Neymar wants more competitive club, says Guillem Balague 

Neymar wants to leave Paris Saint-Germain for a more competitive team, but the Ligue 1 champions have no intention of allowing the Brazilian to leave the Parc des Princes this summer, according to Sky Sports' Spanish football expert Guillem Balague.

Neymar - who is currently sidelined after fracturing a metatarsal and spraining an ankle against Marseille at the start of March - joined PSG from Barcelona in a world-record deal in August, with the forward signing a five-year deal in the French capital.

However, despite contributing 29 goals and 19 assists in just 30 matches in all competitions in his debut season with the Parisians, the 26-year-old's arrival has not been enough to prevent the club from being eliminated from the Champions League at the last-16 stage by Real Madrid this week.

"We're going to hear in the next few months, even next season, indicating Neymar wants to leave PSG, from different angles," Balague told Sky Sports. "I believe it comes from the same source - his entourage. I think he's realised PSG isn't the place for him, I think he wants to look for a more competitive place to play."

La Liga and European champions Madrid are reportedly keen on bringing Neymar back to Spain next season, although PSG are unwilling to sanction the player's departure, says Balague.

To add a further twist to this tale, the unhappy the Brazil international reportedly favours a return to Barcelona - who he spent four seasons at before joining PSG last summer - but either way, he will still be at the Ligue 1 club next season, according to Balague.

"The other story is that he has told players and Barcelona directors that he wants to come back to Barca," explains Balague. "In my eyes, another story to come from his entourage to add pressure to PSG so they start to think about letting him go. But PSG are, at the moment, laughing it off. "I do believe the story, which has been told to somebody close to Neymar, and I believe the journalist who has written it. "It's just a matter of putting it in context. There will be more and more stories like this, and it is true that Real Madrid have already met his representatives, but PSG insist he is not for sale. "

I think he will have to be there for at least one more year, and then we will see what happens.


" Forget Coutinho - Losing Emre Can could be Liverpool's biggest 2018 transfer fail 


The Germany international continues to run down his contract and it will not be easy, or cheap, for the Reds to replace a Jurgen Klopp favourite.

Among the many compliments to have been paid to Mohamed Salah, Roberto Firmino and Sadio Mane this season, the biggest could be the fact that they have managed to make the red half of Merseyside forget all about Philippe Coutinho.

A situation which on January 6 appeared to only benefit Barcelona, as they parted with a cheque for £105 million, could now be argued to have worked in Liverpool’s favour. The Reds would rather have retained the services of a Brazilian playmaker — that goes without saying — but money in the bank could prove as important as they head towards another intriguing transfer window. Jurgen Klopp now has vast sums burning a hole in his pocket, but how he sets about investing them could prove era-defining as the German tactician seeks to lift his side out of the also-ran category and back onto the winners’ podium.

There is, of course, a chance that he could achieve that feat in 2018, bringing to an end a six-year wait for silverware at Anfield, but a miracle to match that of Rafa Benitez’s Istanbul heroes of 2005 may be required in order to secure a sixth European Cup. When the window of opportunity re-opens in July, where will Klopp chose to spend? And where does he need to spend? The goalkeeping department continues to offer little cause for optimism, even when taking Loris Karius’ recent displays into account, while the £75m addition of Virgil van Dijk could be considered the first piece of a defensive jigsaw still some way short of completion.

If Liverpool intend on being in the market for proven performers who require little adjustment period, then addressing either or both of those areas will not come cheap, if the reported €70m asking price for Roma goalkeeper Alisson is any indication. Coutinho’s presence may not be missed, with others having more than stepped up to the plate in his absence, but the seemingly imminent departure of Emre Can may not be as easy to counter. The Germany international is not a £105m talent – he would probably admit as much – but he has been a vital cog in a well-oiled machine that Klopp has worked hard to keep ticking over and could well do without seeing another key component removed.

The Reds boss has said of a man who continues to run down his contract with no indication that fresh terms will be penned: “Emre is still a young lad but he has developed into a great player and is very important for us. Sometimes a player just wants to sit out his contract. That's not cool for the club, but there are moments in which you have to accept it.
And as long as the player behaves like Emre does, then I have absolutely nothing to complain about. He gives everything he has and identifies with the club.

” Can claims to have “not signed with another club yet”, and suggested in January that he was in discussions with Liverpool, saying “I am talking with everyone, of course I am talking with Liverpool. Why not? I still have a contract here. It is an amazing club. What can I say? My agent does the rest.”

