Kylian Mbappe has revealed he will announce a decision regarding his future before linking up with the France national team for June's Nations League fixtures.

With his contract with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain due to expire next month, Mbappe has been strongly linked with a move to Real Madrid.

Conflicting reports have suggested PSG are confident of tying the 23-year-old to a new deal in the French capital, while the hierarchy at the Bernabeu are sure of luring him to Spain.

Mbappe, a 2018 World Cup winner, has scored 36 goals and provided 21 assists for PSG this season, firing the Parisiens to the 10th Ligue 1 title in the club's history.

His total of 57 goal contributions this season can only be bettered by international team-mate Karim Benzema (59) among players in the top-five European leagues this season.

Speaking at the annual Union Nationale des Footballeurs Professionels (UNFP) award ceremony in Paris, where he was named the best player in the French top flight for a third time in four years (there was no winner for the curtailed 2019-20 campaign), Mbappe revealed he will soon make an announcement on where he intends to play next term.

While Mbappe was less forthright on his future than was the case at the 2019 ceremony, where he made headlines by discussing the potential of a "new project", he later said all will become clear by the time he meets up with his national team at the end of the month. 

"I made this mistake three years ago to monopolise the ceremony. I want to participate in the ceremony, not seek glory," Mbappe said, as reported by RMC.

"We will know very quickly, it's almost over. My choice is made, yes, almost."

Speaking to journalists in the mixed zone after picking up the award, Mbappe said: "I will officially announce my decision on the future before I join the France national team in June."

Mbappe later expressed his delight at retaining the Ligue 1 prize in a social media post, writing on Twitter: "Best player in Ligue 1 for the third consecutive season. An immense pride to write history once again. This recognition warms my heart. And of course, thank you to all of my club and the fans for the trust granted this season."

Having scored and provided two assists in PSG's 4-0 victory over Montpellier on Saturday, Mbappe has been involved in 245 goals in all competitions since making his PSG debut in September 2017 (168 goals, 77 assists).

That total is at least 98 more than any other player has managed for the club in the same period (Neymar is second with 147 goal contributions).

France are due to play four Nations League matches in June, facing a double-header against 2018 World Cup final opponents Croatia, as well as a home clash with Denmark and a trip to Austria.

Kylian Mbappe and Lionel Messi put poor Montpellier to the sword in a 4-0 Paris Saint-Germain win, their first since being confirmed as Ligue 1 champions.

Champions League failure this season had dampened PSG's title celebrations even before three consecutive draws – the first of which secured top spot against Lens.

Mauricio Pochettino's men lost the lead in all three matches, but there was never any danger of a repeat on Saturday.

Mbappe, whose future is perhaps of more interest than PSG's results right now, was typically influential, scoring the fourth after having a hand in two goals for Messi and one for Angel Di Maria.

That front three quickly had Montpellier on the back foot, with just six minutes played when Mbappe's square pass was dummied by Di Maria for Messi to aim a left-footed finish into the bottom-right corner.

Dimitry Bertaud had saved well from Messi moments before that goal and soon would again from Mbappe, but he was helpless in the face of an onslaught.

Mbappe's sublime outside-of-the-boot pass set Messi away to round the goalkeeper and score the second, before the pair attempted to link up a third time and Di Maria netted instead – his volley deflected beyond Bertaud after Mbappe's cross was headed only half-clear.

Mbappe hit the post from a Messi pass before the half-time whistle, which scarcely disrupted PSG's rhythm.

A rare loose Mbappe touch only invited a clumsy challenge from Arnaud Souquet, allowing the forward to coolly convert from the penalty spot.

Mbappe was just offside before he laid on another goal for Di Maria, which was ruled out, and PSG finally slowed to Montpellier's relief, settling for four.
 

What does it mean? Rare late-season success for champions

PSG's form had fallen off a cliff since the Ligue 1 title was sealed, but that is nothing new for this team.

In fact, the capital club headed into this match having won just two of their past 11 games played when they had been confirmed as champions. Their most recent such victory had come against Dijon at the end of a successful 2018-19 season.

