Could Icardi’s permanent PSG move mean Neymar is leaving for Barcelona?

It was to no one’s surprise that French league champions PSG decided to sign Mauro Icardi on a permanent deal in the last few days. Icardi will now join PSG as a full time member after the transfer went through for €50m. That looks like a bargain for PSG who before the Covid-19 pandemic were looking at €70m to get the players services.

Icardi has signed up to play in Paris until 2024 and the deal was a no-brainer given how the Italian had fared over the course of this season when brought in on loan. Icardi slipped right into the team and with Neymar and Kylian Mbappe missing chunks of games through injury Icardi stepped up and never looked out of the place in the team. In the league alone Icardi scored 12 goals from just 20 games and overall in all competitions he was able to find the back of the net 20 times from just 31 games. At only 27 Icardi has the best years of his football career ahead of him, and whilst this will be a loss to Inter it is a huge gain for PSG.

Though with the pandemic and football clubs losing millions over the last few months financially the deal to let Icardi leave the San Siro does make sense, and it is probably one that the Inter fans will be able to accept and understand.

As for PSG they now have 3 full time golden strikers in Icardi, Neymar and Mbappe but with them agreeing to take on Icardi full time the old story of Neymar leaving will surely rise once again. It does feel that Neymar’s return to Barcelona has been on the cards the very minute he signed a surprise deal at the time to join PSG which of course broke the transfer record and is still the highest at a reported €220m. That record looks like it will remain intact for some time after the pandemic has affected everyone from a financial standpoint.

Money is certainly a problem right now in football and huge transfers just don’t seem feasible. So if Neymar is to rejoin Barcelona one could suspect a few players swaps, a small ‘down payment’ fee and perhaps an initial loan deal back. At the end of the day PSG has the squad to win the next few French league titles and certainly next season will be the big odds on favourites, so in all honesty do they really need Neymar, who could well be dragging his feet next season?

Neymar has been brilliant for the club so far though has come up a little short in helping them in Europe and keeps getting niggling injuries. His departure would feel a little hollow looking at his achievements, but he has scored many goals and inspired so many extra points for the club, despite some of the circus that has surrounded him little can doubt his natural ability.

Whilst Ligue 1 ended early the Champions League has not and that is set to resume in August with PSG still in the competition- could Neymar take the club all the way and end his career at PSG on a high? That will be the question on everyone’s minds in Paris as it looks more and more inevitable that he will leave the club sooner rather than later.

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com 

The effect of the Quarantine on football & eSports

Prior to the spread of the Coronavirus, the eyes of fans were turned towards the Champions League, the top European competitions such as the Spanish Liga, Italian Serie A and the English Premier League. Stars such as Cristiano Ronaldo, Kevin de Bruyne, Mohamed Salah, Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe were occupying center stage.

Fast forward to the past few weeks, the Champions League and the Europa League have been put on hold while the European leagues have been suspended. Fans can no longer enjoy the likes of Messi and Mbappe while emerging players such as Erling Haaland can no longer showcase their skills and qualities. Football, and sports in general, have come to a complete stop.

What can the fans do during this difficult time to keep distracted from much of the negative news? One option is to look towards eSports.

How eSports and eSports Betting can “Explode” during the Quarantine

With the COVID-19 pandemic ravaging the world and the economy of the world taking a nosedive, the world of sports betting is not left out. Most major sporting events, including football, have been postponed or cancelled as the world tries to deal with the virus. With sporting events calendar suspended due to the pandemic, there has been a significant reduction in betting opportunities.

Interestingly, all hope is not lost for sports bettors. The eSports betting option appear to be filling a void as sportsbook customers look for exhilarating action during the lockdown caused by the Coronavirus pandemic.

Bookmakers are getting more creative and more eSports events are coming up, giving sportsbook punters the opportunity to satisfy their betting needs. If you are ready to join the action, try searching for the best
eSports betting sites to get started.

Impact of COVID-19 on eSports Events

It’s important to mention that the Coronavirus pandemic has also affected the eSports calendar, just like other sporting events. The only difference is that eSports is much more resilient because the matches can actually be played online. Players do not need to leave their homes or converge in the same place. Of course, having live fans in the gaming arena has its attractions and unique atmosphere but it doesn’t have a significant difference for hundreds of thousands of viewers and fans that are watching through live stream.

