Brazil star Neymar is reportedly interested in a move to the Premier League after being informed Paris Saint-Germain will not stand in his way if he wishes to depart.

ESPN is reporting that Neymar's agent has been in touch with Chelsea to gauge their interest in bringing in the 30-year-old, who scored 13 goals and added six assists in 22 Ligue 1 contests this past season.

While Neymar's talent is not in question, his health may be, having missed over two months of this campaign after suffering an ankle injury, and that is coming off a 2020-21 season where he only played 18 league games due to ankle and adductor injuries.


TOP STORY – NEYMAR WEIGHS UP CHELSEA MOVE AS PSG GIVE GREEN LIGHT

ESPN's report mentions that Neymar's agent, Pini Zahavi, believes there are only "two or three teams" that would be able to meet his wage demands, and it is thought that Chelsea are hoping to make a splash under the new ownership of Todd Boehly.

Spanish publication Sport claims Neymar activated a clause in his PSG contract as soon as he possibly could on July 1 to add one extra year to his deal – tying him to the French giants until 2027 – but that does not rule out a move happening.

Chelsea's Brazilian centre-back and Neymar's former PSG team-mate Thiago Silva has been vocal about his desire to recruit the superstar forward, but his salary of €43million could stand in the way if the Stamford Bridge club decide they would rather use this transfer period's resources in defence.


ROUND-UP

– The Star is reporting that Manchester United are closing in on a deal with Christian Eriksen as his contract with Brentford has expired and he is available on a free transfer.

– Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele is expected to leave on a free transfer, with Chelsea, Paris Saint-Germain and Bayern Munich the three teams listed by Marca as his potential landing spots.

Everton are hoping to replace Richarlison with Watford striker Emmanuel Dennis after their Brazilian forward departed for Tottenham this week.

– According to The Sun, Fulham are finalising a £17million move for 26-year-old Sporting defensive midfielder Joao Palhinha.

– ESPN is reporting Fulham have offered £10m for Manchester United's Andreas Pereira as the 26-year-old returns from his loan stint with Flamengo.

Joelinton has urged Newcastle United coach Eddie Howe to get on the phone to Neymar and sign the Paris Saint-Germain superstar.

With Kylian Mbappe now the main man at PSG, having renewed his contract in France, Neymar has been linked with a move away from the club.

And Newcastle, with the world's richest football club owners in Saudi Arabia's Public Investment Fund, are in theory one of very few potential suitors who could afford the sport's most expensive player.

The Magpies already have two Brazilians, too, in Joelinton and Bruno Guimaraes.

After Thiago Silva told Globo that Neymar "has to go to Chelsea", Joelinton, speaking to Brazilian podcast Cast FC, said: "We can get him a spot. Sure, in any team in the world.

"If he comes, it will be... I can't explain it. The man is an idol. He's huge in world football.

"So, the invitation is done: Ney, if you are listening to this, you can come. I'll run to you all the time. [The ball] will come easy."

Newcastle already have a tricky winger in Allan Saint-Maximin, but Joelinton did not hesitate in offering away his team-mate's number 10 shirt.

"His quality, the visibility... if we have the chance, I hope," the forward-turned-midfielder said. "Coach, call him. The number 10 shirt is there waiting for him.

"I'll send a message to Bruno. Bruno has his contact; he can send a message inviting Ney to play there."

June 30, 2002, Yokohama. Ronaldo pounces on Rivaldo's dummy to side-foot past Germany's Oliver Kahn, becoming just the ninth man to score twice in a World Cup final and making Brazil champions of the world.

That moment, the pinnacle of the legendary forward's career, remains unmatched to this day for the Selecao, with Brazil failing to add to their five World Cup crowns in the subsequent two decades.

Should Brazil fall short of glory in Qatar later this year, that drought will stretch to at least 24 years, matching their longest wait for World Cup glory since their maiden title in 1958 (also between 1970 and 1994).

For a country whose hopes have been entrusted to such footballing icons as Ronaldinho, Kaka and Neymar in subsequent years, such a drought seems inexplicable, with three quarter-final exits and one historic semi-final humiliation the sum of their efforts since 2002. 

