A move to bring Cristiano Ronaldo to Paris Saint-Germain would be "impossible", according to club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

Ronaldo and Manchester United parted ways after an explosive interview in which the Portugal star said he felt "betrayed" by senior figures at the club, while claiming to have "no respect" for manager Erik ten Hag.

The five-time Ballon d'Or winner's exit has led to much discussion over his next club, with Ligue 1 giants PSG one of the teams rumoured to be interested in making a move for the 37-year-old.

But PSG president Al-Khelaifi ruled out any potential deal, although he did speak highly of the former Real Madrid man.

"He's a legend, he's a star," Al-Khelaifi told Sky Sports News. "The footballer, I admire and love him as a player and professional. A fantastic player.

"He's 37 now – he's doing amazing. But every single club wants to sign him too. The problem today for us is we have the position [filled] – his position – so it's not easy to replace the position that we have with him.

"It would be impossible, honestly, for us."

One of those players PSG have in Ronaldo's position is Kylian Mbappe, who is currently leading the goalscoring charts at the World Cup in Qatar with France.

Mbappe was heavily linked with a move from PSG to Real Madrid earlier this year, but the 23-year-old instead signed a bumper new contract to stay in the French capital.

Al-Khelaifi believes it was vital to keep Mbappe at PSG, saying: "For me he's a very top, top player and a top human being, professional.

"For me it was really key he stayed and he didn't leave for free. That's another important point.

"As I always said, I always trusted him, trusted his family because we created something of a special relation with the player and them and that's why… he's Parisian, he's French and he's proud always to be in France."

France are struggling to see how Kyle Walker will stop Kylian Mbappe running rampant in Saturday's World Cup showdown with England.

The tussle down the French left has been characterised as the key battleground ahead of the quarter-final at Al Bayt Stadium.

Mbappe's electric pace, sublime dribbling skills and eye for goal have made him the standout player at the finals so far, and the leading scorer with five goals.

Manchester City right-back Walker is the oldest player in the England squad, but the 32-year-old is also said to be the quickest. As such, it falls kindly for manager Gareth Southgate that Walker should naturally be the man to keep an eye on Mbappe.

Walker said on Wednesday that stopping Mbappe will be "easier said than done", but he added: "I'm not going to roll out a red carpet for him and tell him to score."

France defender Youssouf Fofana will reluctantly applaud Walker if he keeps Mbappe quiet.

He pointed to French Ligue 1 clubs having previously all set out with game plans to handle the Paris Saint-Germain frontman, only to have those blown out of the water by the 23-year-old's sheer brilliance.

"It's all to his credit if he knows how to stop Kylian, but 19 other teams in Ligue 1 are still waiting for the solution," Fofana said at a France press conference on Thursday.

"The truth is out there, we'll see what happens. We have confidence in Kylian."

Fofana described England and France as being "quite close in terms of culture" and said Southgate's side possessed "incredible" individuals.

"We've seen it since the Euros, they're constantly progressing. It will be a great match," said the 23-year-old Monaco player.

As a teenager, with his career in limbo after leaving the French national football academy at Clairefontaine, Fofana delivered pizzas for a living while trying to forage for a way forward in his preferred career.

He needed to earn a crust, but doors soon began to open as Strasbourg gave him an opportunity, before Monaco came calling almost three years ago.

"When you leave Clairefontaine, there are doubts," Fofana said of that time in his life. "When there are doubts you have to move forward. You need money, I had to make some. It was the best way to do that while trying to follow my dreams."

Declan Rice is fit to play for England against France in their World Cup quarter-final, Three Lions team-mate Kalvin Phillips confirmed.

Rice missed England's training session on Wednesday because of illness, sparking fears over his ability to play against the reigning world champions on Saturday.

But Phillips, who formed a vital partnership with Rice in England's route to the Euro 2020 final, allayed any worries over the West Ham midfielder's availability.

"I believe Dec [Rice] is fit," Phillips told reporters at his pre-match news conference. "He's back in training and he's fine."

