Roberto Martinez believes Cristiano Ronaldo's experience and commitment is crucial to Portugal's new cycle.

Ronaldo became the most-capped men's player of all time when he took to the field in Lisbon on Thursday for his 197th Portugal appearance.

The 38-year-old marked the occasion with two goals, scoring from the penalty spot before lashing in a free-kick to complete a 4-0 rout over Liechtenstein in Euro 2024 qualifying Group J.

Joao Cancelo put Portugal ahead early on and Bernardo Silva netted shortly after half-time, with Martinez's tenure getting off to the simplest of starts.

Ronaldo was dropped to the bench by previous coach Fernando Santos for Portugal's World Cup knock-out games, but Martinez wanted to get the five-time Ballon d'Or winner into his starting XI.

"It's a new cycle," Martinez told Portuguese media outlets.

"It's important for a player to show commitment and [to know] that we can use his experience, and Cristiano shows that."

Posting on social media, Ronaldo expressed his pride at sending yet another record tumbling.

"Such good feelings to play and score again for our national team, in a special stadium for me," Ronaldo wrote. "Proud to be the [most-capped] international player ever."

Reflecting on his team's dominant display, in which Portugal had 35 attempts and accumulated an expected goals (xG) of 3.9 to Liechtenstein's 0.03, Martinez said: "We have to enjoy situations like this.

"I realised that when you play for Portugal it's special. The players follow that line, it was a step forward to prepare for the next game.

"Of course it's an opportunity for me to get to know the players, the interaction, see how to take better advantage of the qualities. But I'm left with the attitude and willingness to work. I'm very proud of the result."

Portugal continue their qualification campaign against Luxembourg on Sunday.

Roberto Mancini knows Italy face an "uphill climb" to qualify for Euro 2024 after they were beaten 2-1 by England but took heart from their second-half display.

Declan Rice opened the scoring and Harry Kane become England's outright record goalscorer with his 54th strike for his country from the penalty spot just before half-time in Thursday's Group C opener at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona.

Argentina-born Mateo Retegui marked his debut with a goal to get the European champions back in the game and there was further hope for Italy when Luke Shaw was sent off in the 80th minute.

England held on to gain a measure of revenge for a defeat in the Euro 2020 final, securing their first away win over Italy since May 1961.

Gareth Southgate's side ended Italy's run of 40 European Championship qualifying matches without defeat, leaving the holders with work to do in order to return to a major tournament in Germany next year after missing out on the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

Azzurri head coach Mancini said: "We knew it was going to be a difficult game, then we conceded two goals from two set-pieces; we should have been more careful. 

"We dominated in the second half and probably deserved a draw. We're disappointed with the result but we still have a long way to go."

He added: "In the second half we managed to press better, higher and I saw a great team again: this gives us hope. England are always dangerous from set-pieces, but we shouldn't have conceded those two goals.

"We still managed to roll up our sleeves and play better. The road is a bit of an uphill climb now, but maybe it will finish more smoothly."

Mancini was encouraged by the impact Retegui made in the second half in Naples after the striker became the first player to open his Italy account while playing for a club based outside of Europe.

"Retegui has yet to get to know his team-mates and our movements as a team," Mancini said of the Tigre forward.

"In the first half, he had difficulties against the English defenders who are very strong physically, but he did better in the second half. He's young and I think he just needs a little time."

St Kitts and Nevis defeated St Martin 3-1 in their Concacaf Nations League Group B encounter at the Raymond E. Guishard Technical Centre in Anguilla on Thursday.

St Kitts, playing a 4-3-3 formation started with Julanni Archibald in goal with Lois Maynard at left back Raheem Hanley and Andre Burley at centre back while Gerard Williams marshalled the right side.

Romaine Sawyers, Omari Sterling James and Yohannes Mitchum played in the middle of the park while Tyrese Shade, Keithroy Freeman and the SKNFA Premier League’s leading scorer Tiquanny Williams in the attacking positions front.

