By Tim Stannard
On the eve of Lionel Messi potentially lining up alongside Neymar and Kylian Mbappe for the first time for PSG against Bruges in the Champions League today, it is the French striker's name that is making waves on Wednesday.
PSG's Sporting Director, Leonardo, has broken silence after quite the dramatic end to the transfer window for PSG, which saw rejected bids from Real Madrid for Mbappe and the 22-year-old French striker staying put in Paris. "We never thought about doing all this without Kylian. We were not happy with the behaviour of Real Madrid," said the Brazilian to Canal +.
Staying put in Paris is what Leonardo is predicting in the end for Mbappe, despite the World Cup winner out of contract next summer and available for free. "The relationship between Mbappé and PSG is deep," explained Leonardo, "we’re not thinking about anything else, I don’t think anyone here sees the future without him."
One of the strategies to keep the footballer at the Parc de Princes might be Mbappe getting a taste of playing alongside Messi and Neymar week-in, week-out for PSG, something that could be possible in Bruges today. A smiling Mauricio Pochettino was playing it cool with a "perhaps" when questioned on the matter ahead of the game.
💥 Catch Lionel Messi's home debut with PSG on Sunday in a classic clash against Lyon live on beIN SPORTS from 2:30PM ET / 11:30AM PT. 📺
Barca rack up brand new crisis after Bayern battering
It is increasingly hard to keep track, but Barcelona might be on their fourth crisis of the season already.
The first two officially registered crises are Lionel Messi leaving to a Champions League rival followed by Antoine Griezmann being given to a LaLiga rival. The third is the general existential mess of the club's finances.
Tuesday saw an old-school sporting crisis thrown in for good measure with a 3-0 home defeat by Bayern Munich in the opening match of the Champions League group stages. There is even a 'reportedly' story added to the mix with Joan Laporta 'reportedly' meeting with a couple of other board heavyweights until 2AM after the game.
While Barca were undone by the golden oldie pairing of Robert Lewandowski and Thomas Mueller, Manchester United were overcome by Young Boys. Despite Cristiano Ronaldo scoring the opener in the game in Switzerland, Young Boys prevailed in the end for a 2-1 win.
Milan end Champions League wilderness with a new Sheriff in town
Wednesday's set of Champions League clashes sees the aforementioned Bruges vs. PSG clash however the headline act on the main stage is potentially Liverpool vs. Milan, seeing as it is the return of the Italian side to the competition after a seven-year absence. However, there will be no Zlatan Ibrahimovic in Anfield due to a tendon injury.
Elsewhere, Inter Milan will be hosting Real Madrid. But for the real nerdists of the soccer world, Sheriff of Moldova are hosting Shakhtar Donetsk in the city of Tiraspol, which is mere miles from the Ukrainian border.
Sheriff will be the first Moldovan side to compete in the Champions League and their very cool moniker (and Wild West badge) derives from the name of the team's main sponsor.
Pele out of ICU - ready for "90 minutes, plus extra time"
Some good news to end on with Pele announcing through the medium of Instagram that he has left intensive care and is doing well after having a tumor removed from his colon in a hospital in Sao Paulo.
"I continue every day happier, with a lot of disposition to play 90 minutes, plus extra time," wrote Pele, "we will be together soon."