The season did not end the way the new Paris Saint-Germain expectations had hoped, but he will likely stay in the French capital.
According to the man himself, the two sides are very close to a new deal and he is “very happy in Paris.”
The 48-year-old Frenchman led the Parisians to their second straight and fourth-ever Ligue 1 title this year, as well as the Coupe de la Ligue championship.
But the club choked away a 3-1 lead to Chelsea in the Champions League quarterfinals in their attempt to best last year’s result in the competition, and many speculated the tactical failure at Stamford Bridge could lead to a parting of ways between the two.
“Champions League elimination was hard to accept and difficult to digest,” Blanc admitted. But he also noted that the league finish is their most important priority over the Champions League and League Cup, and that is what they accomplished.
“The Coupe de la Ligue was always important for us,” Blanc said, “but the league remains our main target.”
An interesting storyline will be what to do with striker Edinson Cavani. Other teams have no doubt inquired about his availability, and while he was brilliant in the Coupe de la Ligue final, he was an atrocity in the Champions League second leg to Chelsea and bungled multiple chances to put PSG through.
The final week of group stage matches in this season’s UEFA Champions League are upon us, and only a pair of berths remain in Tuesday’s groups.
Those are in Group B, where Napoli, Benfica, and Besiktas enter the day a point a part. Only Dynamo Kyiv has been eliminated, and they’ll host a Besiktas side which is in the catbird seat. If the Turkish side wins, it will finish above either Napoli or Benfica.
Benfica is at home to its Italian rivals, with both sides on 8 points. And they’ll each head to the knockout rounds of Besiktas (7 points) fails to earn a result.
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As for our Premier League contestants, Arsenal looks pretty locked into the second seed in Group A. Trailing PSG after a 2-2 draw in London, the Gunners head to Switzerland to face Basel. Arsenal needs to better PSG’s result against visiting Ludogorets Razgrad.
Manchester City hosts Celtic knowing it’s already clinched second place in Group C and cannot catch leaders Barcelona. Expect youth.
In Group D, things are also settled with Atletico Madrid and Bayern Munich 1-2 regardless of what happens in their match in Germany. Atleti is the only team which can finish the group stage 6-0. The last team to achieve that 2014-15 Real Madrid, who swept Basel, Liverpool, and Ludogorets Razgrad.
Tuesday’s UCL schedule
PSG vs. Ludogorets Razgrad
Barcelona vs. Borussia Monchengladbach
Bayern Munich vs. Atletico Madrid
Manchester City vs. Celtic
Basel vs. Arsenal
Benfica vs. Napoli
PSV Eindhoven vs. Rostov
Dynamo Kyiv vs. Besiktas
This is a big blow to Everton, and the Democratic Republic of Congo.
Yannick Bolasie is set for a long spell on the sidelines after suffering an ACL injury in Sunday’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United.
The 27-year-old attacker has played in every match for the Toffees, and is an electric attacking threat. He has one goal and four assists in PL play this season, after nabbing five and four for Palace last season.
[ PL: Grading the superstars’ seasons ]
A $32 million buy from Crystal Palace, Bolasie will miss the Africa Cup of Nations next month and likely send the Toffees into the transfer market.
Manager Ronald Koeman has made no secret of his Memphis Depay admiration, and this could tip Everton’s hand.
Game changer, season changer, title changer.
It’s hard to find a phrase that would overstate what it would mean if a club could pry Gabonese striker Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang from the hands of Borussia Dortmund.
Aubameyang raised eyebrows Monday with his non-dismissal of a transfer possibility. It wasn’t quite a “come and get me”, but the door is certainly open.
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“I don’t know if I will stay. I just think about playing good football right now. I want to give my best and win titles. I just think about the sport and nothing else.”
If you don’t pay a lot of attention to the Bundesliga, it might be easy to overlook Aubameyang. But the season he’s having with BVB’s wealth of playmaking midfielders is overwhelming. Give him less than a yard, and he’s all set.
Throw in the UEFA Champions League, and “Auba” has 18 goals in 18 matches. In the Bundesliga, he has a 4-goal night at Hamburg but also goals against Bayern and Hertha. Aubameyang has two braces, and has only been held off the score sheet three times (BVB is 1D-2L in those contests).
Put plainly, no one is doing what he’s doing right now.
Top Five leagues, 2016-17 goals (matches)
- Aubameyang, BVB — 15 (12)
- Edinson Cavani, PSG — 14 (14)
- Anthony Modeste, Koln — 12 (13)
- Mauro Icardi, Inter Milan — 12 (14)
- Eden Dzeko, Roma — 12 (15)
- Alexandre Lacazette — 11 (11)
- Alexis Sanchez, Arsenal — 11 (14)
- Diego Costa, Chelsea — 11 (14)
- Cristiano Ronaldo, Real Madrid — 10 (11)
- Sergio Aguero, Manchester City — 10 (12)
- Andrea Belotti, Torino — 10 (13)
- Lionel Messi, Barcelona — 9 (9)
- Luis Suarez, Barcelona — 9 (12)
- Robert Lewandowski, Bayern Munich — 9 (13)
- Iago Aspas, Celta Vigo — 9 (13)
- Ciro Immobile, Lazio — 9 (15)
- Alassane Plea, Nice — 9 (16)
As we await the future of both the North American Soccer League and its champion New York Cosmos, another dark cloud arrived regarding both.
Empire of Soccer reports that the Cosmos have terminated all of its player contracts, putting a 2017 season into the neighborhood of improbability.
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New York’s staff is on furlough, and the club has been “on the brink of collapse” for weeks (if not longer).
The USL avoided having its champion collapse by finding new owners for the Rochester Rhinos in the offseason. Will New York be able to do the same?