Paris Saint-Germain head coach Christophe Galtier has backed Lionel Messi to shake off last term's challenges and have a "great season" after opening the Ligue 1 campaign with a double.

Messi capped off PSG's 5-0 win at Clermont on Saturday with two late goals, including a spectacular over-head strike. Neymar, Achraf Hakimi and Marquinhos all scored in the first half.

The Argentine's double comes after he only managed 11 goals in all competitions in his first season in the French capital following his move from Barcelona, while he struggled to find cohesion alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe last term too.

"He had a bit of a difficult season last season, he had to fit in," Galtier told reporters.

"There was a radical change but in every season before that he has at least 30 goals.

"He went through a complete pre-season. When he has his bearing both in terms of his family life but also in terms of his club, the team and his fellow players, there is no reason why Leo should not have a great season."

Galtier, who took over at PSG from Mauricio Pochettino last month, was glowing in his praise of Messi having spoken at length during their pre-season tour of Japan.

"I spoke with Leo during our time in Japan and I also talked with my attacking players to make sure that he could perform well all the time," he said.

"Leo has a very sharp tactical sense, very clear. He has vision. He quickly sees where he has to go.

"The way he defends, the way he positions himself to play with others. He can get into the zone. He likes to play with the players he has around him.

"From there, when Leo smiles obviously, the team smiles too."

PSG are in action next weekend in the league at home to Montpellier.

Italy international Lorenzo Insigne netted his first goal in the MLS as Toronto won a seven-goal thriller 4-3 over Nashville on Saturday, while Gareth Bale was on the scoresheet again for LAFC.

The 31-year-old winger fired in Toronto's fourth goal to make it 4-2 in the 77th minute with a near-post strike from just outside the box.

Insigne, making his third MLS appearance for Toronto, showed his class to create a pocket of space for himself before opening up his body to fire past Nashville goalkeeper Joe Willis.

The goal headlined an entertaining contest which helped Toronto claim their seventh win of the season as they seek to mount a late-season charge.

Jonathan Osorio rifled Toronto in a 19th-minute lead but Hany Mukhtar's penalty squared it up in the 41st minute. Osorio restored Toronto's lead by tapping in Richie Laryea's low ball across goal, yet Nashville were level by half-time when Teal Bunbury glanced in off the post from a corner.

Filippo Bernardeschi put Toronto up again with an emphatic 54th-minute penalty before Insigne's moment with just under quarter of an hour to go. Walker Zimmerman headed in a late goal from Mukhtar's corner but Nashville could not find an equaliser as Toronto claimed their first road win in 378 days.

Bale, making his fourth appearance for his new club, netted his second MLS goal in LAFC's 4-1 victory against Real Salt Lake.

The Walsh international came on in the 64th minute with LAFC 3-1 up after Cristian Arango's double and added the fourth with a classy solo goal. Bale ran down the right flank, beating away two defenders, before tucking into the box and finding his favoured left foot for a trademark strike.

Cincinnati made a statement with a strong 3-1 home win against Eastern Conference leaders Philadelphia Union.

All three of Cincinnati's goals came in the second half, after Brenner had a first-goal strike disallowed by the VAR. Brandon Vazquez, Brenner and Alvaro Barreal netted for Cincinnati, who move up to sixth, while Paxton Aaronson scored a late consolation for Union.

Under-performing New England snapped their six-game winless run to revive their playoffs hopes with a 3-0 victory at Orlando City.

Matt Polster, Wilfrid Kaptoum and Henry Kessler got the goals, with Carles Gil grabbing his 12th assist of the season for the latter's strike.

New York City were unable to capitalise on Philadelphia's loss, going down 3-2 at Columbus Crew, for whom Lucas Zelarayan scored a brace.

Gonzalo Higuain got on the scoresheet as Inter Miami rallied from behind to twice to manage a 2-2 draw at Montreal.

Bottom club DC United held New York Red Bulls to a 0-0 draw, while Chicago Fire made it four wins in five games with a 3-2 victory at Charlotte.

In the west, Javier Hernandez netted a late double but it was not enough for LA Galaxy who went down 4-2 at Sporting KC.

Gyasi Zardes scored a hat-trick as Colorado Rapids edged Minnesota United 4-3, Austin and San Jose Earthquakes drew 3-3 and Portland Timbers and Dallas both scored late in a 1-1 draw.

Valencia coach Gennaro Gattuso has revealed Goncalo Guedes is set for a move to the Premier League after being left out of Los Che's squad for a friendly win over Atalanta on Saturday.

Guedes was absent as Gattuso's men wrapped up their pre-season preparations with a 2-1 victory over the Serie A club ahead of their LaLiga opener against Girona on August 14.

