Real Madrid Could Offer Kylian Mbappe €15m-a-Year Pay Package in Summer Deal

Real? Madrid could offer Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe up to €15m a year in any potential deal, after the youngster’s astonishing earnings were recently revealed. 

Mbappe joined PSG for around €180m in July 2018, after a one-year loan spell from Monaco delayed the triggering of that fee. In 79 subsequent appearances for the Parisians, he has notched a staggering 53 goals and 30 assists.

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However, unsurprisingly given that astronomical outright fee, that has not come at the cost of a cut-price salary. As revealed by ?L’Equipe, the 20-year-old has earned €10.8m and €12m per year respectively in Paris thus far.

And, such is the incremental staggering of his wage package – his contract contains a net salary increase of €1.2m a season – that he is set to earn an inflated €13.2m in the 2019/20 season.

This means ?Los Blancos will likely have to come in with a pay packet of at least €15m per year to tempt the World Cup winner to join them in the Spanish capital. That, in turn, would make him the club’s highest earner, ahead of Gareth Bale on €14m a year, Sergio Ramos on €11m a year and Karim Benzema and Luka Modric, who both bring in €10m a year. 

However, his overall 2018 earnings still don’t take him to the top of the pile of French athletes, with Les Bleus teammate Antoine Griezmann earning that particular mantle with a whopping €33m turnover, thanks to sponsorship deals with, among others, Puma, Huawei and Gillette.


This was also aided by the fact that his ?Atletico Madrid salary “doubled […] from €10m a year to €20m,” according to the French publication, after the forward spurned the chance to join Barcelona to stay and fight with Diego Simeone’s side. 

For second place, ?Mbappe put together a worthy total of €24.7m, propped up by existing partnerships with Nike and Hublot.

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Why Spanish Report Claiming Paul Pogba Wants to Leave Man Utd Appears Critically Flawed

?Paul Pogba has ‘completed’ what he set out to achieve when he returned to England in 2016 and wants to leave Manchester United this summer, either for Real Madrid, a club the Frenchman recently said every player dreams of joining, or former club Juventus.

That was the bizarre and outlandish claim made by Spanish publication AS on Monday morning.

It is alleged that even though former adversary Jose Mourinho has left Old Trafford, Pogba still ‘feels it is time to move on’ and is eyeing a ‘fresh challenge’ in Italy or Spain.

Paul Pogba

The report further claims that agent Mino Raiola is ‘already working hard’ to find a club, that Pogba has ‘already turned down’ a new contract offer from United, that Real would be his first choice, and that Juve are ‘totting up the numbers’ to find a way to finance a deal.

The story is troubling to say the least, and raises a number of questions as to its authenticity.

Yes, Pogba did recently use the word ‘dream’ when asked about Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane. But his words were less a ‘come and get me’ plea and more a general acknowledgement of how footballers all over the world perceive the grandeur of Los Blancos.

“Real Madrid is a dream for anyone. It’s one of the biggest clubs in the world. There is also Zidane as a coach and it’s a dream for anybody who likes football,” Pogba said last week.

Zinedine Zidane

Not once did he state his personal intention to join Real, nor at any point did he say that he wants to leave United, even specifically insisting that he is ‘happy’ at Old Trafford.

There was an aloof ‘We don’t know what the future holds’, but such words have become so common among modern footballers not wishing to close doors on themselves, even 10 or more years down the line. It’s meaningless.

One of the main claims of the AS story, that Pogba has ‘completed’ everything he wanted to do at United, is absolutely bizarre in the context of his achievements to date.

It would suggest Pogba’s aims when he returned to his former club in 2016 as the most expensive player in history was to win the League Cup and Europa League, finish no higher than second in the Premier League, lose an FA Cup final, fall out with the manager and only consistently play to anything like the best of his ability for a period of three months.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer,Paul Pogba

It is ridiculous to even attempt to claim he has ‘completed what he has set out to do at United’. The only way it can be true is if Pogba has incredibly low standards, which he clearly does not.

The report also directly contradicts a recent story that emerged in England suggesting Pogba has held private meetings with United boss Ole Gunnar Solskjaer – the same man he has publicly supported to become permanent manager – assuring he has no intention to leave.

