Dani Alves

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UEFA Champions League Tuesday: PSG hosts Real, Liverpool leads big

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The first two entrants into the UEFA Champions League’s quarterfinals will be anointed early Tuesday evening, though drama has been stripped from both.

In the case of Porto‘s trip to Liverpool, it’s been torn almost completely off the bone. The Reds scored five times in Portugal, and would need to fold in wild fashion at Anfield in order to give the tie any intrigue.

[ MORE: Recap | Matic reacts | Mourinho, too ]

Liverpool scores loads of goals, so to consider Porto could push for a minimum five away goals without adequate Reds response is bonkers… but could provide for some fun.

Jurgen Klopp is not going to flip his lineup despite a weekend date with Manchester United which will determine who lives the following week in second place.

“We could [rotate], but I’m not sure I will do it because it could be misunderstood,” Klopp said. “I really want to show respect. I want to show respect to the opponent, to the tournament, and I want to have the best line-up possible and the best line-up which makes sense to win the game, because that’s why we are here.

“We are unbeaten so far in the Champions League this season and I would love to stay unbeaten as long as possible. That would help a lot.”

The match kicks off at 2:45 p.m. ET Tuesday, as does Real Madrid‘s visit to Neymar-less Paris Saint-Germain.

Real has a 3-1 lead after coming back from Adrien Rabiot’s opener to haul a two-goal lead into Parc des Princes.

Marco Asensio had a pair of assists and Cristiano Ronaldo scored twice in the first leg, and Real is laser-focused on the Champions League given their substandard season in Spain.

PSG will have a lot of talent for the second leg, but won’t have presumed Ballon d’Or finalist Neymar. He’s out for multiple months after suffering a leg injury against Marseille.

Dani Alves says he thinks the key is home field, via PSG’s site:

“I think the important thing is to work in the best possible conditions. The club is the key: the club, the supporters and us, the players. It’s all one. We need to be all connected and then we can try and reach our goals. Then it also depends on what we do on the pitch. A fantastic atmosphere inside the stadium isn’t enough if we don’t do the job on the pitch. But a great atmosphere can be the difference in our favour. I repeat: we need to be up to the standard of our fans and their expectations.”

PSG would need a less dramatic reversal of fortunes than the megawatt comeback Barcelona pulled at the Camp Nou last season, and the Parisian side will be well aware of that possibility.

Depay strike downs PSG, brings Lyon second in Ligue 1

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Memphis Depay‘s time in England may not have gone according to plan, but the young Dutchman is tearing it up in France.

[ SPAIN & ITALY: Bale, Real Madrid soar with seven-goal outburst and more ]

The former Manchester United winger scorched the game-winner into net on Sunday, as his Lyon side went on to defeat league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, 2-1, at the Stade des Lumières.

Stunning first-half strikes from Nabil Fekir (15th goal of the season) and Layvin Kurzawa had the two clubs level at 1-1 going into the halftime break, but there was more action to be had after the mandatory stoppage.

A straight red card from Dani Alves in the second stanza put the Parisians at a major disadvantage, and Lyon would capitalize down the stretch with the extra man.

The hosts putting the finishing touches on the match four minutes deep into second-half stoppage time when Depay struck a beauty of a shot past goalkeeper Alphonse Areola.

Depay is now up to 10 goals on the season in all competitions for Lyon, including eight in league play.

PSG may have suffered its biggest loss though in the first half when Kylian Mbappe was taken off the field on a stretcher after a rough collision with Lyon shot-stopper Anthony Lopes.

The victory brings Lyon up to second place in France’s top flight, while PSG still holds an eight-point  lead over the runners’ up with 16 matches left in Ligue 1 play.

Dani Alves fires back at Diego Forlan

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After Neymar and Edinson Cavani’s penalty drama that has blown up over the last few days and potentially led to Neymar’s exclusion from the PSG squad this weekend, Uruguayan legend Diego Forlan went on sports radio in his home country to not just back his former international teammate Cavani, but also throw a pair of Brazilians under the bus.

Forlan obviously denounced Neymar’s role in the dispute, but he also picked out Neymar’s club and country teammate Dani Alves for favoring his countrymate.

[ MORE: Goalkeeping howler sees Bayern blow lead in draw ]

“What doesn’t make any sense is what Alves does, he doesn’t give the ball to Cavani and then gives it to Neymar as if he were his [explitive]. Cavani deserves respect. He has been scoring goals for years, taking penalties. There has to be respect. Neymar would not have done that with [Lionel] Messi. He didn’t want Cavani to take the penalty. He was like a little boy annoying him.”

