'I'm sick of giving it to Messi' – Evra backs Chelsea pair for Ballon d'Or

“Both the men’s and women’s nominees for the Ballon d’Or will find out the winner on 29 November in Paris, France. Thirty men and twenty women are nominated for the respective rewards. Lionel Messi is currently the bookmakersu0027 favourite for the award but former Manchester United player Patrice Evra “is sick” of seeing the Argentine pick up the award. Messi last won the award in 2019.”

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Late Mbappe penalty sees PSG to hard-fought win against Angers

PSG extended their winning streak over Angers to thirteen games with a hard-fought 2-1 win in the French capital, as Ligue 1 returned after the international break.

Although the home side were without stars such as Lionel Messi, Neymar, Keylor Navas and more either due to injury or international commitments – as South American World Cup qualifiers took place the night before – they still went into the match as strong favourites against a side who have been perennial mid-table dwellers since their promotion to the top flight in 2015.

However, Angers showed why they have been this season’s surprise package in Ligue 1, with the pace and trickery of Sofiane Boufal, Mohamed-Ali Cho and Angelo Fulgini causing constant problems for the PSG defence.

Ballon d’Or

‘I’m sick of giving it to Messi’ – Evra backs Chelsea pair for Ballon d’Or

AN HOUR AGO

The latter even put the visitors in front just over half an hour into the game. Fulgini timed his run to perfection to tap home Boufal’s low but pacey cross from the right flank.

In the second half, PSG’s lack of directness and attacking intent continued despite maintaining their hefty chunk of possession, yet they unconvincingly dragged themselves over the line, largely thanks to the individual brilliance of Kylian Mbappe.

The wantaway star assisted the 69th-minute equaliser with a lovely dink for Danilo Pereira to head past Paul Bernardoni and followed that with a clutch penalty minutes before the full-time whistle to give his side the lead.

PSG were fortunate that the penalty was even awarded given that the VAR officials had to instruct the referee to review Pierrick Capelle’s handball at his monitor – a move that caused Bastien Dechepy to overturn his initial decision.

More to follow

Ligue 1

Ramos’ PSG debut delayed, expected to miss Angers game

YESTERDAY AT 14:45

Football

Wijnaldum not ‘completely happy’ with PSG situation

11/10/2021 AT 17:38

Ramos' PSG debut delayed, expected to miss Angers game

Sergio Ramos debut for Paris Saint-Germain has been pushed further back as he continues to recover from a thigh injury.

The 35-year-old signed for PSG from Real Madrid on a free transfer in the summer and has not played a game since facing Chelsea in the Champions League semi-final second leg on May 5.

Following reports that he would be fit after the international break to make his debut against Angers on Friday evening, it turns out Ramos is further away from returning than initially thought.

Football

Wijnaldum not ‘completely happy’ with PSG situation

11/10/2021 AT 17:38

He is set miss the Ligue 1 clash against Angers on Friday as well as PSG’s Champions League game against RB Leipzig on Tuesday.

Nevertheless, PSG are confident he will make his debut for the club soon.

“Unfortunately Ramos hasn’t started training with the squad yet,” PSG head coach Mauricio Pochettino confirmed in an interview with El Partidazo de COPE and Radio MARCA.

“He is close, though. We hope that it will be as soon as possible.

“We’re happy with how he is progressing. He’s a great champion and nobody can doubt his competitive instinct and footballing ability.”

Ligue 1

Opinion: Traumatic 2021 should still end with Messi winning Ballon d’Or again

08/10/2021 AT 18:21

Ligue 1

Mbappe renewal talks with PSG are ‘going well’, according to French star’s mother

06/10/2021 AT 16:39

Wijnaldum not 'completely happy' with PSG situation

#?Georginio Wijnaldum has admitted he is not “completely happy” with his situation at Paris Saint-Germain as he fights for minutes.

Wijnaldum joined PSG on a free transfer in the summer after his deal with Liverpool expired.

He has made 11 appearances in all competitions this season but has been in and out of the starting XI as he competes with Idrissa Gueye, Ander Herrera and Marco Verratti for a spot.

World Cup Qualification UEFA

‘Who else could have done it?’ – Van Gaal says he would have appointed himself as Dutch manager

18/08/2021 AT 08:54

“I can’t say I’m completely happy,” he said ahead of Netherlands’ World Cup qualifier against Gibraltar on Monday.

