Getty Images

PSG benches Rabiot for refusing another contract offer

1 Comment

Paris Saint-Germain has had its fair share of troubles with midfielder Adrian Rabiot, and those appear to have reached a climax on Monday.

PSG sporting director Antero Henrique told Yahoo Sports France that Rabiot has been “infinitely benched” unless he signs a contract extension by the end of the season. Rabiot’s contract expires this coming summer, and he reportedly has turned down multiple contract offers from PSG.

“The player informed me that he will not be signing a new contract and that he wants to leave the club as a free agent at the end of the season [also the end of his contract],” Henrique said. “For the player, the consequences are clear — he is indefinitely benched.”

Rabiot has been the subject of several off-field stories in the past year or two, including his refusal to accept a France national team call-up this summer for the 2018 World Cup, not accepting a reserve roster role.In addition, Rabiot’s mother Veronique – who also serves as his agent – has been a thorn in PSG’s side for years. Veronique was highly critical of PSG’s use of her then-19-year-old son in 2014, saying, “He needs to play regularly in high-level matches. Since February he has only started five times in the league and once in the Champions League.  He cannot afford to spend a season on the bench. At his age, if you do not progress, you regress. His goal is to join the France team at Euro 2016. Staying at PSG seems very difficult.”

Even as far back as 2013, Veronique was public about her pursuit of playing time for her son, forcing the club to loan him out to fellow French side Toulouse. “If the supporters were parents, they would understand,” she told the media.

Now, Veronique finally appears to be seeing Adrien’s way out of Parc des Princes, and it has caught Henrique off guard. “A few months ago, there were positive exchanges with his representative [Veronique] with a view to him staying with the club and signing a new deal,” Henrique said. “We also accepted all of his conditions regarding things related to what happens on the pitch. We discussed these specifics to ensure that he would stay with us for many years. Unfortunately, since then, negotiations have completely stopped.”

One week ago, ESPN reported that PSG manager Thomas Tuchel had already informed Rabiot he would not be in the club’s plans moving forward this season unless he signed a new contract, and that the club was to make one final push for his signature. That same article reports that PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi “maintains good relations” with Rabiot, that he “remains convinced of his value,” and was set to take over negotiations. With the new reports on Monday, it seems even Al-Khelaifi was unable to convince Rabiot to stay.

At PSG, Rabiot has relatively little competition for playing time in midfield, with only Marco Verratti plus youngsters Christopher Nkunku and Antoine Bernede who play his position. 21-year-old Nkunku has been the biggest benefactor of Rabiot’s absence, seeing 13 Ligue 1 appearances this season including five starts. PSG has also been heavily linked to Ajax youngster Frenkie de Jong, partly due to Rabiot’s phasing out.

Rabiot has earned 14 Ligue 1 appearances this season, including 12 starts and nine full-90 performances, but he was a late substitute in each of PSG’s last two Champions League matches.

PSG vs. Dijon among 5 weekend French league games postponed

Photo by Dean Mouhtaropoulos/Getty Images
2 Comments

PARIS (AP) For the second straight weekend, Ligue 1 leader Paris Saint-Germain will not play after several games were postponed at the request of authorities.

PSG’s match at Dijon on Saturday had initially been maintained, but it was among five weekend games postponed on Thursday after six matches were called off last weekend.

[ MORE: Europa League wrap ]

Saturday’s match between Amiens and Angers, as well as Sunday’s Brittany derby between Guingamp and Rennes, and Marseille’s home game against Bordeaux, will be played at a later date.

The French league said the reason for the postponements is because police forces are being stretched.

Saturday’s match between Nantes and Montpellier has also been postponed, and the match between Caen and Toulouse will take place on Tuesday.

Nice’s home game against Saint-Etienne – initially set for Friday and then postponed – will go ahead on Sunday.

It leaves Reims vs. Strasbourg as the only match left for Saturday, and Nimes vs. Lille and Lyon vs. Monaco are the only games still scheduled for Sunday.

Strasbourg is in mourning after a deadly Christmas market attack in the city on Tuesday night. A minute’s silence will be held at all soccer stadiums in France’s first and second divisions this weekend in memory of the victims and their families.

The six matches were postponed last week amid security concerns about anti-government protests. Those six matches are rescheduled for Jan. 15-16.

PSG will play its match against Montpellier, rescheduled from last weekend, on Jan. 15, but it may now be pushed back to February since it clashes with PSG’s planned winter training camp in Qatar, home to club owner QSI.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports

Champions League wrap: PSG advances; USMNT stars shine

Photo by Srdjan Stevanovic/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Tottenham Hotspur, Paris Saint-Germain, and Liverpool clinched spots in the UEFA Champions League knockout rounds with results on Tuesday.