Based on this understanding, industry stakeholders are doing all they can to find a replacement for standard sports betting in order to keep their customers entertained and engaged during this dire period. So far, there have been indications that eSports betting value and volume is on the increase. According to the CEO of an eSports betting site, Quentin Martin, there has been about a 54% increase in registration of new players, over a course of a week when it was announced that the English Premier League would have to be postponed due to the pandemic.

Reasons for the Explosion of eSports betting during the Quarantine

Basically, players that are involved in sports betting would likely want to give eSports betting a try since there is practically nothing else to bet on. Many sports fans are either in lockdown or self-isolating and this makes access to a source of entertainment a major need. Interestingly, the only show that seems to be available to sports bettors is eSports. Therefore, it practically makes sense that this is the game that everyone in this category would turn to.

Additionally, eSports betting sites offer an easy way in which competitive tournaments can be accessed without the physical presence of both the players and the fans. Of course, any tournament would preferably be played at a physical venue but this is not required for eSports. By the way, this is the major reason for the continuation of eSports tournaments.

Conclusion

Without a doubt, these are challenging times for the world. For some, the Gaming world and eSports are a welcome distraction. eSports is bound to experience a huge explosion as many fans of traditional sports are exploring eSports for a much-needed escape and entertainment.

Rennes make a bid for the Champions League as Neymar and Mbappe overshadow PSG win

Rennes made big strides to try and qualify for the Champions League as they beat Nantes in a five goal thriller winning 3-2 at home. Raphinha was the hero for the home side grabbing two goals. Rennes would be a major surprise to make the Champions League but that is what finishing 2nd gives teams and they edged up each week to Marseille. The gap is just three points.

And the gap is three points because Marseille have imploded, or rather look like they are. The club have not lost for 10 matches but that makes no odds when you are drawing games and not winning them and they drew yet again on Sunday night, this time in disappointing fashion away to Bordeaux with the game ending 0-0.

That draw effectively ended Marseille’s already slim hopes of winning the league. Only a few weeks ago they had shortened the gap to league leaders PSG by 5 points but now that stands at 12 and it looks very difficult to think that PSG will drop so many points and Marseille will go on such a consistent run.

As for PSG, not many people would think that they had a fantastic result at the weekend when they overpowered Montpellier to win 5-0. Pablo Sarabia who has been in good form for the club opened the scoring.  It was interesting to see that from the five goals scored only one was scored by either Kylian Mbappe or Neymar. And it was Mbappe who got it, with Neymar assisting. All should have been well then with such an emphatic victory but it wasn’t.

The referee booked Neymar after an exchange of words that saw the Brazilian at half time question the officials, to which they replied, ”speak French”. Then there was Mbappe who realised that he needed one more goal to be joint top goalscorer in Ligue 1 with Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder. But PSG coach Thomas Tuchel instead took the player off for Mauro Icardi and Mbappe was furious with his coach. A heated exchange of words could be clearly seen and Mbappe sat in the dug out looking very gloom. Now the inevitable has happened and the media have linked Mbappe with a move away from Paris. One has to feel for Tuchel, he doesn’t always get it right but at the same time he has quite a few egos in the dressing room.

Lille got an important victory away to Strasbourg by winning 2-1. It was only Lille’s 2nd away victory of the season and came courtesy of a Victor Omishen penalty, the player has been in great form lately and that win took the club into 4th place and six points behind 3rd placed Rennes.

Lyon just can’t find enough consistency and after going their last 3 games unbeaten they came unstuck away to Nice, who have not lost a game in Ligue 1 for two months. To make matters worse for Lyon Fernando Marcal was sent off early on. Though the hosts also lost a player they just shaded the game. To be fair to Lyon with 7 strikes on goal they were hardly poor, but they will have to pick themselves up once more. The objective this season has to be a European finish and despite this fresh set back they are just two points from their target.

Reims propped up the table again and into 7th place after they surprised Angers and won 4-1 at Stade Raymond Kopa. Reims had been behind and the surprise was not just the comeback but the fact that they scored so many goals. Prior to the game the club had scored just 17 all season. What was also interesting is that Reims had just 4 shots on target and everyone of them ended in a goal.

