Former Nice goalkeeper Yoan Cardinale has given a stern warning to Paris Saint-Germain, revealing a fractious dressing room under Christophe Galtier.

Galtier is set to replace Mauricio Pochettino and take over as PSG boss, following the Parisian club's dramatic failure to claim the Champions League.

Nice were second in Ligue 1 at the end of January last season, but the proverbial wheels fell off, with four wins from 12 games between February and April before eventually finishing fifth.

Cardinale, who has been without a club since his contract expired with Nice at the end of the 2020-21 season, cited Galtier's negative impact on the dressing room as a factor and claimed his potential departure for PSG benefits all.

"Honestly, I think it's a good thing that he's leaving," Cardinale told RMC Sport. "For having had two or three conversations with players who are still in the Nice dressing room, there was a big break in the dressing room. There were a lot of problems.

"The coach alienated the dressing room to make himself heard better by management. What I was told, problems between the management of Nice and the coach had become so important that it was rubbing off on the dressing room.

"The coach put the dressing room on his back to be better heard by the management, in view of the signings which were arriving."

Meanwhile, Lucien Favre has been confirmed as Galtier's replacement at Nice, with whom he qualified for the Champions League in 2017, before being taking over at Borussia Dortmund in 2018.

Cardinale, who made 36 Ligue 1 appearances for Nice in that first season under Favre, reiterated his belief the coaching changes will benefit both clubs.

"I think this deal is going to be a win-win. Galtier will be happy," he added. "The Nice locker room, with the Favre's return, I think he's going to be a winner too. And in the eyes of the fans especially, it's the right pick.

Xavi Simons has turned down a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain, with confirmation on Tuesday he will leave for PSV on a permanent basis until 2027.

Simons, who made 11 senior appearances for PSG since signing in 2019, was reportedly set to leave on a loan with the intent to develop and find an opportunity for regular first-team minutes.

That reported loan deal had PSV as the eventual destination upon renewing with the Ligue 1 champions but, after spending his youth career at Barcelona and PSG, the talented 19-year-old will return to the Netherlands on a free transfer.

The Eredivisie club confirmed Simons had the opportunity to extend with PSG but chose to work under new boss Ruud van Nistelrooy instead.

"He was able to extend in France, but the youth international prefers PSV to the French champion, for whom he played nine games last season," a club statement said.

"We have seen almost all the matches this season where he appeared at the kick-off," PSV director of football John de Jong added. "Besides all the international matches he played for the Oranje squad, we saw him live in the Youth League in Leipzig, Paris, Bruges, Manchester and against Sevilla.

"In this he convinced us. Xavi has everything to grow into an important player for PSV. He would like to walk the path there with us."

Simons is the latest in a long line of youth products to leave PSG instead of establishing themselves in the first team, joining the likes of Kingsley Coman, Christopher Nkunku and Moussa Diaby, along with less successful stories in Adil Aouchiche and Jean-Kevin Augustin.

"After three wonderful years at the club, it’s time to say goodbye," Simons posted on Twitter. "I am very grateful to the coaches, the staff, my team-mates, and all the staff.

"PSG will always be in my heart. For the fans: from the bottom of my heart, Thank you. I love you!"

Chelsea boss Thomas Tuchel is eager to bring in two attacking players this off-season following their third-place Premier League finish last term.

The club's new owners are set to back Tuchel's plans, with the Blues linked to Raheem Sterling, Barcelona's Ousmane Dembele and Everton's Richarlison.

However, Chelsea could be set for their first splash of the window by signing a superstar from Elland Road.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA TO WIN RAPHINHA RACE

Chelsea are set to win the race to sign Leeds United's Brazilian forward Raphinha claims The Guardian.

Raphinha is being pursued by Arsenal and Barcelona along with the Blues, who are set to complete a £55million deal for the 25-year-old.

The winger is contracted with Leeds until 2024 and may follow Kalvin Phillips out of Elland Road with the England midfielder set to complete his move to Manchester City.

 

 

ROUND-UP

- The Mail reports Chelsea are also interested in a move for Inter defender Milan Skriniar who has been linked with Paris Saint-Germain. L'Equipe claims that PSG's initial offer for the Slovakian was worth €50m.

- Portugal midfielder Renato Sanches is eager to join PSG from Lille according to Le Parisien, with a €10m offer on the table. Sanches has one year remaining on his contract.

- Univision reports that LAFC are not pursuing Atletico Madrid forward Luis Suarez amid speculation linking the Uruguayan with the MLS club after they recently landed Gareth Bale and Giorgio Chiellini.