After playing such a vital role at the European Champions last year, Phillips has played just 40 minutes off the bench in Qatar, in part due to only recently returning from shoulder surgery.

However, Phillips insists he is ready to fill in if Rice does experience any problems against France, saying: "If something goes wrong then I'll be there and I'll do my best to be fit for 90 minutes.

"I want to play as many minutes as possible. Regardless of whether Dec is playing or I am, we'll do our best."

Another reason for Phillips' limited time on the pitch has been the emergence of 19-year-old Jude Bellingham, who has been widely praised for his excellent tournament displays at such a young age.

Asked whether he is enjoying the tournament less because of his reduced minutes, the Manchester City man insisted he was still happy, and also praised those preferred to him.

"I am still enjoying it. I am still having loads of fun," Phillips explained. "I'm not playing as much, which can be frustrating, but if you look at the players playing ahead of me and how well they are doing, I can't really argue.

"I just need to keep working hard and getting fitter and fitter and then make an impact when I come on and be solid when I come on."

Much of the talk in the build-up to England's quarter-final clash has centred on how manager Gareth Southgate will combat the threat of tournament top goalscorer Kylian Mbappe.

Phillips' City team-mate Kyle Walker is the man many feel will be chosen to deal with Mbappe, though the defender only recently returned from injury.

While Phillips lauded Mbappe's abilities, he is confident Walker will be up to the task of defending against him, adding: "We know he [Mbappe] is an amazing player and he has been one of the top players for the last few years.

"But if there was anyone I would like to put up against Mbappe, it would be Kyle Walker because he is an unbelievable defender and probably the only one that is quicker than him as well."

Harry Kane and Kylian Mbappe would be "completely compatible" as a strike partnership and Mauricio Pochettino would love to see it happen, he revealed ahead of England's World Cup clash with France.

Pochettino has coached both players, as boss of Tottenham and Paris Saint-Germain, and would love to work with Kane again one day, should the England captain seek to leave Spurs.

Argentinian Pochettino will be a neutral when England and France go head-to-head at Al Bayt Stadium on Saturday, but his experience of coaching the two chief goal threats on each side means he has a vested interest.

He says both Kane and Mbappe "genuinely love the game", unlike some players he has come across.

"They love to talk about football, they love to talk about tactics, they have brains that really understand football. And this is why I think it would be so good to see them playing together. They would be completely compatible," Pochettino said.

He predicted an "amazing" connection, but stressed: "Maybe it will never happen; when I was at PSG, I knew Tottenham would never want to sell Harry."

Pochettino is not working as a coach in this instant, but he is regularly linked with top jobs when vacancies arise, and he said that "maybe one day in the future, if I am at a different club, and if Harry has decided to leave Tottenham, maybe I would try to bring Harry with me".

He credits Kane as having "saved my career" with a free-kick winner for Tottenham at Aston Villa in November 2014, and recalled nurturing the talent of "an old-fashioned number nine" to become the multi-faceted striker the England skipper is now.

Pochettino told The Athletic he and his coaching staff helped Kane "to run, helped him to press, and to move into different areas, using different spaces on the pitch.

"So he was a player who could play in the box or outside it, because his capacity to understand the game is amazing. He senses what the team needs, and when it’s under pressure he can drop into midfield, to help the team to progress the ball up the pitch or to provide assists.

"And if Harry drops into those positions in the World Cup quarter-final on Saturday, it will be difficult for France to stop."

 

Pochettino says that "constantly" dipping into midfield duties can also be a problem for Kane, given it blunts his frontline threat, and urged him to prioritise his work inside the penalty area.

Mbappe is the World Cup's leading scorer with five goals at Qatar 2022, and the 23-year-old has been in revelatory form, bringing his peak PSG game to the international stage.

Although Mbappe might rub some up the wrong way with his showmanship and imperious personality, Pochettino says it is "impossible not to" have a big ego when a footballer is given such acclaim, and he stressed the former Monaco player is "arrogant in the right, in the best way"

Offering high praise, Pochettino likened Mbappe to the great Brazilian Ronaldo, top scorer at the 2002 World Cup for the triumphant Selecao.

