interest and the transfer fee. When it became concrete, I felt that Dortmund had a very good option for me. In the end, it certainly wasn't a bad deal for Ajax either."

 

Barcelona struck a deal with Bayern Munich on Saturday to bring Lewandowski to the Blaugrana for a reported €50m, including add-ons.

The Poland captain scored 50 goals last season in all competitions, more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues, but Haller refused to suggest Bayern would be weaker without Lewandowski.

"Time will tell. I'm here now to play for Borussia Dortmund and do my best. Not to talk about the situation at other clubs," he added.

"It doesn't matter to me whether he still played at Bayern or not. I want to win games with my team. I don't focus on other teams.

"First of all, to be able to achieve anything, we have to win our games. If we're not successful, then we don't need to look at others anyway.

"I focus on the way we play, on our team, and I want to adapt quickly instead of worrying about our opponents getting weaker. It's like this: If you want to win titles, you have to focus on yourself."

Dortmund start their new campaign with a DFB-Pokal tie against 1860 Munich on July 26, with their Bundesliga season starting at home to Bayer Leverkusen on August 6.

Bayern Munich head coach Julian Nagelsmann is "not worried" despite losing star striker Robert Lewandowski.

The 33-year-old scored 50 goals last season – the most of all players in Europe's top five leagues – but pushed for a transfer away from the Allianz Arena with one year remaining on his deal and finally got his wish on Saturday as Barcelona secured his signature.

The total fee will reportedly be €50million including add-ons, but Nagelsmann is not concerned about being able to replace the potent talisman.

"Robert Lewandowski had an outstanding eight years at Bayern. It's a big challenge to replace him," he told BR24. 

"I'm not worried right now, we are very well-equipped offensively and I'm still spoiled for choice.We have a possibility of building FC Bayern without a striker that can reliably score 40 goals.

"It's an interesting task for me and my coaching staff, as well as for [sporting director] Hasan Salihamidzic and [CEO] Oliver Kahn."

Bayern have already signed Sadio Mane from Liverpool, while midfielder Ryan Gravenberch and right-back Noussair Mazraoui have also recently joined from Ajax.

After Serge Gnabry signed a new deal with the Bundesliga champions on Saturday, Nagelsmann still has a number of forward options at his disposal.

Newcomer Mane played a number of games through the middle of the attack for Liverpool last season, while Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting and Joshua Zirkzee, who scored 18 goals in 47 games on loan at Anderlecht last season, also remain at the club.

"With Sadio Mane, we signed a player who played a lot as centre-forward for Liverpool last season, who is a different type of player to Lewy, not a classic striker," Nagelsmann added. 

"But we also have a lot of personnel to play with two centre-forwards."

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