Well, as you can imagine, Alves did not take kindly to being sucked into the fray, and fired back as a result. “I don’t know what match you were watching,” Alves wrote on Twitter, “but for your information, I didn’t take the ball away from any of my teammates. It was just the opposite, it was taken from me!

“And also for your information, the last penalty kick for PSG was mine. So shut your trap and stop making drama in my name.”

This whole situation has blown up more than most penalty disputes (which happen relatively often) likely due to the international affiliations. With the decades-old bad blood between Brazil and Uruguay, it’s no surprise that people are taking sides. Forlan swept up another Brazilian in the mix, and understandably he did not appreciate the cheap shot.

Dani Alves admits Neymar persuaded him to join PSG weeks ago

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PARIS (AP) Even before joining Paris Saint-Germain, Neymar was assisting the team.

Dani Alves disclosed Saturday that Neymar said the Brazil defender should move to the French capital last month — and not to Manchester City — after being released by Juventus.

[ MORE: Saturday’s transfer rumor roundupFriday | Thursday ]

Neymar also let former Barcelona teammate Alves in on the secret that he was thinking about making the record-breaking $262 million transfer from the Camp Nou.

“I talked to him about the possibility,” Alves said. “He recommended me to come here. He suggested that I come to the club. I said I wanted to leave Juventus, and he was thinking of coming here.”

While Alves made his PSG debut on Saturday in a 2-0 victory over Amiens, Neymar is yet to play for the French capital club after his international clearance didn’t come through in time.

“There is anticipation because of the football he plays and his will to show it to the world,” said the 35-year-old Alves, who won the Spanish league, Champions League and Club World Cup alongside Neymar at Barcelona. “You take a giant step when you have a player of this level to play against the other teams. This team will get a quality leap forward.”

[ MORE: Neymar won’t make PSG debut until next week ]

Neymar’s transfer more than doubled the previous world transfer record set a year ago when Manchester United paid $116 million to sign Paul Pogba.

“We are not moved by money,” Alves said. “Few people leave their comfort zone, and we are Brazilians. Brazilians do that.”

The arrival of Neymar and Alves adds an even stronger Brazilian flavor to a squad captained by Thiago Silva, whose center back partner is compatriot Marquinhos.

“Our group is very good, people here are very close,” Alves said. “This makes the adaptation a little easier. (Neymar) is very happy and we welcomed him with open arms. I am close because I know what this is like. He came to the right place at the right time.”

[ MORE: 2017-18 Premier League season preview hub

Neymar’s move to PSG raised eyebrows because he is leaving one of soccer’s most illustrious teams for a club that has never won the Champions League.

“It isn’t only about Barcelona, about Spanish clubs,” Alves said. “There is life, challenge and football in other places. Neymar coming changes PSG’s position for sure. It inevitable that there are expectations. His greatness brings all that.”

Dani Alves signs for PSG to leave Man City scrambling

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Dani Alves will line up for Paris Saint-Germain for the next two seasons as the Brazilian defender chose PSG over Manchester City.

[ MORE: Ozil urges Sanchez to stay ]

After agreeing to terminate his contract at Juventus everyone believed Alves, 34, was set to join his former boss Pep Guardiola at City.

On Wednesday he signed for PSG on a two-year deal and will be part of Les Parisiens squad for their U.S tour this summer as they play AS Roma in Denver on July 18, Tottenham in Orlando on July 22 and Juventus in Miami on July 26.

Speaking about his move to PSG, Alves revealed why he chose the French club as he wants to help Unai Emery’s side succeed in the UCL.

“There’s a very interesting project in Paris. I have friends here, I’m a man who loves challenges,” Alves said. “I’ve had the pleasure of winning the Champions League three times and I want to bring my experience here… Our goal is to win the Champions League.”

Alves was reportedly offered $308,000 per week by PSG which is double what Man City offered the Brazilian international right back.

It is also believed that Alves was told he’d be City’s second-choice right back, which suggests that City are confident of landing Kyle Walker from Tottenham Hotspur because right now they don’t have a right back after releasing both Pablo Zabaleta and Bacary Sagna.

The former Barcelona and Sevilla right back was a revelation at Juve last season with his marauding runs causing countless problems for opponents as Juve did the Italian double and lost to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League final.

At PSG Alves will have to compete with Serge Aurier and Thomas Meunier but it’s unlikely he will be anything but an influential figure in their starting lineup.

City have missed out an experienced right back who has been a serial winner throughout his career. Alves won six La Liga titles and five Copa del Rey trophies during his time in La Liga with Sevilla and Barcelona, plus he won the Europa League, UCL three times and added two more trophies at Juve last season. For Brazil he remains a key figure and now PSG, rather than Man City, will benefit from his vast experience.