Lille secured their first Ligue 1 title in 10 years on Sunday, ending Paris Saint-Germain's dominance of France's top tier. 

It has been an incredible season for Christophe Galtier's team, who finished fourth in the shortened 2019-20 campaign.

But a talented squad full of vibrant, youthful attackers – albeit spearheaded by veteran campaigner Burak Yilmaz – has clinched Ligue 1 title number four for the club, with their success confirmed when they beat Angers 2-1 on the final day of the campaign.

Eden Hazard was among the stars to propel Lille to their last title, in 2011, with Les Douges also triumphing in 1946 and 1954.

PSG finished top in the previous three seasons, since Monaco's Kylian Mbappe-inspired win in 2016-17. Indeed, it is only the second time since 2012-13 that the capital club has not won the title.

Using Opta data, we take a look at the numbers behind Lille's sensational season.

 

STACKING UP THE POINTS

With 79 points after 36 games, Lille already set their best tally in a Ligue 1 season in their history (based on three points for a win) ahead of the penultimate meeting of 2020-21 with Saint-Etienne.

A win against Claude Puel's team last week eluded Lille, though, with a point keeping PSG – who beat Reims – firmly in the running heading into the last round of fixtures.

Yet they came up with the vital three points against mid-table Angers.

Galtier's side have lost only three league fixtures this term (W24, D11) – those defeats coming in November, January and March against Brest (2-3), Angers (1-2) and Nimes (1-2) respectively. 

It is Galtier's first Ligue 1 crown as a coach. Since his appointment at Lille in December 2017, only George Barry, between 1944 and 1946, has managed a better win rate in the club's history (55.9 per cent).

 

MAGNIFICENT MAIGNAN MARSHALLS MISERLY DEFENCE

According to multiple reports, Mike Maignan may have played his final game for Lille, with Serie A giants Milan rumoured to have lined the goalkeeper up as their replacement for Gianluigi Donnarumma, who is out of contract next month.

Maignan joined Lille in 2015, and the 25-year-old has developed into one of the best goalkeepers in Europe.

He has kept 21 clean sheets in Ligue 1 this season, more than any other goalkeeper across the continent's top five leagues, while before Sunday's game, only PSG's Keylor Navas (79.3) and Atletico Madrid's Jan Oblak (80.2) had a better shot-stopping rate than Maignan (79.1) of 'keepers to have played at least 15 games.

Ahead of Maignan, Lille's defence have also performed admirably, with the experienced Jose Fonte partnering Dutch youngster Sven Botman, who has been linked to Liverpool.

Lille have let in just seven goals in the second half of Ligue 1 matches in 2020-21 and conceded only 22 times in total. 

 

TURKISH DELIGHT AS YILMAZ ENJOYS LATE BLOOM

Eyebrows may have been raised when Lille brought in Yilmaz, the former Galatasaray, Trabzonspor and Besiktas striker.

However, the 35-year-old has more than proved any doubters wrong, scoring 16 times in his maiden Ligue 1 season, while also providing five assists.

His 21 direct goal involvements put him six ahead of any other Lille player, and his experience has profited a front line which includes Jonathan Bamba, Jonathan David, Yusuf Yazici and Jonathan Ikone, who have combined for 30 league goals.

Yilmaz is the first player to score at least 15 goals in his first season with Lille in Ligue 1 since Moussa Sow in 2010-11 (25), while his penalty at Angers beat the record for the most goals netted by a Turkish player in a single campaign in the competition, set by Mevlut Erdinc in 2009-10.

The striker has also shown an eye for the spectacular and Lille's 12 goals from outside the box were more than any other team Ligue 1 team. 

Paris Saint-Germain ceded the Ligue 1 title despite winning their final match of the season 2-0 at Brest.

Neymar missed a first-half penalty at Stade Francis-Le Ble before a Romain Faivre own goal and Kylian Mbappe's 27th league goal of the season made it a routine win for Mauricio Pochettino's men.

