Is Kylian Mbappe PSG’s real jewel despite Lionel Messi’s arrival in Paris?

With Messi and Neymar missing the mark, Mbappe has stepped up a gear for PSG.

 Lionel Messi has endured a difficult start to his career in Paris with just one Ligue 1 goal in 11 appearances. This is his worst start to a league campaign since 2005/06, which was his debut season at Barcelona. PSG won’t be concerned about his lack of goals in the French League, considering the numbers Messi is producing in the Champions League. Messi has scored 5 goals in 5 games in the Champions League, one being a superb solo effort against Manchester City and two braces against RB Leipzig and Club Brugge, respectively.

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The French media had very high expectations from a player of his calibre and have slammed his performances this season on various occasions. The frustrations are understandable, but none of us expected Messi to sign for PSG at the end of last season. Barcelona lost their talisman and are equally suffering in his absence. Barcelona may be his previous chapter, but Messi’s role at PSG is different from the one he had at Barcelona. Lionel Messi enjoyed his ‘number 10’ role for a decade, but at PSG, Mbappe has played almost every game as the central striker. Mauricio Pochettino has struggled to find the solution to bring the best out of his fellow Argentinian.

Pochettino’s future is in the air as PSG failed to top their group in the Champions League and now face a mammoth task of overcoming Real Madrid to qualify for the next round. If the on-field issues weren’t enough, many reports suggest Messi’s unhappy with Pochettino’s approach. Pochettino was linked with a move to Manchester United after Solskjaer’s sacking but will need to wait till the end of the season after Ralf Rangnick’s appointment.

Zinedine Zidane is the favourite to join PSG if Pochettino is sacked in the future. PSG will try their best to keep Kylian Mbappe, whose contract ends in the summer. The only missing trophy in Mbappe and PSG’s trophy cabinet is the Champions League. Mbappe has a lot of admiration for Zidane and would love training under him. But for that to happen, he will have to give up his dream of joining Real Madrid in the summer.

Real Madrid was keen on signing Kylian Mbappe at the start of the season, but PSG rejected all their attempts, even a 200 million final day offer. Mbappe was disappointed, but now that he can sign a pre-contract agreement with any other team, Real Madrid will be keen to get his signature as soon as possible. PSG will also make their final efforts to keep the Frenchman, but the talks have been stalled.

Messi’s arrival meant that Mbappe and Neymar to be under the shadow of Messi, but the latter didn’t have any issue since he wanted Messi to come to Paris. However, for Mbappe, it was expected to be difficult as he had been sharing the limelight with Neymar since 2017 and Messi’s transfer and reunion with Neymar will make the headlines. The media immediately hyped the trio by naming them ‘MNM’, which brought back the memories of when Barcelona had ‘Messi-Suarez-Neymar’, which is arguably the best front three in the history of football. But as it turned out, MNM looked good on paper but failed to live up to expectations.

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But Mbappe quickly adjusted himself alongside Messi, creating a formidable partnership since Neymar’s injury as the pair have been involved in 23 goals since October. However, at the age of 23, Mbappe wants to be the leader of the new project at Real Madrid, making his dream into reality. Mbappe will look forward to following the footsteps of his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo, who made his transfer from Man United at the same age.

After a disappointing Euro campaign with France, Mbappe has responded perfectly by producing the best season of his career so far. Mbappe has scored 18 goals and has provided 15 assists halfway through the season. He has established himself as the focal point of the attack for both club and country. With an 11-point lead in the league and progressing to the rounds of domestic cups effortlessly, Mbappe will be eyeing for his maiden Champions League trophy.

The path to glory will be special as Mbappe faces his dream club in the Round of 16 along with Lionel Messi and Neymar, who will be elated to knockout the 13-time champions given their history with Barcelona. Messi and Neymar have been major disappointments this season, but Kylian Mbappe is on the rise to be football’s next superstar.

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