Exactly 20 years on from Brazil's triumph in Japan and South Korea, Stats Perform looks back on that momentous success, questions why it is yet to be repeated, and asks whether Tite's class of 2022 are equipped to bring glory to one of the world's most football-mad nations.

2002: Irresistible Ronaldo fires Selecao to glory in Japan and South Korea

It is no exaggeration to say Brazil's last World Cup win was one of the most impressive triumphs in the competition's history.

Luiz Felipe Scolari's men went from strength to strength after requiring a late Rivaldo penalty to edge a tense opener against eventual third-placed finishers Turkey, winning all seven of their games by an aggregate score of 18-4.

The class of 2002 thus hold the record for the most games won by a nation at a single World Cup, with Ronaldo – coming off an injury-blighted four seasons at Inter in which he managed just 36 Serie A appearances – the star of the show.

Partnering Rivaldo and supplied by Paris Saint-Germain's breakout star Ronaldinho, O Fenomeno netted eight goals across the tournament, the joint-most of any Brazilian at a single World Cup and the highest tally of anyone since West Germany's Gerd Muller struck 10 times in 1970.

 

Ronaldo's 19 shots on target in the tournament has not been matched in any subsequent World Cup, while his total of 34 attempts was more than five different nations managed. 

Quarter-final opponents England, vanquished when Ronaldinho audaciously (perhaps fortuitously) lobbed David Seaman from long-range, were the only side to keep Ronaldo out as he took the competition by storm.

A 25-year-old Ronaldo's final double against Germany represented his 44th and 45th international goals in just his 64th Brazil appearance. He managed just 17 further strikes in the famous yellow shirt during his career.

There was nothing in the 2002 squad's make-up to suggest a long wait for further tournament success was imminent: The experienced Cafu (31 in 2002) and Roberto Carlos (29) were still around in 2006, while future Ballon d'Or winners Ronaldinho (22) and Kaka (20) had their whole careers ahead of them.

How, then, did one of the greatest sides in modern international history contrive to fall so far short in subsequent World Cups?

 

2006-2010: Zidane and Sneijder sparkle as drab Brazil fall short

Brazil looked set for another shot at glory in Germany in 2006. Ronaldinho was crowned the world's best player in 2005; Kaka was to follow in his footsteps in 2007; and Ronaldo had hit a century of goals in his first four seasons with Real Madrid.

Brazil conceded just once in group-stage clashes with Croatia, Australia and Japan before crushing Ghana 3-0 in the last 16, but with Carlos Alberto Parreira cramming his three attacking stars into a rigid 4-4-2 shape, it was France who more closely resembled the Brazil sides of old in the last eight. 

Zinedine Zidane's performance in Frankfurt stands as one of the finest in the competition's history, as he tormented the defending champions' flat midfield before assisting Thierry Henry's winner.

It was the first of two masterful midfield displays to end the World Cup hopes of drab Brazil teams, with Wesley Sneijder assuming Zidane's role as the Netherlands vanquished Dunga's men in South Africa in 2010.

Progressing from the group stages has not been an issue for Brazil. Astonishingly, they are unbeaten in their last 15 group games, last suffering a first-stage defeat against Norway in 1998.

A lack of tactical nous against the world's best, however, has been a legitimate charge, and an understandable one given the identities of some of their head coaches.

Parreira's one Brazilian top-flight title was won way back in 1984, while Dunga's only club-level experience remains, to this day, a dire 2013 campaign with Internacional.

In that context, the return of Scolari, the emergence of Neymar and a home World Cup lifted expectations to monumental levels by 2014, when Brazilian dreams were to be shattered in the most incredible manner imaginable.

2014-2018: Home humiliation and Neymar reliance see Brazilian woes continue

The 2014 World Cup was billed as a festival of football, lit up by jubilant Brazilian crowds and thrilling football – the 171 goals scored across the tournament are the joint-most on record, alongside 1998.

Sadly for Brazil, eventual winners Germany provided 18 of those, with seven coming in a scarcely believable semi-final rout at the Mineirao.

Having gone 5-0 down within 29 minutes in the absence of Neymar and Thiago Silva, Scolari's men collapsed to arguably the greatest humiliation in World Cup history and, as almost goes without saying, the heaviest semi-final defeat the tournament has ever seen.

