Media interest in PSG-Real Madrid tie “the equivalent of a Champions League final”

As reported by Le Parisien, the eagerly anticipated Champions League last 16 first leg tie between PSG and Real Madrid tomorrow has received interest level with the competition’s final.

In all, 276 media representatives from all over the world will attend the game after over 500 accreditation requests. That’s 86 photographers and 190 journalists while 35 television channels will be present. “It’s the equivalent of a Champions League final,” explained a UEFA official present at PSG’s training ground today, quoted by the Paris paper. “We’re matching the biggest matches ever at the Parc des Princes… The figures are comparable to the semi-final against Manchester City last season.” Nearly 50 journalists attended the opening 15 minutes of PSG’s training session today alone while another 65 will be present at the Parc de Princes for Real Madrid’s training session tonight.

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These figures, however, fall far short of the 800 professionals from 200 different media outlets who were accredited to cover the 2018 last 16 meeting between the teams at the Bernabéu in Madrid.

Montpellier coach Olivier Dall’Oglio compares Téji Savanier to Bruno Fernandes

In speaking before his team’s game with Lorient this weekend, Montpellier coach discussed the performance and position of captain Téji Savanier upon his return from a three game ban last week and compared him to Manchester United attacking midfielder Bruno Fernandes. 

“We spoke with Téji before his return last week, to try and curb his desires a little – or rather to manage them. His second half was perhaps less intense, but I’d also asked him to play higher up. He did that, but the passes also need to arrive. Maybe we saw him a little less, but the main thing is that he is effective in certain areas. A boy like Téji can’t help but sometimes come deep to pick up the ball.”

“I watched other players of the calibre of Téji this week, at big clubs, and many need to come deep and pick up the ball at some point. Bruno Fernandes at Manchester United, for example, sometimes drops deep to touch the ball. We also talked about it with Téji, the main thing is to find balance. He may actually be more effective for the team if he plays a little higher in certain areas.“

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PSG are interested in Amine Gouiri

According to RMC Sport‘s Santi Aouna, PSG are interested in Nice striker Amine Gouiri (22).

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Given the context of the potential departure of Kylian Mbappé this summer, the capital’s club will need to prepare, and Gouiri could be a possible replacement for the future.

Having scored 10 goals in Ligue 1 this season, PSG reportedly like the look of the young striker, who left Lyon in the summer of 2020.

The 22-year-old is represented by Alain Migliaccio, the same man who represents the interests of Zinédine Zidane, who himself has been rumoured to move to Paris in the future. 

Metz manager Frédéric Antonetti could be suspended for four months

RMC Sport report this afternoon that Metz manager Frédéric Antonetti could see a four-month ban from the touchline after his fight with Lille’s Sylvain Armand in the two clubs’ draw this weekend.

The LFP’s disciplinary could be set to open an investigation, with sanctions ranging from two-match suspensions to a four-month suspension.

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Antonetti, who received a red card for the touchline fracas had defended his actions in a post-match tirade when facing the press, arguing that he was defending himself and that the Lille staff were putting undue pressure on the referee.

PLAYER RATINGS | Chelsea 2-0 Lille, LOSC can be proud but were beaten by a far better side

Chelsea 2-0 Lille: Champions League Last 16, first leg – 22/2/22


Léo Jardim, 5

Zeki Çelik, 5

José Fonte, 4

Sven Botman, 5

Tiago Djaló, 4 – He’s impressed at centre-back this season but is in an error-prone and uncomfortable right-back and isn’t a left-back at all – forced into the role by the club’s transfer dealings. He grew into the game but endured a nervy first third in particular.

Benjamin André, 5

Xeka, 3 – He’s a more than solid Ligue 1 player but looked out of his depth technically here. He was unlucky to get away with dithering in possession in the first period, as Kanté pinched possession deep in Lille’s half, for example. As the second goal showed, he couldn’t live with Kanté generally.

Renato Sanches, 7 – A few years on from an infamous career low-point, that pass to no one for Swansea, he enjoyed some level of redemption at the same ground. His passing was refreshingly positive and often precise while his interplay was sharp and he occasionally worried Chelsea with his direct dribbling. He was maybe the only Lille player to look like they belonged. He faded in the second half, typically, but still did just enough for a 7.

Amadou Onana, 4

Jonathan Bamba, 6 – He played with hunger and pace and was a persistent nuisance for Chelsea but lacked the vision, and maybe confidence, to pick the required passes and create against such a strong defensive set-up at this level. He also led his team in tackles, winning 100% of them.

Jonathan David, 3 – Bullied by Thiago Silva throughout in a performance that again highlighted how tricky it might be for him to play the lone striker role longer-term at a high level and didn’t manage a shot on target in 80 minutes.

Others: Gudmundsson 5, Ben Arfa 5, Yilmaz 5, Zhegrova 5.

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Nasser Al-Khelaifi on PSG’s win over Real Madrid: “It was a perfect game.”

Speaking after his team’s 1-0 win over Real Madrid tonight, Paris Saint-Germain club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi was keen to praise his team’s performance all the while pointing out that they are only halfway through the tie.

His words transcribed in RMC Sport, Al-Khelaifi stated his confidence in the players and manager Mauricio Pochettino to get the job done, with the second leg to come on March 9 in Madrid.

“We had a very, very good game. The players played as a great team. We controlled the game from the first minute to the last, up until the goal. It was a perfect game.”

“We are very proud of the game but we’re only at half-time. I have faith in the players and the coach to keep a cool head. We are ready for the second leg.”

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Kévin Gameiro regrets having never played in an international tournament

Speaking with Amazon Prime Video current Strasbourg striker Kévin Gameiro (34) revealed that he has only one regret in his career: having never represented France at an international tournament.

