Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe said Neymar is the centre of the club's project as he hailed the Brazilian star.

Neymar joined PSG from Barcelona in a world-record € 222million deal in 2017, but he has been repeatedly linked with a return to his former club or LaLiga champions Real Madrid.

The PSG forward pledged to remain in Paris alongside Mbappe prior to Sunday's shock 3-2 Ligue 1 defeat to Lorient.

Mbappe – who is also out of contract in 2022 – has similarly been tipped to leave PSG for Madrid amid doubts over his future but talked up his relationship with superstar team-mate Neymar.

"I've always thought that great players were made to play together - and that's clear between us two," Mbappe told France Football.

"Our roles were established when I arrived in Paris: Neymar is the centre of the project and I'm here to help him.

"[This is] because when I arrived at PSG, I was only an emerging star and I had to prove myself on the pitch."

Mbappe has scored 106 goals and set up a further 54 in 148 appearances for PSG.

Since his debut for the club on September 8, 2017, the only players in the top five European leagues to have registered more goal involvements are Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (186) and Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi (206).

Neymar, meanwhile, became the first PSG player since Zlatan Ibrahimovic in 2015 to convert two penalties in the same game as the French giants fell to Lorient on Sunday.

It was only the second time in Neymar's career he has converted more than one penalty in the same game in the top five European leagues, having achieved the feat with Barca in October 2015.

"Neymar knows how to do everything," Mbappe added. "He's the best in the world.

"When he arrived in Paris, we realised everything he could do. He's not a player simply for putting on a show and dancing when you're winning 5-0. He also knows how to do spectacular things at 0-0.

"I don't know if everyone is aware, but Neymar understands everything. He has an instinct that makes him know how to do everything straight away."

Mauricio Pochettino is convinced star forwards Neymar and Kylian Mbappe will still be at Paris Saint-Germain next season. 

Brazil superstar Neymar joined after being bought out of his Barcelona contract for €222million in 2017, making it the most expensive transfer in football history.

He has been repeatedly linked with a return to Spain, either at Barcelona or Real Madrid, but the prospects of such a move now appear remote as those clubs battle with the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Madrid have also been linked with a move for World Cup-winning attacker Mbappe, whose contract with PSG is due to expire at the end of next season.

Neymar's deal runs out at the same time but Pochettino, who took over from Thomas Tuchel last month, believes PSG are doing everything in their power to ensure the pair will be lining up for the French champions at the start of the 2021-22 campaign. 

"I believe that both will stay, and will stay a long time at PSG," he told RMC Sport. "And I have no doubts, I am very optimistic. The club is working to succeed in keeping them with us."

Asked if he knew this for certain or whether it was just a feeling, the former Tottenham boss responded: "It's a feeling, but it's also what I see. Neymar and Kylian are happy. They are having fun here and I also believe the club is working to keep them."

Mbappe has scored 106 goals and set up a further 54 in 148 appearances for PSG. Since his debut for the club on September 8, 2017, the only players in the top five European Leagues to have registered more goal involvements are Robert Lewandowski (186) and Lionel Messi (206).

Pochettino was full of praise for the France international, who he says has the football intelligence of someone much older than 22. 

"The other day I was talking to one of his team-mates about him and we were like: 'Who doesn't love Kylian? His smile, his energy' 

"He's young, a world champion at 19. With the talent he has, it's normal to be in love with Kylian. Everyone around him loves him. 

"He's only 22 but he's a very mature boy. He looks like a 35-year-old trained man already. He's very mature and very intelligent, very intuitive, and he understands that there are periods in football, ups and downs. 

"You have to be positive and you have to keep working to change those difficult times. But we have no doubts. Obviously we are talking with Kylian, but we are talking also to all other players."

PSG will hope to bounce back from Sunday's embarrassing 3-2 defeat to Lorient when they host Nimes on Wednesday.

Will he stay or will he go?

That is the question regarding Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, who is a reported target for Real Madrid and Liverpool.

If Mbappe opts to call time on his PSG stall, the French champions are still aiming high.

 

TOP STORY – LIFE WITHOUT MBAPPE IN PARIS?

Paris Saint-Germain are more determined than ever to give head coach Mauricio Pochettino a dream forward line amid doubts over Kylian Mabppe's future, according to Le10 Sport.