“The situation is not what I wanted. I have played a lot in recent years, was always fit and also did very well. This is something different and that takes getting used to. I was really looking forward to the new step and then this happens. It is very difficult.

“That’s football and I’ll have to learn to deal with that. I’m a fighter. I have to stay positive and work hard to turn it around.”

Wijnaldum was a regular starter during his time at Liverpool and made 51 appearances in all competitions last season. But he has been a substitute in PSG’s last three outings.

“I think [not playing], it’s a primary concern for every player,” he added. “It’s also worrying if you don’t play. But it’s just the beginning of the season. A lot can still happen and I stay positive.”

Netherlands head coach Louis van Gaal has revealed he is also concerned about Wijnaldum’s start to life at his new club.

He said: “Of course I’m worried. I already talked to him about that when I arrived. But the alarm bells are not going off yet.”

Football

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04/08/2021 AT 09:55

Premier League

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Messi intends to vote for Mbappe and Neymar for the Ballon d'Or

Lionel Messi has confirmed he intends to vote for Paris Saint-Germain team-mates Kylian Mbappe and Neymar for the Ballon d’Or.

Messi is one of the frontrunners for the prize after helping Argentina win the Copa America in the summer.

Tournament wins at international level often have a bearing on the outcome of the Ballon d’Or, meaning Messi is in excellent shape to win the award for a seventh time.

Ligue 1

Opinion: Traumatic 2021 should still end with Messi winning Ballon d’Or again

A DAY AGO

Messi is on the 30-man shortlist, as is his great rival Cristiano Ronaldo, but the Portugal superstar is unlikely to secure a vote from the now PSG man.

“Obviously, I have two players in my team that I would vote for, Ney and Kylian,” Messi told L’Equipe. “Afterwards, there are players at the individual level who have had a great season, like [Robert] Lewandowski, [Karim] Benzema.

“But it’s hard to say because what you have done at the collective level means a lot to win the Ballon d’Or.

“Lately, the titles have a lot of weight, if you won the Champions League, the European Championship, the Copa America.

‘I think in previous years, we looked more for the player of the year, the best player. But now the titles also have a lot of weight.”

The winner of the 2021 Ballon d’Or will be crowned in Paris on November 29.

Ballon d’Or

Ballon d’Or 30-man shortlist announced

YESTERDAY AT 14:19

Liga

Barcelona CEO claims club could have been ‘dissolved’ as accounts reveal losses of €481 million

06/10/2021 AT 15:31

Opinion: Traumatic 2021 should still end with Messi winning Ballon d'Or again

In the grand chronicle of Lionel Messi’s storied career, 2021 will feature heavily. This was, after all, the year the footballing world changed for the player widely viewed as the greatest to have ever played the game. In fact, Messi’s career could well be categorised as pre and post 2021 such was its significance to the 34-year-old.

His summer transfer to Paris Saint-Germain, preceded by a tearful farewell to Barcelona amid financial troubles, felt like a glitch in the footballing matrix. Messi was never meant to wear any other club colours besides blaugrana. He had come to embody Barca and they had come to embody him. By leaving the Camp Nou, Messi left behind a part of his soul.

The months before that weren’t much more enjoyable for him either as Barcelona struggled to compete domestically and on the continent. While Messi was hardly to blame for this, his performances were scrutinised for their lethargy. He didn’t look to be the same player who had thrilled fans for over a decade. Just because Messi will remember 2021 forever doesn’t necessarily mean it was a good year.

Ballon d’Or

Ballon d’Or 30-man shortlist announced

4 HOURS AGO

And yet a sub-par year for Messi could still be better than anything produced by anyone else. Despite everything, only Robert Lewandowski (30) scored more league goals in 2021 than the Argentine (23). Factoring in international form, Messi was still world football’s top scorer with 37 goals, not to mention 14 assists for good measure, in 46 games.

Messi might not have ended the 2020/21 club season with any silverware to show for his efforts, nor is the 2021/22 season old enough for the 34-year-old to have had the chance to win a trophy for PSG, but he did propel Argentina to an historic Copa America triumph, La Albiceleste’s first major honour in 28 years.

Lionel Messi mit dem Top-Scorer-Award bei der Copa

Image credit: Getty Images

This might explain why Messi is odds on with many bookmakers to win a seventh career Ballon d’Or in 2021. Those who only saw the 34-year-old suffer footballing trauma this year might be surprised by this, yet Messi’s argument to be once again crowned world football’s best is a strong one.

