‘Neymar great for Ligue 1’ – Reynet a fan of €222m deal and Mbappe’s PSG switch

Neymar’s €222 million transfer and Kylian Mbappe’s switch to Paris Saint-Germain are “great for Ligue 1”, according to Dijon goalkeeper Baptiste Reynet.

Having seen the French top-flight crown wrestled away by Monaco in 2016-17, PSG spent the summer embarking on an elaborate recruitment drive in an effort to climb back to the summit.

Nantes 4/1 to beat Toulouse 1-0

A record-breaking agreement for Neymar saw the Brazilian arrive from Barcelona, while exciting teenage talent Mbappe was acquired in a deal which will eventually cost €180m.

PSG’s business has not been universally well received, amid accusations of flouting Financial Fair Play regulations, but Reynet considers the attention they have generated to be healthy for French football.

“It’s very positive,” he told Goal.

“We all know Neymar, he is one of the three best players in the world. 

Baptiste Reynet Neymar Mbappe Ligue 1

“We are happy that players like this are coming into our league. It highlights the division and generates more talk of Ligue 1.

“I thought it [the Neymar deal] was a very good thing, as was the fact that Mbappe stayed. It’s great for Ligue 1.”

Reynet has already kept Neymar and Mbappe out this season, in a Ligue 1 contest back in October, but conceded twice to Thomas Meunier in a 2-1 defeat.

He still considers them to be among his toughest opponents, with Monaco striker Radamel Falcao – who put a hat-trick past him in August – another fearsome frontman that he holds in the highest regard.

Reynet added: “Falcao has made me miserable a few times.

“Last year he scored a goal from free-kick, after the first goal of Monaco came after a free-kick from him hit the bar. 

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“This year he put three past me. He is an outstanding striker who is very skilful in front of goal. 

“And there are of course the three Parisians,[Edinson] Cavani , Mbappe and Neymar, who will turn a lot of heads this year.”

PSG currently hold a four-point advantage at the top of Ligue 1, with Unai Emery’s side still unbeaten in all competitions.


Falcao sparks match-fixing storm after discussing draw during Colombia clash with Peru

Radamel Falcao has sparked World Cup controversy after admitting to discussing playing for a draw during Colombia’s qualifying clash with Peru.

A 1-1 stalemate in the final round of CONMEBOL fixtures proved to be enough to see Colombia through to next summer’s showpiece in Russia, while earning Peru a play-off spot.

Colombia 33/1 to win 2018 World Cup

Both sides were aware of the situation as their game was ongoing, with results elsewhere allowing them to take their foot off the gas.

Monaco striker Falcao has conceded that talks were held on the field, with neither team needing to push for a winner.

He told reporters after the game: “We knew what was happening in the other matches, we were playing with [the knowledge of] the other results and in that moment [I tried] to transmit that.”

Falcao was caught on camera speaking to a number of Peru players, as Colombia edged their way towards automatic qualification.

Radamel Falcao Colombia Peru play for draw

Renato Tapia has revealed that the 31-year-old did float the idea of seeing out the final few minutes with little competitive spirit.

He told Panamericana Television: “We were focused on the game and then in the final five minutes the Colombians approached us.

“They knew the situations from the other grounds. The game was managed as it had to be managed.

“I spoke with Falcao and he said to me that we were both in, so there was happiness about that.”

While Falcao’s actions have been questioned by some, with playing for a draw considered to be a form of match-fixing, Peru have moved to rubbish claims that there was any kind of “pact” between the two nations.

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Former Newcastle and Aston Villa midfielder Nolberto Solano, who is now a member of the Peruvian coaching team, said: “We needed to win, them too. What pact? That’s speculation.

“Obviously, at the end, we knew what the other results were and you tell yourself: ‘calm it down a bit, we mustn’t take any risks’.”

While Colombia march on to Russia, Peru will only secure their ticket if they can successfully negotiate an inter-confederation play-off clash with New Zealand in November.


Monaco 1 Montpellier 1: Camara stuns champions as PSG stay top

Monaco failed to get back on track after their poor Champions League loss to Porto in midweek, drawing at home against Montpellier.

Substitute Souleymane Camara grabbed a dramatic stoppage-time equaliser as Monaco were held to a 1-1 home draw by Montpellier and missed the chance to go top of Ligue 1.

