Kylian Mbappe

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PSG boss Tuchel admits Neymar, Mbappe could leave

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Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel hopes to hold onto his two biggest stars, but recognizes that both Kylian Mbappe and Neymar could leave Ligue 1 for the right offer.

Neymar has been in the headlines after his season ended early following a suspension for hitting a fan after PSG lost the French Cup Final. It would be easy to see him leaving PSG, especially with Real Madrid and Manchester United among those expected to spend big this summer.

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And Mbappe said he was keen on a “new project,” later saying that could be at PSG. And Les Parisiens released a statement saying he was not for sale.

Tuchel admits that hasn’t eased his concerns.

“I was a bit hesitant after what Mbappe said,” Tuchel said.

“As a coach, I do want them to continue, but this is football, we are not naive. Many clubs want to transfer many players. But if you ask me, the manager, yes, I want them here next season. But if not, we will find solutions.”

There are very few clubs on Earth which wouldn’t want either player, but few with the resources to buy and then pay them. And in terms of the Premier League, you’d almost bet on Neymar to have big interest in Manchester United if the Red Devils were in the Champions League.

Do you think either will stay at PSG?

Either player would be huge dominoes in the transfer market, and could trigger the movement of essentially anyone else to Paris: Paul Pogba? Ousmane Dembele? Toni Kroos? Almost anyone would be on the table.

Mbappe to stay at Paris Saint-Germain

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It appears that one of the transfer sagas of the summer is over before it truly began.

Kylian Mbappe, 20, hinted at leaving Paris Saint-Germain this summer for “a new project” in another country during his acceptance speech after being crowned the Ligue 1 Player of the Year on Sunday.

He has since stood by those comments, telling French outlet L’Equipe: “When I say something, I mean it. I said it. If it is at PSG, that’s good, if it is elsewhere, it is elsewhere.”

With Real Madrid leading the long list of clubs hoping to sign the Frenchman, who arrived at PSG in the summer of 2017 on loan from Monaco and then the move was made permanent for a fee of $210 million. That makes Mbappe the second most-expensive player in history behind his PSG teammate Neymar.

But PSG aren’t having any of this departure talk from Mbappe. Nope. Nada.

The French champions released a statement on Tuesday dismissing Mbappe’s comments and drawing their line firmly in the sand.

“Very strong ties have united Paris Saint-Germain and Kylian Mbappe for two years and this story will continue together also next season. With the shared ambition to write the history of European football, in the year of the 50th anniversary of PSG,a long awaited moment to write together a big page in the history of our club and in which everyone will have to do his part, always giving value to the collective.”

So, Monsieur Mbappe, over to you…

At 20 years of age he has plenty of time to move to Spain or England in the future but there’s no doubting Mbappe’s quality to move on and be a star for Real Madrid, Barcelona, Man City, whoever he wants.

Those three are probably the only three clubs who can afford his transfer fee and wages combined, but his 32 Ligue 1 goals this season show his quality and we all saw how good he was for France at the 2018 World Cup last summer. Real need a new hero and if they offer Gareth Bale and a large chunk of cash to PSG for Mbappe, could Les Parisiens really turn that down?

After all, PSG have Neymar and Edinson Cavani up front, so losing Mbappe would hardly hit them in terms of their attacking prowess. But Mbappe is a local kid who is the rising star in the game. Selling him before they’ve conquered the UEFA Champions League, their holy grail, would be unthinkable.

Mbappe’s comments suggest he isn’t totally happy at PSG, but unless Real Madrid put down an offer the French champs can’t refuse, he’s staying in the French capital.

Mbappe hints he could leave PSG

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Kylian Mbappe accepted his award as the Ligue 1 MVP, dedicated it to Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, and then mentioned he could be off soon to another club.

Wait, what?

Yes, following Mbappe accepting his award, the French star and World Cup winner stated he hoped he could continue his career at PSG but left open the possibility of moving to another club that allows him to take the next steps in his career.

[READ: Kompany to join Anderlecht as player-manager]

“This is a very important moment for me, I arrive at a first or second turn of my career,” Mbappe said, via L’equipe. “I’ve discovered a lot of things here, I feel that maybe it’s time to have more responsibility. I hope it may be at Paris Saint-Germain, it would be with great pleasure, or perhaps elsewhere for a new project.”

Mbappe later clarified his comments, stating he was looking for more responsibility. “If it’s at PSG, that’s good. If it is elsewhere, it will be elsewhere for a new challenge.

