Tuchel blindsided by Cavani-Real Madrid link

AFP , Monday 30 Jul 2018

Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint Germain FC (Reuters)
Edinson Cavani of Paris Saint Germain FC (Reuters)

Thomas Tuchel said it was his "biggest wish" for Edinson Cavani to stay at Paris Saint-Germain on Monday after reports linking the Uruguay striker to Real Madrid.

Tuchel appeared surprised by Real's interest in Cavani, as reported by Spanish media, when he heard about it after a 3-2 friendly win over Atletico Madrid in Singapore.

"This is my feeling and my biggest wish and I have not heard such a thing," Tuchel said, when asked if he would like to keep Cavani at PSG.

"I talked to Edinson some days ago, he didn't mention anything. He said he was looking forward to coming back, he said he's looking forward to joining us to achieve all his goals with us and our team.

"He's a key player for us and there's no thought about giving him away."

Unconfirmed reports say European champions Real are interested in Cavani as a replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo, who has joined Juventus on a 100-million-euro deal.

The elegant forward, a member of PSG's 'MCN' strike force along with Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, has been with PSG for five seasons after moving from Napoli.

The 31-year-old has reportedly admitted to having problems with Neymar, who arrived for a world-record fee last year, but said he had resolved them with the Brazilian.

- 'Unbelievable mentality' -

Tuchel is still without his full squad with Marquinhos set to arrive on Tuesday and Neymar flying in ahead of Saturday's French Super Cup game against Monaco in Shenzhen, China.

An under-strength PSG have lost 3-1 to Bayern Munich and 5-1 to Arsenal already in pre-season but Virgiliu Postolachi's injury-time strike against Atletico gave Tuchel his first win at the helm.

Moldova-born Postolachi, 18, curled a stunning winner past Antonio Adan after Atletico had recovered from 2-0 down, helped by Antoine Bernede's own goal on 86 minutes.

Christopher Nkunku's tap-in on 32 minutes was the highlight of a drab opening period before the International Champions Cup game exploded into life after PSG made nine changes at half-time.

Eighteen-year-old Tim Weah was denied by Antonio Adan, and Adan then saved from Moussa Diaby -- who rattled the crossbar from the edge of the box shortly afterwards.

But Diaby, 19, made no mistake when he was selflessly put through by Weah on 71 minutes, planting his shot low and to Adan's left.

Victor Mollejo reduced the arrears on 76 minutes when he put away the rebound from his own shot, before Bernede's unfortunate own goal made it 2-2 with four minutes to go.

The game was headed for a draw until Postolachi popped up with the decisive strike from the top of the penalty area, prompting jubilant celebrations from Tuchel's young team.

"We left our heart on the field and played with an unbelievable mentality against a team which is known for maybe having the best mentality in the world," Tuchel said.

"The youngsters played amazing in the second half. They played with passion and intensity and gave everything."

Argentina's Angel Di Maria and Italy international Marco Verratti both played the first half for PSG, while Kevin Trapp was in goal instead of newly signed Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon.

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