Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi insists there are no issues between star players Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, comparing any frustrations between the pair to sibling squabbles.

Rumours of discontent at the Parc des Princes have been swirling since Paris Saint-Germain's 5-2 win against Montpellier on August 13, where Neymar decided to assume penalty duties following an earlier miss from the spot by Mbappe.

During that game, Mbappe reportedly appeared frustrated with multiple teammates, which was said to have boiled over in the dressing rooms afterwards, requiring Sergio Ramos to step in and keep the peace.

Soon after, Neymar was seen to have liked a tweet that said Mbappe's new contract with the French giants had him acting like the "owner of PSG".

After the Champions League draw on Thursday – where Paris Saint-Germain landed in Group H with Juventus, Benfica and Maccabi Haifa – Al-Khelaifi was adamant that any supposed rift between his superstars was being overblown.

"No, no. There's no problem at all," he said. "I think it's really... I mean, I think it's you making a problem especially, and the media. 

"There's no problem at all. I mean, I can argue with my brother, or sister, it's normal. But the media, because it's Kylian Mbappé... they are good friends and they are very good team-mates. And they will always be good team-mates."

Through three games of the Ligue 1 season, Paris Saint-Germain are the only team with three wins, and have done so with 17 goals for, and only three against.

"It's a good start, it's just the start," Al-Khelaifi said. "They need to work harder and there's a lot of things to work on and to improve, because the season is too long, it's just the start. We are very happy with the start."

Jurgen Klopp cannot wait for the challenge that awaits Liverpool in their "incredibly competitive and intense" Champions League group.

The Reds are looking to go one better in Europe's premier club competition this season, after losing 1-0 to Real Madrid in last year's final at Stade de France.

Liverpool were placed in Group A during Thursday's draw in Istanbul, alongside Ajax, Napoli and Rangers, who return to the group stages after a 12-year absence.

Klopp expects "a proper, proper challenge" in the group stages of UEFA's flagship club competition, though he is relishing the upcoming task.

"The first thing to say is this is a proper, proper challenge," the Liverpool manager told the club's official website. "All of the clubs have quality, they all have pedigree and I would say they all have a chance.

"The good thing is that we do also, so it makes sense for us to look forward to the challenge and give it a try.

"We did not ask for any favours and we have not been given any, but this is not a competition where you can look for easy ways through because the standard is always unbelievably high.

"The difference this year is that the group stage will be shorter than usual, so we will have to be ready not just for the quality of the opposition, but also for the different demands and rhythms.

"The only certainty right now is that all of the six games will be incredibly competitive and really intense. I'm excited about it. It is a proper football group and, like I said, a proper challenge."

Giovanni van Bronckhorst "couldn't be prouder" after Rangers overcame PSV to book their place in the Champions League group stages.

The Scottish Premier League side are back in the main stages of Europe's premier competition for the first time since the 2010-11 season, having prevailed 3-2 on aggregate against the Dutch giants.

Van Bronckhorst's men held out for a hard-earned 1-0 win at Philips Stadion, with Antonio Colak's 60th-minute strike settling the tie and booking their place in Thursday's draw.

And the Rangers boss was delighted by the efforts of his players, and the control they demonstrated throughout the second leg.

"It feels great to win this game, to get the whistle at the end and to achieve what we wanted," he told BT Sport.

"I was more relaxed than last week because of the way we played. It was very controlled, we played the way we wanted. We scored in the right moment and became stronger and stronger in the game.

"As a player and coach, you're only thinking about competing with the best teams in Europe, and we have the opportunity to do so.

"I'm really happy with the way we played. I couldn't be prouder at the moment."

Meanwhile, matchwinner Colak was reduced to tears after the final whistle. The Croatia international has now scored five goals since arriving from PAOK, although this is undeniably the most important yet.

And Gers' number nine cannot wait for his maiden appearance on Europe's biggest stage in club football, telling BT Sport: "It's difficult to describe in words. 

"It was a great team performance. It's an amazing journey we'll have this year, and I'm so proud of all of these guys.

"I was in tears on the pitch, it was just a moment of joy. As a kid, I always wanted to compete at this level, and to be here is amazing."

Dinamo Zagreb struck twice in extra time to book their place in the Champions League group stages at the expense of Bodo/Glimt following a 4-2 aggregate success.

Trailing 1-0 from the first leg, the hosts struck twice in the first half at Stadion Maksimir with Mislav Orsic and Bruno Petkovic turning the tie on its head.