"It's in that capacity to accelerate, the technique, to dribble past opponents and score," Pochettino said.

 

Kylian Mbappe is France's "main weapon" but Adrien Rabiot insists Les Bleus are not dependent on the forward in their quest to defend their World Cup crown.

The Paris Saint-Germain star leads the goalscoring charts at Qatar 2022 with five to date, and bagged a brace as Didier Deschamps' side progressed to the quarter-finals with a 3-1 win over Poland.

That has set up France's toughest test of the tournament on paper in the shape of Euro 2020 finalists England, where the attacker will be looking to make a difference once again.

Despite having needed Mbappe to fire them forward on several occasions so far, Rabiot says he is not the only member of their squad who can help win games.

"There is no dependency," Rabiot stated. "He is our main weapon, but we also have other players who can make a difference in other ways.

"We count on him as on all the players in the group. Everyone needs to be good health to face England.

Ibrahima Konate is relishing the chance to see Kylian Mbappe and Kyle Walker's battle up close and personal when France face England in the World Cup quarter-finals.

Les Bleus are into the last eight after victory over Poland, with Didier Deschamps' side now set to take on Gareth Southgate's Three Lions, one of the few unbeaten sides left at Qatar 2022.

Forward Mbappe, who sits atop the Golden Boot standings with five goals to his name, has been the form player at the tournament so far.

But he will face arguably his toughest test yet in England right-back Walker, with Konate looking forward to seeing the pair square off.

"Walker and Mbappe are two very great players," he said. "Walker is one of the best right-backs in the world, I cannot wait to see this battle.

"[But] it's complicated [to defend against Mbappe]. Kylian is impressive. Each year, he evolves and becomes even better.

"I don't know where he will stop. We are lucky to have him in our team and not against us."

Mbappe missed team training on Tuesday, instead completing routines inside away from the rest of the squad, sparking fears of a potential injury knock.

But Konate shut down such talk, suggesting instead it was a preordained decision as part of his post-match recovery process.

"It was a little recovery session, the day before we had a day off," he added. "I think he decided to stay indoors with the coach.

"There is nothing to worry about. We are counting on him as on all the players in the group. Everyone must be in good health to face England."

Kyle Walker will not "roll out a red carpet" for Kylian Mbappe as England prepare to face France in the World Cup quarter-finals on Saturday.

Mbappe is the tournament's top scorer so far with five goals in four matches, including a double in the reigning champions' 3-1 victory over Poland in the round of 16.

That win set up a clash in the final eight with England, giving Three Lions' manager Gareth Southgate a headache on how to best counter the threat of Mbappe.

Walker is the player many believe will be chosen to deal with the power and pace of Mbappe, with the possibility that Southgate will opt to play with a back five.

While Walker lauded Mbappe's talents, the Manchester City defender feels he is well-equipped to cope with the Paris Saint-Germain star.

"Of course I understand the focus and I understand what I need to do to stop him," Walker told reporters. "It's easier said than done but I don't underestimate myself.

"I've come up against some of the best players in the world but I have to treat it just as another game. You have to give him respect but not too much.

"I'm not going to roll out a red carpet for him and tell him to score. It's a World Cup, it's do or die.

"I'm not going home so I'm not going to let him ruin that for my family."

Other France forwards have impressed alongside Mbappe, such as Ousmane Dembele and Olivier Giroud, the latter of whom became Les Bleus' all-time record goalscorer with his strike against Poland, with Walker stressing the focus is not just on the PSG forward.

Walker says it is important England pay due attention to all of France's attackers, and not just Mbappe, adding: "It will be a tough game but a team cannot just be about one person.

"When we've [City] played Paris Saint-Germain in the Champions League, we're not just thinking of Mbappe and it's the same on Saturday. 

"He's a tool in their armoury - and a very good one - but you can't underestimate their other players.

