Ruthless PSG keep Neymar and now will go after the Ligue 1 title and Champions League

The transfer saga of Neymar finally ended on September 2nd when the extended European transfer window closed. And Neymar in the end has stayed at PSG, which was surprising news.

The Braziian had been a wantaway star for the past 3 months but a deal could not be secured between his suitors which were his former club Barcelona and Real Madrid. Though it is thought that Neymar’s preferred choice would have been Barca, well he ended up with none of them, the guest at a wedding how ends up single. What now for Neymar?

PSG will expect their player back after the international break where Neymar could play two friendlies, and they need him. The club have injuries to strikers Edinson Cavani and Kylian Mbappe with Mbappe out for 4 weeks. Neymar needs to step in and hit the ground running and that means goals. How will fans react to Neymar still being in the team? True you’d want such a player, but he has talked only about wanting to leave the club. Once he starts scoring goals and winning games he will probably be invited back into the hearts of the fans, but long time loyal ones will be a little suspect of the player and he will have to earn their respect.

As for Neymar’s future, it’s very possible he could still leave in January, although that would mean he wouldn’t be able to play in the latter half of the Champions League. We must remember here is a player that doesn’t want to be in Paris, that reportedly wanted to pay 20m euros to help a deal go through. So his future with the French champions is still uncertain.

What is certain is PSG have been stubborn and ruthless over Neymar’s transfer, it’s something that you can’t blame them for. Why lose out financially on a player that cost you over 200m euros just a couple of seasons ago? At the same time you could argue that Neymar being in the club had become toxic, his friendship at least with Mbappe looks damaged. Again wins and goals could well help repair that.

Despite PSG having to face a less than happy beginning to the season they are still top of the league with 9 points and lead on goal difference from Rennes, Nice and Angers, and they will go after the league again. The step up in the Champions League is also required and out of all of the players coming in this summer one has to be impressed by their last minute loan signing of Mauro Icardi from Inter Milan. Icardi regularly gets 20 goals a season and he should be a success in France.

PSG may have already lost a game, and been in the press for the wrong reasons, but make no mistake every team in France should be worried, because they look stronger than ever.

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Why PSG are to blame for Neymar’s transfer saga

The Neymar transfer saga keeps on raging on and it is threatening to undermine PSG’s season, the champions have already lost one game and further more could happen until the team know exactly what is happnening with the Brazilian.

Tensions were brought to a head when in the curtain raiser of the season PSG beat Rennes in the cup competition, league champions who meet the cup winners and Neymar who didn’t play in the game went to be part of the photo celebrations but was pushed out of the photo by Kylian Mbappe, who now sees himself as PSG’s main player.

So Neymar has been very distant, some claim him to be injured that is the offical story, but let’s be honest, coach Thomas Tuchel is not going to select someone whose mind is clearly elsewhere.

It is clear that Neymar will never play for PSG again, so what is the delay all about? The obvious answer would be that PSG want a decent deal, after all they paid over 200m euros for him. The fact is that PSG should simply be looking for a long term deal and demand those terms. Players can be involved but they should be able to get back the money they invested. If it takes Barcelona or Real Madrid four or five years to finish up payments then so be it, PSG are not clamouring for money, and they don’t need it. So why not be able to wait for some payments, and get rid of the problem which is Neymar.

The saga of Neymar is not then Barcelona or Real Madrid’s fault to find the price tag and or players to swap, its solely down to PSG- Neymar has never wanted to be there, and getting him in the first place was the biggest mistake. PSG would still have won the league and cups they have entered, and so all in all his acquistions save for shirt sales and fan hype seems unfounded.

Now that PSG have made the mistake in getting Neymar, they need to sell him, the whole situation has made little sense. Except that the deal you want you can’t have now, but later it will work out. In being stubborn with a player they should never have bought they are making it toxic for the club and throughtout this summer PSG have been appearing in the press for all the wrong reasons. This one looks like it will drag until the deathly hours when the window finally closes on September 2nd. It couldn’t come quick enough.

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Kylian Mbappe should be Real Madrid’s number one long term target

Eden Hazard’s transfer to Real Madrid was a number of years in the making. The Belgian had been eyed up by the Spanish club for a long time before Florentino Perez finally sanctioned the £100 million fee to take him to the Santiago Bernabeu this summer. This is often the way of the mega-money deals Real Madrid have a long history of.

Take their pursuit of Cristiano Ronaldo, for instance. Originally, Real Madrid wanted to sign the Portuguese forward from Manchester United in the summer of 2008 just after he’d led the Old Trafford club to the Champions League title. Instead, they had to wait until the following summer to get their man.

