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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Palmeiras midfielder Danilo has been granted his first call-up to the Brazil squad, while Tite selected Fabinho for the upcoming friendlies in June despite injury concerns over the Liverpool star.

Brazil announced a 27-man squad on Wednesday for friendlies against Korea Republic, Japan and South American rivals Argentina next month.

Fabinho is one of 13 Premier League players called up, despite the midfielder limping off in Liverpool's 2-1 win over Aston Villa on Tuesday after suffering a muscle injury.

Reports suggest Fabinho will miss the upcoming FA Cup final against Chelsea, along with league games against Wolves and Southampton, as he faces a race against the clock to feature in the Champions League final against Real Madrid on May 28 as Liverpool hunt an unprecedented quadruple.

Fellow midfielder Danilo was the other notable inclusion by Tite, with the Palmeiras man earning his maiden call-up after impressing at the Club World Cup, where his side were defeated in the final by Chelsea.

On Danilo's inclusion, Tite told reporters: "Danilo is one of those players that we have been following, we are always attentive to players that are emerging. 

"Danilo played well at the Club World Cup in games that we followed live and made visits to the club. We were looking at a series of things on how he performs so we could justify his selection."

Fabinho's Liverpool team-mate Alisson also made the list, along with fellow goalkeeper Ederson, while Manchester United duo Alex Telles and Fred were named alongside Arsenal's Gabriel Magalhaes.

Newcastle United's Bruno Guimaraes was again selected by Tite and will look to add to his six caps, but there was no room for Magpies team-mate Joelinton, who has impressed since dropping into midfield under Eddie Howe.

Casemiro could partner Guimaraes in the middle alongside Lyon's Lucas Paqueta, while Weverton and Guilherme Arana were the only other two players to feature from Brazil's domestic league.

Tite will have vast experience in the backline to call upon as well, with the likes of Alex Sandro, Dani Alves, Thiago Silva and Marquinhos to select from.

Up top, Gabriel Jesus will look to carry over his scoring form from his exploits with Manchester City, with Neymar, Vinicius Junior and Real Madrid's Champions League hero Rodrygo part of a star-studded attacking line-up.

The upcoming friendlies are part of Brazil's penultimate preparations for the 2022 World Cup, where Tite's side are placed in Group G alongside Serbia, Switzerland and Cameroon.

Brazil squad: Alisson (Liverpool), Ederson (Manchester City), Weverton (Palmeiras); Alex Sandro (Juventus), Alex Telles (Manchester United), Dani Alves (Barcelona), Danilo (Juventus), Guilherme Arana (Atletico-MG), Eder Militao (Real Madrid), Gabriel Magalhaes (Arsenal), Marquinhos (Paris Saint-Germain) and Thiago Silva (Chelsea); Bruno Guimaraes (Newcastle United), Casemiro (Real Madrid), Danilo (Palmeiras), Fabinho (Liverpool), Fred (Manchester United), Lucas Paqueta (Lyon) and Philippe Coutinho (Aston Villa); Gabriel Jesus (Manchester City), Gabriel Martinelli (Arsenal), Matheus Cunha (Atletico Madrid), Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain), Raphinha (Leeds), Richarlison (Everton), Rodrygo (Real Madrid) and Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

Mauricio Pochettino was left to lament costly defensive errors after Paris Saint-Germain squandered a 2-0 lead in their frustrating 2-2 Ligue 1 draw with Troyes on Sunday.

Ligue 1 champions PSG found themselves 2-0 up inside 25 minutes at the Parc des Princes after Marquinhos and Neymar found the net, but Nuno Mendes' dire pass allowed Ike Ugbo to halve the arrears before Florian Tardieu scored a second-half penalty to ensure the points were shared.

The disappointing draw marked the first time PSG had led by two goals in a home Ligue 1 match and failed to win since February 2015 in a 2-2 draw against Caen, after Presnel Kimpembe's clumsy foul allowed Tardieu to beat Keylor Navas with an audacious Panenka. 

The Parisian giants were again booed by their own supporters at the full-time whistle, and have now thrown away a two-goal lead in consecutive games after being pegged back from 3-1 down in a 3-3 draw at Strasbourg last time out.

However, Pochettino, who is facing mounting pressure in the French capital despite PSG's title win, claimed his side were unfortunate not to win and should have been awarded a penalty when Achraf Hakimi appeared to be pushed shortly after the break.