Yet Albert Gronbaek levelled the tie with 20 minutes remaining as last season's Europa Conference League quarter-finalists forced extra-time.

But it was the Croatians who secured their first group stage appearance in three years; Josip Drmic edging them back in front before turning provider for Petar Bockaj in the dying moments.

Meanwhile, Copenhagen sealed their return to the group stages, having last appeared in the 2016-17 season.

The Danish champions held Trabzonspor to a goalless draw in Turkey, with a 2-1 aggregate victory booking their place in Thursday's draw.

Antonio Colak's strike sealed Rangers' return to the Champions League group stages as they edged out PSV 3-2 on aggregate in the play-offs.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side are back in the main stages of Europe’s premier competition after a 12-year absence, as Colak settled the second leg at the Philips Stadion.

Malik Tillman robbed Andre Ramalho of possession inside the PSV penalty area on the hour mark, before squaring for the Croatian to apply the finishing touch.

And last season's Europa League finalists held out to inflict only a second home defeat on PSV in 14 matches across all competitions.

Rangers had won just once in their previous 11 away matches in Europe, but went close to scoring despite PSV carrying the greater threat earlier on.

Ryan Kent drew a comfortable save out of Walter Benitez, while a patient build-up culminated in John Lundstram firing narrowly wide from Tillman's lay-off.

PSV, who had struck in the opening period in each of their 11 previous games, finished the half strongly.

Jon McLaughlin was called into action to deny Luuk de Jong, and Cody Gakpo squandered a decent opportunity as he could not keep the ball down from 16 yards.

Rangers were whiskers away from snatching the lead 11 minutes after the restart; Tom Lawrence's curling 20-yard strike rattling the crossbar with Benitez beaten.

But the visitors did edge their noses in front on the hour mark, Tillman stealing possession inside the PSV area before squaring for Colak to slot into the empty net.

Tillman went close to doubling the lead soon after when Benitez held onto his vicious low drive before PSV threatened the equaliser.

An unmarked Philipp Max volleyed wide from close range, while McLaughlin demonstrated brilliant reflexes to keep out Gakpo as Rangers stood firm to secure their return to European football's top table.

Benfica eased through to the Champions League group stage with a 5-0 aggregate thrashing of Dynamo Kyiv on Tuesday, while Maccabi Haifa and Viktoria Plzen also qualified.

The three teams will now look ahead to the draw on Thursday when they will find out who they will be facing in the group stage.

Last season's quarter-finalists Benfica built on an impressive 2-0 first-leg victory against a rusty Kyiv side with first-half goals from Nicolas Otamendi, Rafa Silva and David Neres essentially killing the tie by half-time at Estadio da Luz.

Meanwhile, Haifa scored late on to earn a thrilling 5-4 aggregate comeback win over Red Star Belgrade in Serbia to reach their first Champions League group stage since the 2009-10 season.

A 90th-minute own goal from Red Star striker Milan Pavkov was enough to progress the Israeli side, who had been 2-0 down on the night after winning the home leg 3-2.

Haifa will be joined in Thursday's draw by Plzen, who also advanced after coming from behind to beat Qarabag 2-1 on aggregate.

A first-half goal from Filip Ozobic had put the Azerbaijani side in front after a goalless first leg, but Jan Kopic and Jan Kliment bagged after the interval to turn the game around and get their team into the group stage of the competition for the first time since the 2018-19 campaign.

Ruud van Nistelrooy was "proud" to be able to coach in front of his former Manchester United boss, Alex Ferguson, during PSV's Champions League play-off first leg against Rangers.

Ferguson was in attendance at Ibrox as the teams played out a 2-2 draw on Tuesday.

Antonio Colak equalised after Ibrahim Sangare's opener in the first half before Tom Lawrence gave the Scottish side the lead, though Van Nistelrooy's team had something to take back for the second leg next week after Armando Obispo headed in a leveller 12 minutes from time.

The former Netherlands striker was appointed as PSV head coach from the start of the season to replace Roger Schmidt, his first senior role in management.

Van Nistelrooy played 219 games for United in all competitions under Ferguson between 2001 and 2006, scoring 150 goals, and said at his post-match press conference it was a "proud moment" for him to be in the dugout knowing his former manager was watching on.

"Oh, my goodness no, one per cent, maybe, one per cent," he said when asked if he would like to be half as good a manager as Ferguson. 