But Lille's 2-1 victory over Angers meant Christophe Galtier's side completed an incredible triumph by a solitary point.

Results elsewhere were kinder to Brest, with Nantes' 2-1 loss to Montpellier sparing them participation in the relegation play-off.

PSG's title hopes took an early blow when Jonathan David gave Lille the lead at Angers and Neymar then spurned a 19th-minute penalty after Faivre's rash foul on Angel Di Maria.

Brest goalkeeper Gautier Larsonneur engaged in some kidology by standing near his right-hand post for the kick and Neymar duly rolled his shot past the other upright.

Di Maria took matters into his own hands before half-time, albeit with a huge slice of fortune, when his right-wing corner deflected off Faivre and looped beyond Larsonneur.

Brest might have gone in level, only for Steve Mounie to power a close-range header over from Brendan Chardonnet's cross.

News of Lille's comfortable position perhaps informed the lack of intensity at the start of the second half, with PSG creating little of note from open play and Di Maria rippled the side-netting with a free-kick.

Mounie erred again when he burst clear of a haphazard visiting backline in the 65th minute, shooting at Keylor Navas' legs.

PSG were indebted to Navas once more soon afterwards, the former Real Madrid man's positioning impeccable when Gaetan Charbonnier met Mounie's knockdown.

Mbappe had existed on the fringes of the contest but was alert to round Larsonneur in the 71st minute and kept his composure to finish after being bundled to the floor by Jean-Kevin Duverne in front of the unguarded net.

Larsonneur denied substitute Mauro Icardi and Mbappe as Brest appeared increasingly forlorn – their fate ultimately saved by others.

Lille were crowned Ligue 1 champions on Sunday as they pipped Paris Saint-Germain to the title by a single point.

Christophe Galtier's side won 2-1 at Angers to ensure they finished 2020-21 in top spot, with PSG's 2-0 victory at Brest proving academic.

It is Lille's fourth top-flight title in the professional era and their first since 2010-11, when Eden Hazard was named the competition's player of the year.

Lille's points tally of 83 is the best in their history and they only lost three matches all season, the last of which was in March against Nimes.

It is Galtier's first Ligue 1 title as a coach, while Sunday's match is expected to be his last at the club before he takes charge of Nice.

Lille's triumph was inspired by the form of 35-year-old striker Burak Yilmaz, who scored 16 times in his first campaign in France's top tier.

He is the first player to score at least 15 goals in his first Ligue 1 season with Lille since Moussa Sow hit 25 in their title-winning campaign a decade ago.

It is only the second time in nine seasons that PSG have not been crowned champions, with Monaco also having lifted the trophy back in 2016-17.

Neymar was touched by the sight of Luis Suarez in tears after helping Atletico Madrid clinch the LaLiga title.

Their Barcelona bond remains, even though both have left Camp Nou, where alongside Lionel Messi they formed the famous 'MSN' strike trio.

On Sunday, Neymar was hoping to help Paris Saint-Germain win the Ligue 1 title, as they looked to overhaul leaders Lille on the final day.

But the Brazilian was also caught up in the drama of Saturday's finale to the Spanish LaLiga season, as Atletico pipped Real Madrid to glory.

Suarez, who made a painful exit from Barcelona last September, scored 21 goals in 32 league games as Atletico broke up the familiar Madrid-Barcelona duopoly.

His goals were worth a total of 22 points to Atleti, more than any other player in LaLiga this season.

The 33-year-old let his emotions flow after scoring the decisive goal in the final-day 2-1 win over Real Valladolid, breaking down at full-time while on a video call to his family.

It was that moment that tugged at the heartstrings of Neymar, who alongside a picture of the weeping striker wrote a message on his Instagram story: "Well done @luissuarez. I'm happy for you brother. You deserve it. You're a star."