The 25-year-old, who has 32 senior caps for Portugal, has been linked with a move to England on several occasions in the past, with Bruno Lage's Wolves mentioned by the Spanish press as potential suitors during the current transfer window.

When asked about the attacker after Valencia's win, Gattuso said an offer from an unnamed Premier League side had proven too good to turn down, as he professed his hope the funds would be reinvested should Guedes depart.

"This afternoon [Valencia sporting director] Miguel Corona called me and explained the situation to me," Gattuso said.

"An English club has formalised an offer of a lot of money. I don't know the exact figure, but at this moment we have to accept. 

"We are going to do anything to improve to the team. The club knows very well what we need to complete the team. I expect signings, but I'm not talking about positions. I expect two, three players."

Guedes top-scored with 13 goals in all competitions for Valencia last season as well as topping the club's charts for assists (six) and dribbles completed (72), while only Carlos Soler (62) created more chances than the 25-year-old's 50.

Frank Lampard revealed Everton are "very close" to finalising the signing of Lille midfielder Amadou Onana, as he predicted the Belgium international will have a "big impact" at the club.

Everton suffered a frustrating 1-0 defeat to Chelsea in their Premier League opener on Saturday, with Ben Godfrey and Yerry Mina sustaining injuries just three days after Dominic Calvert-Lewin was ruled out for up to six weeks. 

But Toffees supporters are set to receive some positive news after Onana travelled to Merseyside to finalise a transfer reportedly worth up to £33.7million (€40m), having made 43 appearances for Lille in all competitions last season.

And Lampard, who has already added James Tarkowski, Dwight McNeil and Ruben Vinagre to his squad since warding off the threat of relegation last season, expects big things from the towering midfielder. 

"I can talk about Onana because he's here today," Lampard told Sky Sports.

Asked what the 20-year-old will bring to the Toffees, Lampard added: "A lot, I'm a big fan, that's why he's coming. 

"When you come in as a manager you want to influence the team's style, the way that we play. [He's] a midfield player, a young player that has – for me – everything in terms of physicality, quality on the ball, energy, and defensive mindset; an all-rounder.

"For me, he has a big future and he's going to have a big impact on the club. He's a good lad, he's got a good confidence about him, so that's the way we want to go.

"I think he comes in at a really good age for us, I don't want to hang too much on him, it sounds like I'm building him up, but I'm very pleased that we're very close to doing that one."

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Christophe Galtier confirmed Kylian Mbappe's absence from their Ligue 1 opener was precautionary, with the star striker set to return next week.

The France international sat out the first game of PSG's title defence just under a week on from missing their Trophee des Champions triumph over Nantes.

Mbappe's absence was not particularly felt on Saturday, as a Lionel Messi double and a superb four-goal-involvement performance from Neymar helped PSG to a 5-0 rout of Clermont Foot.

But speaking to Canal+ afterwards, Galtier has assuaged fears the 23-year-old could be a long-term absentee, acknowledging he could have risked him had it been a high-stakes game.

Asked if Mbappe could be back next weekend, Galtier said: "Yes, I think so. He had a little problem, [and] we didn't want to take any risks.

"Obviously, if we had been playing a difficult game or a Champions League game, Kylian might have participated.

"We preferred to delay his return and he will be with us obviously, I think, against Montpellier."

PSG will play their first home game of the season against Montpellier next Saturday, with the club hoping to make it three competitive wins on the bounce under their new boss.

Galatasaray have confirmed they are in transfer talks for both Dries Mertens and Lucas Torreira, with the Super Lig outfit plotting a double swoop.

Former Napoli forward Mertens is currently a free agent after leaving the Serie A outfit at the end of last season, while Arsenal midfielder Torreira is in the final year of his contract with at the Emirates Stadium.

Now, Galatasaray have confirmed they are in discussions to sign the duo, following reports they were interested in their services.

"Official negotiations have started with the player regarding the transfer of professional football player Dries Mertens to our club," they issued in a statement on Twitter.

"[Furthermore], negotiations have started with Arsenal regarding the transfer of Lucas Sebastian Torreira Di Pascua."

Mertens, a double Coppa Italia winner during his nine-year spell in Naples, was a member of the Belgium squad that came third at the Russia 2018 World Cup four years ago.

Despite being 35, he is yet to confirm his international retirement, and may hope to figure in the Red Devils' party for Qatar 2022 later this season.

Uruguay international Torreira meanwhile has spent the last two seasons away from Arsenal on loan, with Atletico Madrid - where he was a title winner in La Liga - and Fiorentina.

The Jamaica Football Federation (JFF) announced on Saturday that it has joined forces with sportswear giants Adidas.

