Alphonse Areola "in pole position" to be PSG No1, says manager Thomas Tuchel

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Alphonse Areola and Gianluigi Buffon.

Paris Saint-Germain boss Thomas Tuchel says the club’s academy graduate Alphonse Areola is in pole position to be first-choice goalkeeper, ahead of summer signing Gianluigi Buffon.

The Italy legend started PSG’s Trophee des Champions win over Monaco as well as the side’s first two Ligue 1 games, but Areola was given the nod for the next two fixtures, against Angers and Nimes, before the international break.

That decision was taken with Buffon’s Champions League ban in mind, as the Italian is suspended for the first three games of the competition following his red card during Juventus‘ controversial quarter-final loss to Real Madrid last season.

But Tuchel’s comments indicate that Areola has usurped Buffon in the overall pecking order.

“Yes, I chose. The decision is not final but I told Alphonse that he was, in my opinion, in pole position to be number 1,” Tuchel told RMC Sports.

“He comes from the academy. PSG is everything for him. And he absolutely wants to prove himself to PSG.

“This is a situation that must be respected and capitalised on. We must be proud to have players of this nature, we need this type of players who have the soul of PSG, who embody the club.

“We have a different situation with Gianluigi Buffon, a legend, an idol of Alphonse who is at his side.

“Both players have very strong personalities. We will have to fine-tune things.

“Gigi knows it, Alphonse knows it, if you get there, in this configuration, to be smart and generous with both, I’m sure we’ll be rewarded.

“And I’m sure that Alphonse will not be good despite Gigi but thanks to Gigi.”

However, Tuchel was quick to point out that even if Buffon were to be established as the backup keeper, he would be more than just a squad player.

“Gigi is not just a player on the bench. On a daily basis, he is a player who has a very big influence on the team, he played brilliantly against Guingamp for example, he saved us in the second half.

“He is on the bench because Alphonse needs minutes.

“Gigi would have the right to cross his arms on the bench and watch the game but he does not support it! It’s frenetic!

“He is present, he communicates with the players, tries to help me… and you understand why he is at the top and has such a career.”

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Kylian Mbappe has no regrets over red card as he goes from saint to sinner in PSG win

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Saint to sinner: Kylian Mbappe.

Kylian Mbappe scored a brilliant late goal before being sent off as Paris Saint-Germain edged to a 4-2 win at Nimes on Saturday.

The teenager eased PSG nerves with an unstoppable 77th-minute strike to put the champions back in front after the hosts had battled back from two-goals down and then hit the crossbar.

Mbappe brought down a high ball and without breaking stride, belted a shot into the roof of the net.

With seconds remaining, however, Mbappe reacted to a late challenge from Teji Savanier and shoved the Nimes midfielder to the floor. Referee Jerome Brisard, who booked Mbappe for kicking the ball away in the first half, brought out his red card. Savanier was also sent off.

The teenager said he had no regrets after his sending-off and claimed he would not hesitate to do the same thing again.

The 19-year-old striker’s reaction was in retaliation after he had been scythed down by Savanier

“No, no, no,” said Mbappe afterwards when asked if he wished he had not responded the way he did.

“If I had to do it again, I would and I would apologise to all the supporters and to everyone.

“I cannot tolerate that sort of gesture, it doesn’t belong on a football field. It wouldn’t be a problem if he intended to play the ball, but he made no attempt to play the ball, we all saw it.

“But it doesn’t matter, I’ll go and defend myself before the disciplinary committee.”

Mbappe will now be automatically suspended for PSG’s next game, a home match against Saint-Etienne on September 14 that precedes a trip to Liverpool in the Champions League.

But the nature of the offence means he could face a lengthier ban from domestic action.

Prior to that, Neymar had opened the scoring and Angel Di Maria doubled the PSG lead by scoring direct from a corner.

But Nimes responded in the second half and Antonin Bobichon halved their deficit before Savanier equalised from the penalty spot in the 71st-minute after a spot-kick awarded with the assistance of VAR.

It was Mbappe’s 77th-minute goal that punctured the home side’s hopes, before Edinson Cavani secured the win late on to leave PSG with maximum points after four games of the Ligue 1 season.

Asked if he doubted that PSG would win all three points, Mbappe said: “No, we want to be a great team, and a great team must learn never to doubt itself, even in difficulty. We were in a lot of difficulty today but we come away with the victory.”

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Maxim Choupo-Moting joins Paris Saint-Germain from Stoke

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Maxim Choupo-Moting has joined French champions Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after having his Stoke contract cancelled, the Potters have announced.

The 29-year-old Cameroon international was part of the City side which was relegated from the Premier League at the end of last season, but will now have the opportunity to play Champions League football during the new campaign.

A statement on Stoke’s official website said: “Maxim Choupo-Moting has joined Paris Saint-Germain on a free transfer after his Stoke City contract was cancelled by mutual consent.

“The Cameroon international made 32 league and cup appearances for the Potters after joining the club in the summer of 2017.

“The club would like to take this opportunity to thank Maxim for his efforts and wish him well in the future.”

Hamburg-born Choupo-Moting arrived at the bet365 Stadium from Schalke in August last year and scored both goals in a 2-2 home draw with Manchester United the following month.

He scored three more times, with his last coming in his final Stoke appearance in March, when City lost 2-1 to Everton.

Choupo-Moting told his new club’s website: “I am extremely honoured to be signing for this big European club.

“I will be playing with some extraordinary team-mates and I can’t wait to experience the atmosphere at the Parc des Princes.”

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