"It was a proud moment for me that he actually watched me coach my team and manage my team and I'm glad as well. I spoke to him just briefly. He's well, he's looking great. He's doing well, his family as well. So it's great to see him.

"That he sees me down the touchline at Ibrox for me is a proud moment."

The 46-year-old also explained how much he had learned from Ferguson, who won 13 Premier League titles, five FA Cups, four EFL Cups and two Champions Leagues during his long tenure at Old Trafford before retiring in 2013.

"The thing is, as a player, you learn an unbelievable amount of things from him," he said. "And when you start to develop yourself as a coach then obviously you look back at moments.

"'Where were the managers I had? What did they do, and how did they form a team?' And the style of play and managing an individual, and he's such an example in that sense."

Van Nistelrooy, whose 44 goals in all competitions in the 2002-03 season still stands as a record for a Premier League player in a single campaign, was happy enough with his team's effort in the first leg in Glasgow, and is glad to have home advantage with the scores level ahead of next week's reverse fixture.

"We know what it is like with a great support behind us," he added. "That was today as well for Rangers. During some spells in the game the crowd lifted the team in such a way that is hard. I mean, you really notice it. There are not many places where you feel it like this.

"Of course, next week we will have that support. But both teams are very level in quality and with playing styles. It is reduced to one game now with the final at home. We have to prepare and be at our best."

Armando Obispo's header denied Rangers as they were held to a 2-2 draw by PSV in the first leg of their Champions League play-off tie at Ibrox.

Seeking a first group-stage appearance in four years, Ruud van Nistelrooy's side took a 37th-minute lead as Ibrahim Sangare scooped the ball home after Rangers failed to deal with a corner.

But the hosts responded within three minutes following a neat one-touch move that culminated in Antonio Colak sweeping home his fourth goal in as many matches.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's men edged ahead in fortuitous circumstances 20 minutes from time; Walter Benitez fumbling Tom Lawrence's ambitious free-kick into his own net.

However, Obispo levelled matters eight minutes later when he headed in Cody Gakpo's corner to leave the tie finely poised ahead of the second leg in Eindhoven next week.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst was overjoyed by the memorable comeback instigated by Rangers on Tuesday that set up a Champions League qualification play-off against PSV.

Rangers lost 2-0 to Union Saint-Gilloise in Belgium last week, a result that Van Bronckhorst even felt flattered his team.

But just as Ibrox proved a dependable fortress en route to the Europa League final last season, home advantage helped Rangers over the line again.

James Tavernier's penalty on the stroke of half-time was added to by Antonio Colak's close-range header near the hour mark.

Bayern Munich loanee Malik Tillman then nodded in the crucial goal 12 minutes from time, and Van Bronckhorst – who will go up against his former Netherlands team-mate Ruud van Nistelrooy in the next round – was left ecstatic with the 3-2 aggregate success.

"It's another amazing night in Europe," he said. "There was a lot of pressure on us to deliver and to go through to the next round. We played really well at moments and kept the pressure on them.

"We know the atmosphere can be very hostile and we created that atmosphere along with the fans. I'm very proud of the performance of my team."

Rangers only lost once at home in the Europa League last term, a 2-0 defeat to Lyon in September, and Van Bronckhorst once again highlighted the fans' role in their turnaround on Tuesday.

"We know the fans are always there but if we have a performance like we did today then the crowd will be even more hostile," he continued.

"They keep pushing us to go forward so at moments in the game you have to make the right decision not to go too quick with your attacks. We knew we were capable of doing this but we keep doing it time after time. And we did it again.

"They had some chances – the biggest one was saved in the second half. Some chances we just dropped our bodies in front of them to block the shots.

"It's a big performance. We needed that. I’m very proud of the team. We're still in contention to go to the group stages of the Champions League. We'll to do everything possible to be in the Champions League this season."

Rangers wiped out a 2-0 aggregate deficit to reach the Champions League play-offs thanks to a 3-0 win over Union Saint-Gilloise at Ibrox on Tuesday.

Giovanni van Bronckhorst's side were guilty of an underwhelming first-leg performance in Belgium last week, with the Dutchman acknowledging his team were fortunate to only lose 2-0.

But just as it proved crucial en route to the Europa League final last season, the 'Ibrox factor' put them back on course.

Fan expectations will have remained low for much of the first half until a hopeful Borna Barisic cross struck an arm, and James Tavernier converted the resulting penalty with aplomb on the stroke of half-time.

Rangers' tails were up and they appeared rejuvenated in the second period, with Antonio Colak nodding in from close range to level the scores on aggregate.