It isn’t often that one argues in support of an ‘exclusive’ from The Sun, but on this particular subject it speaks with far greater logic and believability than AS does.

Ask yourself why a Spanish report claims a player wants to leave an English club and join a Spanish one. Such media stories designed to unsettle transfer targets are a well known tactic. United have been down this path multiple times with David de Gea, with the goalkeeper ‘agreeing’ deals with Real for months on end, only for truth or substance never to prevail.

David de Gea

But AS namedropping Raiola is also interesting, as is the claim Pogba has turned down the offer of a new United contract and the assertion any new contract will need to be ‘too good to resist’.

Could a new contract be the motivation for the story if Pogba’s camp has anything to do with it?

A report published over the weekend by the Daily Mirror purporting to reveal how much every United player earns, with Pogba said to be on £290,000 per week. That is considerably behind Alexis Sanchez, whose basic salary is said to be £350,000, and up to £500,000 after bonuses.

Pogba’s new found stardom, to the point where he could feasibly be named the club’s next captain, arguably warrants an improved contract that makes him the top earner.

Paul Pogba

Certainly, transfer flirting to command a bumper new deal is not a new tactic in modern football and United chiefs will be well aware that their best player has grounds to demand fresh terms that are more in line with his overall importance to the club.

Does Paul Pogba want to play for Real Madrid before he retires? Quite possibly.

Does Paul Pogba want to leave Manchester United this summer? Almost certainly not.

Does Mino Raiola want Paul Pogba to leave Manchester United this summer? Maybe.

Does Paul Pogba want a new Manchester United contract? Probably.

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Neymar’s Father Reveals Talks With Paris Saint-Germain Over Contract Extension

Neymar Jr’s father has revealed that the Brazilian is in talks with Paris Saint-Germain over an extension on his current deal with the club. 

The forward has been heavily linked with a move away from the French capital since his world record transfer from Barcelona in 2017, with rivals ?Real Madrid seemingly leading the way. 

However, in an in-depth interview with UOL Esporte, as quoted by ?AS, Neymar Sr revealed that these rumours were mostly trivial as his son is already in talks to extend the deal he currently has, which doesn’t expire until June 2022.

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He proclaimed: “People say that ?Neymar always is on the transfer market and linked to a big club. This means it’s good management because he is among the names… But this does not mean he is going to go to one club or another. 

“His name has been linked since he was 17 years of age. He has had two transfers in his life but we have ten years worth of speculation. The probability of him leaving is not big. It’s his second year, he has three more and we are talking about a renewal with PSG.”

Speaking on his career and potential legacy from a wider perspective, the 54-year-old explained: “We are happy with Neymar’s career up until now. He can’t finish his career feeling unhappy, having done what others think he should do and not doing what he thought he should do. 

“Neymar is Neymar. Tomorrow other players will be compared with him. Just like Pele inspired some players like Zico, Romario, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo…Neymar will inspire other players.

“My job as agent is to plan for him. Neymar didn’t have time to study to be a doctor, lawyer or journalist. He is a footballer. Our challenge is to make a career plan for him so when he stops playing he can have peace living his life.”

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4 Positions Real Madrid Need to Strengthen & the Players They Should Sign to Fix Them

Real Madrid have endured a dreadful season by their own high standards and are on course for their worst overall performance since 2009. Other than the FIFA Club World Cup, Los Blancos will be trophyless this season, following the departure of Zinedine Zidane. 

Zidane opted to leave after a lack of domestic success and resigned in May last year, citing the club’s ‘need for change’ as his reason. New boss Julen Lopetegui proved a disaster taking the club to 10th before being dismissed for Santiago Solari. 

Results improved under Solari, but a shock Champions League exit to Ajax saw him dismissed as well, with Los Blancos turning back to Zidane. It’s a tough act to follow for the Frenchman after securing a record three consecutive Champions League titles in his first spell. 

One thing’s for sure – he’s going to need some new recruits and here are four areas we expect Zidane to address in the summer.    


Goalkeeper

Thibaut Courtois

It’s been a turbulent first season for Thibaut Courtois at Real Madrid, plagued by a series of high profile errors. The Belgian shot-stopper is undoubtedly one of the best in his position but his confidence has taken a real shot this season. 

