Mbappe hoping this could be PSG's lucky year

0 Comment(s)Print E-mail China Daily, November 28, 2018
Adjust font size:
France superstar Kylian Mbappe is bidding to fire Paris Saint-Germain to its first-ever Champions League title this season.

Paris Saint-Germain's teenage superstar Kylian Mbappe has told AFP that, for all the Qatar-owned club's huge investment in recent years, it will need to catch some breaks if it is to finally fulfill its dream of winning the Champions League.

The French giant faces Liverpool in a crunch group game at Parc des Princes on Wednesday, when a defeat could end PSG's hopes of even reaching the knockout rounds, unthinkable for a club with its ambitions.

PSG may have won all 14 of its Ligue 1 games this season under new coach Thomas Tuchel - meaning a successful defense of the domestic title already appears inevitable - but it underperformed in a 3-2 defeat in Liverpool.

Two draws against Napoli followed, and now another defeat against Jurgen Klopp's Reds and a win for Napoli at home to Red Star Belgrade would send Paris packing.

"We have struggled a bit so far, but we are still in the running and we have our fate in our own hands. I think that in order to win a competition you need things to click into place," Mbappe told AFP.

"There are games in which you think, at first sight, that nothing unusual is going to happen. And then there is maybe a little moment in the game - it can be a half, or a spell in which you are on top - and your team grows in confidence and things go in your favor, to take you far in a competition like this."

It is not just on the field that PSG needs things to go its way, with Tuchel currently sweating on the fitness of both Mbappe and Neymar for Wednesday's game.

Mbappe came off with a shoulder injury during France's friendly against Uruguay last week, while Neymar hurt a groin playing for Brazil the same night. Both players watched from the stands as PSG labored to a 1-0 win over Toulouse on the weekend.

An injury to Neymar cost Paris dear against Real Madrid in the Champions League last season, and it will be desperate to have both players fit.

Mbappe, meanwhile, knows exactly what it takes at this level, having starred in France's glorious World Cup campaign in Russia, scoring in the 4-2 final win over Croatia.

He also reached the semifinals of the Champions League with Monaco two seasons ago. In contrast, PSG endured four consecutive exits in the quarterfinals before back-to-back last-16 losses in the last two years.

But Mbappe - who turns 20 next month - believes PSG can learn from France's campaign in Russia.

"At the World Cup, during the group stage, nobody thought we would go on to win it," said the forward.

"I had said our aim was to win it and people laughed at me a bit. So it can be difficult to look too far forward, all the more so in the Champions League where there are so many matches."

PSG has not beaten one of Europe's big guns since a 3-0 win over Bayern Munich during the group stage last season, and the French side can ill afford another below-par performance against Liverpool.

"We are not missing much. It is not much but at the same time it is a lot, because in top-level football it is the little details that are the most important," said Mbappe, who has netted 13 times in 13 games this season.

What Mbappe has achieved is incredible given his age, and he is now hoping for a signature performance in Europe for PSG before finding out whether his glorious year will be capped by the Ballon d'Or - Mbappe is one of the finalists for the prize, with the ceremony taking place in Paris next Monday.

"I always say that the Champions League is the best competition in terms of coming up against top-level players.

"It is a real pleasure to play against great defenders, it helps you progress and brings out the best in you. It is just a pleasure. I want more of it!"

Follow on Twitter and Facebook to join the conversation.
ChinaNews App Download
Print E-mail Bookmark and Share

Go to Forum >>0 Comment(s)

No comments.

Add your comments...

  • User Name Required
  • Your Comment
  • Enter the words you see:   
    Racist, abusive and off-topic comments may be removed by the moderator.
Send your storiesGet more from