There are worse times to lose form, of course, but this long-awaited win should now at least briefly lift the mood at PSG – and perhaps show Mbappe how fun it could be to stick around alongside Messi.

Partnership finally prospers

Although Neymar was missing through suspension, the other two members of PSG's star-studded front three finally showed off the sort of attacking combination play that was expected all along.

Mbappe has certainly not disappointed this season, having now posted a career-high 57 goal involvements, but this was a rare example of Messi matching his team-mate's exploits.

Three of the four chances Messi created were for Mbappe, who in turn teed up four attempts and two goals for the former Barcelona man.

Now the nervous wait...

It was put to Pochettino on Friday that Mbappe might provide an update on his future on Sunday, at the UNFP Trophies ceremony where in 2019 he announced a desire to "have more responsibility", prompting discussion he was unhappy at PSG.

There is no doubt Mbappe is the main man in Paris now, stealing the show even in a game in which Messi scored twice, but will that be enough to keep him at the club?

What's next?

Beyond that awards ceremony, where Pochettino insists he is not expecting any news, PSG have one game remaining at home to Metz next Saturday. Montpellier visit Angers.

Robert Lewandowski has told Bayern Munich he wishes to leave the club and head to Barcelona in the upcoming transfer window – and manager Julian Nagelsmann will reportedly not stand in his way.

Lewandowski, 33, is in the midst of a historic season, averaging more than a goal per game in both the Bundesliga and Champions League. He has 34 goals and three assists in 33 league fixtures, and 13 goals with three assists in his 10 Champions League games.

With his contract set to expire in just over 12 months, there was a feeling Bayern would prefer to hold on to the Polish star to boost their chances in the Champions League instead of cashing in, but that may not be the case.

 

TOP STORY – LEWANDOWSKI PUSHES FOR BARCA MOVE

Crowned The Best FIFA Men's Player two years in a row, and coming off his third consecutive season with at least 34 league goals, Lewandowski's time in Munich appears to be over as Sport reports he has his heart set on a Barcelona move.

Whether motivated by cashing in while the club still can, or simply honouring the wishes of one of the greatest players to ever wear the badge, Nagelsmann is said to be on board with Lewandowski's decision and will try to facilitate the transfer.

The report includes a note that it may be a difficult move for the Spanish giants to pull off financially, although he is likely central to their off-season plans, meaning the club will do everything in their power to prioritise making it happen.

 

ROUND-UP

– Fabrizio Romano is reporting Real Madrid are "more confident than ever" in landing Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe

– According to Mediaset, Chelsea have reached an agreement with Inter's Ivan Perisic to bring the Croatian over on a free transfer, although Fabrizio Romano insists that Perisic has not made up his mind yet.

– Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong will reject any advances from Manchester United and his former Ajax coach Erik ten Hag, according to the Daily Star.

– Calciomercato claims Paulo Dybala's agent is reportedly in London weighing up offers of Premier League clubs, including Arsenal.

Jude Bellingham will remain with Borussia Dortmund for next season, despite interest from Liverpool and United, according to the Daily Star.

Ronaldinho told Paris Saint-Germain fans they should be careful what they wish for as he mounted a defence of the club's under-fire superstars.

Neymar and Lionel Messi have faced a backlash from supporters in recent months, with Kylian Mbappe the only member of the much-vaunted forward trio seemingly immune to their criticism.

It helps that Mbappe has enjoyed another spectacular season for PSG, scoring 35 goals and adding 19 assists, while Neymar and Messi have struggled to live up to their lofty reputations.

Many supporters have been unimpressed by the team's performances this season, despite a costly recruitment drive that brought a raft of big names to the Parc des Princes.

Messi, an all-time great, arrived from Barcelona, while the likes of Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos and Liverpool midfielder Georginio Wijnaldum also joined, along with Inter's flying full-back Achraf Hakimi.

Despite PSG assembling a star-studded squad, there has been such a backlash against the side's performances that last month's Ligue 1 title success was barely celebrated by supporters.

Squandering a 2-0 aggregate lead to lose to Real Madrid in the Champions League's last-16 was a shattering blow, and many supporters want change to come not only on the pitch, but in the boardroom, with President Nasser Al-Khelaifi and Sporting Director Leonardo facing heavy criticism.