- Milan are looking into swooping to sign Juventus' Paulo Dybala who has been heavily linked with Inter, claims RadioRadio.

- Liverpool's Divock Origi is set to join Milan on a four-year deal pending a medical as widely reported by the Italian media.

- Argentinean outlet Relevo reports that Angel Di Maria is set to sign a deal with Juventus on Wednesday, having left PSG as a free agent.

Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro might make a seemingly eternal midfield composition, but Real Madrid still need to prepare for life after them.

Following the signings of Eduardo Camavinga and Aurelien Tchouameni over the past two off-season transfer windows, Los Blancos will look for a third.

Reports suggest that what they are looking for is penalty area threat, and the intent is not necessarily to replace the attributes of the three veterans. All signs point to Germany, and Borussia Dortmund's England international Jude Bellingham.

 

TOP STORY – REAL MADRID EYE BELLINGHAM AS FINAL PIECE OF MIDFIELD PUZZLE

Real Madrid will look to sign Bellingham in the 2023 off-season transfer window, according to Diario AS.

According to reports, Bellingham does not have a release clause in his deal at Dortmund and with his contract running to 2025, with the German club seeking a sale in excess of €100million.

Meanwhile, Real Madrid will not look to be the only suitors, with Chelsea and Liverpool also interested.

ROUND-UP

- Having already opened talks over Raheem Sterling, the Telegraph reports Chelsea are also looking to sign Manchester City's Nathan Ake.

- Meanwhile, Milan are considering a move for Chelsea winger Hakim Ziyech, per Calciomercato.

Tottenham want to sign Everton duo Richarlison and Anthony Gordon, according to Sky Sports.

- Christophe Galtier is close to being named as PSG's new boss, with Mauricio Pochettino on the way out, ESPN reports.

Angel Di Maria and Juventus are agreeing the "final details" of his contract as the Argentina international nears a move to Turin, according to the forward's agent.

Di Maria joined Paris Saint-Germain from Manchester United in 2015 but will leave the French capital when his terms expire later this week.

Barcelona were said to be interested in, but reports suggest the 34-year-old will sign a one-year deal with Juve with the option of an additional one-season extension.

New Rosario Central head coach Carlos Tevez also expressed his interest in bringing Di Maria back to his former club, with the attacker said to want to return to Argentina after the World Cup in Qatar.

That is said to have delayed the negotiations between Di Maria and Juve, but his agent Lisandro Pirosanto insists a move will soon be confirmed.

"We are talking about the final details and we are waiting for Juventus to give us the okay on some things," Pirosanto said, as quoted by La Stampa.

Massimiliano Allegri will acquire an experienced campaigner should Di Maria arrive as expected as Juve look to compete with Milan, Inter and Napoli at the Serie A summit.

Di Maria appeared 295 times for PSG, scoring 92 goals and assisting 112 times in all competitions.

He played 31 games in his final season in Paris and managed 13 goal involvements (five goals, eight assists), a tally bettered only by Neymar (21), Lionel Messi (25) and Kylian Mbappe (60) among PSG players.

Paris Saint-Germain appear close to finalising the appointment of Christophe Galtier after Nice announced his departure, with former Borussia Dortmund boss Lucien Favre replacing him for a second spell at the club. 

PSG have been expected to dispense with the services of Mauricio Pochettino since falling to a dramatic Champions League exit at the hands of Real Madrid in March, despite wrapping up their 10th Ligue 1 title last season.

Galtier, who beat PSG to the title as Lille boss in 2020-21, emerged as their number one target after leading Nice to a fifth-placed finish and the Coupe de France final last term.

The 55-year-old also won the Coupe de la Ligue as Saint-Etienne coach in 2012-13, and has been named Ligue 1 Manager of the Season on three occasions - in 2012-13, 2018-19 and 2020-21.

Speaking to Le Parisien last week, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi confirmed the club's interest in Galtier, saying: "We are discussing with Nice, it is not a secret. I hope that we will find an agreement quickly."

 

That agreement now looks to be close after Nice confirmed Galtier's departure on Monday, revealing Favre will return to the club he led between 2016 and 2018.

"Christophe Galtier is no longer in charge of the first team at OGC Nice," read a statement on the club's website. 

"This Monday morning, the resumption of the Aiglons will be led by Lucien Favre, whose return the club is proud to announce.

