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Edinson Cavani focused after failed exit – Thomas Tuchel praises Paris Saint-Germain goalscorer

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Wantaway forward Edinson Cavani completed the scoring in Paris Saint-Germain’s victory over Lyon on Sunday.

Paris Saint-Germain head coach Thomas Tuchel said Edinson Cavani is more focused following a failed move away from the French champions during the January transfer window.

Cavani – out of contract at season’s end – was tipped to leave PSG last month but a proposed transfer to LaLiga outfit Atletico Madrid did not materialise.

With an exit on hold until at least the end of the campaign, Cavani came off the bench and scored within three minutes of his introduction as PSG beat Ligue 1 rivals Lyon 4-2 on Sunday.

“Whenever there’s competition it’s good. We need all the players. I’ve always said that,” Tuchel told reporters.

“You can feel that Edi [Cavani] is stronger in training at the moment because things are clear after the mercato. It’s been like that for a few days now.

“He made a very good entrance [in the game], he put in a very important goal. It’s good for him and for us. Because we need all the players with experience and quality like Edi. That’s necessary. They are in good shape and that’s good.”

 

Cavani – PSG’s all-time leading scorer – netted his third Ligue 1 goal of the season but first since August, while the Uruguay international forward has six across all competitions.

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France

Next Generation – Rayan Cherki, Lyon’s latest academy gem earning links to Real Madrid, Man Utd

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Rayan Cherki has earned links to Real Madrid, Manchester United and Liverpool. Here’s the lowdown on the teenage Lyon midfielder.

‘Next Generation’ is a series focusing on the young players tipped to establish themselves as the elite in the 2020s.

Rayan Cherki is Lyon’s latest academy prodigy and has set his sights firmly on the top, openly admitting last week that he aspires to one day play for Real Madrid.

He is the 16-year-old who has already made 12 senior appearances for Lyon and been tipped to emulate Kylian Mbappe as the next big thing to come out of Ligue 1.

Madrid are not alone in showing an interest in the teenage midfielder, though, with Manchester United and Liverpool also among those to have been linked.

Able to play on either flank or through the middle and capable of embarrassing defenders with his trickery, Cherki is very much a player with the world at his feet.

 

 

THE BREAKTHROUGH

After scoring in the UEFA Youth League at the age of 15, becoming the youngest player to do so at the time, Cherki was already a name on Lyon fans’ lips when making his senior bow.

That came in a stalemate with Dijon in October, making him the youngest player – at 16 years and 63 days – to appear for Lyon in Ligue 1 since Willem Geubbels in 2017.

By comparison, World Cup-winning striker Mbappe was still more than nine months away from his Monaco debut at the same age.

And while the game finished in a bore draw, Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas heaped praise on the youngster and later said he has the potential to become better than Mbappe.

“He is more technical than Mbappe… and more important – he has broken out at a younger age,” Aulas told Tuttosport in February. “If he stays at Lyon for another few years, he will become even better than Mbappe.”

Aulas was not alone in hailing Cherki, with boss Rudi Garcia singling him out for his energy in the middle of the park – something that would start to become a more regular occurrence.

 

 

STEPPING UP

Praise and potential is one thing, of course – showing that you are capable of living up to the hype is another matter entirely.

In the five months between making his senior debut and the enforced Ligue 1 break due to the coronavirus pandemic, Cherki regularly justified the talk of being the next big thing.

He has gone on to make 12 appearances for Lyon in all competitions – four of those as a starter – totalling 453 minutes in total.

Impressively, the France Under-16 international already boasts three goals and two assists, giving him a return of one goal involvement per 91 minutes on the field. He is also creating a scoring opportunity every 41 minutes.

Four of those goals involvements – two strikes of his own and two assists – came in January’s Coupe de France win over Nantes, earning front-page billing on French daily L’Equipe.

If Europe’s elite clubs had not taken notice of Cherki before then, they certainly did at this point.

 

 

SUSTAINING HIS FORM

Lyon have a history of bringing through talented youngsters, with the likes of Nabil Fekir, Karim Benzema, Corentin Tolisso and Samuel Umtiti among them.