Mbappe – out of contract in 2022 – has been heavily linked with LaLiga champions Real Madrid and Premier League holders Liverpool.

If Mbappe does not remain in Paris, PSG will step up their pursuit of Barcelona superstar Lionel Messi.

 

ROUND-UP

Massimiliano Allegri has turned down Roma as he waits for Madrid, repots Todofichajes. Zinedine Zidane is under mounting pressure in the Spanish capital, while it is a similar situation for Roma boss Paulo Fonseca.

Manchester City are willing to sign a striker and Messi this offseason, according to The Athletic. With City yet to offer Sergio Aguero a new deal, Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Inter pair Lautaro Martinez and Romelu Lukaku are reported targets as Pep Guardiola's side also eye soon-to-be free agent Messi.

- Fabrizio Romano says Liverpool have agreed to sign Ben Davies from Preston North End ahead of Monday's deadline day. Jurgen Klopp has been eyeing a defender due to the club's injury crisis.

Dele Alli's proposed switch from Tottenham to PSG is not progressing, reports Romano. Struggling for game time at Spurs, Alli has been keen for a loan move to PSG, but Tottenham are unwilling to sanction a departure as Inter block Christian Eriksen's return.

Leicester City are the frontrunners to sign Arsenal's Ainsley Maitland-Niles, claims The Mirror.

Neymar has given the firmest indication yet that he will sign a new Paris Saint-Germain contract and urged Kylian Mbappe to make the same commitment.

Brazilian superstar Neymar joined after being bought out of his Barcelona contract for 222million Euros in 2017, making it the most expensive transfer in football history.

He has been repeatedly linked with a return to Spain, either at Barcelona or Real Madrid, but the prospects of such a move now appear remote as those clubs battle with the economic impact of the COVID-19 crisis.

Neymar and Mbappe, a player who has also been linked with both LaLiga giants, are contracted to PSG until the end of the 2021-22 season.

The Brazil forward has been unsettled in the past in Paris but now sees his future in the French capital, as he told TF1's Sept a Huit programme: "Yes, I'm very happy today.

"I feel happy. That's changed a lot. I couldn't say exactly why.

"I don't know if it's me or other things that have changed, but today I feel good. I've adapted, I feel more calm and I'm very happy here.

"I want to stay at PSG and I hope Kylian stays too. Of course, that's the wish of all the fans of Paris.

"We want PSG to be a great team. I want to continue what I've always done in Paris, play football and be happy."

His comments came in an interview conducted ahead of Sunday's shock 3-2 defeat to Lorient, in which Neymar scored two penalties.

That outcome gave new PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino a first defeat, and he will want his side to get back on track against Nimes on Wednesday before facing great rivals Marseille on Sunday.

If Neymar and Mbappe stay, and if rumours of a move for Lionel Messi come to fruition, then the Ligue 1 giants will have the most feared forward line in world football next season.

Since arriving at PSG in August 2017, Neymar has scored 53 goals and provided 29 assists in Ligue 1, while Mbappe has hit 78 league goals and registered 26 assists.

According to Neymar, his and Mbappe's connection could hardly be any closer.

"We have a relationship of brothers. Me, I'm the eldest. We really like playing together," said Neymar.

"I call him 'Golden Boy' because he's really golden. He has a huge heart. As a footballer, everyone knows what he's worth, but even off the pitch he's incredible."

Tottenham midfielder Tanguy Ndombele is open to joining Paris Saint-Germain in the future after revealing he has previously discussed a move with Kylian Mbappe.

France international Ndombele joined Tottenham from Lyon for a club-record fee reported to be around £63million in July 2019, ending long-running links with a switch to PSG.

He endured a difficult first campaign in north London but performances have improved in 2020-21, the 24-year-old featuring 26 times for Spurs in all competitions.

Ndombele remains under contract with Tottenham until 2025 and, while not actively seeking a transfer, he is not ruling out the prospect of returning to France with PSG, where ex-Spurs boss Mauricio Pochettino is now in charge.

"I'm a boy from the Paris region. Wearing the Paris jersey one day? Why not. But today I'm at Tottenham, and it's going well," he told Telefoot.