"His first stint on the Cote d'Azur will go down in history. So when it comes to a future full of challenges, it is difficult not to mix ambition and sentiment. 

"The excitement felt by the whole red and black community at the simple mention of his name, for years now, illustrates wonderfully the attachment that is felt for him."

Favre led Nice to a third-placed finish in the 2016-17 season, Mario Balotelli top-scoring with 15 Ligue 1 goals as they sealed Champions League qualification, before departing for Dortmund in 2018.

Favre enjoyed a stunning start to his Dortmund tenure, going unbeaten through his first 15 league games, but failed to end Bayern Munich's dominance of the Bundesliga, finishing second in each of his two full seasons before departing in December 2020.

Although Cristiano Ronaldo's affection for Manchester United is without doubt, his return to Old Trafford has not gone as he might have planned.

Following Erik ten Hag's arrival, Ronaldo's reported concern over United's apparent lack of transfer activity has made other clubs explore possibilities to sign him.

Reports suggest that a couple of clubs have already made their interest indirectly known.

TOP STORY – CHELSEA, ROMA CIRCLING FOR RONALDO

Chelsea and Roma have expressed their interest in signing Cristiano Ronaldo from Manchester United, according to reports.

The Athletic has reported Chelsea, with Todd Boehly installing himself as interim sporting director after his consortium's takeover of the club, met with Ronaldo's agent Jorge Mendes to discuss the possibility of his transfer.

Ronaldo has a year left on his contract, and the possibility of him leaving after only one season has grown with Erik ten Hag's arrival.

Meanwhile, Retesport are reporting the Giallorossi are keen to sign the 37-year-old, with the Friedkin group looking to reunite him with former boss Jose Mourinho and build on the team's Conference League triumph.

ROUND-UP

– In the background, United are increasingly confident they will be able to land Barcelona's Frenkie de Jong for a fee of £69million (€80.2m), Goal reports.

– Also, Blues boss Thomas Tuchel has made contact with Manchester City and England forward Raheem Sterling, according to the Telegraph.

– Juventus and Paris Saint-Germain have opened talks over a deal for Neymar amid Chelsea's interest, per AS.

– Leeds United are preparing a £26million (€30.2m) bid for Club Brugge's Charles de Ketelaere, the Daily Mail reports.

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was on Friday acquitted on appeal for a second time by a Swiss federal court of charges of corruption in the attribution of World Cup television rights.

Al-Khelaifi had been charged with inciting former FIFA secretary general Jerome Valcke to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.

Valcke was accused of wanting to transfer the Middle East and North Africa television rights for the 2026 and 2030 World Cups to a media company headed by Al-Khelaifi.

Al-Khelaifi allegedly offered Valcke, who is serving a 10-year ban from football that was handed down by the Fifa Ethics Committee in 2018, exclusive use of a luxury villa in Sardinia in exchange.

The PSG president has been cleared again of a charge of incitement to commit aggravated criminal mismanagement.

It is the second time Al-Khelaifi has been cleared of wrongdoing in the Swiss federal criminal court after prosecutors appealed against the original verdicts.

"The years of baseless allegations, fictitious charges and constant smears have been proven to be completely and wholly unsubstantiated – twice," Al Khelaifi's lawyer Marc Bonnant said in a widely reported statement.

Valcke was convicted of separate charges not involving Al-Khelaifi. He was given an 11-month suspended sentence and must also repay FIFA €1.75m (£1.58m) for forgery and passive corruption.

Those charges relate to Valcke exploiting his position to influence the awarding of media rights for Italy and Greece for various World Cup and other tournaments scheduled between 2018 and 2030, in exchange for payments from Greek businessman Dinos Deris, who has also been charged.

The Frenchman was cleared of the most serious charges involving accepting bribes and aggravated criminal mismanagement.

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Zinedine Zidane has not ruled out taking over as head coach at Paris Saint-Germain or following Didier Deschamps as France's national team coach, amid growing speculation over his future.

Mauricio Pochettino's departure from PSG has not yet been finalised, but reports have linked both Zidane and Nice boss Christophe Galtier to the job, with club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi even confirming talks with the latter.

Stepping down in 2021 as a two-time LaLiga and three-time Champions League winner with Real Madrid, Zidane would assume either role as a highly-decorated coach, having also enjoyed an exceptional playing career.

In an interview with L'Equipe to mark his 50th birthday, the Marseille native indicated he would not turn down the opportunity to coach the fiercest rivals of the club he supported as a child, citing a lack of realistic options in both personal and logistical senses.