Circumstances might well have played into Messi’s hands given there is no outstanding alternative to win the sport’s most prestigious individual award, but the standard he has set this year is still higher than anyone else can match. The numbers he has produced prove this.

Last year, Lewandowski likely would have got his hands on the famous gold ball had the Covid-19 pandemic not forced the cancellation of the 2020 Ballon d’Or. The Polish striker has kept his numbers high, breaking Gerd Muller’s long-standing Bundesliga scoring record last season, but his 2021 has lacked a true moment of glory like Messi got at the Copa America.

PARIS, FRANCE – SEPTEMBER 28: Leo Messi of Paris Saint-Germain reacts after scoring during the UEFA Champions League group A match between Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City at Parc des Princes on September 28, 2021 in Paris, France. (Photo by Aureli

Image credit: Getty Images

Jorginho has been put forward by those who believe Chelsea’s Champions League win and Italy’s Euro 2020 triumph should be represented by a single player, but the central midfielder lacks the X factor of many other candidates. The same could be said of N’Golo Kante despite the esteem he is held in across the sport.

Karim Benzema and Romelu Lukaku could have been frontrunners had France and Belgium gone further at Euro 2020 respectively. Cristiano Ronaldo’s numbers hold up against Messi’s (he has averaged a goal every 104 minutes in 2021 compared to Messi’s average of one every 110 minutes), but Juventus only just scraped a fourth-place finish in Serie A last season while Portugal didn’t make it past the last 16 at Euro 2020.

Individual awards in a team sport, like the Ballon d’Or, are always decided using some sort of contrived equation that mixes individual numbers with team achievements, but Messi’s formula, whichever way you divide it, still looks to be a winning one.

Liga

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06/10/2021 AT 15:31

Football

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Mbappe renewal talks with PSG are 'going well', according to French star's mother

Kylian Mbappe’s mother has revealed that talks with Paris Saint-Germain over a new contract are “going well”.

The Frenchman is out of contract with PSG at the end of the season and the subject of persistent links with Real Madrid.

Champions League

‘It would be one of the biggest disasters’ – Are PSG in trouble?

16/09/2021 AT 12:25

However the player’s mother, former French international handballer Fayza Lamari, has suggested that the forward may yet stay in Paris.

“We are in talks with PSG right now and it is going well,” Lamari told Le Parisien.

“I even spoke to [PSG sporting director] Leonardo on [Monday] night.

“Will we reach an outcome? Only one thing is sure: [Kylian Mbappe] will give his all right up until the end of the season to win the Champions League.

“With Kylian, things can change on a day-to-day basis. He needs to feel happy.”

Lamari was earlier this year forced to deny that she had held secret meetings with the media about her son’s place in the French national team.

A book about Didier Deschamps’ side’s Euro 2020 campaign alleged that the former handball player had met informally with journalists and shared information about the France dressing room.

This was denied by Lamari, who admitted to having held meetings with journalists but refuted that “secret” information was shared.

Ligue 1

‘I don’t see him leaving’ – Leonardo provides Mbappe transfer update

14/09/2021 AT 21:40

Transfers

Benzema: Mbappe ‘will play for Real Madrid one day or another’

02/09/2021 AT 10:38

'Some fans have a ticket just to boo him!' – Donnarumma set for 'surreal' Milan return

It should be a celebratory moment for goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma as he returns to Milan this week, having played a key role in Italy’s Euro 2020 win in the summer.

Yet Donnarumma is unlikely to get a positive reception at San Siro after leaving AC Milan in acrimonious circumstances in the summer to join Paris Saint-Germain. Ahead of Wednesday’s Nations League semi-final against Spain, there has been a banner put up saying he will “never be welcome” in Milan again, and Donnarumma is set to face boos from his own fans at the match.

The 22-year-old has tried to win over supporters by saying he will always be an AC Milan fan and he is excited to return.

Ligue 1

PSG confirm Donnarumma signing on five-year contract

14/07/2021 AT 18:02

“Milan and AC Milan are an important part of my life,” he said on Monday. “I’m excited, I hope there is nothing (negative from fans). I will always be a Milan fan. I have always given Milan everything, right up to the end. If something like this happens, I would also be sorry because it is a very important match, a Nations League semi-final, so I hope the fans can help us.”