Ronaldinho, however, does not understand those questioning the side, telling RMC Sports: "I don't understand because there are all these great players.

"And you want to change everything? What do you want to have? The worst players in the world?

"We have to wait for them to understand this new way of living and playing football. And the rest will come slowly. This adaptation is normal, to do things well."

Neymar signed a big-money contract extension last May so appears unlikely to leave any time soon, but patience is in short supply among some fans when it comes to the Brazilian.

His compatriot Ronaldinho, who spent two years at PSG before joining Barcelona in 2003, defended the winger by declaring: "He's one of the best players in the world.

"He has had several injuries this year. When he's at 100 per cent he's a really special player for this team. Neymar, [Angel] Di Maria, Messi... the greatest players are together. If you're not happy with that, who are you going to play with?"

Mbappe, meanwhile, will reach the end of his contract next month with Madrid remaining eager to take him to the Santiago Bernabeu, although reports have suggested he could yet decide to remain in the French capital.

Ronaldinho refused to offer an opinion as to where the 2018 World Cup winner should play next term, saying the most important thing is Mbappe's happiness and predicting he will become the world's best player.

"I have no advice. I love him so much," he added. "The most important thing is that he is happy, the rest will come normally. He will become the best player in the world. The rest is up to him to decide where he will play and what he wants to do."

Kylian Mbappe will be making the right choice if he leaves Paris Saint-Germain for Real Madrid, according to Bixente Lizarazu. 

France international Mbappe is set to be out of contract at PSG at the end of the season and has been heavily linked with a move to Madrid. 

The Ligue 1 champions hope to convince the 23-year-old to extend his stay at the Parc des Princes, though.

According to Spanish newspaper El Pais, Madrid want 50 per cent of Mbappe's image rights and that is making the attacker seriously consider a renewal in the French capital. 

However, Lizarazu thinks a move the Champions League finalists and the possibility to link up with international team-mate Karim Benzema would be ideal for Mbappe. 

Asked where he would like to see Mbappe playing, Lizarazu told Telefoot: "Real Madrid – it seems clear to me. 

"The Champions League culture, the electricity there is in the stadium, and on top of that the team is perfect. He would do well there. The combination with Benzema would be great. 

"Now, if he's taking so long to decide, it's because he's waiting for an answer from PSG. The answer on the structure, the organisation, the mentality. The team, collectively, will it respond? 

"There are a number of factors, so maybe he is waiting for that and changes at the level of certain directors." 

With his contract set to expire at the end of this season, Kylian Mbappe is reportedly going to sign a two-year extension with Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, 23, has established himself as one of the world's premier players, with 24 goals and 16 assists in his 32 Ligue 1 fixtures this season, and six goals with six assists in eight Champions League games.

In his four seasons since arriving in Paris in 2018, he has won three Ligue 1 titles with one runners-up finish, but has never won the Champions League. A disappointing exit in the first knockout stage this campaign was supposed to push the young star out the door, but that may not be the case.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE ON THE BRINK OF PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN EXTENSION

Mbappe has been strongly linked with Real Madrid – often referred to as his 'dream club' – but he may snub the Champions League finalists for a deal Le Parisien reports is worth £42.5million per year, with an £85m signing bonus.

If he does opt to stay in France, it will have a significant domino effect as it would likely take PSG out of the discussion for a number of the world's most expensive players in the coming transfer window, and vastly increase Madrid's spending power if they had budgeted for his arrival.

While it appears at this stage that a deal is likely, The Mirror is reporting Mbappe's mum saying "there is no agreement in principle with Paris Saint-Germain or any other club".

 

ROUND-UP

– The Daily Star is reporting Pep Guardiola will sign a contract extension to keep him at Manchester City until at least 2025.

– Everton are prepared to sell goalkeeper Jordan Pickford to fund a rebuild, according to Talksport. Tottenham and Newcastle United are said to be monitoring the England international's situation.

– Jose Mourinho wants to bring Manchester United full-back Aaron Wan-Bissaka to Roma, per The Sun.

