Previews: Bastos set to stay at Lyon
Michel Bastos will stay at Olympique Lyon next season, the player and his coach said, amid speculations that the Brazilian could leave after just one season at the club.
"I have been hearing rumours that I will go to Italy. I find it hard to believe. As far as I am concerned, I want to stay at Lyon," Bastos told L'Equipe on Tuesday, on the eve of his team's home game against Auxerre.
"Of course he will be with us next season," coach Claude Puel agreed.
Lyon, who have a game in hand, are fourth in the standings, two points behind third-placed Lille.
Olympique Marseille, who will bag the Ligue 1 title on Wednesday if they beat Stade Rennes and Auxerre fail to win at Lyon, now need to shine in Europe, said coach Didier Deschamps.
"Marseille need to polish up its image on the European stage," Deschamps told the club's website on Tuesday.
Marseille failed to get out of their Champions League group that featured FC Zurich, Real Madrid and AC Milan this year. They won the competition in 1993.
Auxerre need to improve on their 0-0 draw with Marseille when they travel to Lyon if they are to hang on their second place and play in next season's Champions League, said coach Jean Fernandez.
"It is a turning point in our season," he told L'Equipe. "We will have to play a great game because we failed to do so against Marseille."
Auxerre striker Daniel Niculae will be sidelined for the rest of the season because of a thigh injury, L'Equipe reported on Tuesday.
He will be replaced in the squad by Roy Contout.
Girondins Bordeaux president Jean-Louis Triaud has denied having contacted Cameroon coach Paul Le Guen or former Marseille boss Eric Gerets to replace Laurent Blanc if the past international were to leave at the end of the season.
"Paul Le Guen and Eric Gerets are two persons I have a great deal of respect for," Triaud told L'Equipe on Tuesday.
"But there is no insinuation. I have not contacted anybody."
Blanc has been linked with the France job since the French federation said earlier this year Raymond Domenech would leave after the World Cup.