"I spoke with Kylian about possibly coming to PSG - two or three years in a row we discussed it. It didn't happen and today at Tottenham it's going well, but why not in the future?"

Ndombele was left out of Tottenham's squad on occasions last season, but he has been praised by boss Jose Mourinho for working hard off the field to become a regular.

He ranks particularly high for dribbles, completing an average of 3.02 per game in the Premier League this term.

That places the midfielder behind only Christian Pulisic (3.28), Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa (3.53), Allan Saint-Maximin (4.66) and Adama Traore (5.24) among those to have played at least 10 games.

With his brace against Wycombe Wanderers in the FA Cup last Monday, Ndombele became the first Spurs player to score at least twice in a match as a substitute since Roman Pavlyuchenko against Birmingham City in May 2011.

Reflecting on a mixed time at Tottenham, Ndombele said: "It was tough. I questioned myself a lot, but now the page is turned.

"It's true that at a certain moment I wanted to leave, I didn't feel in the right place. I told them I wanted out. They didn't want me to go."

Ndombele is hopeful his form could see him earn a first appearance for France since June 2019 with the rescheduled Euro 2020 tournament on the horizon.

"Of course I miss the France team," he said. "As a competitor we want to be one of the best.

"The European Championship remains a goal in the back of my mind. If I do well at club level, why not be called up?"

Kylian Mbappe will be at Paris Saint-Germain "for many years to come", according to head coach Mauricio Pochettino.

Real Madrid have been heavily linked with a move for World Cup-winning attacker Mbappe, whose contract with PSG is due to expire at the end of next season.

The 22-year-old has scored 106 goals and set up a further 54 in 147 appearances for PSG. Since his debut for the club on September 8, 2017, the only players in the top five European Leagues to have registered more goal involvements are Robert Lewandowski (184) and Lionel Messi (205).

Mbappe is in talks with the club about a renewal but has never hidden his admiration for Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane.

Pochettino is not worried, though, and believes Mbappe's future is at the Parc des Princes.

"Who doesn't love Kylian? He makes himself loved, with his smile, his face and his energy," Pochettino told Marca.

"At the age of 19 he was a world champion [with France], impressive things have happened to him, but he is special and different, with a lot of emotional intelligence.

"He has a lot of potential to develop but he is already [someone for the] present, not just the future. It's a challenge and a good thing to work with this kind of talent, it makes you a better coach. You give this type of player a solution and he gives you five back.

"There are a lot of rumours, but I think he will be at PSG for many years to come, and that's the club's hope. We are counting on him for as long as we are here.

"It's true that he has to make a decision [on his future], but he seems happy and very committed to this project."

PSG are open to the possibility of signing Messi from Barcelona, with the six-time Ballon d'Or winner able to leave Camp Nou on a free at the end of the season.

Asked if having Messi in his team would make him a better coach, Pochettino replied: "Whatever I say will be misunderstood, and I love what I have. Great footballers fit in any league and any team."

He was far more forthcoming when discussing Sergio Ramos, another high-profile player that will be a free agent at the conclusion of the campaign if he does not sign an extension with Madrid.

"After one month [at PSG] I am finding players with great leadership. The great [players] are able to play and coexist in different projects and cultures, but I am very respectful," said Pochettino.

"PSG's strategy has been the same for years, ever since we signed Ronaldinho: to look at market opportunities and bring in those who can improve what we have. We will see in the coming months.

"Here, Ramos would find a great club with the obsession to always win. PSG are one of the biggest [clubs] in the world."

Kylian Mbappe wants time to make a decision on his future as Real Madrid await a signal from the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Mbappe, 22, has been linked with a move to Madrid and his contract at PSG ends in 2022.

But will the forward end up at the Santiago Bernabeu?

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID WAIT FOR MBAPPE

Real Madrid are waiting for a signal from Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, according to Marca.

The report says Mbappe has asked for time to decide his future.

While Madrid have been most strongly linked with a move for Mbappe, Liverpool are also reportedly interested.

ROUND-UP

- Staying at Madrid and Fabrizio Romano says a new contract for midfielder Luka Modric is imminent. The Croatian midfielder's current deal expires at the end of the season.