– The Sun is reporting Man City will compete with United for the signature of Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong.

– According to Gazzetta dello Sport, Napoli striker Victor Osimhen would prefer to join Arsenal instead of Man United or Newcastle.

Kylian Mbappe has yet to agree a contract with Paris Saint-Germain or any other club, according to the French superstar's mother.

With Mbappe's contract in the French capital due to expire in June, the 23-year-old has been heavily linked with a move to Champions League finalists Real Madrid.

Mbappe has scored 35 goals and provided 19 assists for Mauricio Pochettino's team in all competitions this term, both club-high figures. PSG won the Ligue 1 title in dominant fashion but fell short against Madrid in the Champions League in March.

French newspaper Le Parisien reported on its website on Thursday that Mbappe was close to reaching an agreement in principle to extend his stay in Paris until June 2024.

Fayza Lamary, the 2018 World Cup winner's mother, later moved to refute suggestions Mbappe has decided anything about his future.

"There is no agreement in principle with Paris Saint-Germain [or any other club]," she wrote on Twitter.

"Discussions around Kylian's future are continuing in a climate of great serenity to allow him to make the best choice, with respect for all parties."

Mbappe scored his 130th and 131st Ligue 1 career goals on his last outing as PSG drew 3-3 with Strasbourg, making him the second highest goalscorer in the competition this century after Edinson Cavani, who scored 138 times in the league for the Paris outfit.

The forward has also scored 26 goals following a fast break in Ligue 1 since making his PSG debut in September 2017, more than double the amount recorded by any other player in the top five European leagues during that time. Mohamed Salah has 12 for Liverpool.

Despite wrapping up their 35th LaLiga title and retaining a chance of winning the Champions League this term, Real Madrid find themselves at something of a crossroads.

The individual brilliance of Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior may have fired Los Blancos to a dominant triumph in LaLiga, but attention will soon turn to Madrid's attempts to defend the title for the first time since 2007-08.

With the potential arrival of a true global superstar and one of the Premier League's best defenders, as well as the matter of refreshing a brilliant but ageing midfield, it promises to be an interesting few months at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Here, Stats Perform analyses what Carlo Ancelotti's men could do to fend off the potential challenge of an improved Barcelona next season.

 

The Mbappe conundrum: How would the superstar fit in?

For months, if not years, Real Madrid's plans for 2022 seem to have revolved around one name: Kylian Mbappe.

While recent reports have suggested the 23-year-old could yet remain at the Parc des Princes, a move for the talismanic attacker – who will be a free agent in June – cannot yet be ruled out.

Having scored 35 goals and provided 19 assists in 43 appearances in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain, Mbappe would clearly be an asset to any team in European football, but the question remains as to how Mbappe will complement another free-scoring Frenchman in the Spanish capital.

Benzema has become just the fifth Madrid player in history to score 40+ goals in a single season for the club (after Cristiano Ronaldo, Ferenc Puskas, Alfredo Di Stefano and Hugo Sanchez), and is being touted for the Ballon d'Or after driving Madrid's Champions League run. Benzema has scored 14 goals in 10 European appearances this term, averaging a goal every 65.1 minutes in a stunning campaign.

Mbappe and Benzema are no strangers to playing together, but the PSG forward failed to score and only provided one assist when doing so during France's disappointing Euro 2020 campaign. The Madrid man, meanwhile, finished just one goal short of the golden boot after netting four times.

Matters are complicated further when taking into account the form of Vinicius, who has formed a lethal partnership with Benzema this season, registering 33 goal involvements of his own in all competitions (18 goals, 15 assists), and Mbappe's preference to play from the left could infringe on Vinicius. 

However, Mbappe's development into a more well-rounded attacking talent should ensure he at least provides a threat, whichever flank he starts from. 

As well as improving on his 11 assists from last season, Mbappe has completed more dribbles (138) at a higher success rate (50.74 per cent) than Vinicius this term (130, 41.4 per cent), and could join him in playing a more creative role supporting Benzema.

Upgrading in defence: The arrival of Antonio Rudiger

Having announced his intention to leave Chelsea at the end of his contract, Antonio Rudiger is another player strongly linked with a move to the Bernabeu ahead of next season.