Champions Monaco did not produce a vintage performance on Friday, but Radamel Falcao’s 12th goal in eight league games, scored seven minutes before the break, continued a stunning individual start to the season for the striker and looked like it would prove decisive.

But Monaco failed to build on that lead and Camara headed home in the second minute of stoppage time to grab a draw that Montpellier deserved.

Failure to win means Monaco remain behind title rivals Paris Saint-Germain on goal difference ahead of Unai Emery’s men facing Bordeaux on Saturday.

It was another blow for Leonardo Jardim’s men after their morale-denting 3-0 Champions League loss to Porto last time out and only the second time in 22 home league games they had failed to win, in a run stretching back to last season.

Montpellier, meanwhile, add to their surprise draw against PSG last week and move up to 10th after an impressive performance.

Underdogs Montpellier were in control for much of the first half, Isaac Mbenza curling a 20-yard free-kick inches over with their first opportunity of note.

The visitors should have been in front when they seized on slack Monaco passing to produce a well-worked move that resulted in an unmarked Stephane Sessegnon firing over after being set up by Jerome Roussillon.

Pedro Mendes then cut inside from the right and forced a low save from Danijel Subasic, who was making his 150th Ligue 1 appearance in the Monaco goal.

But against the run of play, it was the hosts who moved in front. Rony Lopes raced down the right and played in perfect low cross which a stretching Falcao turned in at the far post, goal-line technology showing the ball had just crept over the line before Benjamin Lecomte got back to save.

The second half was a much quieter affair, with the first significant chance not arriving until Ruben Aguilar volleyed narrowly wide after Roussillon’s cross from the left flicked into his path.

Monaco could have wrapped up the points when Thomas Lemar was caught in two minds after being played in, the France international failing to hit the target with a poor finish.

And the hosts were stunned in stoppage time when Hilton’s high ball was nodded on by Kevin Berigaud to fellow sub Camara, who headed past Subasic from eight yards to silence Stade Louis II.


In-form Monaco striker Falcao revels in career-best scoring streak

Radamel Falcao says his current hot streak for Monaco is a highlight in his career.

Colombia striker Falcao hit 30 goals last season as Monaco claimed the Ligue 1 title and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League against the odds.

Toulouse 5/1 to beat Marseille

The 31-year-old has already hit a remarkable 11 goals in just seven Ligue 1 games this term, including a double in Friday’s 4-0 win at Lille, which saw him rack up 200 goals for European clubs.

With league crowns, and two Europa League medals to his name, Falcao’s is a storied career, but he believes he is now at the peak, having recovered from a serious knee injury and returned to his best following underwhelming loan spells at Manchester United and Chelsea. 

Falcao told Canal+: “Even Porto’s Falcao wasn’t scoring that much.

“I’m grateful for the team’s efforts and thank God, I was efficient. 

“It’s a highlight of my career, I’ve been praying a lot to get to this moment so I can play lots of games and score that much.”

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Monaco will welcome Falcao’s former club Porto to Stade Louis II in the Champions League on Tuesday, but the striker will have no split loyalties, despite his fondness for the Portuguese giants.

“Porto is a special game for me and I want to help Monaco get the three points,” he said.


Lille 0 Monaco 4: Falcao hits double as champions romp to win

Stevan Jovetic, Rachid Ghezzal and a Radamel Falcao double gave Monaco a 4-0 Ligue 1 win against Lille.

Monaco drew level on points with Paris Saint-Germain at the top of Ligue 1 with a 4-0 victory over Lille on Friday.

Radamel Falcao scored his 10th and 11th goals of the season alongside first strikes for the club for Stevan Jovetic and Rachid Ghezzal at Stade Pierre-Mauroy.

The defeat will likely pile more pressure on Lille boss Marcelo Bielsa, who insisted this week he would not resign despite a run of six games without a win.

Monaco looked the more dangerous from the off despite allowing the home side the majority of possession and they fully deserved to take a 24th-minute lead, with Jovetic firing into the bottom-right corner from the edge of the area for his first goal in Ligue 1.

Ghezzal, another arrival in a hectic transfer window, opened his account six minutes later as he arrived unmarked at the left-hand post to drill home a loose ball.

Lille heads had well and truly dropped, but Falcao made the points certain three minutes after half-time, heading in a rebound following Mike Maignan’s save from Rony Lopes.

Fares Bahlouli at last forced Diego Benaglio into a save, but matters got worse for Lille moments later, with Falcao dispatching a penalty in confident style after Rominigue Kouame clipped the heels of Jorge in the box.