Gary Neville, a man hardly renowned for his love of all things Liverpool as an ex-Manchester United stalwart, told Sky Sports of the Can saga in January: "The news about Can leaving, for me, I think he's a fantastic player, with personality and character. I think he brings a lot to this Liverpool team in terms of character. "It's a big blow for Liverpool. It won't make the headlines that Coutinho's sale made. Juventus are a clever club, they sign intelligent players who are shrewd and know the game. I know there's a mixed reception on Merseyside to Can in terms of how good he is, and I've even had debates with Jamie Carragher. He looks like he has authority on the pitch, and there aren't many of those characters around in the game."

Neville is not wrong, but Liverpool might be. Salah and Co may be providing the fireworks on Merseyside, while Coutinho often lit the fuse, but they can only shine so brightly as a result of the safety net around them, and the Reds may be about to find that out the hard way as the man in charge of health and safety prepares to head for the exits.


OFFICIAL: Marco Reus extends contract with Dortmund until 2023


“I am happy and proud to announce that I’ll continue playing with Borussia. Dortmund is my home, BVB is my club.

As a kid I dreamed of playing in black and yellow, and I’d like this this extension to be a clear sign for the future,” the 28-year-old declared after putting pen to paper.

“This renewal is a ‘thank you’ to our fantastic fans, who have always stood by me. The club has supported me in tough times, so it was important for me to thank them,” Reus continued.

A Dortmund youth product, Reus had spells at Rot Weiss Ahlen and Borussia Mönchengladbach before re-joining BVB in 2012. Since then he has had a hand in over 100 Bundesliga goals for the club, scoring 92 times in all competitions and putting Borussia 1-0 ahead on an incredible 39 occasions. On Matchday 25 at RB Leipzig he became just the third player to have scored against all 18 current Bundesliga clubs as he continued his remarkable form that has seen him net three goals and provide two assists in four appearances since returning from his cruciate ligament injury.

“We’re really pleased Marco has decided to sign a long-term contract with the club despite numerous offers from around the world,” said BVB CEO Hans-Joachim Watzke.  “I have a special relationship with him, and he’s shown the utmost degree of dedication to this club, of which we’re very proud."


'Disappointing' Alexis advised by Neville on how to get Man Utd firing


 The ex-Red Devils defender admits the Chilean has not made the expected impact at Old Trafford, but has a chance to prove himself against Liverpool.

Alexis Sanchez “has been disappointing” for Manchester United, admits Gary Neville, with the Chilean yet to make the expected impact.

Jose Mourinho has conceded that a January arrival from Arsenal has struggled to produce his best for the Red Devils, with it possible that his true colours may not be seen until “next season”. United could really do with him delivering before then, with there top-four places and a Champions League crown to challenge for this term.

Neville believes it is on Sanchez and Mourinho to find a solution which allows both to prosper, with a crunch clash against arch-rivals Liverpool providing the perfect opportunity to get things right.

The former United defender told Sky Sports: “Yes, he has been disappointing since he arrived, but the thing for me with Alexis Sanchez is that he's got to play more advanced. “Liverpool will want to see him in deeper areas rather than getting in behind Trent Alexander-Arnold. “The young lad did really well at Old Trafford but playing against Anthony Martial or Sanchez he will find the game more difficult if they are making runs in behind. “I would if I was playing and so would any other defender, so he has to be tested, as will Andrew Robertson. “He has to receive balls in advanced areas and I'd like to see him close to Romelu Lukaku and even making runs in behind him.”

Sanchez has managed just one goal in eight appearances for United so far and no assists. He has faced accusations of destabilising the Red Devils, with positional problems similar to Paul Pogba being endured.

Mourinho is yet to find the best tactical system to incorporate the 29-year-old, with others – such as Marcus Rashford – being shunted out of the side to make way for a high-profile addition. 

A meeting with Liverpool presents a timely occasion for Sanchez to start proving his worth, as United head into a heavyweight fixture perched just two points clear of their old adversaries in the Premier League table.


Guardiola expresses disdain for Monday matches ahead of Stoke City meeting



The Manchester City manager criticised Monday games ahead of his club's trip to face the relegation battlers.

Pep Guardiola said he is not a fan of Monday night football ahead of Premier League leaders Manchester City's trip to Stoke City.

City — 16 points clear atop the table — can move another step closer to the title when they visit lowly Stoke, who are a point adrift of safety. Guardiola's men will be in action following the weekend's fixtures, which includes a blockbuster showdown between Manchester United and Liverpool.

The former Bayern Munich and Barcelona boss expressed his dislike for Monday games — a source of frustration for City this season following a shock FA Cup loss to League One outfit Wigan Athletic on that day, while they were held by Everton in the Premier League in August.