The German defender has been one of the Blues' outstanding players under Thomas Tuchel, starring in their Champions League triumph last year and enjoying another fine campaign this season.

Rudiger has been a key component in the Premier League's third-best defence this season, with Chelsea keeping 15 clean sheets and conceding just 28 goals despite falling out of title contention after a promising start.

The 29-year-old appears to be an upgrade on Madrid's current defensive options after last year's departures of Sergio Ramos and Raphael Varane, offering more physicality than David Alaba and greater defensive steel than Eder Militao, a partnership that was frequently exposed by Manchester City recently.

Rudiger would also offer a threat at the other end of the pitch, with his three league goals this season bettered by just one other Premier League centre-back (Jan Bednarek, four), and his ability to step out of defence was on display when he scored a 39-yard stunner against Brentford in early April – Chelsea's longest-range Premier League goal since January 2007

However, Rudiger has been accustomed to playing in a back three at Chelsea and would be most likely to play as a right-sided centre-back in a back four for Madrid, unless Ancelotti opts to shift Alaba to left-back.

Rudiger would likely have to curb his attacking enthusiasm if paired with the naturally forward-thinking Alaba, but he appears a smart choice to further solidify a defence that has been the second-strongest in LaLiga this term (only Sevilla have conceded fewer goals).

The case for Camavinga: Time to look to the future?

The midfield trio of Casemiro, Toni Kroos and Luka Modric will go down in Madrid history: they started together in three consecutive Champions League final wins between 2016 and 2018, with the Croatian also starring in 2014's victory.

Nobody can question their quality or longevity. All three have made at least 35 starts this season, while Modric in particular has produced several sumptuous contributions in big games that have helped him to an assist haul of nine, six more than any other Madrid midfielder.

 

However, given they occasionally appear to lack a certain dynamism when out of possession, could Madrid benefit from some extra mobility in the engine room?

The signing of Eduardo Camavinga, who has made 35 appearances this term, was clearly made with such a move in mind, but the French youngster has only started 14 times in all competitions and would benefit from more playing time next season as he looks to improve his all-round game.

However, neither Camavinga nor Federico Valverde possess the kind of metronomic abilities of Modric or Kroos, and the younger pair also average fewer passes into the final third per 90 minutes than their more experienced peers (6.25 and 6.1, respectively).

As such, with the rumoured arrivals of Mbappe and Rudiger involving no transfer fees, Madrid could yet benefit from dipping into the market to acquire another young, progressive midfielder in a move that might also help to prolong the excellence of Modric and Kroos.

Mauricio Pochettino is no longer surprised by Kylian Mbappe, whose excellent display was not enough for Paris Saint-Germain to win at Strasbourg on Friday.

After Kevin Gameiro's second-minute opener, Mbappe scored a double and set up another for Achraf Hakimi to put PSG firmly in command at Stade de la Meinau. 

However, Marco Verratti's own goal 15 minutes from time piled the pressure on and Strasbourg bagged a 3-3 draw through Anthony Caci's stoppage-time volley. 

Mbappe has now been involved in 54 goals (35 scored, 19 assisted) in all competitions this season, equalling a career-best figure set in 2018-19.

His Ligue 1 tally now stands at 131 goals, with Edinson Cavani (138) the only player this century to have scored more than him, and Pochettino hopes he finishes the campaign at the top of the scoring charts. 

"Kylian no longer surprises me," said Pochettino. 

"I hope he can finish as the league's top scorer. Kylian helped us a lot in getting the title." 

Despite PSG's surrender of a two-goal lead, Pochettino did not seem unduly fussed, adamant the champions generally played well.

He added: "During the last 10 minutes, after Marco's own goal, we didn't panic. This [the late comeback] happens in football. Strasbourg had nothing to lose. 

"I'm happy because we played a very good match. We played good football at times. We were professional and that's important for us. 

"I have no regrets about my changes. I think we controlled the game." 

Strasbourg remain in the hunt for Champions League qualification after the draw, though Mbappe felt PSG made it easier for them than they should have. 