Eurosport Italy’s Carlofilippo Vardelli analyses the relationship between Donnarumma and Milan fans, whether it is repairable, and what Donnarumma needs to do to get supporters back on side…

Why are Milan fans so angry?

Because after kissing the Milan shirt on several occasions, he accepted the offer to move to PSG in the summer. The fans did not accept this step back from the Italian goalkeeper. From their point of view, ‘Gigio’ had to renew his contract and stay in Milan, where he had played as a youngster and made his debut as a 16-year-old.

Is it the majority of fans or just the ultras?

I would say the majority of the fans. The ultras are always very aggressive, but even the most rational Milan fans are particularly angry with the Italian goalkeeper.

Is he going to be booed at San Siro?

Surely. Some fans bought the ticket just to boo him! There is great tension around this match. Paradoxically, it almost seems that Donnarumma is more important than the national team for certain ‘fans’. It is quite a surreal situation.

How has Donnarumma dealt with the adversity so far?

Donnarumma has always shown character and personality. At Milan the fans were all with him, they forgave mistakes and loved him. His return to Italy will be particularly difficult from an emotional point of view.

Can Donnarumma earn the fans’ forgiveness?

Time heals everything.

Did Donnarumma not win over fans at Euro 2020?

Yes, but during the European Championship he was still a Milan player. At the end of the competition he signed with PSG. Then, to tell the truth, the national team cannot be a concrete example of cheering. The national team is loved by everyone. During the summer, Donnarumma was part of a group that made us dream. What happened on the pitch, thank goodness, prevailed over the transfer market.

Has Mike Maignan’s good form not helped Milan fans forget?

Surely it will, as Maignan is doing very well. He is now in the hearts of the Rossoneri fans.

Euro 2020

‘I thought we’d lost’ – Donnarumma explains lack of celebration after penalty heroics

13/07/2021 AT 13:28

Euro 2020

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13/07/2021 AT 10:55

Leonardo slams Real Madrid for 'lack of respect' over Mbappe saga

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has slammed Real Madrid for a “lack of respect” towards Kylian Mbappe as rumours continue to swirl over his future.

Mbappe came close to joining Real in the summer and said in an interview this week that he had wanted to leave PSG.

Real president Florentino Perez has also been speaking about the situation, suggesting that a deal will be done in January 1, six months before Mbappe becomes a free agent.

Transfers

‘We hope everything can be solved’ – Perez hints at ‘January 1’ Mbappe transfer

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“These comments from Florentino Perez are only a continuation of a lack of respect for PSG and Kylian,” Leonardo told L’Equipe.

“In the same week, a Real Madrid player [Karim Benzema], the coach [Carlo Ancelotti] and now the president of Real Madrid have talked about Kylian as if he was already one of them.

“Florentino Perez has already spoken about Kylian to the Real Madrid fans during the week. I repeat; it’s a lack of respect that can’t be tolerated.

“The Florentino thing has been going on for two years. The transfer market has ended, and the season is underway. There are games and Real Madrid cannot continue to behave like this. Make it stop. Kylian is a PSG player and the club understands perfectly that this relationship will last.

Real made offers of £137m and £154m in the summer for Mbappe, both of which PSG’s owners did not even respond to.

Ancelotti tells PSG forward Mbappe there is nowhere better to play than Real Madrid

Perez backtracked slightly on his most recent comments, telling RMC: “My words were not interpreted well. What I said is that we’ll have to wait until next year for any news, remaining respectful towards PSG, with whom we maintain good relations.”

Mbappe, 22, has contributed 136 goals and 66 assists in 182 games since joining PSG from Monaco in 2017.

He has revealed that he did ask to leave the club in the summer after deciding not to extend his current deal with the French side.

“I asked to leave,” Mbappe said. “Because from the moment where I did not want to extend, I wanted for the club to receive a transfer fee so that they could bring in a quality replacement.

“This club has given me a lot, I have always been happy – the four years I have had here – and I still am. I said it early enough so that the club could react.

“I wanted everyone to come out of this stronger. [However], I said, ‘if you don’t want me to go I will stay’.”

Liga

Two bad defeats but still table toppers, what is going on with Real Madrid?

YESTERDAY AT 12:39

Transfers

Mbappe: I asked to leave PSG this summer

YESTERDAY AT 10:35