England international Kieran Trippier revelled in winning the championship in just his second year in LaLiga.

Trippier wrote on Instagram: "CAMPEONESSSS! Wow, what a feeling! To win @laliga with this incredible group of players is a dream come true. Thank you to everyone who has supported me this year. Vamos!!"

The Ligue 1 title tussle between Paris Saint-Germain and Lille is going to the wire, and it is Les Dogues who hold a slender advantage heading into the final day.

Lille could have won the title – their first since 2010-11 – last week had they beaten Saint-Etienne and PSG dropped points against Reims.

Neither of those outcomes came to fruition, however, and Lille are just one point ahead with one game left to play. It is the smallest gap between a leader and the second-placed team at this stage in a Ligue 1 campaign since 2001-02.

Christophe Galtier's team need only to beat Angers to guarantee their triumph, but the mid-table team are one of the only three sides Lille have lost to this season in Ligue 1, while PSG face Brest.

Just below the title battle, Monaco – who have a slim chance of taking top billing – and Lyon are vying for the final Champions League spot. 

Monaco could yet end up at the summit, but Niko Kovac's team would finish fourth if they fail to beat Lens and Lyon defeat Nice.

At the other end of the table, there is potential for drama, with six teams between 18th-placed Nantes and 13th-placed Reims involved in a relegation scrap.

It has been a tightly fought contest throughout the season at the top of the table, but all will be decided on Sunday.

How does the predictor work?

First of all, here's how we got the data...

The data model estimates the probability of each match outcome – either a win, draw or loss – based on each team's attacking and defensive quality. Those ratings are allocated based on four years' worth of comprehensive historic data points and results, with more weighting given to recent matches to account for improvements or declines in form and performance trends.

The AI simulation takes into account the quality of the opposition that a team scores or concedes goals against and rewards them accordingly. All that data is used to simulate upcoming matches using goal predictions from the Poisson distribution – a detailed mathematical model – with the two teams' attacking and defending ratings used as inputs.

The outcome of the season is then simulated on 10,000 different occasions in order to generate the most accurate possible percentage chance of each team finishing in their ultimate league position. The points total is based on an average of the predicted points from the simulations of the league outcome.

Let's see how the model now predicts the final league table will look...

 

Lille likely to pip PSG to the post

Our model suggests that it will be Lille who hold firm to triumph this season, and claim their fourth Ligue 1 crown in the process, giving Les Dogues a 57.9 per cent chance of finishing top.

Lille did lose to Angers earlier this season, but they had won the previous three matches against them.

Angers, though, have only failed to score in two of their 18 Ligue 1 home games against Lille, doing so in their first such meeting in September 1957 (0-0) and in their most recent in February 2020 (0-2).

However, Lille's away form is superb – they have won 11 of their last 12 Ligue 1 games on the road.

Opta's AI predicts a 34 per cent chance of Lille finishing second, and an 8.9 per cent of them finishing third. The latter outcome would require Lille to lose, PSG to avoid defeat, Monaco to win, and there to be at least a six-goal swing in goal difference in the principality club's favour.

For PSG, the model offers them a 45.7 per chance of finishing second. If they drop points at all, then Lille will only need to draw to win the title, while a defeat – combined with a Monaco victory – would see Mauricio Pochettino's team finish third. Opta predict there is a 10.9 per cent chance of this happening.

There is very slim potential (3.1 per cent) for PSG to finish outside of the Champions League places and in fourth, but the goal difference swing required (17) would be bordering on the realms of impossibility.

PSG have a 40.3 per cent chance of finishing top, with Monaco not technically out of the running – they have a 2.6 per cent chance.

Monaco would need both Lille and PSG to slip up for that to occur. However, their main focus is to secure Champions League football.

Opta suggests this may be tough, with Lyon – led by the in-form Memphis Depay – given a 43.2 per cent chance of snatching third place, with Monaco destined for fourth. This is due in part to their poor record away at Lens in Ligue 1, where they have won just one of their last 14 top-flight games.