“The Jamaica Football Federation is proud to announce that sportswear giant Adidas will equip all Jamaican National Football teams beginning in January 2023. The partnership, which is built on cultivating and supporting talent and the joy that football can bring, will include major tournaments such as the 2023 FIFA Women’s World Cup, 2024 Summer Olympics and the 2026 FIFA World Cup,” the JFF said in a statement.

President of the JFF Michael Ricketts said, “We are incredibly proud to announce this unprecedented partnership with Adidas and are looking forward to achieving great things together.”

“The partnership will support the JFF’s effort to develop Jamaica’s football at all levels and will facilitate further success at the professional level in the years to come. The JFF is now a part of the Adidas portfolio of international federations, joining giants such as The DFB (Germany), RFEF (Spain), AFA (Argentina), FIGC (Italy) and the RBFA (Belgium),” Ricketts added.

General Manager of Adidas Global Football Nick Craggs said “We are delighted to be announcing this long partnership with the Jamaica Football Federation.”

“The country’s potential on the pitch-of which the consecutive World Cup qualifications of the Women’s team is a testament-along with the richness and global relevance of its culture, which resonates far beyond football and Jamaica’s borders, make it a great fit to join our Adidas International Federations family. We look forward to celebrating many achievements together while contributing to the progress and future of Jamaican football at all levels of the game,” he added.

“The past doesn’t equal the future, and the future of Jamaican football is looking bright,” said CEO of Business 2 Sports Group Marlon Gilbert-Roberts who, alongside sports lawyer Jonathan Himpe and Fitzroy Simpson, was one of the architects of this historic deal.

Edinson Cavani is eyeing a move to Spain following his departure from Manchester United, according to Nice president Jean-Pierre Rivere, who has ruled out a deal to sign the Uruguay international.

Cavani left United as a free agent at the end of last season, having scored 12 goals in 41 Premier League appearances during a two-year spell at Old Trafford.

The 35-year-old's 200 goals for Paris Saint-Germain, meanwhile, make him the Ligue 1 club's all-time top goalscorer, and he had been touted to make a return to France with Nice.

But Rivere has shut down such speculation, revealing the striker sees his future in LaLiga.

"Cavani, he wants to play in Spain," Rivere told reporters. "We will close the subject of Cavani [coming to Nice]. What is important is the balance of the team. 

"The coach has needs, we will try to meet those needs. What is important is to find a team that is balanced with young and old, and with more than headliners - it's not the goal to have a headliner. 

"The goal is to have players who perform well and who respond to what the coach wants, to be able to work as well as possible. 

"So [with] Cavani, let's close the case, I had already clarified it, but I'll clarify it again."

Nice, who lost boss Christophe Galtier to PSG following their fifth-placed finish in Ligue 1 last term, recently signed Aaron Ramsey and Kasper Schmeichel after reappointing Lucien Favre as head coach in June.

Marcos Alonso looks to be on his way to Barcelona after he was left out of Chelsea's squad to face Everton.

The Spain full-back reportedly said his goodbyes at the London club this week as he nears a return to his homeland.

Alonso did not travel to Goodison Park for the Blues' opening match of the Premier League season and is expected to become big-spending Barca's next recruit.

Chelsea splashed out to sign Marc Cucurella from Brighton and Hove Albion on Friday, while Ben Chilwell has returned after a long spell on the sidelines due to injury.

Thomas Tuchel also omitted Timo Werner and Callum Hudson-Odoi from his squad for the trip to Merseyside amid reports they could leave the club.

Barca president Joan Laporta on Friday said he was confident the Catalan giants would be able to register all of their new players despite claims LaLiga will require them to generate more funds.

Juventus and Atletico Madrid will face off at the Serie A giant's training ground on Sunday after security concerns led to the cancellation of a pre-season friendly in Tel Aviv.

The teams had been due to meet at Bloomfield Stadium on Sunday, but heightened tensions in the Gaza Strip raised doubts over whether the match could take place in Israel.

Earlier on Saturday, it was announced that the contest had been cancelled, but Juventus have now revealed the match has been moved to Italy.

"Originally scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv, the game between the two footballing giants will now be played in Turin at the Juventus Training Centre in Continassa," read a statement from Juve.

The friendly, which will serve as both teams' final outing before they begin their respective league campaigns, will take place behind closed doors.

Juve begin their Serie A campaign at home to Sassuolo on August 15, with Diego Simeone's Atleti travelling to Getafe on the same day to get their LaLiga season under way.

A pre-season friendly between Juventus and Atletico Madrid scheduled to take place in Tel Aviv on Sunday has been postponed due to security concerns.

Juve and Atleti were due to meet at Bloomfield Stadium, but the game was called off on Saturday.

Increasing conflict in the Gaza Strip had raised doubts over whether the match will go ahead.