With Nice beating Lyon as mentioned above they have moved into 8th and that has cost Nantes who lost to Rennes a top 8 place.

There are midweek games in Ligue 1 this weekend and Champions League and Europa League spots will be up once again for grabs.

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com 

 

Kylian Mbappe’s row with PSG coach Thomas Tuchel could highlight a move away

Even though PSG beat Montpellier 5-0 in front of their home fans controversy was never that far away. Both Neymar and Mbappe were involved in skirmishes. Neymar’s story has been covered on here but involved getting booked. But Mbappe’s was much closer to home.

The star striker had scored in the game meaning that he now has 14 goals and is in 2nd place in the goalscorers chart one behind Monaco’s Wissam Ben Yedder, and perhaps that is why he flared up when PSG coach Thomas Tuchel ordered him to come off.

He was substituted for Mauro Icardi and Mbappe did not go quietly. Clearly it could be seen on the touchline his confrontation with Tuchel. Mbappe was furious as Tuchel tried to cradle his hands on his head and calm the player down.

In that moment it was evident that despite his brilliance as a team player and natural goalscorer and already of course a World Cup winner with France to see the little boy in him. He will probably look back on incidents like this and laugh them off, or at least he should do. Tuchel obviously took off Mbappe as PSG were 4-0 up at the time with just over 20 minutes remaining, why not bring on Icardi?

After the game Tuchel said: ”I’m the coach someone has to decide who goes off and who comes on it’s me. He is very intelligent, he knows what he is doing. He doesn’t like going off, nobody likes going off These are not good images, but we are not the only club that has to deal with this sort of thing. It’s not good, because it opens up subjects that go against the team’s state of mind. Too bad.  I explained to him why we did this, and it will stay that way. I will always decide the technical aspects. We don’t play tennis, we play soccer and we have to respect everyone.”

Tuchel added that the argument is not over. “I will make a decision, We have training at 11am, we will talk about the match with the group. I’ll see if I talk about this or if I do it individually. It will depend on my night’s sleep too.”

Speculation has now grown that Mbappe could want out of the club. He has always been linked to Real Madrid but the club would have to find at least 250m euros to make this happen, or perhaps a few player swaps could help.

Tuchel though seems blameless in the whole debate, he acted as a coach and did nothing wrong. Mbappe is an amazing player but sadly he has shown to throw his toys out of his pram on a few occasions in the past when he hasn’t got his own way. PSG and Tuchel will hope that this story can blow over.

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com 

 

Referee Jerome Brisard got it wrong with Neymar at the weekend

Even when PSG win games 5-0 Neymar appears to have arguments with someone but one could feel for the player this weekend.

PSG destroyed Montpellier 5-0 and even though Neymar did not get on the score sheet he did make an assist for Kylian Mbappe’s goal.

For Neymar it all kicked off as the first half was approaching closure. The Brazilian tried a fancy flick which looked great, although the ball did go out of play. Then, for some reason the camera’s zoomed in on him and referee Jerome Brisard it was hard to know what at that point was going on, but it looked heated. Some have claimed that Neymar was screaming that he was trying to play football. But words were exchanged and it is possible that at that point Neymar said something to the referee and then was booked. Which almost tipped Neymar over the edge.

It didn’t stop there though and at half time the players were seen to go through the tunnel to get to their dressing rooms and Neymar told the waiting officials again he was only trying to play football, of course he was speaking in Portuguese which didn’t go down well and one of the officials looking angry turned to him and said ”speak French”, it is claimed by some TV stations that Neymar replied ”speak French, my ass” and then kicked something.

So, two things here; The first is that why did Brisard book Neymar, and why did a confrontation happen in the first place. Was Brisard right to book him. Wasn’t it not just a heat of the moment thing, after all Neymar had not injured a fellow player. If he had sworn at the referee that is a different matter but it is some thing that we are not clear about.

The second situation seems a lot more darker. Why did a French official feel it was necessary for Neymar to speak French? Would that have suddenly validated his concerns- obviously not, so that seemed quite bizarre to say such a thing. Neymar replying simply added to what many think of him as a cry baby. But in defence of Neymar who also turned 28 it seems from this point of view that the officials were a little heavy handed on him and got it wrong. If anything they made sure to make the headlines especially in France.