"I have bad experiences playing games on Mondays. You have to be focused because Stoke away is always complicated, [they are] fighting to be in the Premier League," he told a news conference. "We were lucky last season to win there. When we face teams who are fighting to stay in the Premier League it is complicated. "

I don't like to play on Monday because the weekend everybody is involved and when the weekend is over, they are like the weekend is over, there are no more games, but we have to play.

" Guardiola added: "Sometimes in Barcelona, I remember when we played on Monday, a long time ago, always it was not good."


'They are not the perfect team' – Mourinho says Man Utd can exploit Liverpool weaknesses


While acknowledging Manchester United's own flaws, the Red Devils manager highlighted Liverpool's vulnerabilities.

Manchester United manager Jose Mourinho said Liverpool have weaknesses that can be exploited when the Premier League rivals meet at Old Trafford on Saturday.

It will be second against third when United welcome Liverpool to Manchester, with Mourinho's men two points clear of Jurgen Klopp's high-flying Reds.

The strengths of both teams are contrasting — United boasting the second-best defensive record, having only conceded 22 goals in 29 matches, while Liverpool's prolific attack have netted 67 times, only second to champions-elect Manchester City. While acknowledging United's own weaknesses, Mourinho highlighted Liverpool's vulnerabilities.

"They are a very good team, but they are a very good team with some weaknesses," Mourinho said. "Weaknesses I don't think is a very strong word because I also use that word in relation to my own team. "They are not the perfect team. I think they are a very good team and that is why they are where they are in the Premier League, which is difficult. "

They have qualities and they have weaknesses. We have qualities and we have weaknesses.

"One of my good qualities as a coach was always to know very well my team's weaknesses. Sometimes I try to hide them and sometimes I have to try to compensate for them with other things. "

We are very similar in terms of points in the Premier League. Liverpool have already qualified for the Champions League quarter-finals and we still have 90 minutes of a big fight to try to be there.
"So in the Champions League they are clearly ahead of us, but in the FA Cup we have a chance they don't have so we are having quite similar seasons."


Yerry Mina is left out of the Barcelona squad again


Ernesto Valverde has released his squad list for Saturday's game against Malaga, and once again Yerry Mina has been left out.

The Colombian played 90 minutes in the final of the Catalan Super Cup, but upon returning to official competition, the coach has decided to overlook him.

Eighteen players will head to Andalusia but Andres Iniesta, Nelson Semedo and Denis Suarez will not be among them as they are all injured.

The complete list of players travelling to Malaga is as follows: Ter Stegen, Cillessen; Sergi Roberto, Pique, Umtiti, Vermaelen, Alba, Digne; Busquets, Rakitic, Coutinho, Paulinho, Andre Gomes; Messi, Luis Suarez, Dembele, Alcacer and Aleix Vidal.


Vidic: Man Utd could win the Champions League


The former Red Devils captain believes Jose Mourinho's men are equipped to succeed in Europe.

Former Manchester United defender Nemanja Vidic believes the Red Devils can win the Champions League this season as rivals Manchester City run away with the Premier League title.

United are second and 16 points behind champions-elect City in England, but Jose Mourinho's men are in the last 16 of the Champions League.
Vidic — who won the Champions League and five Premier League trophies during his eight years in Manchester — feels United are equipped to succeed in Europe.

"It's Man United. I know the Premier League is bigger, but I think the Champions League could happen," Vidic said via ESPN.

"When the season started, I said that I thought United had more chance to win the Champions League than the Premier League because the players they signed didn't have the time to fit in. "

Also, Mourinho is a tactical coach, knows Europe very well. He knows there are going to be scrappy games and how to get through them. "That's my belief. To win, you need a bit of luck, but there is a chance to get to the semi-final or final. You never know. And if you win a Champions League, the players start to believe. They think: 'OK, speak about me now.' Phil Jones, Chris Smalling, they will look different than now."


 Paul Pogba gives Manchester United huge injury scare ahead of Liverpool clash (Mirror)


Manchester United could be without Paul Pogba when they face Liverpool on Saturday.

The Frenchman pulled out of training on Friday and will undergo a late fitness test early on Saturday which will determine whether he is able to take part.

It would be a huge blow for United if their record signing is unable to play as the Red Devils look to hold off their fierce rivals in the race for second spot behind runaway leaders Manchester City.

Jose Mourinho's side currently sit two points clear of the Reds going into the weekend's Old Trafford showdown.

Pogba hasn't always seen eye to eye with Mourinho this term and his form has been, at times, indifferent, but he remains a vital player for the Special One.

He has made 26 appearances in all competitions so far this season, scoring three goals.

Pogba wasn't pictured as United checked into the Lowry Hotel prior to the match, accompanied by legendary former boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

Source: All Football, ESPN, SuperSports, Mirror