St Martin, meanwhile, playing 3-5-2, started with Jordan Etienne in goal with Mickael Clio, Stephan Varsovie and Donovan Fils Aime protecting the goal.

Across midfield were from left to right Belony Dumas, Kevin Zonzon, Ismael Petchy, Emmanuel Richardson and Randy Gentes.

Pierre Bertrand Arne and Jeremy Peterson were the starting forwards.

Williams gave the Sugar Boyz the lead in the 26th minute. However, the lead did not last long as St Martin pulled level five minutes later through Pierre-Bertrand Arne.

Sawyers sent St Kitts and Nevis into the break with a 2-1 lead when he scored in the 35th minute.

That score-line would hold until Harry Panayiotou, who came on as a substitute for James in the 77th minute, secured all three points scoring the game winner a minute from full-time.

The win takes St Kitts and Nevis to the top of Group B with seven points from their three games to date.

Aruba lie second with four points while St Martin have two points from four games played.

St Kitts return home to face Aruba on Monday.

 

 

Joao Cancelo was shocked to hear Bayern Munich have reportedly sacked Julian Nagelsmann but asked his potential new coach Thomas Tuchel to help him win the Champions League.

Reports emerged on Thursday suggesting Bayern had elected to dismiss Nagelsmann and replace the 35-year-old with former Chelsea, Borussia Dortmund and Paris Saint-Germain coach Tuchel.

Bayern are into the quarter-finals of the Champions League – they will face Cancelo's parent club Manchester City for a place in the last four – and sit second in the Bundesliga, trailing Dortmund, who they play on April 1, by one point.

Cancelo started the scoring in Portugal's 4-0 rout of Liechtenstein in Euro 2024 qualifying on Thursday, and was subsequently made aware of the Nagelsmann rumours at full-time.

"I didn't know. I was a little surprised," Cancelo told reporters. "I want to thank coach Nagelsmann, he was the one who wanted me at Bayern.

"It's caught me off guard, but all the luck in the world to him."

On Tuchel's possible arrival, Cancelo added: "When he arrives, I will try to adapt the concepts of the new coach as much as possible and I hope it goes well, because we have many important games.

"The decisive phase of the season is about to be entered and Bayern is a team that, individually and collectively, is always ready to win it all."

Speaking to Sky Sport, Cancelo suggested Tuchel owes him after the German's Chelsea side defeated City in the 2020-21 Champions League final.

"He made me lose a Champions League final, so I hope he lets me win this year," Cancelo quipped.

Julian Nagelsmann has been sacked by Bayern Munich and will be replaced by Thomas Tuchel, according to widespread reports.

Rumours of the surprise decision began to circulate on Thursday.

Fabrizio Romano suggested Bayern were considering a change of head coach, and things escalated quickly from there.

Within a couple of hours, a host of German publications claimed Bayern had made their move and sacked the 35-year-old.

The reports came out of the blue, with the highly-rated Nagelsmann guiding Bayern to the Bundesliga title last season and to the quarter-finals of the Champions League this term, with Manchester City awaiting them in that competition.

Bayern went into the international window second in the Bundesliga, a point behind rivals Borussia Dortmund ahead of their meeting in Der Klassiker on April 1.

Club chiefs Herbert Hainer and Hasan Salihamidzic insisted as recently as late February that Nagelsmann was seen as a "long-term project" by Bayern.

Now, however, it would appear former Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Borussia Dortmund coach Tuchel is set to take over after apparently reaching an agreement with Die Roten.

Harry Kane savoured the "magical moment" of becoming England's outright record goalscorer in a 2-1 Euro 2024 qualifying victory over Italy.

Kane made history in the Three Lions' Group C opener at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday, breaking a record he had shared with Wayne Rooney by converting a penalty just before half-time.

The captain's 54th goal for his country doubled England's lead after Declan Rice had opened the scoring in a repeat of a Euro 2020 final that Italy won at Wembley in July 2021.