As for Neymar he needs to put this recent episode behind him as PSG and him are in glorious form and will want to continue that to the end of the season.

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com 

Edinson Cavani’s exit at PSG must be handled with care and respect

Finally it has happened, one of football’s most open secrets is now confirmed; PSG striker Edinson Cavani wants to leave the club.

The Uruguayan told PSG sporting director Leonardo on the eve of the clubs Coupe de France game against Lorient, which PSG won 1-0, although Cavani could not play because of injury.

In truth Cavani has wanted out of PSG for a few seasons now and maybe we can mark the moment he wanted to leave when Neymar joined from Barcelona. It took only a few games for the two players to be at logger heads with one another when in one game Cavani infamously took the ball from Neymar’s hands when PSG were awarded a penalty. After the incident the players played it all down, but really no one was fooled.

Before Neymar came, Cavani was the shark in the Paris waters, and then the Brazilian made the world record transfer fee. To add more insult to misery PSG also bought the brilliant Kylian Mbappe, and all of a sudden youth was taking over old. Because of recent set backs with injuries Cavani has gone down the pecking order with manager Thomas Tuchel and has found it hard to reclaim his place.

The problem is that Cavani now must displace what is being quickly known as the ‘fantastic four’. That is Neymar, Mbappe, Mauro Icardi and Angel Di Maria. Cavani sees no way out and simply wants to leave the club now. At the end of the day Cavani had done fantastic for PSG and has scored 198 goals in all competitions from 292 games. He is just two goals away from the magic 200. But if he gets his wish and is sold before the window on January 31st then he won’t make it.

At 32 Cavani still has another good couple of seasons in him if he stays fit and the rumours are that Atletico Madrid want him. Frank Lampard at Chelsea has also shown interest. Perhaps though Cavani’s future lies at Manchester United who have just lost the services of striker Marcus Rashford for at least the next two months.

What PSG do not want is Cavani’s inevitable exit to end with a bad taste in the mouth, after all the player should go down as a legend with the club having spent 7 seasons with the club. No body wants this to drag on and start to become controversial and it seems clear that the best result here would be to let Cavani leave the club. PSG do not need him now with the embarrassment of riches they have up front.

The question remains what will be Cavani’s next adventure and where will it take him?

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com 

 

PSG march on in Ligue 1 and it’s all change at Monaco

The Ligue 1 season has reached the half way point and it is no surprise to see that PSG are in 1st place. They have 45 points and have indeed not even reached their own personal half way stage as they have a game in hand. Continue this type of form and the club could finish the season with 96 points.

Ever since Neymar came back from injury at the beginning of December PSG have really stepped it up and before the Christmas break the club were playing their best most confident football of the campaign so far.

They have scored 11 goals in their last 3 matches and along with Neymar, Kylian Mbappe is finding his shooting boots. Mbappe has 11 goals and 4 assists so far.He is in 2nd place in the Ligue 1 fantasy rankings.

PSG currently have a 7 point lead over Marseille and in effect that could be 10 points with their game in hand to play. As for Marseille they have been solid and none of their ‘circus’ football and unpredictability which has dogged the side over the past few seasons has been seen. The club have no losses in their last five games picking up 13 points in the process and their last match ended in a 3-1 win over Nimes.

It’s possible that Marseille have one eye on the title though PSG would really need to collapse but the club are thinking 100% about 2nd place which would give them a Champions League place for next season. Lille at the moment are the real threat to that and they have been impressive given the personnel they have lost last season.

Lille are 5 points behind and indeed lost 5-1 away to Monaco in their last game but they have won 9 games this season and remain a threat. Rennes have also been a major surprise in 3rd place with M’Baye Niang sticking in the goals for the club, he currently has 8 goals so far this campaign.and Rennes are one of the best teams in the league for pure form having won their last five games. From 2nd to 4th it really does look exciting in the league.

Nantes and Reims have blown hot and cold this season and if only they could have a little more consistency they could be challenging Marseille for 2nd place but they have fallen 9 points and 10 points respectively behind. Both sides and especially Reims have shown mean defences in the first part of the season.