Keylor Navas has also been deemed surplus to requirements so there’s not a lot of strong competition. Conceding too many goals has been a problem over the past few seasons and Madrid only have the seventh-best defensive record in La Liga this year. 

Suggested Options:

Salvatore Sirigu

To compete on all fronts they need at least strong competition for Courtois, at worst a number two who’s capable of stepping up at a moments notice. ?Manchester Unit?ed’s David de Gea has been on Los Blancos’ wish-list for a long time but may be considered too pricey with Courtois in the squad. 

Assuming the Belgian will maintain the number one spot, Torino shot-stopper Salvatore Sirigu could provide a capable and experienced back-up. Closer to home, Valencia’s Neto has one of the best defensive records in the league this season, with only Atletico Madrid’s Jan Oblak conceding fewer goals. 


Left Back

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Another unsuspected flop this season has been the usually assured ?Marcelo. The Brazilian is one of the best attacking full-backs of his generation but at 30 years old there is a suggestion his best years are behind him.

Marcelo even lost his place in the starting line-up these season with Solari suggesting the player has gained some weight this season. It’s led to rumours of a departure with Real Madrid maybe looking to cash in whilst the player still has good value, so a replacement could be on the cards. 

Suggested Options:

Ryan Sessegnon

Replacing Marcelo will be a tall order after 12 years of service and he’s not much older than many of the current top players in his position so Madrid may look to potential over experience. We may be jumping the gun a little here but ?Fulham’s Ryan Sessegnon looks to be one of the hottest properties in that respect. 

He struggled to establish himself in the Premier League but he does have two goals and five assists at just 18-years-old this season. Another fairly inexpensive option is Lucas Digne, who’s already had spells with PSG and Barcelona. The Frenchman hasn’t quite cut it at the highest level but still has a lot to give.


Attacking Midfield

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What Real Madrid need more than anything is a new talisman to help fill the huge boots vacated by ?Cristiano Ronaldo. He may be in the latter stages of his career but Los Blancos have missed his influence this season and their overall goal tally is way down. 

They already have plenty of talent in those wide areas and we think what they really need is a dynamic central star, playing with freedom behind the striker to tie it all together. Ballon d’Or winner ?Luka Modric doesn’t have the energy play in the advanced position and Toni Kroos doesn’t impact the game frequently enough for where Madrid want to be. 

Suggested Options:

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The obvious choice is Neymar, the Brazilian is still expected to take up the mantle of GOAT following Lionel Messi’s retirement but we’re not convinced he’s the best fit for Madrid. We think the crown better fits another long-term Real Madrid target ?Eden Hazard. 

Christian Eriksen is another strong candidate who seems tailor-made to fill that void and we’d also like to give an honourable shout out to Kevin De Bruyne. Any of the trio of Premier League stars would be a real boost for Real Madrid and would come with considerably less baggage than the sometimes contentious Neymar, not to mention at a much more affordable rate. 


Striker

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Build-up play is important but Real Madrid’s aforementioned goal tally is far below where it’s been in past season. Los Blancos scored 106 goals in their last title-winning season two years ago and 94 goals as they finished third last year. 

With 10 games left Madrid currently have scored just 49 goals, meaning they’d need to almost double that tally in the closing stages to maintain the pace. Questions over Karim Benzema’s record have been raised for a while but he is their top scorer this season.

Gareth Bale is the only other player to join him on double figures though, with promising newcomer Vinicius Jr bagging just two goals, they need some serious firepower. 

Suggested Options:

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Los Blancos were linked with a move for Bayern Munich forward Robert Lewandowski last season and he remains a strong option. ?Harry Kane is another name that will undoubtedly be thrown up as Madrid could look to raid Tottenham again. 

Elsewhere, Lewandowski’s international teammate Krzysztof Piatek has catapulted himself onto the global stage for ?Milan this season, equalling Ronaldo as the second-highest scorer in Serie A. 

Another relative unknown option is Nicolas Pepe – the reported Arsenal and Bayern Munich target has 17 goals and 8 assists in Ligue 1 this season, and is at the same age as Piatek at just 23 years of age. 

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Malta vs Spain Preview: Where to Watch, Live Stream, Kick Off Time & Team News

?Malta host Spain at the Ta’ Qali National Stadium on Tuesday as both sides look to continue their strong starts in Group F of the Euro 2020 qualifiers.