“For me, it was time to say it. I am someone whole: when I say something, I think it. For me, it was the right time to say it. That’s it, I said it!”

It’s unclear why exactly Mbappe used this moment to put some pressure on PSG. Perhaps its to remind them that the club needs to be successful in its transfer endeavors this summer, so it can compete deep into the UEFA Champions League. With Neymar injured and a central midfield ravaged by injuries, PSG capitulated and somehow fell to Manchester United in the Champions League Round of 16, grabbing defeat from the jaws of victory.

There’s no reason why PSG can’t dominate the Champions League like it does Ligue 1, especially with the attacking trident of Mbappe, Neymar and Edinson Cavani. But of course, against better competition, the inferiority in mentality and in talent along the backline has started to show.

So, where could Mbappe go? There’s very few places that could effectively match both his salary and his competitive goals. It’s the usual suspects, Real Madrid, Barcelona, and perhaps Manchester City, should they be interested in it. More recently, while Man City has spent big, it’s been on signing multiple players on $50 million transfers, as opposed to one player on a $200 million transfer, for example.

It’s unlikely, but an intriguing option would be Liverpool. If the club somehow came up with the funds, imagine Mbappe playing alongside Sadio Mane and Mo Salah, with Roberto Firmino coming in to spell either of the three over the course of the season. Mbappe would likely make up that one-point difference between Liverpool and Man City, and if that’s what it takes for Liverpool to finally win the title, it could be worth the initial massive investment.

PSG slide continues with loss to Rennes in Coupe de France final

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Paris Saint-Germain may have won the Ligue 1 title by a wide margin, but the close to their season has been a total disaster, and it took its biggest hit yet on Saturday.

PSG fell to Stade Rennes on penalties in the Coupe de France final after a 2-2 draw, failing to win the competition for the first time since 2014.

The favorites had gone 2-0 up before the half-hour mark on goals from Dani Alves and Neymar, but a Presnel Kimpembe own-goal coming off a Hamari Traore started the comeback just before halftime, and Edson Mexer headed in the equalizer off a 66th minute corner.

A key moment came late in extra time when Kylian Mbappe was sent off for a horrible studs-up challenge into the lower leg of Damien Da Silva, leaving the PSG star unable to participate in the shootout. Goalkeeper Alphonse Areola failed to stop any of the six Rennes penalties in the eventual shootout and Christopher Nkunku skied his effort to confirm the result.

After the match, Neymar was caught on camera in an altercation with a Rennes fan as he made his way up the steps during the postmatch presentation, appearing to hit the fan in the face before storming off to follow his teammates. The match was Neymar’s second back from a lengthy injury layoff, and his first since it was confirmed he would be suspended for three future Champions League matches for an Instagram tirade after the club’s elimination a few weeks ago.

The failure to secure the domestic cup is the latest failure in what has been a brutal finish to the season. The slide began when PSG coughed up a 2-0 first-leg lead to fall to Manchester United in the Champions League quarterfinals back in early March. Then, despite a monstrous 20-point lead in the Ligue 1 table, they stumbled down the stretch in league play, stumbling through a three-match winless slide before finally confirming their champion status with a win over Monaco last time out.

Manager Thomas Tuchel, who has come under more fire with every passing slip, said after the loss on Saturday he would need time to think over his future. “It is too early to evaluate the season, Tuchel said after the match. “I need a few days to think. It is a complicated situation.”

Soccer great Pele reportedly hospitalized in Paris

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PARIS (AP) Soccer great Pele has reportedly been hospitalized in Paris for medical exams after feeling ill following a meeting with Kylian Mbappe in the French capital.

According to Brazilian TV network Globo, Pele had a cold and was medicated at his hotel. He woke up still feeling ill and was taken to a hospital on Wednesday.

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The 78-year-old Pele and Mbappe, the French forward who has drawn comparisons with the Brazilian great after helping France win the World Cup last summer as a teenager, met as part of their ambassador roles for a Swiss watchmaker.

According to Globo, Pele’s fever has passed and he was expected to be released within hours. The network said Pele’s schedule has not been changed.

Pele’s representatives did not answer questions from The Associated Press but referred to Globo’s report when asked to confirm whether the three-time World Cup winner was hospitalized.

Pele has frequently been admitted to hospitals in the last few years for kidney and prostate procedures.

Pele’s meeting with Mbappe had initially been planned for last November but was postponed because of the Brazilian’s poor health at the time.

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