Monaco have been brilliant and look almost back to their best. They are unbeaten in 4 games won their last match 5-1 against Lille, also knocked Reims out of the French Cup and are in 7th place. But that was enough for Leonardo Jardim who was sacked for the 2nd time in 12 months. The new coach has been named as Roberto Moreno who managed the Spanish national side for some time. Oh and Monaco have the leading scorer in the league in their ranks in Wissam Ben Yedder who has scored 13 goals, he has turned out to be a superb buy.

It’s incredible to think that from 8th to 13th only two points separates the teams and it is Angers who are clinging on to that 8th position. A derby win against Nantes 2-1 last time out propped them up the table.

So Ligue 1 is really fighting on all fronts and for once PSG are not completely clear in the distance. Can Marseille catch them and can Marseille hang on to 2nd place? Watch this space as the 2nd half of the campaign gets under way.

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com 

Marseille emerge as the only hope to stop PSG in Ligue 1

The end of the year is here for Ligue 1 and PSG as expected are in 1st position. Perhaps the surprise is seeing Marseille in 2nd place. Marseille who will always be the great rival to PSG and one of the biggest clubs in France have been up and down and had a yo-yo decade in the league, but they seem on the ball and focused for this one. Can Marseille stop PSG’s dominance this season?

The only club to upset PSG’s apple cart since 2012 has been Monaco when they won the league in 2017 in stunning fashion with a barrage of goals, led by Kylian Mbappe who is now at PSG and a brilliant defence. But Monaco has fallen so far since that being the league champions just 2 and a half years ago seems a long way off. Fast forward to now and PSG lead the league by 7 points over Marseille. That in itself is a healthy lead, but add the fact that PSG have an extra game to play and it makes the situation much worse for Marseille.

PSG were tipped to struggle this season because of the Neymar transfer saga. The Brazilian was all set to leave the club in the summer but deals fell through and he stayed, then he got injured and returned and then injured again and has returned just this month. There has been niggling injuries to their other stars including Edinson Cavani and Mbappe, but the club have kept their chins up and coach Thomas Tuchel signed Mauro Icardi to get the goals instead. Despite a shaky start PSG are having a good season.

Good in that they are leading the league with a gap, have qualified for the knock out stages of the Champions League and are in the quarter finals of the Coupe de la Ligue. All really is good. And PSG are having a great month, all 3 of their deadly strikers are available and are scoring goals. The club have netted 13 times this month and conceded just 2 goals.

So what can Marseille do about this and is 2nd even an option? Marseille coach Andre Villas-Boas is being praised at the club because they are heading in the right direction at least. They are unbeaten in 5 games and have lost just 3 this season – the same as PSG, it is just the many draws that have been the difference between the sides.

PSG will drop more points this season, the problem is just how many? with the game in hand PSG are in theory 10 points clear, so that is basically 4 games difference before Marseille could surpass them. On top of that there has to be another 6 games at least added to that because we aren’t going to see the situation where PSG face a massive meltdown whist Marseille turn into world beaters, it can happen, but we don’t expect it. So for Marseille to go past them they will need 10 very good games. That would take the league up to 29 games and we could have a very close run in.

Close run ins are great but it would take a massive effort from Marseille nonetheless. They will have to beat PSG when they face them again and they have a terrible recent record over their eternal rivals. Marseille can get 95 points and PSG could get 108 points. In short, yes Marseille could win the league but it would need a massive loss of form from PSG and that simply seems unlikely, because Marseille even in great form won’t likely reach 90 points which is what they will need to aim for.

Rennes and Lille are the other problems for Marseille, they are 5 points and 7 points behind respectively. They could nab 2nd place which would mean no Champions League football next season for Marseille, if anything the clubs objective has to be 2nd place, and that means they will need to find a consistent method to winning.

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com 

Is Kylian Mbappe destined to end up at Real Madrid?

There’s a picture that surfaced a few years ago. It shows a young Kylian Mbappe, no older than 12, sitting on his bed surrounded by posters on the walls. On those posters is Cristiano Ronaldo, the player the French kid idolised. Indeed, it’s believed that Mbappe has always held an affinity for Real Madrid, the club Ronaldo played his best football for.