"We know he's a great player and that's why he's the focus of all questions. But let's not forget Olivier Giroud who has scored lots of goals, Ousmane Dembele and Antoine Griezmann.

"For me all the questions shouldn't be about him [Mbappe]. I appreciate he's a great footballer, but there are others too."

At 32-years-old, Walker is one of the older members of England's squad, with young stars such as Bukayo Saka and Jude Bellingham playing a starring role in England's campaign so far.

Walker commended the Three Lions' new generation, reserving particular praise for Bellingham, who has lit up the tournament with his sparkling midfield displays at just 19-years-old.

"It is great for the English game," Walker declared. "As you mentioned, Jude [Bellingham] being one who has the courage to play for England that others didn't have when they were younger.

"They have no fear and they go in and express themselves. I feel the standard of players has gone up another level in this tournament."

Kylian Mbappe was absent from France's training session four days before the holders face England in a World Cup quarter-final.

The leading scorer in the tournament, with five goals from four appearances, was in the recovery room on Tuesday when his team-mates trained at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium.

Mbappe had been troubled by an ankle injury before the tournament started in Qatar.

The Paris-Saint Germain man has shown no signs of being hampered, lighting up the tournament and putting himself in pole position to claim the Golden Boot.

He scored two superb goals in a 3-1 round-of-16 win over Poland on Sunday, having also helped himself to a decisive double in a victory over Denmark and found the back of the net in an opening win over Australia.

Mbappe has also provided two assists for the defending champions.

Al Bayt Stadium will be the venue for a huge last-eight showdown between Les Bleus and Gareth Southgate's side, who beat Senegal 3-0 to move into the quarter-finals.

Oliver Giroud hopes his "natural and spontaneous" relationship with Kylian Mbappe will transmit "enthusiasm" throughout the France side ahead of their World Cup quarter-final showdown with England.

Mbappe is the leading scorer at this year's finals with five goals, including a brace in Les Bleus' last-16 victory over Poland, while he has also assisted two of Giroud's three strikes in Qatar.

That included a precise throughball for the Milan forward to net his record-breaking 52nd international goal against the Poles, moving him ahead of Thierry Henry on France's all-time scoring list.

"My relationship with Mbappe is very good and, for me, it always has been," the 36-year-old said.

"It's natural and spontaneous. High-level sport brings magical moments to life and it is this enthusiasm that we want to convey in this team."

 

Reigning champions France are now just three victories away from becoming the third nation to successfully defend their World Cup crown, and first since Brazil in 1962.

Giroud says Didier Deschamps' side believe they can achieve the feat, but he is wary of the challenge to be posed by the Three Lions, who have scored 12 goals in their four matches so far.

"We are confident, but there are still three games to win," he added. "We know it would be huge for history to do it, but we're just focused on the game against England.

"The profiles of the players on the wide areas are those who are fast, tackle and take up spaces. They are also dangerous on set-pieces, with size.

"There are amazing players in all areas of the game. We will have to be vigilant in defence, but so will they."

England's focus cannot be on Kylian Mbappe alone when they face France in the World Cup quarter-finals, says Luke Shaw.

Gareth Southgate's side will face Les Bleus on Saturday after both reached the last-eight in comfortable fashion, with the Three Lions running out 3-0 victors over Senegal.

Didier Deschamps' defending champions meanwhile overcame Poland 3-1, with Mbappe celebrating a double and Olivier Giroud breaking the nation's all-time goalscorer record.

Shaw warned the quality of talent across the board is something England must address rather than keep their focus firmly on stopping Paris Saint-Germain superstar Mbappe, who has five goals at Qatar 2022 already to his name.

"Obviously after his performance [against Poland], there's going to be even more chat about him," he said. "But we know he's a world-class player.

"I think it would be very naive of us to focus purely on him. They're reigning world champions for a reason and we need to focus on them as a whole team.

"They have brilliant players over the whole pitch, so we're not going to fully focus on him, but it's an amazing tie to be involved in and that's why we're here."