Bad luck for Brest

In the relegation scrap, Opta predict that Nantes, who currently occupy 18th place or Brest are the most likely teams to have to play-off against Toulouse or Grenoble Foot for a place in next season's Ligue 1.

Brest of course face PSG, and they have lost their last three Ligue 1 home games against the capital club, giving them a 50 per cent chance of finishing 18th.

Nantes are in action against Montpellier, and the model suggests their most likely finishing position is also in the bottom three (35.8 per cent), though only one unwanted place is up for grabs.

Reims, who sit in 13th, are not mathematically safe, with only two points between them and Nantes, but they are predicted to secure their top-flight status for next season.

Lorient, Bordeaux and Strasbourg could also be dragged into the relegation/promotion play-off place.

Mauricio Pochettino believes Paris Saint-Germain will be worthy Ligue 1 champions if they leapfrog Lille on the season's final day – and said it would not be a "failure" to fall short.

The head coach, who took over from Thomas Tuchel in January, has seen his team show inconsistent league form, suffering defeats to Lorient, Nantes, Monaco and Lille.

A late-season surge has seen PSG close to just one point behind Lille going into Sunday's final round of games.

The Coupe de France final triumph over Monaco on Wednesday means Pochettino's team already have one major trophy, but the former Tottenham boss wants a double.

"In football you always have to believe. That is the principle we have always had," said Pochettino.

His team travel to relegation-threatened Brest on Sunday evening, while Lille head to Angers, who are safe from the threat of the drop.

"We always think anything can happen and we have to be ready to win in case Lille slip up at Angers which means we will win the league," Pochettino said.

"We believe that good things will happen. Everyone will do their job as well as they can. So we hope to win tomorrow and to also win the title.

"We would be worthy champions, as would any other team that might win it. Whoever wins it will be worthy champions."

Asked whether it might be considered a failure if the Parisians fail to win the title, Pochettino dismissed the emotive term.

PSG have been champions in seven of the last eight seasons, and their budget far exceeds that of any domestic rival.

"At a club like PSG, not winning any of those competitions is always a big disappointment," Pochettino said.

"I don't know if the word failure applies because that has a very strong connotation, but it would be a disappointment rather than a failure.

"It would be disappointing not to win the league, but we are thinking positively and that it may be possible."

PSG also won the Trophee des Champions under Pochettino's watch – beating Marseille in January – having earned their place in that match following a league and cup double last season.

"We hope to win another trophy; it would be our third in five months," Pochettino told reporters in a news conference on Saturday.

"We had a good campaign in the Champions League, reaching the semi-finals, but we were disappointed not to reach the final. I think the squad and players have put in a huge effort to compete in the best way."

The last time there was such a small gap between the top two entering the final round of a Ligue 1 season was way back in 2001-02, when Lens led Lyon by a point but were overtaken on the final day after losing to their title rivals.

That is one positive omen for PSG, with another being that Brest boss Olivier Dall’Oglio has lost on all six previous occasions when he has faced the capital side as a head coach in the league.

Brest's last league win against PSG was a 3-1 success in January 1985. Indeed, Brest have been beaten in their last three Ligue 1 home games against PSG, but they have never lost four in a row at home against a single opponent in the top-flight.

That may need to change for PSG to stand a chance of a final-day turnaround at the top, although a draw would suffice should Lille lose to Angers.

Pochettino expects to be kept informed about Lille's progress but is urging his players not to be distracted.

"I think it will be difficult not to keep tabs on it," Pochettino said. "The most important thing is that the players are fully focused on what they have to do, which is winning the game, so that if something happens in Angers we will not have a problem ourselves.

"What matters is winning and hoping that something goes our way in the game with Lille."

Gianluigi Donnarumma's future is dominating headlines.

Milan want to re-sign the Italy international but time is running out.