Argentina-born Mateo Retegui pulled a goal back on his Azzurri debut, and although Luke Shaw was sent off in the 80th minute for a second bookable offence, Gareth Southgate's side held on for their first victory away to Italy since May 1961.

Kane told Channel 4: "It means everything. We're so excited to put the England shirt back on, get the campaign started for the Euros next year. It had to be a penalty, of course, but once it hit the back of the net there was so much emotion.

"It's a magical moment. Thanks to everyone who's helped me get to this stage. It's a great night. We haven't won in Italy for so long. To score, and win this game, is just special."

Kane added: "I was on the pitch when Wayne broke the record. I know what it meant to him and I was so proud of him. I remember when I presented him the boot for breaking the record, he said he would be giving it back to me one day. A special man."

Rooney wasted no time in congratulating his former team-mate.

He posted on social media: "Congratulations to @HKane on becoming @England’s all-time leading goalscorer. I knew it wouldn't take long but that was quick. Great man, unbelievable goalscorer and an England legend. Congrats Harry."

Tottenham's record goalscorer Kane suffered the agony of a missed penalty that saw England crash out of the World Cup with a defeat to France at the quarter-final stage in December.

The striker felt it was important to show a positive response to that heartbreak in Naples.

He said: "It was tough to finish in that way, but we spoke this week about getting back to it. We feel like we are one of the best teams in Europe.

"Coming here and putting in a performance like that today shows we are ready for the next challenge. We've got a difficult campaign ahead."

Italy's defeat was their first in 41 European Championship qualifying matches.

Harry Kane become England's outright record goalscorer as the Three Lions secured a first away win over Italy in almost 62 years with a 2-1 Euro 2024 qualifying victory.

In a repeat of a Euro 2020 final that was won by the Azzurri, Gareth Southgate's side gained a measure of revenge in their Group C opener at Stadio Diego Armando Maradona on Thursday.

Declan Rice opened the scoring and Kane deservedly doubled England's lead with his 54th goal for his country from the penalty spot, breaking the record he shared with Wayne Rooney.

The Argentina-born Mateo Retegui reduced the deficit with a debut strike, but Italy suffered their first home loss to England since June 1961 and saw a run of 40 European Championship qualifying matches without defeat come to a halt in Naples despite Luke Shaw's red card in the 80th minute. 

There was a touching pre-match tribute to the late Gianluca Vialli before England quickly stamped their authority on the game, the alert Rice firing home left-footed from inside the box 13 minutes in after Kane's shot was blocked.

England were dominant and Kane made history to double their lead late in the first half, calmly sending Donnarumma the wrong way from the spot following a VAR check for a Giovanni Di Lorenzo handball.

Jack Grealish sliced wide when he ought to have added a third goal moments later at the end of another blistering Three Lions attack.

Italy looked like a different side after the break and Retegui controlled a clever reverse pass from Lorenzo Pellegrini before beating Jordan Pickford with a clinical right-foot finish 11 minutes into the second half.

Roberto Mancini's side continued to put England under pressure and Shaw was given his marching orders for upending Retegui just a couple of minutes after he had been booked for time-wasting.

Italy were unable to salvage a point, though, as England dug in to see out a hard-earned victory in a great start to their qualifying campaign.

Cristiano Ronaldo celebrated becoming the most-capped men's player of all time with a double as Portugal thrashed Liechtenstein 4-0 in Roberto Martinez's first game.

Ronaldo scored just once at last year's World Cup, and there had been doubts over whether he would return for Portugal's Euro 2024 qualification campaign.

But having been named as captain in Martinez's starting XI for Thursday's match at Estadio Jose Alvalade, Ronaldo scored twice in the space of 12 minutes – a cool penalty followed by a wicked free-kick – to help cap an emphatic win and mark his record appearance in style.

Ronaldo's goals followed strikes from Joao Cancelo and Bernardo Silva as Portugal got off to the simplest of starts in Group J.

Liechtenstein's resistance lasted just eight minutes. The visitors failed to clear their lines following Bruno Fernandes' corner, and Cancelo's deflected strike from the edge of the area squirmed under Benjamin Buchel.