The result moves the champions on to 18 points from seven matches, level with PSG, who take on Montpellier on Saturday.


Falcao’s phenomenal finishing leaves Cavani and Neymar in his wake

Radamel Falcao has laid down the gauntlet to Edinson Cavani and Neymar with his phenomenal finishing for Monaco this season.

The Colombian striker, who was written off by many on the back of two frustrating loan spells at Manchester United and Chelsea, has been rejuvenated in the last 18 months.

His efforts in 2016-17 helped Monaco to the Ligue 1 title, and he has picked up where he left off this term despite losing attacking partner Kylian Mbappe to Paris Saint-Germain.

Falcao already has nine efforts to his name to lead the French top-flight scoring charts, with that return coming from just 10 shots on target.

Falcao netted 21 times in Ligue 1 last season, with Cavani and Alexandre Lacazette the only men to better that return.

Cavani has started positively again for PSG, with seven goals plundered so far in 2017-18.

Neymar, meanwhile, has managed four following his record-breaking €222 million move to the French capital.

They, along with Mbappe, will be looking to chase Falcao down as the season progresses, but they will have to go some if they are to match the South American’s remarkable conversion rate.

Monaco will be desperate for the 31-year-old to maintain his standards, as he has become a talismanic presence.

Falcao’s efforts so far this season have seen him reach a 40-year high in Ligue 1, with few players throughout history having managed to match his burst out of the blocks.

Falcao, who netted twice in a 3-0 victory over Strasbourg on Saturday, will go in search of more goals when Monaco travel to Lille on Friday.


Monaco 3 Strasbourg 0: Falcao bags brace as Jardim’s men bounce back

Radamel Falcao took his Ligue 1 goal tally to nine in six games this season with a brace against Strasbourg.

Monaco picked up their first win in three games as Radamel Falcao scored twice in a 3-0 Ligue 1 victory over Strasbourg.

Leonardo Jardim’s men were beaten 4-0 at Nice in their previous league outing and were held to a 1-1 draw by RB Leipzig in the Champions League, but a return to winning ways puts Monaco level on points with league leaders Paris Saint-Germain, who play Lyon on Sunday.

Stevan Jovetic saw his wonderful chipped shot from the edge of the box beat Strasbourg goalkeeper Bingourou Kamara but come back off the crossbar after just seven minutes as Monaco made a bright start.

Jean Eudes Aholou should have scored for Strasbourg when he was gifted a free header right in front of goal after 34 minutes but he lifted the ball over the crossbar when it seemed easier to score, and he was left to rue the miss as the first goal arrived 10 minutes later when Rachid Ghezzal played in Rony Lopes to score from close range.

Falcao made it 2-0 with a simple tap-in six minutes into the second half, side-footing the ball over the line from point blank range after Jorge’s cross found him unmarked in the six-yard box.

Monaco goalkeeper Diego Benaglio made a superb save to deny Dimitri Lienard after 56 minutes, diving the full length of his goal to parry the powerful low shot away one-handed.

Falcao had a goal ruled out for offside after an hour but he made amends seven minutes later when Strasbourg captain Kader Mangane fell to the ground, allowing the Colombian striker to lash the ball into the net unchallenged and wrap up the victory.


Colombia 1 Brazil 1: Falcao checks Selecao streak with vital equaliser

Willian gave Brazil the lead in spectacular fashion in Barranquilla but in-form Radamel Falcao grabbed a 1-1 draw for Colombia.

Radamel Falcao denied Brazil a 10th consecutive World Cup qualifying win and grabbed a vital 1-1 draw for Colombia in their own quest to reach Russia 2018.

Brazil’s place in the finals is secure as group winners after dominating the notoriously unforgiving CONMEBOL section under the guidance of head coach Tite, and they looked set to continue their march when Willian magnificently opened the scoring on the stroke of half-time.

Colombia went into the game at the head of devilishly congested chasing pack and seasoned striker Falcao brought his prolific Monaco form to a raucous Estadio Metropolitano in Barranquilla.

Jose Pekerman’s men now have 26 points, only three more than Argentina in fifth, but Chile’s defeat in Bolivia guarantees they will enter next month’s concluding qualifiers against Paraguay and Peru in one of the four automatic qualification places.