- Dele Alli's future is set to be a constant talking point until at least the end of this transfer window. ESPN claims Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy is reluctant to let the midfielder leave for PSG. Romano reports Spurs are still looking for a replacement and were working on re-signing Christian Eriksen, but Inter wanted a loan fee and the midfielder's salary paid in full.

- Lyon star Houssem Aouar was linked to Arsenal last close season, but the midfielder could head elsewhere. Gianluca Di Marzio reports Juventus are looking at the 22-year-old as an option ahead of the 2021-22 campaign.

- Lucas Torreira seems set to move on from Atletico Madrid. Diario AS says Monaco are favourites to sign the midfielder, who is on loan at Atletico from Arsenal.

- Said Benrahma has made an impression at West Ham. Sky Sports reports West Ham have converted their loan for Benrahma from Brentford into a permanent move, paying £20million plus add-ons. The report says West Ham are also in talks to sign RB Leipzig forward Hwang Hee-chan.

Real Madrid would be better off signing Erling Haaland before Kylian Mbappe, according to Jorge Valdano. 

Since making his debut for Borussia Dortmund on January 18 of last year, Haaland has scored 37 goals in as many appearances in all competitions. The only players to have found the back of the net more in the same time frame are Cristiano Ronaldo (41) and Robert Lewandowski (51). 

The Norwegian's minutes-per-goal ratio of 77 is only bettered by Luis Muriel (57.7) among players from the top five European leagues to have scored at least 20 times in all competitions since his arrival at Dortmund. 

Over the same period, Mbappe has averaged a goal every 114 minutes for Paris Saint-Germain. However, he has only been involved in four fewer goals than Haaland (42 – 37 scored, five assisted) having scored 25 and set up another 13. 

Still, it is Mbappe who is reportedly the top target for Madrid, with his PSG contract set to expire at the end of next season. 

Former Madrid player, coach and sporting director Valdano would prioritise Haaland instead, however. 

"I would sign Haaland before Mbappe. He moves in small and large spaces, he scores with great regularity," Valdano told Onda Cero. 

"Understanding that Mbappe is a star, I am very impressed with Haaland. He scores goals of all types."

Madrid will need to improve their financial situation if they are to make a run at signing Mbappe and they are expected to allow Martin Odegaard to leave for Arsenal on loan. 

Across seven LaLiga appearances under Zinedine Zidane this season, Odegaard has supplied five key passes but not registered an assist or scored himself. 

He averages 27.5 passes ending in the final third per 90 minutes, second only to Isco for Madrid this season, but ranks seventh in the Madrid squad – of players who have featured in at least three LaLiga games – in terms of passes played into the box (4.3). 

While on loan at Real Sociedad last season, per 90 minutes the playmaker averaged 2.2 chances created, 23.2 passes ending in the final third – the lower number potentially due to La Real spending less time in the opposition's final third than Madrid – and 8.5 passes played into the box. 

Valdano believes Odegaard should have been more patient, suggesting that by biding his time he would have seen more action and grown in confidence. 

"It doesn't seem to me that Odegaard played badly when he had his chance, but he lacked a degree of daring and a greater sense of risk," he said. 

"He was too close to Casemiro and lacked prominence for the final pass, which is what is expected of Odegaard. 

"But that has to do with confidence, and I think time would have given him that. He lacked patience. A Madrid player should have a greater capacity for suffering, he must not give up too soon. 

"And even less so being so young and competing for the position of two stars like [Toni] Kroos and [Luka] Modric. They are not just any two players." 

For so long, Real Madrid have been linked with Kylian Mbappe but will the LaLiga champions bring the French forward to the Santiago Bernabeu?

Mbappe is reportedly open to the idea of making the move to the Spanish capital.

However, Liverpool could be ready to hijack any transfer.

 

TOP STORY – MBAPPE TO MADRID?

Kylian Mbappe dominates the front pages of Tuesday's Diario AS and Mundo Deportivo as Real Madrid try to sign the Paris Saint-Germain star.

Mbappe – out of contract in 2022 – has been tipped to swap Ligue 1 holders PSG for LaLiga champions Madrid at the end of the season.

While the economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic impacts Madrid, the Spanish giants are still working on a deal to prise the Frenchman to the Santiago Bernabeu, with Vinicius Junior a possible makeweight.