Ronaldo squandered two golden opportunities to extend Portugal's lead, firing over when one-on-one with Buchel before sending a free header wide.

Portugal's wait for a second ended 68 seconds after the restart, Silva on hand to tuck home after a cross was blocked into his path, and Ronaldo had his goal four minutes later.

Jens Hofer clumsily felled Cancelo, with Ronaldo drilling the resultant penalty into the bottom-left corner.

The offside flag cut Ronaldo's celebrations short when he prodded in from close range, but a superb 63rd-minute free-kick had too much power on it for Buchel.

There was no hat-trick for Ronaldo, who made way in the 78th minute, with the job done for new boss Martinez.

It's fair to say Harry Kane was something of a late bloomer on the international stage, at least in comparison to the man he has surpassed as England's all-time leading goalscorer.

While Wayne Rooney was named in Euro 2004's Team of the Tournament at the age of 18, Kane was 22 by the time he first appeared at a major international competition.

Despite Rooney's head start, the prospect of Kane beating his record of 53 England goals has seemed inevitable for some time after the Tottenham striker took on a talismanic role for Gareth Southgate's side. 

Kane could have broken the record at last the 2022 World Cup. He had already scored one penalty in the quarter-final against France and, with England 2-1 down, he stepped up to take another at Al Bayt Stadium.

Yet his effort soared over, England's chances of World Cup success crashing down around their captain.

Fitting, then, that it was from the penalty spot that Kane broke Rooney's record by netting his 54th England goal, as he put the Three Lions 2-0 up ahead Italy in their first match of 2023.

He has now cemented his place in the pantheon of England greats.

With Kane assuming his place as the country's greatest goalscorer, Stats Perform looks at the legacy he has built on the international stage.

Stepping out of Rooney's shadow and repaying Southgate's faith

Kane wasted no time in introducing himself on the international stage.

Having replaced Rooney as a substitute against Lithuania in March 2015, the Tottenham striker needed just 79 seconds to net in a 4-0 win.

Since 1872, Kane is one of just six players to score inside two minutes on his England debut, while that strike made him the first to do so since Gerry Hitchens in 1961.

 

However, after England's dismal Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland, Kane had scored only five goals in 17 international appearances. Retrospectively, it wasn't quite the flying start one may have expected from a future great.

While Kane entered that tournament having won the Premier League's Golden Boot, he was uninspired as Roy Hodgson sought to find space for both Rooney and Daniel Sturridge in an unbalanced team. 

That stunning defeat in Nice, as well as a corruption scandal that later led to the departure of Sam Allardyce after just one game at the helm, made 2016 a year to forget for England.

However, the appointment of Southgate that November, coupled with the new manager's decision to drop a declining Rooney the following March, set the stage for a dramatic improvement from the Three Lions' new talisman.  

All but five of Kane's 54 international goals have been scored under Southgate, the highest tally scored by any England player under a particular manager by some distance – Gary Lineker is second with 35 goals under Bobby Robson.

The man for the big occasion 

The idea that the England shirt can weigh heavily upon those who regularly star at club level has been a common theme for decades.

Of Rooney's 53 international goals, for instance, only one was scored at a World Cup – an ultimately inconsequential effort in 2014's decisive 2-1 loss to Uruguay in Sao Paulo.

The Manchester United great may have hit the net seven times across his six major tournaments, but four came in his remarkable breakout campaign at Euro 2004, and he was continually criticised for failing to carry his club form onto the international stage.

Rooney is not the only England star to suffer that fate. Frank Lampard scored three times at Euro 2004 but did not net at another major tournament. Fellow midfielder Steven Gerrard hit 21 goals for Three Lions, but just three came at tournaments. 

Despite arriving at the 2018 World Cup having plundered 30 goals across the 2017-18 Premier League season – his most prolific campaign in the competition – Kane was seemingly open to the same criticisms, but a Golden Boot-winning tournament changed perceptions.