"No, [we were not surprised] because we have TVs and we watch the matches!" said Mbappe. 

"It's not a team that's come from nowhere – they're having a great season. I think we gave them the stick with which to beat us, but we mustn't take away the merit from teams that manage to get a result against us. 

"It's not just because we slow down or play a little less well. They managed to turn things around at home, so well done to them." 

Anthony Caci scored a last-gasp equaliser as Strasbourg came from behind to hold Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain to a 3-3 draw at Stade de la Meinau. 

Former PSG striker Kevin Gameiro gave Champions League-chasing Strasbourg a second-minute lead, but Kylian Mbappe put the visitors in control with a double and an assist for Achraf Hakimi. 

Strasbourg refused to give up and Marco Verratti's own goal with 15 minutes remaining gave them hope of salvaging a point to boost their top-four aspirations. 

They got it when Caci volleyed home a deep cross from Dimitri Lienard in the 92nd minute, keeping the pressure on PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino despite clinching the title last weekend. 

Mauricio Pochettino denied guaranteeing in a news conference that he and Kylian Mbappe will still be at Paris Saint-Germain next season. 

In a meeting with the media on Thursday to preview the game against Strasbourg, Pochettino replied "100 per cent in both cases" when asked what the probability of himself and Mbappe remaining at the club next season was. 

Mbappe will be out of contract at the end of the season and has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid, while Pochettino is under pressure following protests from supporters despite clinching the Ligue 1 title last week. 

The Argentine moved to clarify his comments ahead of Friday's meeting with Strasbourg. He insisted the pair are simply committed to the club as things stand, with the final decision ultimately out of their hands. 

"I didn't say that. This is not the message I gave," he told Amazon Prime. 

"I answered about today, not for the next season. You have to listen to the question and the answer properly and don't get headlines or misunderstand my message. 

"The question was, 'What is the percentage that you believe today you're going to be here next season?' I said, 'Today, it's 100 per cent for Kylian and myself.' 

"People talk too much about my answers. The media need to take a few minutes to listen to the question and the answer, it's really important. Don't miss things, because you can misunderstand the message. 

"Today, 100 per cent. Today, myself and Kylian have 100 per cent commitment to the club and then in the future we will see, because the decision is always in a different part. But of course, I spoke about today." 

Real Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti jokingly questioned whether his Paris Saint-Germain counterpart Mauricio Pochettino was telling the truth when the Argentine claimed Kylian Mbappe will "100 per cent" be in Paris next season.

Mbappe is out of contract at the Parc des Princes at the end of the campaign and has been strongly linked with a move to Madrid.

Ancelotti was asked at a media conference on Friday ahead of Los Blancos' LaLiga clash with Espanyol what he made of Pochettino's comments a day prior.

"Pochettino said Mbappe will 100 per cent stay? Sometimes coaches at a press conference cannot tell the whole truth," he said, laughing.

"I think all the Madridistas are thinking about LaLiga and the Champions League right now. Only about that."

Madrid could clinch the title when they host Espanyol at the Santiago Bernabeu on Saturday, needing just a point to win what will be the 35th LaLiga triumph in the club's illustrious history.

Ancelotti would not confirm if Karim Benzema and Vinicius Jr will play any part, but did say he would not risk any player who needs a rest ahead of next week's Champions League semi-final second leg against Manchester City.

"I think that Benzema and Vinicius can rest, but I am in favour of the fact that if they are well, they have to play," he said. 

"If someone needs rest, I will give it to them, but not because the game is easy. If there is a risk of injury, they rest."

The former PSG and Chelsea boss did admit he will have a selection headache in defence for the game, with none of David Alaba, Eder Militao or Nacho available.

"We have problems in defense. I have to put [Jesus] Vallejo, who has played very little. We have to choose another central defender, which could be Casemiro.

"In midfield I have options, with fresh players like [Eduardo] Camavinga and [Dani] Ceballos. [Marco] Asensio is up there fresh and then let's see if Karim is fresh tomorrow. I have to prevent any tired player from getting injured."

Although Alaba will not be available, Ancelotti did not rule him out of returning for the match against Man City, which the English side lead 4-3 from the first leg.

