Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are set to start for Paris Saint-Germain against Liverpool in their crunch Champions League tie on Wednesday after recovering from injuries, coach Thomas Tuchel said.
“They are fit and in form. They are fine. They did a full training session today and yesterday. There is no problem, they will start tomorrow,” Tuchel said at a press conference at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday.
“If they were not fit they could not play but they did not complain at all yesterday and today, and for me right now there is no risk.”
The two most expensive players in the world came off injured playing for their countries in international friendly matches last week, with Mbappe hurting a shoulder with France and Neymar a groin with Brazil.
Both players have scored 13 goals in all competitions this season, and the injuries caused alarm bells to ring at PSG as they watched Saturday’s tight Ligue 1 win against Toulouse from the stands.
PSG come into Wednesday’s game in third place in Champions League Group C, a point behind both Liverpool and Napoli with two games left.
That means a defeat against last season’s runners-up, coupled with a win for Napoli at home to Red Star Belgrade, and the French champions would be eliminated already from a competition they are desperate to win.
“It is super important that we do no lose focus and think about what could happen,” said Tuchel, who has won all 14 Ligue 1 games in charge since being appointed at the club in the close season.
“We have to play this game relaxed, but at the same time 100 percent focused on what we have to do.
“We cannot control the result, nobody can in football, and for that, no matter what the result is, the sun will shine the next day again and we will have to get up out of bed and go to work, whether in a better mood or a not so good mood.
“It is sport, and we are looking forward to this challenge.”
Luuk De Jong channeled his inner Cristiano Ronaldo with a stunning bicycle kick goal in PSV’s 3-0 win over Heerenveen.
The effort draws comparisons with the Portuguese’s famous Champions League strike against Juventus for Real Madrid last season.
Watch the goal below.
An “extraordinary combination of new contracts and signings” has taken Barcelona back to the top of the global sport pay rankings – and made the La Liga giants the first team to have average basic annual pay of more than £10 million.
Barca are the best-paid team in global sport, according to a global survey published on Monday, and return to the top for the first time in six years.
The Catalans return to the top of the pay rankings in the ninth edition of Sporting Intelligence’s Global Sports Salaries Survey (GSSS) for the first time since 2012.
The average annual basic first-team salary at the Camp Nou was more than £10.45m in late November of the 2018/19 season, the British-based researchers said.
Domestic rivals Real Madrid have climbed to second place. Average basic pay at the Bernabeu is just over £8m per year.
In third place are last year’s number one team, the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder (£7.85m).
The metric used by the GSSS is average first-team pay. It looks solely at earnings for playing sport, not for endorsements or other extra-curricular activities.
“In last year’s list, Barcelona were the world’s best-paid football team but it has still taken an extraordinary combination of new contracts and signings to lift their average basic pay this time above £10m from £6.6m a year ago,” the report said.
“Foremost among those contracts was the biggest pay deal in Barcelona’s history awarded to (Lionel) Messi. His gross basic (pre-tax) annual Barca pay tops £50m per year, including guaranteed image rights fees.”
Six of the top 10 payers in this year’s GSSS are NBA teams – an ongoing consequence of a huge new TV deal in the NBA that kicked in before the 2016/17 season.
As recently as the 2015 GSSS, there were eight football teams in the top 10 but there are just four this year — Barca, Real, Juventus and Manchester United.
The NBA has extended its lead as the best-paying league by average salary (£5.9m), ahead of the Indian Premier League cricket competition (£3.8m when weekly pay is annualised) and MLB (baseball).
The Premier League remains the world’s best-paying football league. Average pay in the 2018/19 season in England’s top division is nearly £3 million a year.