Mundo Deportivo says Premier League champions Liverpool are ready to pounce should Madrid fail to sign Mbappe.

 

ROUND-UP

- Onda Cero reports PSG have offered Madrid captain Sergio Ramos a three-year deal worth €15million a season. Ramos is set to become a free agent at the end of the season and the superstar has been linked with the likes of Manchester United and Juventus.

- Both Madrid and Barcelona are considering a shock move for Roma striker Edin Dzeko, according to Mundo Deportivo. Dzeko has had a falling out with under-fire head coach Paulo Fonseca, prompting links to Juve and Inter.

Thomas Tuchel is set to be named Frank Lampard's Chelsea replacement, with Fabrizio Romano claiming an announcement is "just a matter of time". Tuchel was sacked by PSG in December.

- The Athletic says Juve have identified Villarreal centre-back Pau Torres as a long-term replacement for veteran Giorgio Chiellini. Torres has also been linked with United, Manchester City, Barca, Madrid and Chelsea.

Tottenham have approached PSG's Angel Di Maria, who is out of contract at the end of the season, according to L'Equipe. Di Maria has history in England, having spent a difficult season playing for United in 2014-15.

- Sport 1 says Borussia Dortmund are interested in Sassuolo midfielder Manuel Locatelli. The likes of Juve and City have also emerged as suitors.

If Paris Saint-Germain have their way, Lionel Messi will be playing for the French giants in 2021-22.

But will he be playing alongside Kylian Mbappe in Paris?

Real Madrid target Mbappe could stay.

 

TOP STORY – MESSI IN, MBAPPE OUT?

Paris Saint-Germain want to sign Lionel Messi but Kylian Mbappe could remain with the Ligue 1 champions, according to reports.

Barcelona captain Messi is out of contract at season's end and has been heavily linked with PSG and Manchester City.

Le Parisien says there is no doubt who will replace Mbappe at PSG if he departs for LaLiga champions Real Madrid, though Canal + journalist Pierre Menes claims the French forward is interested in staying at Parc des Princes.

 

ROUND-UP

Madrid are considering a €45million (£39.9m) bid to re-sign Sergio Reguilon from Tottenham, according to Sport. Reguilon left the LaLiga champions at the start of the season, but Madrid have an option to buy him back within two years.

- Calciomercato says Juventus are eyeing Bayern Munich duo Corentin Tolisso and Joshua Zirkzee. Bayern are reportedly unwilling to let Zirkzee leave permanently.

- Sport 1 claims Borussia Dortmund are set to battle German rivals Bayern for Borussia Monchengladbach star Florian Neuhaus. The 23-year-old reportedly has a €40m release clause.

- RB Leipzig attacker Hwang Hee-chan could be loaned out amid links to West Ham, reports Kicker.

Inter and Lautaro Martinez remain in negotiations over a new contract, reports Calciomercato. Once tipped to join Barca, Martinez's Camp Nou dream appears to be fading due to the economic situation caused by the coronavirus pandemic. Inter are not prepared to meet Martinez's wage demands at the moment.

Could Barcelona be about to make a splash in the free-agent market?

Strapped for cash amid the coronavirus pandemic, Barca are believed to have set their sights on two stars.

David Alaba and Sergio Aguero are on the agenda at Camp Nou…

 

TOP STORY – BARCA EYEING OUT-OF-CONTRACT DUO

Barcelona are set to target Bayern Munich star David Alaba and Manchester City's Sergio Aguero , according to Mundo Deportivo.

Alaba and Aguero are both out of contract at the end of the season, prompting interest from embattled LaLiga giants Barca.

Bayern's Alaba has been tipped to join Real Madrid , while the likes of Manchester United , Liverpool and Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked.

Aguero, meanwhile, is no certainty to renew in Manchester, where Pep Guardiola is reportedly eyeing Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Inter's Romelu Lukaku .

 

ROUND-UP

-   Sport reports Raphael Varane wants to leave LaLiga champions Madrid . The French defender has previously been linked to United .

- Madrid cannot afford to sign the likes of PSG star Kylian Mbappe and Haaland due to their current financial situation amid the coronavirus pandemic, claims Marca.