Extra time looked likely, but another Barisic delivery proved crucial 12 minutes from the end – this time Bayern Munich loanee Malik Tillman beat the stranded goalkeeper to nod into an empty net as the visitors, who had Jean Thierry Lazare sent off late on for two bookings, were vanquished.

Rangers will face either PSV or Monaco – whose second leg went beyond the regulation 90 minutes in the play-off round.

Rangers manager Giovanni van Bronckhorst said his players were "lucky it is only 2-0" after they were beaten by Union Saint-Gilloise in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round tie.

Last season's Europa League runners-up started the game in Belgium brightly, but the hosts grew into their first ever Champions League game, and a first half finish from captain Teddy Teuma was added to by a controversial Dante Vanzeir penalty in the 76th minute to give them a two goal advantage.

Van Bronckhorst was far from happy with the Scottish side's performance and result, one which has left Rangers staring down the barrel ahead of the second leg at Ibrox next week.

The former Netherlands international told Premier Sports: "The performance today was below-par.

"They just dropped deep, so that means they were afraid. But eventually, we didn't do anything with our ball possession and were sloppy. 

"Slowly, they became better and better, and we didn't react well after that. We were never really in the game."

The Gers now face an uphill task if they are to reach the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2010-11 season, with the winner of this tie going into a play-off against PSV or Monaco.

Not all hope is lost though, with Van Bronckhorst's side having pulled off a number of memorable second-leg comebacks at Ibrox in last season's run to the Europa League final.

And the 47-year-old is confident his side can produce yet another dramatic turnaround back on home turf in Glasgow.

He added: "We are still in the tie, 2-0 difference, we are capable of making that up at Ibrox on Tuesday.

"But first of all, we need to concentrate on our performance. If we have the same performance like we did today, then we have no chance.

"I'm confident that if we change those things around, we have to have a much better performance next week."

Rangers suffered a 2-0 defeat at Union Saint-Gilloise in the first leg of their Champions League third qualifying round match – a huge blow to last season's Europa League runners-up.

The Scottish giants started much the brighter of the two teams, but the hosts grew into the game and went ahead after 27 minutes, when a powerful drive from captain Teddy Teuma was too hot to handle for Jon McLaughlin. 

In the Belgian side's first ever Champions League appearance, they were awarded a controversial penalty with 17 minutes remaining after a Teuma shot ricocheted off Ben Davies onto Connor Goldson's arm.

After a lengthy VAR check, Dante Vanzeir stepped up and calmly sent McLaughlin the wrong way as he rolled the ball into the bottom-right corner.

The hosts nearly added a third goal late on, but Rangers captain James Tavernier blocked a Christian Burgess header off the line in the dying seconds.

The outcome means Giovanni van Bronckhorst's Rangers will have to be at their best in the return leg at Ibrox next Tuesday to overturn the two-goal deficit.

They are looking to take a step towards reaching the Champions League group stage for the first time since the 2010-11 season, with the winner of this tie going into a play-off against PSV or Monaco.

Arsenal legend David Seaman believes missing out on qualifying for the Champions League could be a blessing in disguise.

Despite a poor start to last season, Mikel Arteta's side looked to be heading to qualification for Europe's top competition after an impressive run that left them fourth with three games to play, four points ahead of then fifth-placed Tottenham.

However, after losing two of those final three matches, including a 3-0 thumping away at Spurs, they were pipped to fourth place by their north London rivals.

Seaman has spoken on the heartbreaking end to their season, telling Stats Perform: "The worst part about it is that Tottenham took it off us.

"Because it's Tottenham, and what went on last season, we were bottom of the league (at the end of August 2021), they were top, it went to an international break, so they were top for two weeks we were bottom. That made it worse (laughing).

"Then the fact that they've taken the Champions League spot. But you don't keep focusing on the negatives, you've got to be positive about it.

"You've got to keep learning you've got to get better. And that's exactly what we're doing."

The Gunners have been active in the transfer market ahead of the new season, bringing in the duo of striker Gabriel Jesus and the versatile Oleksandr Zinchenko from Premier League champions Manchester City.

Attacking midfielder Fabio Vieira also arrived from Porto in a deal worth an initial £30million (€35m) with a further £4.2m (€5m) in add-ons, while forward Eddie Nketiah signed a new contract after scoring five goals in Arsenal's last seven league games.

And Seaman spoke of his belief that despite the disappointment of missing out on Champions League qualification, the Europa League may be a more attainable trophy anyway.