Falcao has seven goals in four Ligue 1 games so far this season and the second-half header by Colombia’s all-time record goalscorer was excellently dispatched.

Another man tussling for top honours in France this year, Neymar, was unable to similarly get on the scoresheet despite an inventive, all-action showing.

Torrents of boos greeted Brazil whenever they enjoyed early possession but Paulinho almost smuggled home an opener at the far post from Dani Alves’ deep cross after Neymar initiated a fourth-minute counter attack.

Felipe Luis clattering through Juan Cuadrado did little to endear the Brazil left-back to the home faithful, while Alves was on the end of similarly robust treatment from Colombia winger Edwin Cardona as the contest threatened to boil over.

Play restarted from the latter stoppage with a Brazil corner and Cardona made a nuisance of himself once again – blocking on the line when Fernandinho prodded goalwards.

James finally gave Brazil goalkeeper Allison some work to do at his near post as the half ticked past its halfway point, although he did not make a clean contact on the end of Cardona’s fine reverse pass.

After a hydration break, Neymar tore at the Colombia backline and Roberto Firmino scuffed his shot towards the bottom right corner, forcing David Ospina to tip to safety.

Neymar was made to wait to take a corner as a dog entered the field and was reluctant to leave – moving the match into first-half stoppage time, when Brazil spectacularly took the lead.

The set-piece was cleared by Colombia but the ball was lifted back towards goal, Neymar’s volleyed lay-off sat up invitingly for Willian and the Chelsea winger brilliantly thrashed into the top corner from the edge of the area.

Pekerman’s decision to replace Cuadrado with Yimmi Chara did little to initially increase Colombia’s threat in the second half but they pulled level through a familiar source in the 56th minute.

Right-back Santiago Arias whipped in a fine ball from the right and Falcao escaped Silva’s attentions and expertly steered a header into the far corner.

The stadium erupted and Colombia were transformed – Cardona sending a piledriver into the chest of Allison, who was caught out by James free-kick from the left but spared by his near post.

Firmino was replaced by Gabriel Jesus as Brazil looked to reassert their authority and Neymar blasted wide inside the final 15 minutes.

A sprawling Fernandinho deflected James’ curling strike over in the 81st minute and there was no finish to match a dazzling Neymar dribble in response.

The world’s most expensive player then flung himself  into a headed back-post attempt but the goal to reward his endeavours did not arrive.


Mbappe-PSG links ‘complicated’, says Monaco striker Falcao

Radamel Falcao concedes Monaco find themselves in a “complicated situation” as Paris Saint-Germain seemingly close in on a deal for their prized asset Kylian Mbappe.

Teenage striker Mbappe is reportedly on the verge of joining title rivals PSG on an initial loan deal that includes a compulsory purchase option of €180million.

Neymar 9/2 to win Ballon d’Or in 2018

The transfer would make the France international the second most expensive player in history after Neymar, who joined PSG from Barcelona for €222m this month, with the Parisian club believed to be structuring the deal so as not to fall foul of UEFA’s Financial Fair Play regulations.

Speaking after Monaco’s 6-1 thrashing of Marseille on Sunday, in which Falcao hit a brace and Mbappe remained an unused substitute, head coach Leonardo Jardim accepted the 18-year-old might soon leave.

Falcao was tellingly praised by Jardim as a “team player” afterwards and the Colombia international, formerly of Atletico Madrid and Manchester United, is sympathetic over the strains currently being placed upon Mbappe, with whom he formed a lethal partnership during the second half of last season.

“It’s a complicated situation,” he told reporters. “He’s a young man, he’s only 18. We have to think about him too and we have to stay calm.

“I hope that everything will be resolved quickly for him and for us.

“It’s a personal decision that every player could have. I respect it.”

Fabinho concluded Monaco’s scoring on Sunday from the penalty spot, the Brazilian midfielder having also been linked with PSG.

The Ligue 1 champions have lost Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy to Manchester City, and Tiemoue Bakayoko to Chelsea from their title-winning side, while Liverpool have reportedly joined the clubs trying to sign winger Thomas Lemar.

Adama Diakhaby, a close-season signing from Rennes, joined Falcao in attack against Marseille and got on the scoresheet, and the France Under-21 forward was bullish over the prospects of Monaco retaining their remaining stars.

“Fabinho and Mbappe… I did not say goodbye to anyone,” he said.

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“We said we’d meet again after the [international] break. What will happen will happen.”