- The Guardian says West Ham have lowered their asking price for Declan Rice , who has been linked to Chelsea and United .

- Martin Odegaard is close to swapping Madrid for Arsenal on loan, reports journalist Fabrizio Romano.

- Romano also says United have not opened talks with Lens to sign Argentine centre-back Facundo Medina . The Red Devils are eyeing a new centre-back amid links with in-demand RB Leipzig star Dayot Upamecano .

Napoli want to sign either Sporting CP full-back Nuno Mendes or Benfica's Nuno Tavares , reports Calciomercato.

- There are serious doubts over Edin Dzeko's future at Roma, with Calciomercato claiming Juventus and Inter are monitoring the situation.

Mauricio Pochettino knew it was only a matter of time before Kylian Mbappe returned to goalscoring form after netting a brace in Paris Saint-Germain's 4-0 rout of Montpellier.

Mbappe had been criticised following four games without a goal for PSG, and just two in his previous eight matches across all competitions.

But Mbappe responded to his critics with two goals and an assist as Ligue 1 champions PSG eased past 10-man Montpellier in Paris on Friday.

Mbappe is decisive every 58 minutes this season in Ligue 1 (14 goals and six assists) – the best ratio among players involved in more than one goal, per Opta. This is the first time he has been involved in three goals in the same league game (two goals and one assist) since February 2020 (against Dijon).

"I was happy before with his performance because his compromise, but also now that he has scored," PSG head coach Pochettino told reporters.

"We know that for a forward, to score goals or give assists it is fundamental, is part to generate this confidence that they need. So we are happy.

"We knew it was only a matter of time for Kylian to find himself again with the goal and the good performances."

After Montpellier goalkeeper Jonas Omlin was sent off in the 19th minute, Mbappe broke the deadlock 15 minutes later before teeing up star team-mate Neymar on the hour in the French capital.

PSG forward Mauro Icardi made it 3-0 a minute later, and Mbappe completed the scoring in the 63rd minute as the league leaders moved three points clear atop the table, with Lille due to play Rennes.

It was the first time in PSG's history that they scored three goals in the space of three minutes (three minutes and nine seconds exactly) in a Ligue 1 game.

Neymar and Mbappe have combined for 21 goals in Ligue 1 since 2017-18 – only the duos of Luis Suarez-Lionel Messi (31), Harry Kane-Son Heung-min (21) and Robert Lewandowski-Thomas Muller (25) have combined for more over the period.

Since his world-record arrival from Barcelona in 2017, Neymar has been involved in one Ligue 1 goal every 66 minutes (51 goals and 29 assists) – the best ratio among players involved in more than one goal over the period.

Neymar has scored 81 goals in 100 games in all competitions for PSG, but Pochettino praised the Brazilian's defensive contribution.

"I believe that the defensive and offensive balance is very important on every team," Pochettino said. "When you have so much talent inside the pitch, players so destabilising, you also run the risk of losing this defensive stability which is so much needed to compete in really big occasions.

"When the level of your opponent can be compared to you, the difference is not only made in the offensive phase, but if you are capable to defend and be able to recover the ball as soon as possible.

"I am happy too with the effort that Neymar has been doing in the last weeks. It is a player with an enormous amount of compromise. It makes us really happy but we already know what he does with the ball on his feet, but when he does this effort to help the team, that talks very well about him."

Kylian Mbappe said he is considering a new long-term contract with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain.

The 22-year-old forward ended a four-game goal drought on Friday, scoring twice and setting up another as Mauricio Pochettino's side beat Montpellier 4-0.

The France star's future has come under scrutiny during a recent loss of form, with his deal set to expire at the end of next season.

Sporting director Leonardo confirmed to France Football this week that he was confident Mbappe and team-mate Neymar would agree to fresh terms at Parc des Princes.

Mbappe, who has been linked with clubs including Real Madrid and Liverpool, said he would commit to a new deal if he decided his long-term future would be best spent in the French capital.

"We are talking with the club," he told Telefoot. "I am also reflecting on it. If I sign, it will be to invest myself in the long term here.

"I feel good here. I will soon have to make a decision. If I extend, it's so that I stay."

