Ligue 1: PSG lifted by crucial Champions League success as Neymar courts Messi

Neymar scored twice in Manchester and then publicly stated his wish to team up again with his old Barcelona teammate next season, telling ESPN: 'I want to play with him for sure, next year we have to do it.'

Agence France-Presse December 04, 2020 19:46:51 IST
Ligue 1: PSG lifted by crucial Champions League success as Neymar courts Messi

Neymar's brace against United put PSG within touching distance of the Champions League last 16. AFP

Paris: Paris Saint-Germain this week averted a crisis by beating Manchester United to revive their Champions League campaign and the club's followers might even be getting giddy at the possibility of seeing Lionel Messi in the French capital next season.

Neymar scored twice in Manchester and then publicly stated his wish to team up again with his old Barcelona teammate next season, telling ESPN, "I want to play with him for sure, next year we have to do it."

With Messi having spent the last close season trying to engineer a move away from Barcelona, who are suffering badly from the economic impact of the coronavirus , Neymar perhaps feels a reunion in Paris is more likely than his return to the Camp Nou.

Meanwhile, PSG are pondering how to deal with Neymar's contract, and that of Kylian Mbappe, which both expire in 2022.

The Qatar-owned club are also feeling the effects of the pandemic, which has slashed ticket revenue in particular, with games in France being played behind closed doors.

Qualifying for the Champions League last 16 would provide a financial boost. Thomas Tuchel's team only require a draw at home to Istanbul Basaksehir next week to seal their progress.

"I didn't come to Paris to play in the Europa League," Neymar told Brazil's Esporte Interativo.

However, Tuchel warned: "We have almost qualified, which means we have not qualified yet. That is the reality. Being almost pregnant does not mean you are pregnant."

Last season's Champions League runners-up are a work in progress and they have allowed the chasing domestic pack to catch up.

A loss at Monaco and a draw with Bordeaux in their last two matches have left PSG just two points clear of Lille, Lyon, Monaco, and Montpellier in Ligue 1.

PSG go to Montpellier this weekend knowing a defeat would knock them off the top spot.

Montpellier, though, are without their top scorer Andy Delort after he tested positive for coronavirus for the second time in three months.

One to watch: Nice

The ambitious Cote d'Azur club reacted to suffering their fifth straight defeat against Bayer Leverkusen in the Europa League on Thursday by sacking coach Patrick Vieira.

The France 1998 World Cup-winning midfielder took the club to seventh and then fifth in the last two seasons but had been under pressure with Nice in the bottom half of Ligue 1, despite being expected to progress this season following considerable investment from the club's British owners Ineos.

Appointed in 2018, Vieira had been hampered in recent weeks by the loss of veteran captain Dante to a serious injury.

He has been replaced by his assistant, Adrian Ursea. The 53-year-old Romanian, who has spent much of his playing and coaching career in Switzerland, had been an assistant to previous Nice coach Lucien Favre and returned last year to work under Vieira.

Ursea's first game in charge will be away at struggling Reims on Sunday.

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