A blockbuster move to LaLiga could be on the horizon…

 

TOP STORY – DONNARUMMA TO SPAIN?

Milan goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma has been offered to Barcelona by his agent Mino Raiola, according to Diario AS.

Donnarumma is out of contract at the end of the season and the Italy international is yet to re-sign with Milan.

He has been linked with Serie A rivals Juventus, Barca, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Donnarumma's arrival could force Barca to sell star number one Marc-Andre ter Stegen.

 

ROUND-UP

- Diario AS claims Kylian Mbappe's proposed transfer to Real Madrid does not hinge on head coach Zinedine Zidane, who could leave at the end of the season. Former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri and Madrid great Raul have emerged as the frontrunners should Zidane leave, but it will not impact Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe's future. Madrid have also been linked with Borussia Dortmund sensation Erling Haaland and Tottenham's Harry Kane.

Sergio Aguero is set to accept a contract offer from Barca until June 2023, reports Fabrizio Romano. Aguero is poised to become a free agent once his deal with Manchester City expires. Lyon captain Memphis Depay is also on the verge of moving to Camp Nou on a free transfer.

- Udinese star Rodrigo De Paul, Atalanta's Josip Ilicic and Roma attacker Henrikh Mkhitaryan are potential replacements for Milan's Hakan Calhanoglu, according to Tuttosport. Calhanoglu's contract is expiring at San Siro amid links with Juve, United and clubs in Qatar.

Monza are eyeing Juventus great Gianluigi Buffon, says Gazzetta dello Sport. Monza – owned by former Milan president Silvio Berlusconi – are currently in Serie B and missed out on promotion via the playoffs. Monza also boast Mario Balotelli and Kevin-Prince Boateng. Buffon has already revealed he will leave Juve at the end of the season.

Kylian Mbappe is delighted to get the chance to play alongside Karim Benzema at Euro 2020, declaring there are not many better players than the Real Madrid forward.

Benzema, 33, earned his first France call-up in over five years on Tuesday when he was included in Didier Deschamps' squad for the delayed Euro 2020 tournament.

Mbappe, meanwhile, continued his excellent season with a brilliant display in Paris Saint-Germain's 2-0 win over Monaco in the Coupe de France final on Wednesday, teeing up Mauro Icardi's opener and scoring himself late on.

It was the eighth direct goal involvement of Mbappe's Coupe de France campaign (five games), topping his previous best of seven in the competition, set in 2017-18.

Yet the main focus in the post-match news conference was on Benzema's return to Les Bleus' squad.

"I'm very happy. I've always said that I wanted to play with great players," said Mbappe.

"Benzema, I didn't [play with him]. There is not many [players] above him in the world. He will bring us a lot.

"He played at Madrid for 10 years, the pressure, he knows, he has the experience and the talent above all. The big players adapt. I'm sure he will adapt very quickly."

Mbappe was also asked if he would be in place to help PSG push on for a 15th Coupe de France trophy next season.

"We must take advantage of this title," he answered with a smile, deflecting the question somewhat. 

"Look at all the people who are happy! This is most important. And I am the happiest!"

PSG have won two trophies this season under Mauricio Pochettino, and the Ligue 1 title race is going down to the wire. Should they beat Brest on Sunday, and Lille drop points against Angers, the capital club will snatch the top-flight crown.

"We work every day to have this type of emotion, reward and recognition," Mbappe added.

"It's the work of a whole group, a whole staff, who work every day for us, for the club. The supporters, the title is for them too.

"When you play for Paris Saint-Germain, one of the best clubs in the world, the biggest in the country, every title counts."

Monaco boss Niko Kovac, meanwhile, said there was one major difference between the teams at Stade de France.

"The difference tonight is Mbappe," he said.

"He is one of the best players in the world, if not the best at the moment. All the clubs are fighting to have him. We had him, we no longer have him."