LaLiga club Atleti said in a statement: "Due to the current security situation, Comtec Group (match promoter), Juventus and Atletico de Madrid announce that the friendly game between the two teams that was to take place in Israel this Sunday 7 August at Bloomfield Stadium in Tel Aviv, has been cancelled."

It was due to be the final match for both clubs before they start their seasons.

Juve begin their Serie A campaign at home to Sassuolo on August 15, with Diego Simeone's Atletico side travelling to Getafe on the same day to get their LaLiga season under way.

Simon Kjaer has challenged Milan winger Rafael Leao to "grow enormously" and realise his potential to be one of the top five players in the world.

Leao played a big part in the Rossoneri's first Serie A title triumph in 11 years last season and has been linked with Real Madrid.

The 23-year-old Portugal international, who has just under two years remaining on his contract, scored 14 goals and provided 10 assists across all competitions in the 2021-22 campaign.

Milan defender Kjaer wants to see Leao scale new heights, while he is also expecting big things of 22-year-old midfielder Sandro Tonali and new signing Divock Origi.

"This year I want to see Leao and Tonali: they are no longer kids, they have to grow enormously," the Denmark captain told Sportweek.

"What they did last year is no longer enough. Leao has quality. extraordinary and therefore he can no longer afford games in which one sees little: he must always be decisive.

"If he can make this leap, he can be one of the top five in the world.

"Then I want to see Origi: I was with him in Lille, he was a kid, now I expect a champion who makes the difference because he has everything to be, speed, strength and feet."

Kjaer has returned to action in pre-season after a long lay-off due to a knee injury.

 

Miguel Gutierrez has completed a permanent move from Real Madrid to Girona for a reported fee of €5million.

The 21-year-old full-back made just nine appearances in all for Madrid's senior team, spending most of his time at the LaLiga giants playing for the Castilla team.

After just three games for Los Blancos last season, Gutierrez has moved on and signed a five-year-deal with Girona as he seeks regular first team football.

He was a part of the Spain team that won the Under-19 European Championship in 2019, and also won the UEFA Youth League with Madrid under the guidance of legendary striker Raul in 2019-20.

Gutierrez becomes the sixth signing for Girona in this transfer window, with other arrivals including last season's Major League Soccer top goalscorer Valentin Castellanos on loan from New York City FC.

Manchester United are reportedly willing to meet Salzburg's £41.8million asking price for 19-year-old Slovenian striker Benjamin Sesko.

Sesko, who does not turn 20 until next May and measures in at 195cm tall, scored 11 goals in 37 games last season, and he opened the new Bundesliga campaign with a goal and an assist in a 3-0 win over Austria Vienna.

According to The Athletic, United decided against signing Sesko for £2.5m as a 16-year-old, and they will now have to pay up to secure the services of the in-demand forward.


TOP STORY – UNITED PLAN BIG MOVE FOR TOWERING SLOVENIAN STRIKER

The report from Express calls Sesko "a priority target" for new boss Erik ten Hag, but also mentions that the Austrian club is extremely high on him as a prospect – going as far as comparing his future to that of former Salzburg man Erling Haaland.

Meanwhile, Sport Klub claims Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain are also monitoring the situation, and that Sesko and Salzburg will be meeting in the next week to make a firm decision on his future.

Sesko is also Slovenia's youngest-ever international debutant, having debuted one day after his 18th birthday, and became their youngest international goalscorer a few months later.


ROUND-UP

– Calciomercato claims Tottenham are set to sign 19-year-old defender and Manchester City target Destiny Udogie from Udinese for a deal in the range of £25m.

– The Mirror is reporting that Everton have swooped in to land West Ham target Amadou Onana from Lille with a fee of £33.7m.

Leeds United are making a £22m bid for Paris Saint-Germain forward Arnaud Kalimuendo, according to the Sun.

– A Sky Sports report states Crystal Palace are interested in bringing back defender Aaron Wan-Bissaka from United.

– Liverpool are exploring a potential £50m move to bring in Leroy Sane from Bayern Munich, according to 90min.

The Vancouver Whitecaps produced a miraculous comeback to treat their fans to a 2-1 home win against the Houston Dynamo on Friday.

With both sides desperately needing the three points to stay in touch with the Western Conference playoff picture, it was Houston striking first through a corner in the sixth minute.

After the initial corner was cleared, Sam Junqua's floating ball back into the box beat the goalkeeper after it bounced, although Fafa Picault was credited with the goal after claiming he got a toe on it.

Houston controlled 63 per cent of the possession in the first half and were good value for their lead, leading the shot count six-to-three and the pass count 358-to-199.

But the longer the game went, the more passive the visiting side became, and instead of dictating the play, they sat back and looked to protect their lead.

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