For Liverpool and PSG, the spots came via away wins, while Spurs crafted an equalizer to earn a point in Barcelona.

[ MORE: Champions League standings ]

And two American players had good days, with Club Brugge goalkeeper Ethan Horvath keeping a clean sheet and Borussia Dortmund’s Christian Pulisic setting the table for a goal.


Club Brugge 0-0 Atletico Madrid

On the same day Zack Steffen was announced as a future goalkeeper for a Champions League club, fellow USMNT backstop Ethan Horvath produced a fine display in blanking Atletico Madrid.

Horvath, 23, made several key saves as Club Brugge finished third in its group and will play in the Europa League knockout rounds. Antoine Griezmann, Saul, Koke, and Thomas Lemar were among the top players in the XI for Atleti.

AS Monaco 0-2 Borussia Dortmund

Thierry Henry’s men are out of European competition thanks to a pair of goals from Raphael Guerreiro and no offensive answers of their own.

Paco Alcacer and Maximilian Philipp assisted the goals, and American winger Christian Pulisic went 90 minutes for the Bundesliga leaders.

He deserves the ol’ hockey assist on this one:


Barcelona 1-1 Tottenham HotspurRECAP

Lucas Moura‘s late goal was enough to get Spurs a draw at the Camp Nou, canceling out Ousmane Dembele’s terrific opening goal.

Inter Milan 1-1 PSV Eindhoven

Hirving Lozano’s early goal nearly stood up for the visitors, and Mauro Icardi’s late leveler wasn’t enough to push Inter beyond Spurs. That means Inter Milan is off to the Europa League.


Red Star Belgrade 1-4 Paris Saint-Germain

The stars were out for PSG, which knew it would move into the knockout rounds with a win and built a 2-0 lead through Edinson Cavani and Neymar before Marquinhos and Kylian Mbappe put it to bed late to win Group C.

Liverpool 1-0 NapoliRECAP

The chances were myriad for Liverpool, but only Mohamed Salah found the back of the net as the Reds earned a spot in the Round of 16.


Schalke 1-0 Lokomotiv Moscow

Alessandro Schopf scored the lone goal, and USMNT midfielder Weston McKennie was rested for already-advanced Schalke.

Galatasaray 2-3 Porto

Sergio Oliveira’s goal was decisive in a wild match with two penalties but no lead changes.

Rumors: Could Frenkie de Jong be headed to PSG?

Getty Images
1 Comment

According to a number of reports, most notably from Dutch publication De Telegraaf, Ajax youngster Frenkie de Jong is “almost certainly” headed to Pairs Saint-Germain this winter, or soon after.

However, there are a few parties not so moved by the recent reports, doing their best to refute the news and insist the 21-year-old will stay at the Dutch giants at least through the summer.

The De Telegraaf report states that a deal was struck between the two clubs with both parties meeting in Amsterdam on Thursday, and the French club was willing to meet the asking price of $86 million set by Ajax technical director Marc Overmars. However, to counter that news, De Jong’s agent Ali Dursan went public to counter what was reported.

“There’s no deal yet,” Dursan told fellow Dutch publication NOS. “Frenkie will stay at Ajax til next summer. That’s guaranteed, and it’s all I can say right now.”

In addition, a report by French publication Le Parisien said that while they can confirm the parties met, but that no agreement was struck. They also revealed that the French giants are angered by the news of their discussions leaking, as well as the subsequent asking price, as it may spur on their competitors for De Jong’s signature, with Barcelona, Manchester United, and Manchester City all listed, and Bayern Munich rumored in the past as well.

De Jong has made 12 Eredivisie appearances for Ajax this season, mostly at defensive midfielder, and is one of the most highly regarded young talents in Europe. He has scored two goals so far this league season, and picked up his first assist in a 5-1 win over ADO Den Haag five days ago. A transfer of the suggested amount would be a record high for an Eredivisie player,

French games postponed because of expected protests

Getty Images
Leave a comment

PARIS (AP) Two French league matches scheduled for Saturday have been postponed amid expected anti-government protests.

The affected games are Paris Saint-Germain against Montpellier and Toulouse against Lyon.

In both cases, the French league says authorities requested the postponement. It says the matches will be rescheduled.

The government is grappling with widespread protests against fuel taxes and other grievances, with Paris plagued by rioting last weekend.

More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/apf-Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP-Sports