Paris Saint-Germain retained their Coupe de France crown as Kylian Mbappe turned in a star display in a 2-0 win over Monaco at the Stade de France.

Without the suspended Neymar, PSG relied on Mbappe in Paris and the former Monaco prodigy delivered with an assist for Mauro Icardi's opener before rounding off the win himself late on.

Trailing from the 19th minute, Monaco huffed and puffed, but the closest Niko Kovac's team came to an equaliser was when Gelson Martins' deflected cross clipped the crossbar.

Monaco's defeat in their first appearance in a Coupe de France final in 11 years was sealed with nine minutes remaining, Mbappe dinking home to seal PSG's 14th triumph in the competition.

Neymar may have been missing for Mauricio Pochettino's side, but PSG's other key man was at the heart of their opener.

Having pounced on Axel Disasi's heavy touch following a goal-kick, Mbappe kept his cool to tee up Icardi for a simple finish into an empty net.

Alessandro Florenzi drew a save out of Radoslaw Majecki as PSG pressed for a second, though Keylor Navas had to smother Kevin Volland's header at the other end.

Wissam Ben Yedder will be at Euro 2020 after another excellent season, but the France forward – and Monaco's talisman – was replaced after an hour without having registered a shot as PSG continued to keep Kovac's men at arm's length.

Fortune was on PSG's side with 20 minutes remaining – Gelson's cross, which took a deflection, hitting the woodwork after looping over Navas.

Krepin Diatta snatched at an effort from inside the area, though Monaco looked short of ideas, and moments after striking the bar with a long-range chip, Mbappe made sure of the win when he raced onto Angel Di Maria's pass and lofted in a neat finish.

Robert Lewandowski may be contracted to Bayern Munich until 2023 but speculation is mounting about his future.

Paris Saint-Germain have been linked with the Poland international, particularly if the Parisians lose Kylian Mbappe.

The agent of the Bundesliga record-breaker is reportedly putting pressure on Bayern to re-negotiate his current deal, fuelling the rumours of a switch.

 

TOP STORY – CHELSEA MAKE LEWANDOWSKI ENQUIRY

Chelsea have reached out to Bundesliga champions Bayern Munich to discuss a potential move for Robert Lewandowski, according to Sky Sport Germany.

Thomas Tuchel's Chelsea would face stiff competition from Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona, in the event Lewandowski decides to leave Munich, where he has been based since 2014.

Chelsea have been linked with a big-money move for Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland, showcasing their financial strength which could be switched to Lewandowski should they miss out on the Norwegian.

 

ROUND-UP

Manchester City have emerged as the frontrunners to sign Tottenham star Harry Kane reports the Daily Mail. Kane has reportedly asked to leave Spurs amid links with City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Chelsea are also interested in signing Atalanta's Ruslan Malinovskyi, claims The Sun. Wolfsburg defender Maxence Lacroix is also a target for the Blues, reports Sky Germany.

- The Sun says David Beckham's MLS franchise Inter Miami are pursuing Arsenal attacker Willian, who is reportedly keen on the opportunity.

Frank Lampard is on Crystal Palace's radar as they plan for Roy Hodgson's successor, according to Talksport. Hodgson will leave the Premier League club at the end of the season.  

- Corriere dello Sport claims Gennaro Gattuso is ready to leave Napoli as Fiorentina circle and he wants club captain Lorenzo Insigne to join him.

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe said he is dreaming of playing for France at the upcoming Olympic Games in Tokyo.

Mbappe and world champions France are preparing for the rescheduled Euro 2020, which gets underway next month.

As Didier Deschamps' Les Bleus eye European glory, Mbappe also wants to represent his country at the Tokyo Games, starting in July.

"For us, having recognition from the whole country is very important," the 22-year-old Mbappe told TF1.

"Everyone knows that my dream has always been to take part at the Olympic Games and I hope I will be able to realise one of my lifelong dreams."