 

Kane as England's tournament specialist

While defeats to Croatia in the 2018 World Cup semi-finals and Italy in the Euro 2020 final have left Southgate battling accusations of underachievement, England's very presence in some of the biggest international fixtures has owed much to Kane.

Kane's total of six goals in Russia was enough to see off the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Kylian Mbappe for the Golden Boot, and only Cristiano Ronaldo and Patrik Schick (both five) bettered his tally of four strikes as England went agonisingly close to Euro 2020 glory.

Having netted against Senegal and France at Qatar 2022, Kane's tally of 12 goals at major tournaments is an outright England record, beating Lineker's total of 10, which came exclusively at World Cups.

With Kane now having eight World Cup goals to his name and looking likely to participate in at least one more edition, the 29-year-old could also claim Lineker's status as England's top marksman in FIFA's flagship tournament.

Nevertheless, some might accuse him of "stat padding" against weak opponents. After all, Kane has scored more international goals against San Marino (five) than any other nation.

However, he has also often been the scourge of the world's elite, as England's old rivals Germany – the opponents for four of Kane's England goals – will attest. 

 

Cementing Kane's legacy: Does more history await in 2026? 

Brazil great Ronaldo, Miroslav Klose, Mario Kempes, Gerd Muller and Eusebio are among the legends to have claimed the honour of top-scoring at a World Cup. None of them – nor any other player – has done so at two separate tournaments.

Kane ultimately could not repeat his 2018 exploits in Qatar. But in terms of other records and future success, age is – just about – on his side. The Spurs striker will be 33 when the 2026 World Cup rolls around. He will likely have set a daunting target for any future England strikers to chase.

Troubling Klose's all-time record of 16 World Cup goals may be unrealistic but claiming a spot in the top five of that list – and beating Pele's tally of 12 – appears a plausible target. 

While Kane's England legacy may be chiefly judged on whether he can inspire the team to bring football home for the first time since 1966, his international goalscoring feats are worthy of lofty praise regardless.

If Kane wins a major trophy during his England career or not, his contribution on the big stage means he should be remembered as one of his country's best ever.

Harry Kane has become England's all-time top scorer in men's international football, passing Wayne Rooney with his first-half penalty against Italy.

The Tottenham forward converted from the spot to grab his 54th goal for the Three Lions after a VAR check deemed Giovanni Di Lorenzo to have handled the ball.

Kane had been tied with Rooney following the World Cup in Qatar, missing the chance to own the record outright when he blazed his quarter-final penalty over the crossbar against France.

That delayed the England captain until this latest international break, in which he belatedly eclipsed Rooney's 53 goals.

Having netted his landmark goal as he earned his 81st cap, Kane required considerably fewer matches to make history than Rooney, who played 120 times for his country.

Rooney had moved beyond Bobby Charlton's long-standing record of 49 back in 2015, later also beating the World Cup winner to become Manchester United's all-time leading marksman.

Kane already owns the Tottenham record after surpassing Jimmy Greaves earlier this year.

 UEFA and Pepsi have announced that GRAMMY® Award-winning and multi-platinum-selling singer, songwriter and producer, Burna Boy, will co-headline the highly anticipated 2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi on June 10.

For the first time ever, fans will have the opportunity of a lifetime to be part of the biggest annual global sporting event for themselves.

The global chart-topping ‘Last Last’ and ‘It’s Plenty’ megastar will bring his signature soulful vibes of afrobeats to Istanbul’s Atatürk Olympic Stadium as millions of fans from across the globe tune in to watch the must-see performance only moments before the biggest game in club football gets underway. Burna Boy, fresh from a record-breaking year and the release of his sixth studio album, Love, Damini, will take to the Pepsi stage alongside another soon-to-be-announced global sensation.

Revealed on TikTok, Burna Boy has teamed up with Pepsi ambassadors and football royalty; world champion Leo Messi, reigning UCL champion Vini Jr and Euro-winning Lionesses star Leah Williamson; to encourage fans to showcase their best dance moves or ball skills by posting them to TikTok using the hashtag #PepsiKickOffShow. The best submissions will be hand-picked to show off their skills as part of the 2023 UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi performance.