"Alaba is not going to be here tomorrow. We'll see on Wednesday," he added.

Mauricio Pochettino claims he and Kylian Mbappe will "100 per cent" be at Paris Saint-Germain next season.

The head coach added a caveat, however, by adding: "This is football, and we never know what might happen."

The PSG boss and star striker Mbappe have both been rumoured to be on their way out of the French capital at the end of the campaign, with Mbappe consistently linked to a move to Real Madrid with his contract about to expire.

Speaking at a media conference ahead of PSG's first game against Strasbourg, their first since winning the Ligue 1 title, Pochettino appeared to indicate both his and the France international's futures remain at the club.

Mbappe has been PSG's leading man this season, with 33 goals and 18 assists in 42 games in all competitions.

When asked what percentage he would give that himself and Mbappe would still be at PSG next year, Pochettino said: "One hundred per cent, in both cases."

In answer to a follow-up question about whether he had held talks with the club's hierarchy, the Argentine coach clarified: "There haven't been any concrete talks, beyond what is normal in terms of our plans with what we have been doing so far.

"We have a natural relationship, we communicate regarding different topics. Of course, they change depending on the circumstances at the time, but the relationship and communication are good.

"We keep working hard, not just bearing in mind the present, but also with the responsibility to think about the future, so that is what we are doing."

 

When asked to further explain his surety about Mbappe, Pochettino said: "That is how I feel today. That is what I can say to you today. I can't say anything else. That is how I feel right now.

"This is football, and we never know what might happen."

Despite clinching the title last week, recent games have seen other star players, notably Neymar and Lionel Messi, booed by the PSG fans, with neither really capturing their best form this season.

Brazilian Neymar has played just 25 games in all competitions having suffered with injury, scoring 11 goals and assisting seven more, while Messi has managed nine goals and 13 assists in 30 appearances in his first season since his sensational move from Barcelona.

Pochettino explained why it has been a tough season for Neymar, and detailed a conversation he had with Messi about fine margins dictating opinion.

"Neymar's talent is indisputable," Pochettino said. "He arrived here in a big transfer, because he is one of the best players in the world. This season he had a big injury, and it was a season preceded by the Copa America. It was therefore difficult to have the necessary regularity. He had ups and downs, like the whole team.

"I spoke about this with Lionel Messi. There was a period of progression, then there was the [Champions League] elimination against Real Madrid. The season would have been very different if we had gone through. The line between failure and success is sometimes very small.

"It can also give strength to write a different story in the future."

Riyad Mahrez could reportedly be sold by Manchester City in the upcoming transfer window, and some of the world's biggest clubs are said to be targeting the Algerian.

Mahrez, 31, has won the Premier League on three occasions, including once with Leicester City, and will make it four this season if Pep Guardiola's team can hold on.

After 38 Premier League goals for Mahrez over four campaigns with City, he could be facing a new challenge next season.


TOP STORY – MAHREZ MOVE TO MAKE WAY FOR HAALAND

Fichajes.net is reporting that Mahrez is one of the players City could part ways with to help fund the purchase of Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland.

The report names Barcelona, Paris Saint-Germain and Juventus as the three most likely landing spots.

Mahrez has scored 23 goals and dished out eight assists in 42 appearances across all club competitions this season.


ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are said to be closing in on a deal to sign Chelsea centre-back Antonio Rudiger on a free transfer. The Guardian is reporting his contract will be worth at least £200,000 per week.

– The Telegraph is reporting Manchester City are interested in making a move for West Ham's Declan Rice.

– According to Marca, Real Madrid remain favourites to land Kylian Mbappe when he is expected to leave Paris Saint-Germain in the next transfer window, but he will not make an official announcement until after the last game of his Ligue 1 season on May 21.

– Sky Sports News is reporting that Lionel Messi will remain at Paris Saint-Germain for at least one more season but that the French giants could consider letting Neymar move on.

– Barcelona would be willing to sell Frenkie de Jong for £58million, with Manchester United reportedly interested in bringing in the Dutch midfielder, according to El Chiringuito.