France have been drawn alongside hosts Japan, Mexico and South Africa in Group A at the Olympics.

Led by Under-21 boss Sylvain Ripoll at the Olympics, France are scheduled to open their campaign against Mexico on July 22.

On his short-term objections, Mbappe said: "The objective is always the same - to try to win the Euros to bring happiness to the French people.

"We have a team which is capable of competing for it. We always want to win. If we do win it, it will bring a great deal of joy.

"We are going to prepare well for the tournament with the hope of going far. We will be trying to bring the trophy back to France."

 

Mauricio Pochettino hopes to have Neymar available for Wednesday's Coupe de France final after Paris Saint-Germain appealed against the forward's suspension.

Neymar was booked four minutes after being brought off the bench in last week's eventful 2-2 semi-final draw with Montpellier, which PSG won 6-5 on penalties to progress.

That triggered a one-match ban linked to a pre-existing suspended sentence, having also sat out two matches after being sent off against Lille last month.

The Brazil international hit out at the decision on social media, but PSG may yet have Neymar – plus defender Presnel Kimpembe – in their squad to face Monaco.

PSG are awaiting a decision from the relevant authorities and Pochettino insists his side's plans will not be disrupted either way.

"We don't know if they will be available, but we hope so. We will see in the next few hours if we can count on them," Pochettino said at Tuesday's pre-match news conference.

"We are awaiting a decision and will prepare as normal. I will pick my team tomorrow. The rest does not change."

PSG lost both league meetings with Monaco this season – 3-2 in November and 2-0 at home in February – and the two sides are involved in a thrilling Ligue 1 title battle.

Reigning champions PSG are second in the standings heading into the final set of fixtures, with leaders Lille one point better off and Monaco two points further back in a three-way race.

Pochettino faces a huge week in his first half-season at the Parc des Princes, with Wednesday's clash against in-form Monaco at the Stade de France followed by a league trip to Brest.

"We are coming to the end of the season and have two games that we must win – they are both finals," Pochettino said. 

"We don't need any extra motivation, and the physical aspect will not be a problem for us. There is a good atmosphere in the camp as we are close to two titles.

"Monaco deserve credit for their wins against us and they are a physically strong team with a lot of qualities.

"I think we deserved better in the last game between us, but they have played well. It is a final and I hope now the result will be different."

Pochettino took over from Thomas Tuchel in the Parc des Princes dugout in January and he lifted the Trophee des Champions in his third game in charge.

That was the first trophy the former Espanyol, Southampton and Tottenham boss has won and he is relaxed ahead of his side's latest final.

"I am a calm coach. I don't have much excitement beforehand," said Pochettino, who was a beaten finalist with Tottenham in the 2018-19 Champions League.

"We know our responsibilities and want to be as efficient as possible. I have confidence in the team and we will prepare in the right way for this final."

Eden Hazard believes Lille winning Ligue 1 this season would be a greater achievement than when he inspired the club to a domestic double a decade ago.

Belgium star Hazard enjoyed a breakout campaign in 2010-11 when Lille won Ligue 1 and the Coupe de France.

He left for Chelsea after the following season, when he retained the Ligue 1 Player of the Year crown, but has kept a keen eye on Les Dogues ever since, having joined the club at 14 and progressed through the youth ranks.

"I owe almost everything to Lille," he said in an interview with the club's official website.

"If I am here today, it is partly thanks to the people I met in the north [of France], to the coaches, but also to all those whom I was able to meet during these years. 

"They all have a part in my success."

 

Christophe Galtier's current vintage will wrap up an improbable Ligue 1 success this weekend if they are able to match Paris Saint-Germain's result.

PSG are away at relegation-threatened Brest, while Lille travel to mid-table Angers, although last weekend's frustrating 0-0 draw against Saint-Etienne has done plenty to set nerves jangling – their advantage at the summit trimmed to a solitary point.