Only when Yugoslavia faced Zaire in 1974 had a side previously been 5-0 up after 29 minutes at a World Cup, but for all the excitement building around the host nation, Brazil's class of 2014 always appeared flawed.

An over-reliance on Neymar – cruelly sidelined by a dreadful quarter-final challenge from Colombia's Juan Camilo Zuniga – was clear in both 2014 and 2018, when Brazil fell to a 2-1 defeat to a Kevin De Bruyne-inspired Belgium in Russia.

 

Across those two tournaments, Neymar's six goals and two assists saw him directly involved in 42 per cent of Brazil's goals.

Fluminense striker Fred, ridiculed by many for his performances in 2014, wasn't exactly up to the task of replacing his goal threat, while Gabriel Jesus failed to find the net despite starting every match under Tite in 2018.

Indeed, coming into the 2018 tournament, Neymar – with 55 goals in 85 caps, was the only player in the Brazil squad to have scored more than 12 international goals.

Having achieved the rare feat of holding onto his job after leading Brazil at a World Cup, Tite will hope the emergence of several other stars lessens the burden on his number 10 this time around.

The road to Qatar: Can the class of 2022 end World Cup drought? 

Assuming he remains in charge when they face Serbia on November 24, Tite will become the first coach to lead Brazil at back-to-back World Cups since Tele Santana in 1982 and 1986.

While neither of Santana's campaigns ended in glory, the current boss – a Copa Libertadores and FIFA Club World Cup winner – will hope his six years moulding the side will prove invaluable in Qatar.

Brazil have already ended one mini trophy drought under his watch, winning a first Copa America title in 12 years on home soil in 2019 before finishing as runners-up to Argentina two years later.

Most impressively, Brazil triumphed without the injured Neymar in 2019 as Everton Soares top-scored, and the form of a series of Selecao stars has given Tite enviable squad depth.

In Allison and Ederson, he can choose between arguably the top two goalkeepers in the Premier League, while Fabinho was crucial as Jurgen Klopp's Liverpool fell narrowly short of a historic quadruple last term.

Casemiro, who won his fifth Champions League title with Madrid in May, could partner him in a fearsome midfield duo, but most of the excitement is centred on his club team-mate Vinicius Junior, whose 22 goals and 16 assists for Los Blancos last term suggest he can be the man to dovetail with Neymar.

 

After landing an appealing group-stage draw alongside Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon, the excitement around Brazil is building once more.

With the Selecao topping the FIFA World Rankings, having fairly recent a Copa America win under their belts and possessing some of European football's most-effective players, 2022 seems as good a time as any for Brazil to end 20 years of disappointment and bring 'o Jogo Bonito' to the world once more.

Thiago Silva has implored his Brazilian team-mate Neymar to join him at Chelsea if he decides to leave Paris Saint-Germain.

There has been recent speculation about Neymar's future at PSG, with the French club reportedly open to selling him should an acceptable bid come along.

Neymar's former agent Wagner Ribeiro said last week the 30-year-old wants to remain with PSG, to fulfil his dream of winning the Champions League there.

Chelsea's 37-year-old defender Thiago Silva, who has played alongside Neymar at international level and at PSG from 2017 to 2020, has urged to join him at Stamford Bridge.

"He has to go to Chelsea," Silva told Globo about Neymar who is contracted until 2025.

"If he is about to leave, then he must go there. If it happens, then the expectation is the best possible one.

"We don't even need to talk about Neymar's ability. Besides that, he is a super friend.

"I hope this happens instead of only being something on the news, but I don't know anything about it."

In recent days, Chelsea have been linked with another Brazilian, Leeds United's Raphinha, but are yet to spend in the transfer market this off-season.

Chelsea had a change of ownership completed in May with a group led by Todd Boehly replacing Roman Abramovich following a long association with the London club.

Neymar's former agent Wagner Ribiero believes the Brazilian is not about to leave Paris Saint-Germain as he is still dreaming of Champions League glory with the French champions.

The 30-year-old is contracted in Paris until 2025, but there have been rumours that PSG could look to offload him, having signed Lionel Messi in 2021 and recently renewing Kylian Mbappe's contract.