England posted their third clean sheet of the tournament in four matches against Senegal, as Jordan Henderson, Harry Kane and Bukayo Saka fired the Three Lions to victory.

Shaw feels it marked another forward step for the team but stressed they will need to be fully switched on to deal with their toughest opponent yet.

"I think we're really happy with the victory, another clean sheet obviously," he added. "We were more clinical in front of goal. We defended well as well, not too many chances for them.

"In the first half, a couple of sloppy passes put [us] under pressure, but apart from that, overall I think it's a solid performance. It needs to give us confidence and the belief.

"We have to be at 100 per cent to win this game, and we know that. I think we need to step up another level because France are a very good team."

Jude Bellingham has been the best young player at the World Cup so far and could make the difference in England's bid to capture the trophy, according to Alan Shearer.

The Borussia Dortmund star scored England's first goal of the tournament in a 6-2 thrashing of Iran in the group stage, and produced another masterful midfield display in Sunday's last-16 win over Senegal.

Bellingham leads his team-mates for dribbles completed (six) and possessions won (23) in Qatar, while only Luke Shaw (72) has bettered his tally of 48 passes ending in the final third.  

The 19-year-old's all-round ability has seen him touted as a contender to be named the young player of the tournament, and Shearer believes his presence has improved England considerably. 

"England did very well at their past couple of tournaments, but I think there is a difference this time," the former striker wrote in a column for BBC Sport.

"Four years ago, we were not the most talented side at the World Cup, but we were well-organised, had fantastic team spirit and great character, and that took us to the semi-finals.

"This time we are definitely a better team, ability-wise, than we were at Russia 2018 or last year's European Championship where we lost in the final.

"We still have a plan, and that same togetherness, but we have more experience, more depth – and we have got a very exciting young talent in Jude Bellingham too.

"Bellingham has probably been the young player of this World Cup so far. His performance against Senegal was unbelievably good, and he brings something different to this England team that we didn't have four years ago.

"With him driving forward from midfield, we look more dangerous – we are far more fluid now when we build attacks, wherever they start."

England will face holders France for a place in the last four on Saturday, when Gareth Southgate's side must find a way to contain Kylian Mbappe – the tournament's top scorer with five goals. 

However, Shearer believes keeping the Paris Saint-Germain star quiet is no guarantee of success against Les Bleus.

"You need to do more than keep [Harry] Kane quiet to keep England out, and it is the same with France and Mbappe," he added.

"Antoine Griezmann and Adrien Rabiot are having brilliant tournaments, Aurelien Tchouameni has really impressed me and, while Ousmane Dembele can blow hot and cold, if he is on form that night then he is a handful.

"Then you have Olivier Giroud, of course, who is now France's record men's goalscorer. It could be a shoot-out between our front five and theirs – and it is going to be great to watch."

James Maddison backed Kyle Walker to "do a job" on Kylian Mbappe in the World Cup quarter-final but acknowledged England will have to deal with multiple France threats on Saturday.

The in-form Mbappe scored twice in Sunday's 3-1 round-of-16 win over Poland, just hours before England cruised past Senegal 3-0 to reach the last eight in their third straight major tournament.

A pair of excellent right-footed strikes took the France forward to five for the tournament in Qatar, handing him the outright lead in the Golden Boot race as Les Bleus look to regain their world crown.

Former England defender Gary Neville labelled Walker as "the best right-back in the world" to deal with the Paris Saint-Germain star at the Al Bayt Stadium and Maddison echoed the pundit's sentiment.

"He's obviously a fantastic player, one of the best in the world," the Leicester City midfielder told talkSPORT. "I'm sure we'll prepare right to try and stop him.

"Kyle Walker started right-back in the game against Senegal and he's one of the best full-backs in the world. I think if anyone can do a job, it's him.

"But France have a lot of threats. It's not just Kylian Mbappe. They're a brilliant team and that's why they are reigning champions.

"We've got a lot to be wary of but the tactical work that we do, and the staff here, the work that goes in on the background that people don't see, will leave us in good stead and hopefully we can progress."

