Saturday 21 July 2018

Real to ramp up Hazard interest with Neymar deal 'impossible'

Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar. Photo: Getty
Paris Saint-Germain striker Neymar. Photo: Getty

Jason Burt

Real Madrid could ramp up their interest in Eden Hazard after Paris St-Germain insisted it would be "impossible" for the Spanish giants to sign Neymar this summer.

Senior sources at PSG have insisted that they are not worried about claims that they might be about to lose Neymar, who they signed for a world-record fee of €222 million (£194m) from Barcelona this summer, as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.

They are, however, irritated by the claims and said it was "impossible" Neymar would leave.

Neither are PSG interested in Ronaldo, despite having previously attempted to sign the 32-year-old, who has been linked with a move away from Real.

There has been a growing expectation that Real will reshape their forward line at the end of this season and if Ronaldo goes, then Karim Benzema is expected to follow him out the door.

Real have long been linked with Hazard. Chelsea remain confident he will sign a new contract with them but until it is agreed, the fear will remain that he might want to leave Stamford Bridge. His current deal expires in 2020.

PSG face Real in the last 16 of the Champions League and have grown weary of the continued reports in Spain and France over Neymar's future.

Indication

The club insist they have not been given any indication by the 25-year-old Brazilian, or his father, Neymar Santos Snr, that he wants to leave. There is no buy-out clause in Neymar's contract and they do not want to sell him.

Neymar has been out injured, missing PSG's 2-1 Ligue 1 defeat at Lyon last Sunday and the 4-2 French Cup win over Guingamp in midweek. He could return for the league fixture against Montpellier.

Meanwhile, Ronaldo has been given an intriguing compliment from Jose Mourinho as rumours gather pace that the forward may be attempting to return to Manchester United.

They sold him to Real for £80m in July 2009, and while Mourinho - who uses the same agent, Jorge Mendes, as Ronaldo - was at pains to stress he did not want to heighten speculation, he spoke of his admiration for the player.

"At the moment Real Madrid is with him now. I should be the last one to add some fuel to the fire," Mourinho said.

"The results are not good, and it's a club where I worked for three years, I care about the club and I am the last one to add fire.

"So to put some water on the fire, I think Cristiano is the kind of player that every manager wants, every club wants. But only one manager can, only one club can have - (Zinedine) Zidane and Real Madrid, that's my feeling." (©The Daily Telegraph)

Telegraph.co.uk

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