A return to Barcelona has long been muted for Neymar, with whom he won the Champions League with in 2014-15, while he has also previously spoken about his desire to play in the United States. 

However, when quizzed about Neymar's future, Ribiero made it clear his understanding that the former Santos starlet is not considering an exit and has his eyes firmly set on ending PSG's wait for Champions League glory.

"Neymar has a dream: to be champion of the Champions League with PSG," he told Goal.

"Despite all the rumours regarding a possible exit, he is very motivated and will not stop until he achieves it."

 

Asked whether Neymar likes the project at PSG, he added: "Of course. Every year that passes Nasser Al-Khelaifi (club president) improves the team in every way.

"They just finished the training centre, which will be one of the best. And now he wants to have the best French players at PSG."

Since Neymar joined PSG in 2017, the French giants have been eliminated at the quarter-final stage in three of the five seasons – finishing runners-up in 2019-20 and falling at the semi-finals the following year.

During that period, Neymar has scored 20 Champions League goals and secured 13 assists – with the only player to have more assists in the same period being team-mate Mbappe.

Vinicius Junior announced his desire to stay at Real Madrid, claiming they are the most "united" since he arrived in 2018.

The 21-year-old Brazilian enjoyed a breakthrough year this past season, providing 17 goals and 13 assists in Real Madrid's LaLiga title triumph, before scoring in the final to claim the club's 14th Champions League.

He has two years left on his contract but is expected to extend until 2026, turning down reported interest from Paris Saint-Germain.

In anticipation of a contract renewal, Vinicius cited the atmosphere at the Santiago Bernabeu as a critical factor in his growth.

"I will continue in the biggest team in the world," he told Sport TV. "It's the most united team since I arrived. The celebrations were different this year. We all felt something special. 

"Younger people arrived with Rodrygo, [Eder] Militao, [Eduardo] Camavinga and me. Everyone likes each other and that's important.

"It's the best atmosphere in the world. Everybody wants to be there. The most experienced give us peace of mind and freedom to do what they want."

In the meantime, Vinicius has become a more regular figure for the Brazil national team, playing in seven of the Selecao's final 11 World Cup qualifiers and starting in five of them.

Despite his own burgeoning status, the 21-year-old revealed he will still be looking to defer to the talismanic Neymar later in the year in Qatar, as Brazil seek a sixth World Cup title.

"He is our best player," Vinicius said. "The rivals always focus more on him and he asks us to run into space because he has great quality to find us. He does everything for me, he is a great friend.

"The pressure is greater for him being older. He calls it responsibility. He also takes it away from us, from those who are arriving. Playing for the national team is a lot of pressure, but we're getting used to it."

Vinicius Junior has confirmed his intentions to stay with Real Madrid, declaring: "I will continue with the biggest team in the world".

The winger initially struggled to make his mark after arriving from Flamengo in 2018 for a reported €46million fee.

However, Vinicius enjoyed a breakthrough season in the 2021-22 term, scoring 22 goals in 52 games in all competitions, seven more than in 118 games for Los Blancos in his previous three campaigns (15).

The Brazil international also recorded the most goal involvements by LaLiga players born in 2000 or after across all competitions (38 – 22 goals and 16 assists).

Vinicius scored the winning goal in the Champions League final against Liverpool, but there were some suggestions he could be tempted by a move to Paris Saint-Germain.

He has quelled those Madrid fears by announcing his desire to stay in the Spanish capital, with the expectancy he will sign a new contract until June 2027.

"I will continue in the biggest team in the world," the Madrid star said on 'Bem, Amigos!' of SporTV.

"It's the most united team since I arrived. The celebrations were different this year. We all felt something special. 

"Younger people arrived with Rodrygo, [Eder] Militao, [Eduardo] Camavinga and me. Everyone likes each other and that's important.

"It's the best atmosphere in the world. Everybody wants to be there. The most experienced give us peace of mind and freedom to do what they want."

Vinicius will look to partner with Neymar for Brazil to deliver World Cup glory later this year.

The 21-year-old appears to play in a similar fashion to the PSG star, with Vinicius attempting 234 dribbles in the 2021-22 LaLiga – the most by a Madrid player in a single season since 2005-06.