The first player born in 2003 or later to play in Ligue 1, Cherki now needs to maintain the form he has displayed in his first half-season in order to emulate those aforementioned stars.

And the attacking midfielder, whose solitary league start came away at Paris Saint-Germain, certainly does not lack confidence when it comes to his career path.

“My dream is to play for Real Madrid,” he said in an interview with Lyon TV last week, perhaps swayed by the progress of compatriots Benzema and Raphael Varane at the Santiago Bernabeu.

Cherki, also eligible to represent Italy or Algeria at international level through his parents, also outlined his intention to one day win the Ballon d’Or.

The versatile attacker still has a long way to go for that to happen, of course, and there are improvements to be made. One of the criticisms has been his insistence on going it alone too often, rather than taking an easier option.

“He has a strong ability to beat players but uses it too much and not especially wisely,” Garcia said at the turn of the year, perhaps trying to downplay the growing hype. “We have to be careful with our young players, that’s why we protect him a lot, especially in the media aspect of things. He is fairly quiet, but he must be aware that he still has huge room for improvement. The good thing about him is that he listens. If he continues like this, he will be able to go as high as possible.”

Heed the advice of his manager and the path to superstardom awaits for Cherki, whether at Lyon, Real Madrid or elsewhere.

Lyon’s youngster of many talents appears very much to be the next big thing to emerge from an academy that just keeps on giving.

 

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Coronavirus: Kylian Mbappe donates to Abbe Foundation Pierre charity amid COVID-19 crisis

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The Abbe Pierre Foundation has confirmed Kylian Mbappe has made a large donation to assist their cause amid the coronavirus crisis.

Kylian Mbappe has made a generous donation to the Paris-based charity Abbe Pierre Foundation as France continues to fight the coronavirus pandemic.

Ligue 1, along with the vast majority of other sporting competitions, has been put on hold amid the crisis, with over 27,000 confirmed deaths worldwide.

France has 32,964 confirmed cases of the illness and, in a bid to assist the work of the Abbe Pierre Foundation, Paris Saint-Germain and France star Mbappe has donated a large sum to the charity.

“Concerned about the consequences of the serious health crisis which strikes our country, but also of all the consequences which it can generate on the most fragile people, Kylian Mbappe has just made a very large donation to support the work of the Abbe Pierre Foundation,” the charity said in a statement.

“His generosity will make it possible in particular to implement first aid actions: access to water and hygiene for people in very precarious situations, access to food and shelter for homeless people.

“The Foundation sends its most sincere thanks to Kylian Mbappe for his generosity and his attention towards people in great precariousness.”

 

The charity did not confirm how much Mbappe had donated.

Earlier this week, it was reported Cristiano Ronaldo and his agent Jorge Mendes had donated a large sum to three intensive care units for coronavirus patients at hospitals in Portugal, while a hospital in Barcelona announced Lionel Messi had pledged money to support them during the crisis.

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Coronavirus: Andre Villas-Boas ready for Ligue 1 to finish in December, change schedule for next season

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With sport stopped by coronavirus, Andre Villas-Boas offered a solution for when football resumes in Europe.

Andre Villas-Boas believes Ligue 1 should be prepared to finish as late as December before changing its schedule ahead of next season.

Sport has been brought to a standstill by the coronavirus pandemic, with Europe’s top football leagues postponed with uncertainty over when they will resume.

Villas-Boas, the Marseille coach, said this season should be finished to help the clubs amid financial worries.

“Currently, all the clubs are in a catastrophic economic situation,” he told RMC on Friday.

“It is very difficult for everyone. The most viable, for the health of the Ligue 1 teams, would be to leave until December to finish the current season, or hopefully in November.”

Villas-Boas said the football schedule should then change heading into the 2022 World Cup.

The 2022 World Cup is scheduled to be played in November and December of that year in Qatar.

“From 2021, we should base ourselves on the civil calendar,” Villas-Boas said.

“That way, we will come to an agreement with the 2022 World Cup in Qatar which will take place in winter.

“And then, why not try to come back on a more classic calendar?”

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