Now, the French forward is considered one of the best players in the world and has Real Madrid chasing him. Mbappe’s contract at Paris Saint-Germain expires in 2022, but there is already a race being contested regarding his next move. PSG are desperate to sign their prize asset to a new deal, but Mbappe and his representatives have so far rejected all approaches.

This has encouraged Real Madrid who view the young forward as their ideal signing. They wanted Mbappe in the summer of 2018 when he made the move to the Parc des Princes from Monaco. They have kept up their interest and now there are reports that the Spanish giants could make a staggering £340 million over for the player next summer. This illustrates how badly they want him.

So is Mbappe destined to end up at the Santiago Bernabeu? With Real Madrid in the midst of a transition between a generation defined by the exerts of Ronaldo and the new crop of youngsters fronted by the likes of Rodrygo and Vinicius Junior, Mbappe would be the perfect addition to lead them into a new age.

Real Madrid is a club that revels in fast and furious football. While they have attempted to change their ways in recent years, favouring more technically-skilled players like Isco, the Santiago Bernabeu still like to see a player bombing forward at pace more than anything else. Mbappe, of course, would satisfy those preferences.

Such is the expectation that Mbappe will make the move to the Spanish capital sooner or later there are already reports that PSG have started searching for his replacement, with Antoine Griezmann seen as a top target due to his failure to settle in at Barcelona following his summer move from Atletico Madrid.

Indeed, the pieces seem to be falling into place for Mbappe and Real Madrid. Seen as world football’s next true superstar, if he’s not already at that sort of level, Real Madrid wouldn’t just be buying a player, but something to define an entire generation at the club. His price could come to reflect that.

How well do you know European Football? Want to challenge the best Spanish Fantasy Managers? Play www.liga-fantasy.com now.

Ligue 1 Round Up: PSG roar on as Lyon’s bus is attacked in Marseille

The 13th week in Ligue 1 saw champions PSG reinstate their 8 point advantage at the top of the standings.

PSG were impressive away to Brest who had not lost at home this season and they came out 2-1 winners at a tough ground. Angel Di Maria opened the scoring and the impressive Mauro Icardi grabbed the winner. Icardi has been one of the most important signings made up PSG coach Thomas Tuchel as the club have repeatedly had injuries to their famed front three. This game was no different as both Neymar and Kylian Mbappe were missing, but it was another 3 points for the club in the end.

Marseille have roared into 2nd place mostly because other clubs keep dropping points but they have won 3 of their last four games. At the weekend the club played a grudge match against Lyon, and these two famous rivals served up a treat which Marseille won 2-1. That stopped Lyon’s revival under new coach Rudi Garcia. Although Lyon’s team bus was attacked before the game and the club would have been shaken by that. One is reminded of when the same thing happened to Manchester City’s bus when they took on Liverpool in the Champions League.

Whilst the result leaves Lyon in 14th place with 16 points they are just six points behind 2nd placed Marseille, and there is a lot still to play for in the league.

Angers could have remained 2nd but slipped up to Reims and could only draw 0-0. They also ended the game with 10 men and the club have only won 1 game from their past five. One of the best form teams at the moment is Saint Etienne who have picked up 13 points from their last available 15. The club gained their 6th victory of the season when they beat Nantes 3-2 away from home. As for Nantes who were 2nd just a few weeks ago they are going through their worst form of the season and have now dropped to 9th place after losing 4 games in a row.

The bottom of the league remains tight. Nimes are last with 11 points and yet one win would take them into safety, but those wins will have to start coming soon. The club lost to Strasbourg 4-1. The worst form side of the league Toulouse are in 19th after losing 3-0 at Montpellier and Dijon remain in 18th after a close 1-0 defeat at the hands of Monaco.

Ligue 1 football resumes from the weekend of 22nd November where PSG will be at home against 5th place Lille. Marseille will take on Toulouse and be favourites to win that game. Can PSG’s 8 point lead be caught up? Probably not but that is the question on every French football fans’ mind. Only time will tell.

Prove you have what it takes to challenge the best French Fantasy Football managers here www.fantasyligue1.com