Nevertheless, Vinicius still sees Neymar as the best player for Brazil as he learns to cope with the pressure of playing for the Selecao.

"He is our best player. The rivals always focus more on him and he asks us to run into space because he has a great quality to find us," he added. 

"He does everything for me, he is a great friend. The pressure is greater for him being older. He calls it responsibility. He also takes it away from us, from those who are arriving. 

"Playing for the national team is a lot of pressure, but we're getting used to it."

Brazil coach Tite declared "it's time to be champions" as the Selecao eye World Cup success in Qatar.

Tite's side coasted through South American World Cup qualifying, going unbeaten as they booked a place at this year's showpiece tournament.

Brazil have not won the World Cup since 2002, their fifth triumph overall, and will first have to contend with Serbia on November 24 before clashes against Switzerland and Cameroon follow in Group G.

Argentina are another force in the battle for the trophy, with the Copa America champions undefeated in 33 games – the longest intact unbeaten run in international football.

Holders France will also prove stern competition, while England, Belgium, Spain and Germany are among the favourites for success.

But Tite insists it is time for Brazil, who have overtaken Belgium at the top of the world rankings, to deliver.

"I'm expectant but focused. We reached the World Cup; now it's time to reach the final and be champions. This is the truth," he told The Guardian. 

"At the last World Cup I was the manager because of other circumstances [Dunga was fired in 2016 and Tite took over].

"Now I have had the opportunity to do the full four-year cycle. Expectations are high but the focus is on work. The pressure we face is a problem: the responsibility, the pressure of the position, the demands.

"When I was a supporter, I wanted the team to be the best. It's what moves us. But mental health is important. I think about what [Nelson] Mandela said: 'Courage is the ability to face fear'. 

"In every decision he made, fear was present. When I read that, I saw that I am a normal citizen. I have my fears, my nightmares, my little goosebumps. Fear but not dread; fear and dread are different."

Vinicius Junior has come to the forefront for Real Madrid in the 2021-22 campaign, but Tite believes Neymar remains the main star for Brazil.

"Neymar is Neymar. He remains our biggest star. The difference now is that the glow is diluted by nearby stars that can also shine," he added.

"Neymar's greatness is that he understands this – about the growth of these kids. He encourages the boys to go up a level. Time and experience provide this maturity.

"Because of Neymar's greatness, there will always be great expectations. But now it's diluted. It's Neymar, but also Vinícius, Raphinha; Thiago [Silva] is at a high level again, Paqueta, Casemiro, Fabinho too."

Tite has come into criticism during his spell as Brazil boss, particularly after a quarter-final exit at the 2018 World Cup, but he believes the questioning of his methods is unfair.

"We need time to understand. Works are best seen when they are at a distance, finished. We have results," Tite said.

"What people are expecting? We beat the record [for the most points] in the qualifiers. We have the longest unbeaten streak, 12 games [under Tite in qualifying for the 2018 World Cup] and now 17 games without a loss [in the 2022 qualifiers]. That is 29 games."

Rodrygo has revealed that international team-mate Neymar wants him to inherit Brazil's famous number 10 shirt when the Paris Saint-Germain star retires from international football.

The Selecao are seeking to win a first World Cup title in 20 years in Qatar, where an impressive forward line is set to include Neymar, along with Real Madrid duo Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior.

Neymar had already hinted that the 2022 tournament could be his last and appears to have relayed that message to his compatriots, with Rodrygo apparently in line to inherit the iconic number 10 shirt.

"Neymar said to me 'I'm already leaving the national team and the 10 is yours'," he told Podpah.

"I didn't even know what to say to him. I was embarrassed, I giggled and didn't even know what to say properly.

"I told him that he must play some more, that I didn't want [him] to [do so] now. And then he laughed."

Neymar is the latest in a long line of greats to grace the famous shirt for Brazil, following the likes of Zico, Rivaldo, Ronaldinho and Pele – while he sits just three goals shy of the latter's goalscoring record for his national team.

Expectations are high for Rodrygo, who has been capped five times, and the 21-year-old revealed that Zinedine Zidane has also touted him to become the best player in the world.