"It was an improvement. We finished eighth twice," he said. "A lot of people just go to the negative straight away, saying we threw the Champions League away. 

"But even when we were in the top four positions, we were like, 'Whoa, we are overachieving here.' The fact that we finished fifth, and now in the Europa League is still a really good positive.

"I think, for me, we're more equipped to win the Europa League than we are the Champions League. We've got a more realistic chance of winning that. So it's all about being positive and progressing.

"And that's what's happening. We're getting better and better. The young players are getting experience and it all just leads to a good future for Arsenal."

Real Madrid's Vinicius Junior has underlined his partnership with Karim Benzema as an important part of his team's success last season.

The two were vital to Los Blancos as they won LaLiga and became European champions once again, with Vinicius scoring the winner to beat Liverpool to earn the club's 14th Champions League.

Benzema scored 44 goals in the 2021-22 campaign, second only to Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (50), who has now joined Real Madrid's fierce rivals Barcelona.

Vinicius was keen to emphasise the importance of his relationship with the France international, telling UEFA Media: "It's always important to have influence in games and Karim always tells me to be brave.

"You have to shoot to score or pass to assist. If not, keep the ball.

"Our connection has been very good and we have been able to win many games together."

 

In LaLiga last season Benzema and Vinicius combined for 66 goal involvements, with the latter contributing to 21 more goals than he had in the previous campaign.

Benzema's goal involvements in the league won his team 29 points, more than any other player in Europe's top five leagues while he scored 0.98 goals per game, better than any other season in his career.

Since he made his top-flight debut, Benzema's goal tally has been bettered by only five other players, with some calling for him to win his first ever Ballon d'Or after only Kylian Mbappe (60) had more goal involvements than him (59) in Europe's top five leagues last season.

Benzema and Vinicius were part of some remarkable Champions League comebacks in their run to lifting the trophy, namely against Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City.

And the 22-year-old believes the determination and never-say-die attitude is inherent to Real Madrid.

"It's the DNA of this club and of this shirt and it always shows up in big games," he added.

"Some games become an emotional roller coaster. We have players who know how to approach Champions League games."

This time last year was a very different period for Virgil van Dijk, who was in the process of returning from a serious knee injury.

As a result of that setback, the Dutch defender missed the majority of the 2020-21 season, in which Liverpool struggled in their defence of the Premier League title.

However, with Van Dijk back and a new face through the door in Ibrahima Konate, who arrived from RB Leipzig, Jurgen Klopp's side were ready to mount a challenge for all the major trophies last term.

They fell narrowly short of winning an unprecedented quadruple, but still managed to secure the EFL and FA Cups, while reaching the Champions League final and finishing second in the league by just one point, boasting the joint-best defensive record alongside champions Manchester City (26 goals conceded).

Konate was eased in at Anfield by Klopp, but still made 29 appearances in all competitions during his debut campaign with the Reds, and Van Dijk has waxed lyrical about the ability and potential of the France international.

Speaking to the club's official website during a pre-season training camp in Austria, Van Dijk said: "[Konate is] a very, very good player.

"What I like the most about him is [his] will to learn each and every day as well.

"Obviously there are loads of things that can improve – and that's good because he has time, he needs the experience. In my opinion, experience is a big thing for a centre-half to learn and to take with you.

"In his case, I'm very happy to see him develop, I'm very happy to see him shine on and off the pitch, he's a fantastic character."

Konate will hope to be part of Didier Deschamps' France squad which defends the World Cup in Qatar later this year, but another Reds defender perhaps has more work to do to appear at the tournament.

Joe Gomez also missed a big chunk of the 2020-21 campaign with an injury picked up on England duty, and has not been selected for a Three Lions squad since.

The 25-year-old recently signed a new contract at Liverpool, despite only making 21 appearances last season (11 starts), several of which came at right-back as Klopp preferred Konate or Joel Matip at centre-back.

But after playing regularly alongside Gomez during Liverpool's Premier League title-winning season in 2019-20, Van Dijk was pleased to see him sign a new deal and believes he may even be England's best defender when fit.

"We spoke about it before he signed the deal and I'm just very happy that he's staying at the club, staying with me. Also, I'm happy for the club that he's signed," the former Celtic and Southampton man said.

"He is, in my opinion, [one of] if not the best English centre-back around. Obviously we've both been very unlucky with the injuries we had. His time will come again and hopefully this season he can show that."

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