Bolstered by the lavish wealth of their Qatari owners, PSG have won seven of the past eight French titles, with Monaco's success in 2016-17 the outlier.

"Honestly, if [Lille] are champions this season, it would be even better than us in 2011, because there is now the Qatar version of PSG, which makes this championship even more difficult to win," Hazard added.

"The supporters deserve it. When we won this double, they had to wait over 50 years to see the club lift a trophy. And in this complicated period, it would be good for everyone. 

"The people of the north deserve it and especially the players."

Where will Harry Kane play in 2021-22?

The Tottenham star Kane reportedly wants out of his boyhood club.

Premier League rivals Manchester United, Manchester City and Chelsea are ready to pounce…

 

TOP STORY – KANE SEEKING SPURS DEPARTURE

Harry Kane has told Tottenham he wants to leave the club in the off-season, according to widespread reports in England.

Frustrated at a lack of silverware in London, Spurs star Kane would reportedly prefer to remain in the Premier League amid links to champions Manchester City, Manchester United and Chelsea.

Kane is believed to be open to a LaLiga switch, with Barcelona among his admirers.

 

ROUND-UP

- The front page of Diario AS claims former Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri is the favourite to replace Zinedine Zidane if the Frenchman leaves Real Madrid. Club great Raul, who is currently in charge of the Castilla team, is another option. It comes as Madrid push to bring in a franchise player in the form of Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe, while Borussia Dortmund's Erling Haaland and Bayern Munich's David Alaba are also wanted amid links to Rennes sensation Eduardo Camavinga and United midfielder Paul Pogba.

- The Sun says City are considering a mega move for Barca superstar Lionel Messi, who is out of contract at the end of the season. Messi is reportedly open to reuniting with Pep Guardiola in Manchester on a one-year deal.

Barca are weighing up the futures of Gerard Pique, Sergio Busquets, Antoine Griezmann and Sergi Roberto, reports Mundo Deportivo. Due to their financial situation, the players could be asked to take a pay cut as Lyon captain Memphis Depay prepares to arrive on a free transfer. City forward Sergio Aguero and defender Eric Garcia, Haaland and Liverpool's Georginio Wijnaldum have also been linked.

- Lille's Jonathan Ikone is Dortmund's top priority as the Bundesliga club prepare for life without Jadon Sancho, according to France Football. Sancho has been tipped to join United or Liverpool, while Dortmund are also eyeing PSV sensation Donyell Malen, Ajax forward David Neres and Pedro Goncalves of Sporting CP.

Julian Draxler is hopeful Paris Saint-Germain will see the "best Draxler ever" after he signed a three-year contract extension with the club.

The attacking midfielder will remain with PSG until June 2024 having agreed to a deal following a season in which he has made only 12 league starts.

Despite being used in a rotational role behind the established front three of Neymar, Kylian Mbappe and Angel Di Maria, Draxler has excelled as a creative force for PSG.

Indeed, he has created 30 chances in Ligue 1 in 2020-21, more than any other PSG player outside of their starting attacking trident.

Across Draxler's PSG career, that tally is only topped by the 41 chances he laid on for his team-mates in the 2018-19 campaign, when he provided seven assists.

And Draxler is hopeful of not only recapturing that form but improving on it after extending his stay with a PSG side that must better Lille's result on Sunday to avoid losing the Ligue 1 title for the first time since 2017.

 

"The club's ambitions have become a reality. We played in the semi-final of the Champions League this season and in the final last season," Draxler told PSG's official website.

"We have progressed a lot, and even though we have been through highs and lows, the project is a very attractive one and I am happy to be able to continue here.

"I have been playing a lot more in recent weeks, it's important for me to be able to maintain my rhythm and play matches.

"I feel very good and you can see that in the final weeks of this season.

"We will have a better pre-season this summer than we did last year, we hope that everyone will be ready and that Paris will see the best Draxler ever!" 

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