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These transfers are not easy to pull off and take time to put together. This goes some way to explaining why just weeks after the signing of Hazard talk has already turned to who Real Madrid could target as their next long term addition. Many see Neymar as the man destined to one day pull on the famous white shirt.

Indeed, Real Madrid’s interest in the Brazilian has been well documented with speculation heightened following the news that Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain this summer. But is he really who Real Madrid should be lining up as their number one target for the long term?

Kylian Mbappe has also been linked with a move to the Santiago Bernabeu and he, over Neymar, should be who Real Madrid prioritise. While there are questions over Neymar’s character and attitude, with his form suffering as a consequence over the past two seasons, Mbappe is widely seen as the face of the future of the sport.

What’s more, Mbappe is a Real Madrid fan, supporting the club since childhood. There have been suggestions that he would be willing to force through a move to the Santiago Bernabeu with the forward reportedly refusing to enter renegotiation talks over a new contract with PSG. This puts Real Madrid in a good position.

Not so long ago, Neymar looked like the future of the sport. At Barcelona, he was the next best player in the world. PSG broke the Brazilian, though. Mbappe, however, has kept his star rising. He is already a World Cup winner and one of the best strikers in the game, but his upward trajectory could still carry him much further.

Real Madrid is a club that prides itself on signing the best players on the planet. They have forged a whole identity from this notion and for many Neymar fits the bill. But does he fit the bill as well as Mbappe? If Real Madrid are drawing up a transfer plan for the long term, they should target the latter over the former.

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Top Ligue 1 Strikers in 2018/19: Edinson Cavani

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Edinson Cavani has had a great career at PSG where he has been with the club for 6 seasons, playing 279 games and scoring 193 times, and even at 32 he has been good enough to be recognised as one of the best strikers in France’s Ligue 1.

Of course his season was dealt many blows- being knocked out of the two domestic cups seemed a step backwards given how PSG have dominated in France. But they did win the league and won it in style with several games to go. Cavani missed big games including some in the Champions League when PSG lost over 2 legs against Manchester United.

For Cavani though this was another personal successful season that saw the Uruguayan forward score 18 goals only Kylian Mbappe and Nicolas Pepe were able to score more this season. Cavani also assisted in a further 5 goals and when he played which was 20 games in the league for 50% of that time with him in the team PSG kept a clean sheet. Cavani’s cards records were great too where he received just 1 yellow card from the 20 games played.

Cavani ended the season in the European Fantasy League Ligue 1 records with a points total of 83. Whilst that was 26 points shy of Nicolas Pepe in 2nd place Pepe had the advantage of playing 17 more games than Cavani who totalled 83 points to finish in 3rd place. Overall with all strikers combined in all the major European leagues Cavani finished in 15th place.

Cavani’s season started brightly as he scored a goal in each of his first three games. He only really had one bad spell which was in October when he failed to score in back to back games when PSG played Lyon and Amiens. Ironically the French champions won both games 5-0 but Cavani failed to register a goal or an assist.

The striker’s best game of the season came in January when PSG were playing Guingamp in Paris. The score was an incredible one which ended 9-0 to them. Cavani obliged with a hat trick and 2 assists, in a special game for him, it’s fair to say he kept the ball that evening.

Another memorable game occurred against Monaco earlier in the season when PSG beat the troubled 2017 champions at the Stade Louis III winning 4-0. Cavani helped himself to a hat trick and bonus points to go with that to get a total of 14 points.

Cavani’s last home game saw him get a goal against Dijon and in the last game of the season away to Reims, PSG lost 3-1 but he scored points by assisting Mbappe for PSG’s consolation goal.

Cavani’s total points of 83 is one of his worst under PSG but at the same time he only played just over half of the season due to injuries and in that respect he actually had a very solid season.

The player has talked about a move away from PSG and France and could be eyeing a Premier League club, if so Cavani will be very much missed in Ligue 1, he scored some fantastic goals and has been a big part of PSG’s fantastic success in the 2010′s. He remains one of the very best strikers in Europe.

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Top Ligue 1 Strikers of 2018/19: Kylian Mbappe

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Kylian Mbappe had another fantastic season as he scored 33 goals and topped the lead goal scorers list in France as a result. His goals were the primary cause for PSG winning another Ligue 1 title as Mbappe underlined his reputation as one of the best strikers in Europe.