"Never say never," he said. "Especially when you are a coach today, but the question is moot. This is absolutely irrelevant. When I was a player, I had a choice, almost every club.

"As a coach, there are not 50 clubs where I can go. There are two or three possibilities. This is the current reality. As coaches, we have much less choice than players. If I go back to a club, it's to win. I say this with all modesty. That's why I can't go anywhere. For other reasons, too, I might not be able to go everywhere.

"The language, for example. Some conditions make things more difficult. When I'm asked: 'Do you want to go to Manchester?' I understand English but I don't fully master it. I know there are coaches who go to clubs without speaking the language, but I work differently. To win, many elements come into play."

From leading France to the World Cup in 1998 as a player – propelling him to his sole Ballon d'Or award in the process – to his straight red card in the 2006 World Cup final after headbutting Italy's Marco Materazzi, Zidane experienced both the highs and lows with Les Bleus.

Punctuating his stellar international career with that sending off in Berlin leaves him with unfinished business at international level, but Zidane insisted his ambition will be with respect to current France boss Deschamps and his preparations for this year's World Cup in Qatar.

"I want to [be head coach of France], of course. I will be, I hope, one day," Zidane said. "When? It's not up to me, but I want to come full circle with the France team. I knew this French team as a player, and it's the most beautiful thing that's ever happened to me.

"But really, this is the pinnacle. And so, as I experienced that and today I am a coach, the France team is firmly rooted in my head.

"When I say that I want to take the France team one day, I assume it. Today, a team is in place, with its goals. But if the opportunity comes next, then I'll be there.

"Again, it's not up to me. My deep desire is there. The France team is the most beautiful thing there is."

Former Bayern Munich striker Ivica Olic has admitted he is "surprised" with wantaway forward Robert Lewandowski.

The Poland international is pushing for an exit from Bavaria in the current transfer window, with Barcelona and Paris Saint-Germain reportedly among those vying for his signature.

Lewandowski has enjoyed eight trophy-laden years with Bayern, lifting the Bundesliga in every season and winning the Champions League in 2019-20.

Given the 33-year-old scored 50 goals in 46 games for Bayern in all competitions in 2021-22, the most in Europe's top five leagues, Olic believes the club will face a tough task landing a replacement.

"Lewandowski has played at a high level for years, has been one of Bayern Munich's main brands for years and has raised the bar with his goals over several seasons," he told Stats Perform.

"It's about a striker that I was hoping would stay longer and it really surprised me how it all turned out and that he really wants to leave.

"Just as I was a bit surprised at the moment, I think the people at the club were just as surprised.

"Because at the moment there isn't really a player like Lewa that you could get for a normal price.

"It's really not easy to get a real striker these days. There aren't many at the top level like Lewa or anything like that.

"So, I think it's the main concern for Bayern right now and I'm sure that if there is a transfer they will do everything they can to find an adequate replacement for Lewa. 

"[Erling] Haaland, who was in Dortmund, was often associated with Bayern, but he has now gone to England."

Sadio Mane is poised to arrive from Liverpool, but Olic believes he does not quite fit the profile of the player Bayern will need to replace their talismanic striker.

"I don't know who else is there. Mane has been mentioned a lot, but for me he's not a classic number nine and he's not a classic striker. But he's certainly one of the more attractive players," Olic added.

Gianluigi Buffon hopes his former club Juventus sign Angel Di Maria as he likened the Paris Saint-Germain attacker to Argentina great Diego Maradona.

Di Maria joined PSG from Manchester United in 2015 but is to leave the French capital at the expiration of his deal at the end of June.

Juve have reportedly offered Di Maria a one-year contract with the option of an additional one-season extension.

Reports suggest Di Maria is intent on staying in European football for just one more season, though, before playing at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and returning to compete in his native Argentina.

That is said to have led to a delay in negotiations between the 34-year-old and Massimiliano Allegri's side.

Former Juve goalkeeper Buffon encouraged the Bianconeri to push the deal through for Di Maria, with the Italy legend suggesting he would be as influential in Serie A as the late, great Maradona was with Napoli.

"Di Maria in Serie A is like Maradona," Buffon said to Italian publication La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Footballers must be valued considering where they play. Serie A, today, is technically poorer and Angel has so much technique.

"He is decisive in front of goal, he dribbles past his opponents. He is good at making assists and runs up and down on the pitch. He can play in different roles."

Buffon is speaking from experience, having crossed paths with Di Maria at PSG in the 2018-19 campaign.