"As a huge football fan myself, I know it doesn’t get any bigger than the UEFA Champions League! That's why I'm so excited to be performing on the Pepsi stage at this year's final,” Burna Boy said.

“Music and football are the ultimate combination, so you already know I'll be bringing the vibes and making magic in Istanbul. The world ain't ready for what we have in store!”

Gustavo Reyna, Pepsi’s Senior Director of Global Marketing, said they are excited to have Burna Boy on board for the spectacle.

“The UEFA Champions League Final is the stand-out date of the club football calendar, and Pepsi prides itself on marking the occasion with the very best entertainment spectacles,” Reyna said.

“The newly named ‘Kick Of Show by Pepsi’ is going to be huge this year; we’re so excited to welcome Burna Boy, one of the world’s most exciting artists, to the Pepsi x UEFA Champions League stage and we can’t wait to see which fans are selected to feature as part of this truly unmissable performance. Stay tuned to find out who is co-headlining alongside Burna Boy in the weeks to come!”

UEFA marketing director Guy-Laurent Epstein said they are excited about the entertainment package fans will be able to enjoy.

“The UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show is a significant part of our joint efforts with Pepsi, providing an incredible opportunity to reach new and younger audiences with some of the biggest names and rising stars in music,” he said.

“We're excited to showcase a line-up of talented artists at this season’s Final in Istanbul in what is sure to be an energetic and memorable performance.”

Now in its seventh year, the UEFA Champions League Final Kick Off Show by Pepsi - formerly known as the UEFA Champions League Opening Ceremony - will air in over 200 countries and territories globally, just minutes before the stand-out fixture of the club football season commences. By uniting the worlds of football and music through one unmissable entertainment moment that stops fans in their tracks and leaves them wanting more, the event is the perfect demonstration of Pepsi’s ‘Thirsty For More’ platform. The Kick-Off Show is just one of the many exciting moments that Pepsi and UEFA will bring football fans this season, including the announcement of another global superstar co-headliner to join the Kick Off Show, Tik Tok videos, fashion collaborations, product innovations and more!

Fans will be able to tune in to watch the performance via their local broadcaster and through the official UEFA YouTube and TikTok channels, while the @PepsiGlobal TikTok channel has all the information around how fans can win the chance of being part of the 2023 UEFA Champions League Kick Off Show by Pepsi.

Finnish entrepreneur Thomas Zilliacus has made an offer to buy Manchester United but will need to leverage the club's huge fanbase in order to pull off a takeover.

Wednesday's bid deadline was extended and Zilliacus became the third bidder to publicly declare his interest, joining Jim Ratcliffe and Sheikh Jassim bin Hamad Al Thani.

Zilliacus' proposal is for 50 per cent of the club, with the other half bought by fans, who would become part of the club's decision-making process.

"Any sport club ultimately should belong to its fans. My bid is built on equality with fans," he said.

"The current development, where billionaire sheikhs and oligarchs take over clubs and control them as their personal playgrounds is not a healthy trend.

"The current market value of the club is just under $3.9billion (£3.17billion). That means that if every one of the fans of the club would join in buying the club, the total sum per fan would amount to less than $6 (£4.88).

"My group will finance half of the sum needed to take over the club, and will ask the fans, through a new company that is being set up for this specific purpose, to participate for the other half. If every fan joins it means less than $3 (£2.44) per fan."

While only three bidders have publicly announced their offers, it has been reported there could be as many as eight proposals submitted for the Glazer family's consideration.

Ronald Koeman believes managing the Netherlands will be easier the second time around.

After a three-year absence, Koeman returned to the Oranje set up to succeed Frank de Boer following the World Cup in Qatar.

A second spell in charge begins with a daunting test against France as qualification for Euro 2024 gets underway on Friday at the Stade de France in Paris.