This season in particular was a massive step up for Mbappe when we consider his previous seasons. Before the start of 2018/19 season the most league goals Mbappe had scored in one season was 15, for Monaco, in season 2016/17. This season he managed 18 more goals and the plaudits need to be lauded on the player for the following reason; he was able to step up after PSG lost the services of both Edinson Cavani and Neymar and Mbappe then became the main player and forward for the club.

Let’s analyse his season. Mbappe started off with a bang when he scored a brace against Guingamp in a fairly routine win and all of this happened despite him only playing 50 minutes of the game. Within the first 2 games of the season he had acquired 14 points and never really looked back.

His best game of the season happened in matchday 5 when PSG destroyed league rivals Lyon 5-0 in Paris. Mbappe was heavily involved and scored an incredible 4 goals, he also picked up bonus points for getting a hat-trick and ended the game with 18 points. Other highlights of the season included scoring a hat-trick and making an assist in PSG’s 9-0 victory over Guingamp, that earned him 16 points and he earned another 14 with another hat-trick against Monaco later in the season.

There were only 4 games when Mbappe failed to record any points and he remained consistent throughout the season. One such instance of this was at the beginning of the season where Mbappe scored points in the first 8 weeks of the season.

Mbappe finished on a huge 144 points in Ligue 1 Fantasy Football rankings and finished 35 points ahead of Nicolas Pepe. His value going into last season was 10.5m and perhaps after having such a great season his value may go up next season. Overall Mbappe would rank 2nd in the strikers list with only Lionel Messi at Barcelona having gained more points.

It is still incredible to think that he is only 20 years old and he has already won 6 major trophies including a World Cup and 3 Ligue 1 titles with PSG and Monaco.

As for his future it looks destined to be away from Ligue 1, but he looks like he will stay with PSG for the foreseeable future and will remain the main focus point of Ligue 1 football. He is arguably the most special talent in classic centre forward style since the Brazilian Ronaldo.

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Top Ligue 1 Midfielders in 2018/19: Angel Di Maria

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PSG became champions yet again in Ligue 1 but their superiority isn’t just confined to their front three players of Kylian Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani and that was underlined this season with how brilliant Angel Di Maria has been for the side.

The Argentine who loves to play out on the wing scored 12 goals and assisted in a further 11 goals in the league this season. To put that into perspective he was responsible for just over 20% of PSG’s goals in Ligue 1. In the European Fantasy League rankings Di Maria is 1st in his position and beat off competition from Florian Thauvin who was the only other midfielder who could compete with him. Di Maria finished on 96 points and Thauvin finished on 95.

Di Maria has been at PSG for the past four seasons and after a difficult period with Manchester United in the Premier League he has really settled into life at Parc des Princes creating goals and scoring important ones. Just counting his league goals this season was also Di Maria’s most successful with 12 league goals that is his highest of his career surpassing the 11 goals he got last season and doing so with one less game played. His overall ranking with all midfielders combined would be 11th.

Di Maria had a consistently good season for PSG and his best game was against Marseille when he scored 2 goals and assisted in another in a 3-1 win. He earned 9 points in that match and the only thing that let him down was losing 2 points for getting a yellow card. The game before that PSG had won 4-0 against Dijon and again it was Di Maria who got man of the match, with a goal and an assist and he earned extra points given that his team kept a clean sheet.

Di Maria’s best form was towards the end of the season with his best month being March where he was averaging 8 points a game. He also had a strong April and May.

What is also interesting is when we look at his value and remember that the season before he was worth 12m to buy for your team. This season he went down to just 9m and ended up being one of the best performers in Ligue 1 where in the end he was ranked in 3rd place. Only Kylian Mbappe and Nicolas Pepe had better seasons in the rankings.

Di Maria who is now 31 doesn’t look like he will be leaving PSG anytime soon and his best years could still well be ahead of him, certainly if this season is anything to go by it appears that the player is getting better.

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Kylian Mbappe makes demands to PSG in front of stunned crowd at awards show

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The French have a saying for when you put your foot in it, it’s called faux pas and PSG striker Kylian Mbappe did just that at the French football awards at the weekend. Mbappe received the highest award with winning the player of the season in France and then hinted in front of a packed audience that included PSG’s owners and PSG manager Thomas Tuchel that his future may lie elsewhere, it was a stunning moment.

Mbappe took his award and then told everyone listening: “It’s a very important moment for me, I come to a turning point in my career. I have discovered a lot here, and I feel it is maybe the moment to have more responsibility.I hope that can perhaps be at Paris St Germain, that would be a great pleasure. Or maybe elsewhere with a new project.”

