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News Extra: Messi rates Mane the best, Zaha exit latest, Spurs scout four

The latest news snippets from across the footballing world, including Lionel Messi's pick for the planet's best player, Wilfried Zaha's Crystal Palace future and Spurs' scouting mission in Greece.

Here, Sports Mole rounds up the latest news snippets from across the footballing world, including Lionel Messi's picks for the best players on the planet, Wilfried Zaha's Crystal Palace future and Tottenham Hotspur's scouting mission in Greece. Scroll down for more!

Messi voted Mane as The Best

Sadio Mane celebrates scoring during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Newcastle United on September 14, 2019© Reuters

Barcelona maestro Lionel Messi picked Liverpool's Sadio Mane as the best player in the world for Monday night's FIFA Best Awards in Milan, ranking rival Cristiano Ronaldo second and new Barca teammate Frenkie de Jong third. Ronaldo, meanwhile, failed to even name Messi in his top three, instead opting for Matthijs de Ligt, De Jong and Kylian Mbappe respectively. The Argentine ended up taking the top gong at the prestigious ceremony.

Bristol City to look at free transfers

General view of Bristol City's Ashton Gate taken January 2018© Reuters

Bristol City will dip into the free transfer market following a serious injury to Benik Afobe, according to the Bristol Post. The striker - on loan from Stoke City - could be out for the rest of the season after injuring his knee during a training session this week. Possible options for the club include Gary Hooper and Wilfried Bony.

Pique blames pre-season for Barca's form

Gerard Pique celebrates scoring for Barcelona on March 13, 2019© Reuters

Barcelona defender Gerard Pique has suggested that the club's pre-season schedule, which included trips to Japan and the USA, has been partly responsible for their lacklustre start to the domestic campaign. The Catalan side are currently four points off leaders Real Madrid in La Liga, having already suffered two defeats out of six, although they did claim a 2-1 win over Villarreal on Tuesday night. Pique told reporters afterwards: "The pre-season hasn't helped us. There were a lot of trips. But we're Barcelona and have no excuses."

PSG 'must sell to land Icardi'

Mauro Icardi in action for PSG on September 14, 2019© Reuters

Paris Saint-Germain must offload players before they can sign Mauro Icardi on a permanent deal next summer due to FFP regulations, according to Le Journal Du Dimanche. The striker is on a season-long loan deal from Inter Milan but can make a full switch for £65m at the end of the current campaign.

Praet explains Arsenal snub

Dennis Praet pictured in June 2019© Reuters

Leicester City attacker Dennis Praet has revealed that he rejected the chance to sign for Arsenal 10 years ago as a teenager. The Belgian moved to the King Power last month for a fee of around £18m after spells at Anderlecht and Sampdoria, but he has claimed that his career could have taken a different path. "We went to visit Arsenal, Lille, Ajax and Anderlecht," The Mirror quotes him as saying. "Arsenal would have been a really nice step and I could earn a lot more money there than in Anderlecht, but at that moment my education was not finished and that was really important for me – there was no insurance that I would become a good football player."

Merson: 'Luiz should be Arsenal captain'

David Luiz in action during the Premier League game between Liverpool and Arsenal on August 24, 2019© Reuters

Paul Merson has insisted that Arsenal boss Unai Emery should name summer signing David Luiz as his new skippers as he is "a serial winner". Emery is expected to name as many as five players in a "group of captains" but Merson believes that the Spaniard should be more decisive and name the former Chelsea defender as his main man. "Unai Emery's been there a year-and-a-half, he's got to have five captains because he doesn't have a clue what his best team is. He hasn't got a clue," he told The Debate."David Luiz has got to be captain, he's a serial winner. People have a go at him because one week he'll be a 2/10 and the next a 9/10, but he's going to play every week."

Zaha to push again for Palace exit?

Wilfried Zaha in action for Crystal Palace on August 10, 2019© Reuters

Wilfried Zaha will again attempt to force his way out of Crystal Palace in the January transfer window, according to Calcio Mercato. Arsenal and Everton were credited with big-money moves for the striker over the summer but Palace refused to sell, but the publication claims that they may let him have his way in January "to avoid poisoning the dressing room".

Spurs watching Olympiacos youth?

Spurs reportedly had their eyes on four players from the Olympiacos under-19s side during their game in the youth Champions League last week. SNDA claim that the London side used the opportunity to take notes on Konstantinos Tzolakis, Alexandros Voilis, Vassilis Sourlis and Emiliano Boulari, subsequently questioning why Boulari was not already playing for the first team.

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