The Parma goalkeeper also suggested Di Maria is talented enough that age should not be a factor as Juve aim to secure the winger.

"I am 44, but I still play, age doesn't matter. Motivation and passion are more important and so is determination," he added. "If Di Maria joins Juventus, it means that he's ready to do so.

"He is an exemplary professional, one who never gives up and fights during games and training sessions. For today's Serie A, he'd be like Maradona.

"At PSG, I played with Neymar, a young Kylian Mbappe, Marco Verratti… but Di Maria was not inferior to no one.

"When he won the Decima [the 10th Champions League title] at [Real] Madrid in 2014, he was playing with Karim Benzema, Cristiano Ronaldo, Luka Modric and Toni Kroos.

"He was always a step back from them but knew how to play as a winger, attacking midfielder and even 'Mezzala' [a wide central midfielder in a diamond or three-man midfield].

"Whoever signs him, and I hope it's Juve, it will be a good deal. We are talking about a champion."

Zinedine Zidane says he still has the "flame" to continue his managerial career, despite a year out of the game after his departure from Real Madrid last year.

The Frenchman departed Santiago Bernabeu for a second time at the end of the 2020-21 season, having guided the club to a hat-trick of Champions League triumphs during his first term in charge and won 11 trophies in all during his time there.

Zidane has since been linked with a number of jobs, including in his home country where he was touted as the frontrunner to succeed Mauricio Pochettino at Paris Saint-Germain, as well as Didier Deschamps' possible successor as France head coach beyond Qatar 2022.

With Nice boss Christoph Galtier now in the driving seat to take the reins at Parc des Princes, Zidane's time in the wilderness looks set to continue.

But the former World Cup winner, who turns 50 this month, hopes to return to the dugout, while admitting he remains satisfied without having to leap straight into any job that becomes available.

"I want to continue," he told Telefoot. "I still have this flame. Football is my passion.

"But I am [almost] 50 years old and fulfilled. I am happy, and that's the most important thing."

 

Zidane also addressed his infamous World Cup final headbutt on Marco Materazzi at Germany 2006, which saw him sent off for France as they went on to lose to Italy on penalties.

"I'm not proud of what I've done, but it's part of my journey," he reflected. "Even in a person's life, not everything is done perfectly."

Kylian Mbappe considered retiring from France duty after being criticised for his displays at Euro 2020, according to French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet.

The 23-year-old failed to score in any of his four outings in last year's competition, with France surprisingly being eliminated by Switzerland in the last 16.

Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe missed the decisive spot-kick as the reigning world champions suffered a shock defeat on penalties following a 3-3 draw after extra time.

Mbappe was subjected to much of the criticism at the time, and FFF chief Le Graet has revealed just how much that affected the former Monaco star.

"I met with him after the Euros. He felt that the Federation had not defended him after his missed penalty and the criticism he faced," Le Graet told Le Journal du Dimanche.

"We met for five minutes in my office. He was angry, he didn't want to play for the French team any more – which he obviously didn't mean.

"You know how it is; he's a winner, he was very frustrated, like all of us, by the elimination. He's so media-friendly. He's a great guy, much more collective than people think."

 

Mbappe has gone on to play a further nine times for France since last year's disappointing Euro 2020 showing, helping his country to qualify for this year's World Cup in Qatar.

He has scored 27 goals in 57 senior caps, placing him 11th on Les Blues' all-time record goalscorers, a list topped by Thierry Henry (51 goals).

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez thinks Kylian Mbappe will already be regretting staying at Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe was widely expected to move to Madrid when his PSG contract expired in June, but agreed to a three-year extension in the French capital.

Perez previously stated the Mbappe who snubbed the LaLiga and European champions is not the same character he wanted to bring to Los Blancos.

The Madrid chief, speaking during a meeting with the club's fans, again commented on Mbappe's decision as he declared the World Cup winner will be wishing he had moved to Los Blancos.

"The poor guy, Mbappe must already be sorry," Perez said when signing autographs after a fan had asked him about the France international.

 

Mbappe was in scintillating form in the 2021-22 campaign as he scored 28 league goals, a tally only bettered by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (35) across Europe's top five divisions.

The 23-year-old also added 17 assists, with no player in Europe's biggest leagues managing more direct goal involvements (45) – France team-mate Karim Benzema ranked second with 39.

Mbappe will hope to deliver further success for PSG in the 2022-23 season as the French giants bid for their ninth Ligue 1 title in the last 11 seasons.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.