Mbappe’s statement is one of intent and he is clearly not happy at PSG. This in part may be to do with the fact that the club keep blowing up at the knockout rounds of the Champions League but at the same time there is a strong feeling that Real Madrid have approached PSG and offered upwards of 250 million euros for the player.

The 20 year old joined the club in 2017 after guiding Monaco to a Ligue 1 title, initially this was on a loan deal before he joined for a transfer fee in the region of £160m becoming the 2nd most expensive player in history behind Neymar his PSG teammate.

While Mbappe has had a fantastic season scoring 32 goals in just 28 games and 38 overall this season his speech will strike some as shocking. At just 20 he wants to rule the roost and have his say, and while he undoubtedly has the talent to be remembered as one of the greats one could wonder if he isn’t getting too ahead of himself. Or could it be that Real Madrid have already made contact and Mbappe was asked to stoke the fires somewhat- to do that in this company, well he has got a reaction that is for sure.

So what can PSG do to keep the player happy? First will be a wage rise, next could be that Mbappe wants more say, what exactly that extends to is anyone’s guess, but he has now laid down a marker and it feels that it is only a question of when and not if Mbappe leaves the club. The destination looks set for Madrid, rare has any player in the past turned the club down, why should that stop at Mbappe?

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Thierry Henry sacked, Leonardo Jardim returns and yet Monaco could still be relegated from Ligue 1

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If anything at least it hasn’t been a quiet forgettable season for Monaco. The 2017 champions and the only team to stop PSG winning the league since 2012 are in 17th place and have a realistic chance of being relegated.

Thierry Henry infamously replaced Leonardo Jardim who had guided the club to their Ligue 1 win and had done pretty much nothing wrong to be sacked in the first place. This was proven just 4 months later when Henry couldn’t even buy a win and was sacked as Monaco lay in the bottom three. He was inevitably replaced by Jardim and Monaco’s fortune swiftly turned around, well at least, for a few weeks.

It seems though that Jardim and possibly even Henry were not the root of the problem and the real problem for the club is that for many seasons they have constantly sold their best players. Run as a business Monaco have been terrific one of the best clubs in Europe, buy cheap and sell large. Clubs such as Manchester City and PSG have spent hundreds of millions acquiring the talent pool from Monaco. That is all very well and good but was it worth it to be playing in Ligue 2?

Jardim has simply not been able to turn things around enough for a club who have slumped in the past month. Their latest defeat was against newly promoted Nimes losing 1-0 and Monaco are 17th. The problem for the club is that they are only in this position on goal difference. Caen have found excellent form and have the same number of points on them on 33. And that is not all, Dijon’s victory over Strasbourg at the weekend means that they have 31 and remain a threat and there is still 2 games to play in the league.

Monaco have lost 3 of their last four games and from their last 10 games they have won just once. Their last victory came 2 months ago when they beat Lille. Indeed that has been a sticking point with the club. Their last two wins came against Lille who are 2nd and Lyon who are 3rd, but they have had a hard time beating teams just above them and around them which could ultimately be their downfall.

Will Monaco survive? Well if they finish 18th that is no longer automatic relegation in France and instead they would partake in a play off against the 3rd place Ligue 2 side to see who would be promoted and relegated. Monaco’s last two games are at home to Amiens and then away in the derby against Nice. How ironic that it is Nice who could end up sending them down?

The Amiens game then is massive and win that and that should be enough to fend off the challenge from Dijon. Plus Dijon have to play PSG away from home next, and yes whilst PSG have been in poor form, no one is expecting them to lose that match. So Dijon do look down. As for Caen that is the real worry for Monaco, since Caen would be 6th in the league on form.

Caen have to play Lyon away which is going to be incredibly tough and then finish the season with a home game against Bordeaux. It’s going to be close and both Caen and Monaco could finish on 36 points.

While the excitement of who would win Ligue 1 felt done and dusted by Christmas the relegation battle is only just heating up with 2 games to go.

Dani Alves – The worlds most decorated player after PSG win Ligue 1

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PSG won the league title in style by beating Monaco 3-1 after a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick gave the 20 year old Frenchman his 7th trophy of his career. But another story emerged as the dust settled down and the Champagne spilled at the Parc des Princes last Sunday night and that was the incredible fact that Dani Alves, PSG’s defender became the most successful player in the history of the game.