Koeman's initial stint with the national side brought an end to an absence from international competitions, leading the Netherlands to qualification for Euro 2020 – their first tournament since the 2014 World Cup.

However, Koeman left for Barcelona and did not take charge at the tournament, and returns to the fold with unfinished business.

"It's easier now than it was back then. There are a couple of players I have seen at my clubs, but 14 or 15 of the guys that are here I have worked with already, including Frenkie de Jong and Steven Bergwijn," he told a press conference.

"But there's also a couple of new guys. I'm curious what they think, what we think of them as players, those are fun conversations to have.

"I also had a lot of contact when I left the national team with my captain, Virgil van Dijk. Everything feels very familiar.

"We want to make this squad successful, we have to do that together. We are strong, but we need to work hard to perform well.

"You always follow players at their clubs, and new players also come here with certain nerves. The level is high, it's nice to see that the group does a lot of things together.

"Even the new guys are joining the 'old' guys at the table. That's a nice process. That's good to see."

Didier Deschamps insisted pleasing Kylian Mbappe played no part in his decision to make the Paris Saint-Germain star France captain.

Hugo Lloris' retirement vacated the France captaincy, with Mbappe named as the new skipper earlier this week ahead of Euro 2024 qualifiers against the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.

Mbappe revealed on Thursday that Antoine Griezmann, one of France's longest-serving players, was disappointed by the decision, though Deschamps refuted the suggestion he made the call to appease the 24-year-old, who won the Golden Boot at last year's World Cup.

"It's not a choice to make him happy, but because I am convinced that he has all the qualities to do so," Deschamps said in a press conference.

"I'm not going to go into details. You know how it went chronologically. I made the decision on Monday evening. Kylian has been used to being in this group for a while.

"He won't be alone. The most important thing is that it's not an extra burden for Kylian."

 

Indeed, Deschamps has no concerns that becoming captain will be too much responsibility for Mbappe, who has scored 31 goals in 33 games for PSG this season.

"Being captain of the France team is a responsibility, but Kylian, when he is on the pitch, he thinks about what he has to do on the pitch," Deschamps continued.

"It comes naturally. There is no advice to give to him, Kylian knows."

When asked if Mbappe would have to become less selfish or alter his game as captain, Deschamps added: "That a striker can create individual actions, that's part of the role of a striker. It's not selfishness. He doesn't have to change."

Lloris' retirement has also opened an opportunity for a new goalkeeper to confirm themselves as number one.

While Alphonse Areola and Lens' Brice Samba – one of the best-performing goalkeepers in Ligue 1 this term – have been included in Deschamps' squad, Mike Maignan is Lloris' heir apparent.

"Mike is used to it, he has already played [France] matches," Deschamps said. "He cannot replace Hugo's experience overnight.

"He has overcome his injury problems. I don't have the slightest doubt, I have total confidence in him. He has everything to be at this level."

Patrick Kluivert has urged Barcelona to sign either Goncalo Ramos or Roberto Firmino at the end of the season.

Barca are on course to be crowned LaLiga champions after a big recruitment drive that saw them bring in the likes of Robert Lewandowski and Raphinha.

Lewandowski has scored 25 goals in his first season with the Blaugrana, leading the line superbly and demonstrating the sort of clinical finishing that has made him one of the best strikers in the world.

Former Barca striker Kluivert wants the Catalan giants to add more firepower by landing Benfica striker Ramos or long-serving Liverpool frontman Firmino, who will leave Anfield when his contract expires at the end of the season.

The ex-Netherlands international told the Barca Blaugranes portal: "Financial Fair Play is something you have to take into account, but who is on my wish list? It definitely has to be a striker.

"Because after Lewandowski you need to have a centre-forward. I like Goncalo Ramos a lot. I like that one player and he has done a very good job for the Portugal team and also at Benfica.

"I think Firmino would also be a very interesting player in Barcelona. A striker is what is needed to strengthen Barcelona. The rest would be fine if everyone stayed."

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