"We started the match well, then we made two errors which cost us two goals," he said after the entertaining draw. "I think we still created more than Troyes.

"We deserved a little more luck tonight. We may have missed this tension of the competition. The objective was to win the championship, it's done. Now you have to respect the competition, and I think we did.

"I think [the lack of a penalty] was not justified. There was a penalty on Hakimi on the other side of the field. Our opponents must surely think the opposite, but that's my opinion."

PSG are now on a three-match winless streak in Ligue 1 – each of those finishing in draws – which is their longest such sequence since April 2019 (also three).

They have also failed to win back-to-back home games for the first time since suffering three consecutive home defeats between February and April last year.

Pochettino's team had numerous chances to win the game, with Lionel Messi hitting the post and the crossbar and Neymar having two goals ruled out by VAR.

Messi has now hit the woodwork 10 times in Ligue 1 this season. Since Opta began collecting such data (2006-07), no player has done so more often in a top-flight season (Bakary Sako also did so 10 times for Saint-Etienne in 2011-12), leading the forward's boss to rue his "incredible" misfortune.

"It's an incredible lack of luck," he said. "We could have won the match on his last action [when he hit the bar in the last minute]. For a player of his quality, this is the only explanation."

With PSG having wrapped up their 10th Ligue title last month, Pochettino has faced criticism from some quarters for not giving more game time to the club's young players.

But the Argentine insisted PSG's academy prospects must earn their right to play, and noted the fierce competition in his star-studded squad.

"It is important to clarify that we built a squad of more than thirty players at the start of the season. We had departures in January, but it is a team where there is not much room for young people," he added.

"They have to earn their playing time. Several have been training with us since day one. It's a first step. What is important is the composition of the squad going forward and that there is room for them to gain minutes. Little by little, young people will find their place."

Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint-Germain threw away a two-goal lead for a second successive league game as Troyes battled back to earn a 2-2 draw at the Parc des Princes.

The hosts looked to be in control when Marquinhos and Neymar gave them a comfortable first-half lead, but a series of defensive errors allowed the visitors to fight back in an entertaining affair.

Having surrendered a 3-1 advantage in last week's 3-3 draw with Strasbourg, PSG were on the wrong end of another turnaround when Ike Ugbo and Florian Tardieu scored either side of the break.

Neymar also had two goals disallowed as PSG laboured to another underwhelming result, as the pressure on head coach Mauricio Pochettino continues to mount.

The hosts looked on course for a routine win when Marquinhos turned in Angel Di Maria's excellent cross to open the scoring after five minutes, with Neymar doubling the lead from the spot 20 minutes later after Erik Palmer-Brown clumsily felled Kylian Mbappe.

But Troyes were soon gifted a route back into the game when Ugbo intercepted Nuno Mendes' terrible pass to fire into the bottom-left corner after half an hour.

PSG went close to re-establishing their two-goal advantage when Lionel Messi side-footed against the post, only for Neymar to be ruled offside when smashing home the rebound.

The visitors punished another PSG error when Presnel Kimpembe hauled down Renaud Ripart after the interval, allowing Tardieu to execute an audacious panenka to level the scores, before Neymar saw another goal chalked off after Mbappe's foul in the build-up.

Marquinhos sent a firm header wide and Messi crashed a long-range shot against the bar as the hosts chased a late winner, only for the disciplined visitors to claim a point at a frustrated Parc des Princes.

What does it mean? PSG drop rare home points

While PSG remain unbeaten in 21 Ligue 1 home games (18 wins, three draws), they have now gone two home matches without a win for the first time since doing so between February and April 2021 (three consecutive defeats).

The result will do little to disquiet the discontent around Pochettino's team, with the Argentine under severe pressure despite wrapping up PSG's 10th Ligue 1 title last month.

Neymar continues fine form

Despite PSG flattering to deceive in the second half of the season, Neymar's strong individual performances have proven crucial to their title win.

After converting his first-half penalty, the Brazilian has contributed to goals in each of his last six league games (seven goals and three assists in total).

Tardieu on the spot

In a contest which revolved around two spot-kicks, Tardieu kept his nerve to beat Keylor Navas with a sumptuous lob as the visitors earned a creditable draw.

The 30-year-old has scored four Ligue 1 goals this season, each of them from the spot.