"Zidane said that one day I would be the best in the world," he added.

"Carlo Ancelotti also spoke about me. I try to train and evolve every day to get there. I was very happy. 

"I have this dream and I know that if I dedicate myself every day, I can get there."

Brazil open their World Cup campaign on November 24 against Serbia, with Switzerland and Cameroon also in Group G.

Brazil earned a 1-0 friendly win against Japan in Tokyo on Monday thanks to a penalty from Neymar.

Tite's side dominated for large periods in the pouring rain at the New Japan National Stadium and squandered several chances before Neymar's spot-kick finally broke the deadlock in the 77th minute.

The victory means the Selecao have won five consecutive games, and have not lost since July when they were beaten by Argentina in the Copa America final.

Both teams came into the came on the back of big wins last time out, with Japan thumping Paraguay 4-1 on Thursday, while Brazil went one better in beating South Korea 5-1 the same day.

Brazil almost took the lead inside two minutes as neat play between Vinicius Junior and Neymar ended with the latter backheeling to Lucas Paqueta, who hit the post after shooting across Shuichi Gonda in the Japan goal.

Japan had a brief period in the first half where they caused some problems for Tite's side, with Takumi Minamino getting some joy between the lines, but Brazil soon established their dominance as they created more chances.

Casemiro should have put the visitors ahead in the 26th minute but could only guide a header from a Raphinha free-kick over the crossbar, before Neymar had a shot parried away by Gonda and Raphinha bent a direct free-kick just wide of the left-hand post.

Gabriel Martinelli and Gabriel Jesus were introduced just after the hour and the Arsenal forward almost made an immediate impact, but could only guide his shot wide of the far post after the ball was cushioned down for him by Casemiro.

The hosts' only real chance of note came in the 72nd minute, when Junya Ito fired over with a volley at the far post.

Brazil were awarded a penalty shortly after when another substitute, Richarlison, was fouled by Wataru Endo and Neymar sent Gonda the wrong way from the spot to win it.

Brazil coach Tite suggested Neymar has more influence in games for the Selecao than Paris Saint-Germain because at international level the team serves him more.

Neymar was in fine form as Brazil crushed South Korea 5-1 in a friendly on Thursday, with the PSG star scoring two penalties.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg with respect to his performance, as he pulled the strings and proved Brazil's biggest creative outlet.

His eight key passes was more than double the figure recorded by anyone else on the pitch, as South Korea failed to deal with him.

Neymar's showing in Seoul might be seen by some as a departure from his showings for PSG this term, with the Ligue 1 champions apparently willing to let him leave.

Tite thinks he can offer an explanation as to why Neymar may appear more important to Brazil.

"Neymar is a bow and an arrow, depending on the circumstances of the game," Tite told reporters. "He has that ability.

"At PSG, he often plays even a little deeper than Messi and Mbappe. Not here, he's more the arrow.

"He gets more rewards. The team works to give him this clarity, this creativity in this respect. We have a very supportive team."

Thursday's result was an impressive one, with Brazil creating a host of chances against the home side.

One aspect that particularly impressed Tite was their intensity despite having to adjust to the time zone.

"The Brazilian team has been at a [certain] performance level in recent games of ours," he continued.

"Doing this away from home – in a different environment and situation, with our internal clock, with the time zone – is difficult.

"I had to drink a load of coffee, and if you're not in the right frame of mind, it's hard to do that at this level of performance.

"I liked not only those in the starting XI, but also those who came on, even more so with some players coming on later and bringing that level of performance.

"I speak of the 'quick legs'. The more Fabio [Mahseredjian, Brazil fitness coach] puts in, the more the opponent wears out. Brazil had a pattern of performance in recent games."

Brazil will remain in the region for Monday's friendly against Japan in Tokyo.

Neymar scored two penalties as Brazil cruised to an entertaining 5-1 friendly win over South Korea in Seoul on Thursday.

South Korea star Son Heung-min had urged his team-mates to be fearless against the top-ranked side in international football, but they were outclassed for much of the match by Tite's men.

A scrappy Richarlison opener had Brazil in charge as early as the seventh minute and, although the hosts did equalise through Hwang Ui-jo, more Brazil goals were inevitable such was their dominance.