The Brazilian won his 42nd trophy which is now classified as an official record. One of those is a youth one but it is being counted. It has been an incredible haul of trophies for Alves who has won leagues in Brazil, Spain, Italy and France in a glittering career and has also won the Copa America for Brazil and 3 Champions Leagues with Barcelona. The World Cup is going to elude him, but if he stays with PSG he is likely to win even more trophies.

Indeed Alves could make it trophy no 43 as early as this weekend when PSG take on Rennes in the Coupe de France final, and if he is at the club next year, he could push that total to much more.

But what of two incredibly successful players- the players that have changed the game in the past decade, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo- and will they one day be able to take Alves crown?

Messi currently has 34 trophies overall. And by the end of the season that could be 36 if Barcelona win the league and the Copa del Rey. They are almost certain to win the league so 35 looks assured at least. Messi will be 32 when the season kicks off next and at the very top level looking at his fitness he might have another four seasons left, and perhaps he has a chance to break Alves record, but then again it depends which player will have the longest career.

As for Ronaldo he has won 28 trophies and while his fitness means he will carry on for  a few good more years yet it looks unlikely he will bother Alves incredible record.

Here is what Alves has won in a fantastic career- the question is can he get to 50 trophies?

Bahia (2001-02):

Campeonato Baiano – 2001

Copa do Nordeste – 2001, 2002

Sevilla (2002-08): 

Copa del Rey — 2006-07

Supercopa de Espana — 2007

UEFA Cup — 2005-06, 2006-07

UEFA Super Cup — 2006

Barcelona (2008-16):

La Liga — 2008–09, 2009–10, 2010–11, 2012–13, 2014–15, 2015–16

Copa del Rey — 2008–09, 2011–12, 2014–15, 2015–16

Supercopa de Espana — 2009, 2010, 2011, 2013

Champions League — 2008–09, 2010–11, 2014–15

UEFA Super Cup — 2009, 2011, 2015

FIFA Club World Cup — 2009, 2011, 2015

Juventus (2016-17):

Serie A — 2016-17

Coppa Italia — 2016-17

PSG (2017-present):

Trophee des Champions — 2017

Coupe de la Ligue — 2017-18

Coupe de France — 2017-18

Ligue 1 — 2017-18, 2018-19

Brazil (2006-present):

Copa America — 2007

Confederations Cup — 2009, 2013

FIFA World Youth Championship – 2003

Ligue 1 Player of the Week: Kylian Mbappe

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Everything came together in Ligue 1 at the weekend as Kylian Mbappe scored a hat-trick on Sunday against his former team Monaco in Paris as PSG won the league title.

Mbappe’s 3 goals earned him more points than any other player in Ligue 1 Fantasy Football with 14. He is top of the rankings with an overall haul of 132 points and has a value of 10.5m. He is a cool 35 points in front of the next best player Nicolas Pepe who plays for Lille.

Mbappe is also the top goal scorer in Ligue 1 with 30 goals and one has to remind themselves that he is just 20 years old- oh and of course he has a World Cup already to his name. In a week where his team mate Dani Alves became the most decorated player in history with his 42nd trophy, one has to wonder if Mbappe will surpass this record. Alves is 15 years older than Mbappe and if we say that the French forward has at least another 15 years at the very top then he has plenty of time to catch him up, he currently has 7 trophies to his name.

The 20 year old has been not just the best player in Ligue 1 this week, or this season but the best player in world football in the past 12 months. One has to wonder if Ronaldo or Lionel Messi would have won world player of the year had they won a domestic treble and then the World Cup last season. Mbappe didn’t, FIFA seemed to back out of that decision based on his then age of 19. No matter it is only a question of time, perhaps this will be the year but then again PSG were knocked out of the Champions League at the round of 16 and that could affect that vote.

Mbappe has recovered well in recent weeks too- the player was dropped from he defeat at Nantes after he criticised the teams commitment on the back of drawing 2-2 with Strasbourg and then the horrific 5-1 defeat at the hands of Lille. Of course it was just a stay of execution PSG were always going to win the league, in the end it simply dragged on more than they would have liked.

He has proven to be the ultimate striker and his pace is electrifying. Against Monaco one of his runs clocked in at an a average of 38km p/h that is quicker than 100m world record holder Usain Bolt.

For his hat-trick Mbappe was set up twice by Alves and he even hit the post meaning he could have ended the night with more goals. And there is more.

In scoring 30 goals in a single season Mbappe became the first French player to reach that feat in Ligue 1 since the great Jean- Pierre Papin.

Mbappe by light years wins the Ligue 1 player of the week in reality he should be winning every other personal competition he is involved in too. An absolute star to treasure with an even greater future ahead of him.

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