Paris Saint-Germain secured a record-equalling 10th Ligue 1 title with a 1-1 draw at home to Lens on Saturday, but that may not be enough to keep Mauricio Pochettino in a job.

The Argentine may not be heading for Old Trafford after Manchester United confirmed the appointment of Erik ten Hag last week, but he could still be going out the exit door after a demoralising campaign.

With PSG crashing out of the Champions League in calamitous fashion to Real Madrid in March, reports have suggested Pochettino could be replaced by the boss of his former club Tottenham, Antonio Conte.

With Conte overseeing an improvement in Spurs' fortunes since taking the job and possessing experience of managing big egos at former clubs Juventus, Chelsea, and Inter, could the Italian be the man to get the best out of the star-studded Parisians?

Here, Stats Perform uses Opta-powered data to compare the managerial duo.

Pochettino in Paris: Domestic dominance remains, but so does European fragility 

Many saw the decision to appoint Pochettino as prudent after he made 70 appearances in a two-year playing spell in Paris, before his relationship with compatriot Lionel Messi aided the legendary forward's arrival.

It has not, however, been plain sailing for the former Tottenham boss. PSG beat Monaco to lift the Coupe de France last May but missed out on the league title to surprise package Lille last season.

Lille led PSG by a point when Pochettino arrived and pipped the Parisians to the title by that margin as Pochettino became just the second PSG boss (after Unai Emery) to fail to win the Ligue 1 title since 2012.

While PSG rebounded to win the league in dominant fashion this term, moving level with Saint-Etienne as the most successful club in Ligue 1 history, their 34 matches required to secure the title is the most they have needed since 2014-15, when they wrapped up top spot on matchday 37.

The team's reliance on Kylian Mbappe, who has contributed to 36 of the team's 76 league goals this term (22 goals, 14 assists), could also prove a huge issue next term with the 22-year-old heavily linked with a move to Madrid at the end of his contract in June.

Although the star trio of Messi, Neymar, and Mbappe have recorded 37 goals and 32 assists in the league between them this term, they could not inspire Champions League success.

If Pochettino is to depart, March's humiliating 3-2 aggregate loss to a Karim Benzema-inspired Madrid will be remembered as the decisive moment of his time in Paris.

Having beaten the Spanish giants 1-0 at home, PSG have now been eliminated in four of their nine Champions League knockout ties when winning the first leg.

Fixing their fragility on the big occasions will be their foremost aim ahead of next season, which is why the appointment of a manager with one of Europe's most impressive track records has been speculated.

The case for Conte: Title wins and handling big names

Having won five league titles (four in Serie A, one in the Premier League), Conte is always mentioned when a vacancy at an elite European club comes around.

With current club Tottenham battling to ensure Champions League qualification for next season, however, could Conte be tempted to follow in Pochettino's footsteps if he departs PSG?

Conte has overseen a dramatic improvement since taking the Spurs job; before falling to a 1-0 defeat to Brighton and Hove Albion and drawing 0-0 with Brentford, Spurs had plundered 25 goals in their previous seven league games, having scored just nine in 10 league matches under predecessor Nuno Espirito Santo earlier this season.

Star duo Harry Kane and Son Heung-min have also been rejuvenated by Conte's arrival, breaking Frank Lampard and Didier Drogba's record of 36 direct Premier League goal combinations in February.

Conte's previous role at Italian giants Inter, however, might prove more relevant to what he could expect at PSG: the Italian excelled under huge expectations to deliver their first Scudetto in over a decade last season, ending a nine-year period of Juventus dominance he began by leading the Bianconeri to an unbeaten season in 2011-12.

Like Kane and Son, Romelu Lukaku – who recorded 24 goals and 11 assists in Serie A last season – profited from a direct style that saw Inter net a remarkable 89 league goals in their title-winning campaign, and has struggled to replicate that form since following Conte out of San Siro.

As well as his title wins, Conte's work with Lukaku, Kane, Son, and other big names certainly suggests he could have what it takes to manage the sizeable egos of PSG's attacking stars if he makes the move.

However, with Conte failing to progress beyond the Champions League last-eight in his career, the Italian would need to improve his European record in order to satisfy the ambitions of continental glory.

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