What's next?

PSG travel to Montpellier for the penultimate outing of the Ligue 1 season next Saturday, while Troyes host Lens on the same day.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


TOP STORY – MAHREZ MOVE TO MAKE WAY FOR HAALAND

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

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

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


ROUND-UP

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

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

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

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

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

Neymar has told the Paris Saint-Germain supporters booing him that they "will need more air" if they continue as he intends to stay at the club for the next three years.

The Brazil international and his team-mates have been targeted by their own fans since crashing out of the Champions League to Real Madrid at the last-16 stage on March 9.

That continued during Saturday's 1-1 draw with Lens, despite that result confirming a 10th Ligue 1 title for PSG – only Saint-Etienne have won the competition as many times.

While frustrated by the continued jeering, Neymar – under contract until July 2025 – confirmed he is not looking to leave the Parc des Princes at the end of the campaign.

"I still have a contract with Paris Saint-Germain," he told ESPN Argentina. "I'm here for three more years, so stop [booing] or you'll need more air."

Neymar has 11 goals and seven assists for PSG across 25 appearances in all competitions this season, averaging 0.78 goal involvements every 90 minutes.

That puts him behind only Kylian Mbappe (1.3) and Lionel Messi (0.79) among PSG's regulars this campaign.

 

Marco Verratti is another who has played an important role in the Parisians' eighth Ligue 1 triumph in 10 seasons, the midfielder having been part of the squad for each of those.

The Italy international has now won the French top flight more times than any other player.

Speaking after the title-clinching result, however, Verratti admitted he was surprised by the reaction of PSG's supporters inside the Parc des Princes.

"Not celebrating is something I don't understand," he told Canal+.

"It's football; sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. We are normal people, we can have failures. But the 10th title is important." 

Lionel Messi will be absent when Paris Saint-Germain attempt to wrap up the Ligue 1 title during Wednesday's trip to Angers, Mauricio Pochettino has confirmed.

Messi, who has recorded eight goals and 13 assists in 29 games since moving to the French capital last summer, is receiving treatment for inflammation in his left achilles tendon, and will sit out PSG's potentially decisive match.

Pochettino's men will seal the 10th Ligue 1 title in the club's history by bettering Marseille's result against Nantes, equalling St Etienne as the competition's most successful club.

However, having already lost Neymar to suspension, Pochettino confirmed Messi is among several players who will miss the match, potentially handing an opportunity to some of PSG's younger players.

"Some players like Leo Messi, Marco Verratti and Presnel Kimpembe will be missing tomorrow because they are still undergoing treatment," Pochettino said. "Neymar will be suspended. 

"It will be an opportunity for the players who don't play much to get some game time and it will allow the youngsters to gain experience.

"Players such as Xavi Simons and Edouard Michut, they have been gaining experience. They are the ones who could really play a key role in the club's future."

PSG beat Marseille 2-1 last time out to inch closer to regaining the French crown, and are seeking to confirm top spot by recording a 12th consecutive league win over Angers.

 

Despite boasting a 15-point lead at the Ligue 1 summit with just six games remaining, Pochettino refuted suggestions that PSG's dominance of the competition would mean they struggled to motivate themselves on Wednesday, saying their aim was to seal the title "as soon as possible".

"This match will be important because it could allow us to win a 10th title if we win," he added. "The goal is to continue the momentum from our last few games. We've had a string of successes and we want to continue that momentum.

"For the moment, the title is not secured yet, we are focused on the trip to Angers and on winning. The sooner the better. Personally, it would be an immense joy to win this 10th French championship title for Paris Saint-Germain. 

"Motivation is always there because it is necessary to win. We have to respect football and our opponents until the last day because that is the best way to perform well. We hope to win the title as soon as possible!"

Despite the attacking trio of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar, and Messi scoring each of PSG's last 13 league goals, the latter two have been jeered by their own supporters in recent weeks after the team fell to a humiliating Champions League last-16 collapse against Real Madrid.

While Pochettino respected the right of PSG's fans to have an opinion on the state of the team, he emphasised his hope that supporters would come together to celebrate their title when it is confirmed.

"Everyone has the right to have their say," Pochettino added. "[But] I hope that we can celebrate a 10th title in the club's history together, it's important. For the future, I hope there will be a good relationship, it is crucial for any club that aspires to win all the trophies."

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