Mbappe was the star performer in the win over 10-man Montpellier, PSG's fourth in a row in all competitions and their third in succession without conceding in Ligue 1.

The champions have enjoyed an encouraging start to life under coach Mauricio Pochettino, who replaced Thomas Tuchel this month.

"I'm really satisfied; it was a great game," said Angel Di Maria. "We had a lot of chances that we managed to take.

"We have to adapt to a new football, but it's going well physically, and that's very important."

Kylian Mbappe scored two and set up another as Paris Saint-Germain beat Montpellier 4-0 in Ligue 1 on Friday.

Having faced recent questions over his form and focus, Mbappe responded with a decisive display at Parc des Princes to help Mauricio Pochettino's men to three points.

Mbappe broke the deadlock after Montpellier goalkeeper Jonas Omlin had earlier been sent off for fouling the France star, and he set up Neymar to mark his 100th PSG appearance with the second goal.

Mauro Icardi and Mbappe added two further goals within three minutes as the champions eased to a routine win, their fourth in a row by at least four goals against Michel Der Zakarian's side.

Montpellier, six games without a win in Ligue 1 before this contest, were left with a huge task when Omlin flattened Mbappe following a stunning throughball from Leandro Paredes, with a VAR review leading to the keeper's dismissal.

PSG eventually capitalised on their dominance 34 minutes in, Neymar and Angel Di Maria each playing decisive passes before Mbappe clipped a cool finish over substitute keeper Dimitry Bertaud.

It was Mbappe's 13th league goal of the season and the 13th time he has been assisted by Di Maria in the competition.

Neymar almost doubled the lead before the break but was thwarted by a good save from Bertaud, who then denied Mauro Icardi acrobatically early in the second period.

The second goal came on the hour mark, though, Mbappe teeing up Neymar for a simple finish after a fine lofted pass from Marco Verratti.

With the floodgates suddenly open, PSG scored a further two goals inside three minutes, Icardi drilling high into the net after good work from Alessandro Florenzi and then setting up Mbappe for a routine finish after Neymar led a quick break.

Bertaud did manage to deny Layvin Kurzawa a stunning fifth, tipping the full-back's bicycle kick onto the crossbar.

 

Barcelona head coach Ronald Koeman has dismissed comments by Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo confirming they would be interested in signing Lionel Messi.

Leonardo said on Monday PSG have a seat "reserved" at the table of clubs who are "following closely" the developments around Messi's future.

The six-time Ballon d'Or winner is in the final six months of his Barca contract and could leave on a free transfer after this season.

Koeman, though, thinks it is normal for top players to be coveted by other clubs, saying he could never claim to have no interest in having PSG's star forwards at his disposal.

"If you ask me if I'm interested in Neymar and [Kylian] Mbappe, I'd say yes," he told reporters on Wednesday. "I don't know what will happen in the future; I can't give an opinion on those. We try to have the best squad possible."

Messi is serving a two-match ban for his red card in Barca's Supercopa de Espana final defeat to Athletic Bilbao, although the club are appealing against the punishment.

"The club told me it's two games, the club doesn't agree [with the sanction] and we'll see," said Koeman. "There are things that can be defended and hopefully they reduce the sanction. If not, we play two games without Leo.

"We've trained, Leo has trained with a lot of eagerness and I haven't seen anything odd. Everyone is sad for the Supercopa result, but we're on the road to better things, above all defensively. Leo is right in the middle of this."

Barca face a Copa del Rey clash at Cornella, the team that shocked LaLiga leaders Atletico Madrid in the previous round, on Thursday.

Sergino Dest and Sergi Roberto are sidelined with minor injury problems and Koeman says further first-team regulars will be rested given both Barca games at the Supercopa went to extra time.

"For them, it's the game of the year and for us it's the next one to be ready for. We have to go through because we're Barcelona. It depends a lot on mentality," he said.

"We're angry, it's normal. We have to be like that because we had the Supercopa close and they equalised in the last minute.

"I think we're on a good path - I think so, at least. And we have to keep moving forward. There are players with knocks but it's normal after two matches in extra time and two flights.

"We're going to make changes. We'll see tomorrow [how many]. We want to put out a strong team and, above all, a team that's strong mentally."

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