Alex Sandro proved key to getting Brazil back in front as he won two penalties either side of half-time, with Neymar outsmarting the goalkeeper on both occasions to put the game beyond South Korea before substitutes Philippe Coutinho and Gabriel Jesus finished off the rout.

Brazil's purposeful start saw Thiago Silva have a goal disallowed for offside inside two minutes, though they did not have to wait much longer to legitimately take the lead as Richarlison deflected Fred's strike into the net.

After wasting several chances in something of an onslaught, the Selecao were pegged back just past the half-hour mark – Hwang held off Silva, spun into the box and shot into the bottom-left corner.

Dominant Brazil were back on top by half-time, though. A VAR review spotted Lee Yong catching Alex Sandro in the box and Neymar coolly converted.

A similar incident occurred 10 minutes into the second half, with Kim Young-Gwon this time culpable, and Neymar ensured the outcome was identical.

Coutinho emphatically found the top-right corner just after replacing Neymar to increase Brazil's handsome lead, before Jesus slotted home at the end of a darting run to round off an impressive day's work for the Selecao.

 

Ruben Neves is Erik ten Hag's number one midfield target in his first transfer window as manager at Manchester United.

Neves, 25, signed for Wolves from Porto in 2017, and quickly asserted himself as a crucial cog in midfield.

United made a move for the Portugal international in the January transfer window, and were rebuffed, but they reportedly prepared to come in with a much more substantial offer this time around.

 

TOP STORY – RED DEVILS LAUNCH ANOTHER MOVE FOR NEVES

After United's January offer of £35million was unsuccessful, The Sun is reporting Wolves will want in the range of £50m to sell star man Neves.

Wolves have reportedly been preparing for life without Neves for some time now, and are targeting 26-year-old Sporting CP midfielder Joao Palhinha as his long-term replacement. They are also said to have strong interest in Benfica's Martim Neto, demonstrating the clear links their scouting department has with the Primeira Liga.

However, United will have stiff competition for Neves' signature, with Barcelona reportedly keen. 

ROUND-UP

– Paris Saint Germain are open to Neymar leaving in the upcoming window, according to ESPN, with Chelsea named as a club that have interest.

– The Star is reporting Benfica have told interested parties – including United – that striker Darwin Nunez will cost £100m.

Bayern Munich will pay £25m for Liverpool's Sadio Mane as a replacement for Robert Lewandowski, per L'Equipe.

– The Telegraph is reporting that Aston Villa will explore the possibility of signing manager Steven Gerrard's former team-mate, Luis Suarez, who is a free agent.

Newcastle United have made enquiries about Bayer Leverkusen winger Moussa Diaby, and hope to add the France international to their attack for next season, according to The Telegraph.

Kylian Mbappe discussed a possible move to Real Madrid with Lionel Messi and Neymar, but says he did not need persuading to commit his future to Paris Saint-Germain.

The France international had been strongly linked with a switch to Madrid prior to Saturday's announcement that he has signed a new deal to remain at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe, who had been due to become a free agent next month, penned a new three-year deal in the French capital and celebrated that with a hat-trick against Metz later that day.

He will once again link up with fellow superstars Messi and Neymar next season, and the 23-year-old revealed he talked about his future with the pair before making his decision.

"We had a difficult season, but we talked a little bit – not a lot, because they told me it was a personal choice. They understood," Mbappe said at a news conference on Monday.

"Whether it's PSG or Madrid, these are clubs that you don't need convincing to play for. For any player it's an honour to play for one of these two clubs.

"I'm playing with great players and that's what I wanted."

Mbappe scored 39 goals in all competitions this campaign, which is behind only Karim Benzema (44) and Robert Lewandowski (50) among players from Europe's top five leagues.

That compares to just 13 goals for Neymar and 11 for Messi in what was a disappointing campaign for PSG on the whole, despite reclaiming their Ligue 1 crown.

 

Reports from France also claimed that Mbappe was persuaded to sign a new deal after being promised additional powers, including a say of transfers and coaching appointments.

It was also suggested that Mbappe would take over as captain as a reward for his loyalty, though the World Cup winner is not looking to take the armband from Marquinhos.