 

While the likes of Bukayo Saka, Marcus Rashford, Phil Foden and Jude Bellingham have shone for Gareth Southgate in Qatar, Maddison is yet to appear for England.

The 26-year-old, who has just one cap to his name, missed the first two games due to a knee injury before Southgate opted for other options against Wales and Senegal.

Maddison hopes he will soon get the chance to impress as England aim for back-to-back World Cup semi-finals, though remains delighted to have experienced travelling to a major tournament with his country.

"Involvement isn't always necessarily minutes on the pitch and I think that is probably something I've learnt in the last few weeks of being out here," he added.

"Of course, every player wants to play and I'm no different. I'm desperate to get out there and show what I can do. But it's one of them – my first major tournament at senior level and it's brilliant to be a part of.

"It's such a learning curve and you gain so much experience without even realising, just on a day-to-day basis of how it works, what it takes to be successful – and we have been successful so far.

"I'm feeling good, the injury's gone. I'm feeling 100 per cent. I've been training for a while now, I've been available for the last couple of games.

"It's just about staying patient, staying ready, which I am. Working hard and trying to be an option for the manager if needed."

Bukayo Saka rejected comparisons between his form at the 2022 World Cup and Kylian Mbappe's breakout campaign four years ago ahead of England's meeting with France.

Saka scored his third World Cup goal as England overcame a nervous start to beat Senegal 3-0 in Sunday's last-16 tie, setting up a heavyweight quarter-final clash with Les Bleus.

Having started three of England's four games in Qatar from the right, Saka may be expected to help contain Mbappe next time out, which promises to be a difficult task after the Paris Saint-Germain star moved onto five goals for the tournament in his side's 3-1 win over Poland.

Mbappe joined Pele as just the second teenager to score in a World Cup final in 2018, and Saka does not wish to compare his own debut campaign with that of the Frenchman. 

Asked whether he could follow in Mbappe's footsteps by being named young player of the tournament, Saka said: "Thank you for the compliment, but there's only one Kylian Mbappe.

"At the same time, there's only one of me. I just want to be myself and help my team in the best way I can.

"There are many young players in this tournament, I can name so many.

"Even in our team, alongside me there's another young player doing unbelievably well in Jude Bellingham. I'm just happy that we're all here and doing well.

"The priority is to try to win the tournament, rather than to be the player of the tournament or young player of the tournament."

Asked about Bellingham's displays in the England midfield, Saka added: "He's a special player. I don't really know the words to describe him.

"I just hope he can continue to keep progressing because, for sure, he has a massive, massive future."

Saka's previous major tournament campaign ended with him missing the decisive penalty in England's Euro 2020 final defeat to Italy, but the Arsenal winger believes his World Cup displays have gone some way to helping him banish that memory.

"Personally, I feel like I've tried to move on from that moment," Saka said. "I know I can never really forget about it, it's going to be history, but at the same time, coming out here and scoring those three goals has lifted me a lot.

"And of course, the love from the fans that I keep receiving lifts me a lot as well. It gives me a lot of confidence and I love to see it."

With the prospect of taking part in another penalty shoot-out if the France match is a tight one, Saka insisted he would have no qualms about stepping up once again.

"I have matured and progressed a lot since that moment - I wouldn't have stepped up the number of times I have for Arsenal if I was not confident," he said.

"If the moment comes and I am selected to take it, I will be more than happy to."

Kyle Walker can counter Kylian Mbappe when England face France in the World Cup quarter-finals as the Manchester City star is "the best right-back in the world" to face the forward, according to Gary Neville.

The Three Lions set up a last-eight match with Les Bleus after seeing off Senegal with a 3-0 victory inspired by Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden.

Gareth Southgate's side will face one of the toughest tests in world football against Didier Deschamps' defending champions, particularly with Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe in fearsome form.

But Neville feels England are well-equipped to keep him quiet, pointing to Walker as the key man who can thwart the threat posed by the 23-year-old.