Ray Farrugia’s Malta side earned a 2-1 victory over Faroe Islands last time out, whilst Spain claimed victory by the same scoreline over Norway, giving Luis Enrique’s side the perfect start to their qualifying campaign.

With both sides set to play their final game of the current international break, each will be keen to conclude the period on a high and strengthen their positions in Group F after both enjoyed positive opening games.

Here is 90min’s preview of Tuesday’s European qualifying clash.


Where to Watch

When Is Kick Off?? ?Tuesday 26 March
?What Time Is Kick Off? ?19:45 (BST)
?Where Is it Played? ?Ta’ Qali National Stadium
?TV Channel/Live Stream? ?Sky Sports Football
?Referee? ?TBC

Team News

Malta will be without Andre Agius due to suspension after the defender was sent off during the 2-1 win over Faroe Islands on Saturday. 

Spain have no fresh injury concerns following their 2-1 victory over Norway on Saturday, though ?Atletico Madrid midfielder Saul Niguez was called up by Luis Enrique to replace Fabian Ruiz ahead of the opening clash, with the ?Napoli star suffering from illness.

Enrique made a number of bold selections ahead of the latest round of international fixtures, with star names such as Koke, Thiago and Isco among those left out of the squad altogether.


Predicted Lineups

Malta? Bonello; Borg, Caruana, Zerafa, Mbong; Muscat, Guillaumier, Fenech; Corbalan, Nwoko, Mifsud?
?Spain ?De Gea; Roberto, Ramos, Martinez, Alba; Ceballos, Busquets, Saul; Rodrigo, Morata, Asensio

Head to Head Record

The two sides have met seven ?times previously and, unsurprisingly, Spain have won on every occasion.

The last encounter between the two came in February 1997, when Spain won 4-0 and goals from Pep Guardiola, Pizzi and an Alfonzo brace secured a comfortable victory for La Roja.

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September 1963 saw the first meeting between the two nations in the Mediterranean Games. Spain beat Malta emphatically on that occasion, as a Ramon Moreno Grosso hat-trick inspired an 8-0 win for the Spaniards.


Recent Form

Malta have responded well to a crushing 5-0 defeat to Kosovo in the Nations League in November, as Ray Farrugia’s side earned a 1-1 draw against Faroe Islands in their last outing in the competition, before claiming a 2-1 victory when the sides met again on Saturday.

Meanwhile, Spain have also had to bounce back from a disappointing defeat in the final game of their Nations League campaign in November, when they were beaten 2-1 by World Cup finalists Croatia.


Spain also suffered defeat to England in the Nations League, but have since responded with a 1-0 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina? in November and a 2-1 success over Norway on Saturday in Enrique’s side’s first outing of 2019 to open their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign.

Here is a look at how each team has fared in their last five matches:
?

Malta? Spain?
?Malta 2-1 Faroe Islands
(23/03/19) 
?Spain 2-1 Norway
(23/03/19)
?Malta 1-1 Faroe Islands
(20/11/18)
?Spain 1-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina
(18/11/18)
?Malta 0-5 Kosovo
(17/11/18)
?Croatia 3-2 Spain
(15/11/18)
?Azerbaijan 1-1 Malta
(14/10/18)
?Spain 2-3 England
(15/10/18)
?Kosovo 3-1 Malta
(11/10/18)
?Wales 1-4 Spain
(11/10/18)

Prediction

Spain may not be at their free-flowing best under Luis Enrique quite yet, having required a penalty from ?Sergio Ramos to see them over the line with victory against Norway last time out, but La Roja are still a side bursting with quality all over the pitch.

The likes of Inigo Martinez, Dani Ceballos and Marco Asensio have added a freshness to the side alongside more seasoned campaigners such as Ramos and Sergio Busquets, and Enriques’ side appears both flexible and well-balanced.

Sergio Ramos

Emphatic dominance may no longer be the way of their game as was the case during the previous golden era, star-studded with Xavi, Iniesta and co, ?but Spain have found a revised means of winning with efficiency under Enrique and they should have too much quality for Malta.

Prediction: Malta 0-4 Spain

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