Having left France for Spain in 2013, Gameiro experienced 8 successful years with Sevilla, Villareal and Atlético Madrid, winning one Spanish Cup and four Europa Leagues.

Making his international debut in 2010, the Frenchman accumulated 13 caps with Les Bleus, coming either in friendlies (8), European qualifiers (2) or World Cup qualifiers (3).

On his time with the national team, he said “I regret having never played a World Cup or a European Championship. It’s my only regret. Having never been able to pass that point with the France shirt. Now, I’m still proud of what I achieved with Les Bleus. I played at the Stade de France and I wore that shirt and that was my dream as a kid.”

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Dimitri Payet would return to France squad to “clean Benzema’s boots”

In speaking to L’Équipe, Marseille forward Dimitri Payet discussed his chances of returning to the France national team set up after a productive season with OM.

Didier Deschamps said that when you’ve had a big role in the past for France, it could be hard to come back to a lesser role. Do you agree with what that?“Which French forward can claim they should start when you have Karim Benzema, Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann up front? They would have to be crazy. I would come back to clean Karim’s boots if necessary! (Laughs.) It would be stupid to say: ‘I’m coming back and I’m playing!’ Being in the 23 man squad would be amazing, the attacking pool of talent is incredible.”

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Lazio are interested in Emerson Palmieri

According to Ignazio Genuardi, Lyon’s loanee Emerson Palmieri, whose parent club is Chelsea, remains a priority for Serie A side Lazio.

Lazio also approached the player in the winter transfer window while Chelsea were looking to recall the Italian, an option that was not in fact in the loan deal.

Having featured in just two Premier League fixtures last season, Emerson has been a regular of the Lyon side this season, making 20 Ligue 1 appearances and 3 in the Europa League.

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Match Report | Monaco’s Champions League aspirations shattered by Reims’ injury-time winner

A seemingly routine Monaco win was turned on its head in a dramatic final 10 minutes in which Reims overturned the deficit to run out unlikely 2-1 winners, dealing yet another blow to the Principality side’s dwindling hopes of elite European football.

The game got underway following a five-minute delay, which Reims coach Óscar García revealed post-match was a symbolic gesture in support of the Ukrainian people, and which was instigated by president Jean-Pierre Caillot.

For Philippe Clement, however, it was an unexpected gesture. “Honestly, I was a bit surprised. If you are going to make such a gesture, we should be told in advance. We have a tight preparation for the game, every minute is organised to be ready for the match.” The Belgian coach did, however, agree with the sentiment. “There is no-one in the club who wants the war.”

The unexpected denouement was preceded by a match that largely adhered to pregame expectations, Reims deploying a stout, low-block, whilst the home side dominated possession.

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Monaco were denied a perfect start as Gelson Martins, whose movement had already caused problems for the Reims defence, found himself inexplicably unmarked at the back-post. He headed in a sumptuous cross from Sofiane Diop, only for the offside flag to come to the rescue for Reims. Monaco denied by a matter of inches.

Reims withstood the early pressure, and as Monaco relinquished their control of the game, the away side gained in confidence, yielding a flurry of chances on the break. Mitchell Van Bergen should have done better with his chances, the same could be said for Maxime Busi, whose free-header was gratefully gathered by Alexander Nübel.

In committing more to the attacking effort, something resembling an open game of football temporarily broke out. Profiting from the space created between the lines was Wissam Ben Yedder, whose well-struck shot was well-parried by the Reims keeper. The ball then fell to Kevin Volland, whose inability to get a shot away provided a snapshot of a striker low on confidence.

In spite of Monaco’s possessional dominance, the best chance of the match thus far would fall to Fraser Hornby early in the second-half, who, having found himself unpressured on the edge of the box, rifled a powerful shot against the Monaco bar.

Reims were duly punished moments later. Sofiane Diop, who looked the most likely to unlock the tightly-packed Reims defence slipped an incisive ball through to Ligue 1’s top scorer Ben Yedder, the latter finishing in typically clinical fashion to register his 15th of the campaign.

In taking the lead, Philippe Clement’s side had overcome their recent impotence against low-blocking sides, and immediately set about getting another monkey off their back. Monaco are yet to score from a corner this season, but they wouldn’t go any closer without scoring as Ben Yedder almost doubled his account with a volley, which struck the face of the post.

Jean Lucas then had the chance to put the fixture to bed, but an uncomposed, wild finish saw the golden chance go to waste. That miss would prove costly. In search of an all-elusive goal, Volland finally converted -but at the wrong end, the German striker’s header sailed past a helpless Nübel.

Things would only get even worse for Monaco. Frustrations boiled over for Jean Lucas, who received a second yellow for leaving a foot in on his opponent. Then deep into stoppage time, Reims made their numerical advantage count, Nathanaël Mbuku steaming in at the back post to smash past Nübel. Cue jubilant scenes on the Reims bench, in stark contrast to the boos, which rang around the Stade Louis II, as the stands quickly emptied.

The seemingly assured victory, dramatically turned to defeat in a disastrous final 10 minutes, which leaves Monaco’s Champions League hopes in tatters. The Principality side sit eight points off the podium, and have only taken two points from what – on paper – seemed like an easy run of games (Lorient, Bordeaux, Reims).

Post-match, Clement revealed his disappointment at the way that his side finished the match. “We need to be more intelligent and more well-organised in such circumstances. We did lots of good things today and created good opportunities. In the final minutes we made errors, which changed the match.”

Monaco must quickly arrest the slide, with an important match away to Nantes in the Coupe de France on Wednesday – a competition, which perhaps offers them the best chance of European qualification.

Luke Entwistle