"I think we have the best right-back in the world to be able to deal with Kylian Mbappe," the former England and Manchester United full-back told Sky Sports. "In terms of physicality, pace and experience, I can't think of anyone better to match Mbappe than Kyle Walker.

"That's not to say he'll keep him quiet for 90 minutes as Mbappe is sensational and special. But we have a chance as Walker can match him in certain areas."

Qatar 2022 marks the third successive tournament at which England have made the quarter-finals, having been beaten semi-finalists at Russia 2018 before losing the Euro 2020 final on penalties. 

Neville was part of the England side that reached the Euro 1996 semis, while he was also in the squad that suffered quarter-final shoot-out losses to Portugal at Euro 2004 and the 2006 World Cup.

Nevertheless, he is all too aware of the rarity of the occasion for Southgate's squad, adding: "It's a game of a lifetime on Saturday.

"When I think back to my own career, these games are once-or-twice-in-a-lifetime opportunities. They don't come around in your life very often."

In facing the reigning holders, Neville believes the pressure will be off, with defeat not likely to be considered an upset in the way a loss to Senegal would have been.

"I don't think the lads will be able to wait for it," he added. "This is a game we can lose we know that, they are world champions and a fantastic team.

"I always think you can go and enjoy games like this as there is less pressure than playing against Senegal. As if you get knocked out there, all hell breaks loose."

Breel Embolo hailed Cristiano Ronaldo as an inspiration and Kylian Mbappe as a role model ahead of Switzerland's World Cup last-16 tie against Portugal.

Embolo has impressed for the Swiss in Qatar, scoring twice in the group stage.

That is one more goal than Ronaldo has managed, with the Portugal captain netting only in their opening win over Ghana, with the goal coming from the penalty spot.

It did, however, make Ronaldo the first man to score at five different World Cups, and Embolo is honoured to get the chance to go up against the 37-year-old on the biggest stage.

"I think Cristiano, not just for forwards, but for all athletes, is a great inspiration and is enriching for our time," he said in a press conference.

"You can only learn from someone like him. As a player and a person, it's an honour to be facing him."

France star Mbappe, meanwhile, has been in superb form, scoring five goals to lead the charge for the Golden Boot, with his excellent double against Poland on Sunday sending Les Bleus into a quarter-final against England.

Mbappe already has nine World Cup goals to his name, as many as Lionel Messi and more than Ronaldo (eight). Aged 23 years and 349 days, he is the youngest player to score five knockout-stage goals at the competition since Brazil great Pele in 1958.

Embolo is almost two years older than Mbappe, but the Monaco forward still sees him as a player to look up to.

"He's incredible. He's 23 years old, he's an incredible player, I know him from Ligue 1 and he is a role model even for me," Embolo said of Mbappe.

"What he's doing at the moment is really impressive, so I want to congratulate him, he is extraordinary.

"Nine goals in World Cups at 23 – it says everything about him. I really wish him all the best, and for him to score nine more World Cup goals."

After a full-blooded victory over Serbia to make the last 16, Switzerland are looking to win three games in a single World Cup tournament for the first time in their history.

Asked if this was the most promising Swiss squad he had been a part of at a major tournament, Embolo replied: "It's like all generations, there is a change. I joined this group six, seven years ago, so it's difficult to say this is the best generation.

"There have been very great players and these players showed us how to integrate, like Yann Sommer or Granit Xhaka. It's important to keep these values in the team and transmit to the next generation.

"If I learned something it's that if we had challenging times in our lives or at our clubs but we were always together."

This will be the third meeting between Portugal and Switzerland in 2022, having faced each other twice in the Nations League in June.

Portugal won 4-0 in a match played in Lisbon, before Switzerland won 1-0 in Geneva a week later.

"We are ready, the squad is complete. It's a big opportunity for us to make history for Switzerland, we have seen how euphoric the Swiss people are about us being at this stage," said coach Murat Yakin.

"Statistics and the past don't matter, we will focus on this game. We are familiar with this opponent and we've proven we can beat them. Everything else is history."

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