"He deserves his armband," Mbappe said. "I don't need to be a captain to be heard and set an example on the pitch. 

"Marquinhos is a great player and a very good captain. He is very important for us."

Real Madrid will have been left shaken by Kylian Mbappe's decision to snub them in favour of a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain.

It was common knowledge that Madrid wanted to bring in Mbappe and shape their team around the France striker for the next decade.

The Spanish champions have been used to getting what they want, but this time they have failed to land their number one target, with PSG's financial muscle surely a major factor.

Now Madrid president Florentino Perez must consider the club's next course of action. Do they rely on Karim Benzema and Vinicius Junior next season, or has there been a back-up plan in case Mbappe reached this decision?

Here, Stats Perform looks at players that Madrid could consider if they remain intent on bringing in a forward in the close season.

Richarlison (Everton/Brazil)

After five years spent fumbling around mid-table and the lower reaches of the Premier League with Watford and latterly Everton, Richarlison seems long overdue a move to a club where he might challenge for honours. The 25-year-old has previously been linked with Madrid and Barcelona, and more recently Manchester United, and he would bring a roving threat to any side he joins. Capable of playing wide or in the centre, or flitting between roles, Richarlison has reached double figures in Premier League goals in three of his four seasons with Everton, and in a World Cup year this could be the ideal time to move for the striker. Should he dazzle at Qatar 2022, that price tag could go skywards.

Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain/Brazil)

PSG were desperate to retain Mbappe, but would they feel the same way about Neymar? Five years into his PSG career, Neymar is now 30 years old and this is the first season when he has managed more than 20 league appearances for the Parisians. Injuries have disrupted his stay at the Parc des Princes, and while he remains a wonderfully gifted player and a joy to watch at times, if PSG want to recoup a chunk of the huge outlay that brought him to Paris from Barcelona, now might be the time for that. It would be an impudent approach for Madrid to make, and Neymar's Barcelona history adds a further complication, given the rivalry, but the player himself may be tempted.

Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich/Poland)

If Madrid have a statement signing in mind to ease the pain of missing Mbappe, then joining the race for Lewandowski and gazumping Barcelona would be one way of going about that. Lewandowski has told Bayern he wants to leave, and ideally before next season. Barcelona are certainly interested, but their financial problems are well known. Could Madrid be better placed to land the highest scorer from Europe's top five leagues this season? Lewandowski hit 50 goals in 46 games across all competitions for Bayern, with Madrid's Benzema second on the list and Mbappe third. Whether Madrid would want a player who turns 34 in August when they already have a 34-year-old frontman in Benzema is a moot point.

Paulo Dybala (Juventus/Argentina)

Mbappe would have arrived in Madrid on a free transfer, given his contract at PSG was coming to an end. If their priority is to pick up a forward without an initial transfer fee outlay, then Dybala becomes an option. Roma and a host of Premier League clubs have been linked with the Argentina international, whose Juventus contract is expiring. He has scored at least 15 goals in five of his seven seasons with Juve, and would bring a creative presence to Madrid, and bundles of trophy-winning experience.

Christopher Nkunku (RB Leipzig/France)

If Madrid cannot have Mbappe for now, then his and Benzema's France team-mate Nkunku looks like a strong alternative option. With 34 goals in 51 games for Leipzig this season (prior to Saturday's DFB-Pokal final), Nkunku has proven himself in Germany and in European competition, and the obvious next step is a move to a super-club. The 24-year-old PSG academy graduate pipped the likes of Lewandowski and Erling Haaland to be named the Bundesliga's player of the year, underlining his status as a growing force in the game.

Mohamed Salah (Liverpool/Egypt)

Would they want Salah, or would they prefer his team-mate Sadio Mane? Either way, a Madrid approach could be Liverpool's worst nightmare. Both Salah and Mane have contracts that run to the end of next season, and they have again been tearing it up this term for the quadruple-hunting Reds. They are hot property and are coming to the point where they are considering probably the last bumper contracts of their careers. Would they fit in at Madrid? Both have the flair and finishing class that suggest they would be ideal acquisitions, and Madrid will get a close-up look in the Champions League final.

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