Kylian Mbappe ready to show off World Cup form with PSG

David Cooper 11/08/2018
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Kylian Mbappe wants to sweep the winning feeling France generated at the World Cup into Paris Saint-Germain’s quest for an eighth Ligue 1 crown.

The French champions launch their title defence against Caen at the Parc des Princes on Sunday.

Neymar is set to return after missing the final three months of last season with a foot problem before recovering in time to lead Brazil in Russia.

Mbappe’s performances at the World Cup overshadowed those of his PSG team-mate’s and the 19-year-old forward was named the competition’s best young player after producing four goals.

“It was a really incredible feeling. We did it!” Mbappe told PSG TV.

“At the start, you just want to enjoy the experience, but the further you go, you start thinking about winning it. It’s the World Cup, something unique.

“You realise pretty quickly that you have to make sacrifices to win something so special. And I have no problem making sacrifices to win.

“But now we’re back in Paris with new objectives, even if we always want to win. In Russia it was with the national team and now I’m back with my club side – but we still have to keep on winning.”

PSG have had a quiet summer in the transfer market with Gianluigi Buffon their only new signing and the veteran Italy goalkeeper is backing Mbappe to become one of the greats of the game.

“Kylian has something more than the others,” Buffon told PSG’s official club magazine.

“I hope that he will remain humble and maintain his desire to progress and make sacrifices. If Kylian does that, then he will leave his mark on football history and write some incredible pages in sporting history.

“If he can stay grounded and focused on his objectives he can become as great as Pele, Diego Maradona, Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.”

Thomas Tuchel signed a two-year deal to replace new Arsenal boss Unai Emery as PSG manager and will be making his competitive debut for the club against Caen.

The Normandy side secured their top flight status on the final day of last season by getting an unlikely draw with the champions.

However, Caen have also changed managers since then, replacing Patrice Garande with the inexperienced Fabien Mercadal.

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Kylian Mbappe will 'leave his mark on football history' says new PSG teammate Gianluigi Buffon

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Kylian Mbappe starred for France at the World Cup.

Gianluigi Buffon has sung the praises of new Paris Saint-Germain teammate Kylian Mbappe following the 19-year-old’s starring role in France’s World Cup triumph this summer.

Mbappe scored four goals, including in one France’s 4-2 win in the final over Croatia, to win the tournament’s Best Young Player award.

Buffon, who joined PSG this summer, says the young Frenchman has the potential to be one of the game’s greats.

“Kylian has something more than the others,” he told PSG’s official club magazine. “I hope that he will remain humble and maintain his desire to progress and make sacrifices.

“If Kylian does that, then he will leave his mark on football history and write some incredible pages in sporting history.”

While the two are yet to play together as teammates, they have played against each other before, when Mbappe inspired Monaco to a Champions League semi-final berth in 2016-17 before Buffon’s Juventus put an end to their run.

But the young star served enough notice of his talent in that tie, with Buffon saying his then teammate Andrea Barzagli revealed just how difficult Mbappe makes life for opponents.

Buffon consoled Mbappe after their Champions League encounter in 2017.

Buffon consoled Mbappe after their Champions League encounter in 2017.

“When I spoke with Andrea, one of my great friends, at the end of the match, he told me: ‘Gigi, in my 20 years as a professional football player, I have rarely seen somebody so fast and so quick even with the ball – I had trouble marking him’,” the legendary goalkeeper recalled.

“These words are not trivial. Andrea, when he is focused and on song, is a great defender.”

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Neymar makes PSG return in 4-0 Champions Trophy win over Monaco

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Neymar came on as a late substitute. [Photo credit: @PSG_inside/Twitter]

Brazilian superstar Neymar made his first club appearance since February as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Monaco 4-0 in the Champions Trophy in China on Saturday.

Angel Di Maria‘s double fired PSG to their first silverware under new coach Thomas Tuchel as Neymar, long sidelined by a metatarsal fracture, came on as a late substitute.

Di Maria’s thunderous free-kick opened the scoring on 33 minutes and he grabbed PSG’s fourth in injury-time following strikes from Christopher Nkunku and Tim Weah.

It was a comprehensive win for the reigning French champions in the season’s curtain-raiser, even without Kylian Mbappe and Edinson Cavani, who are yet to return after the World Cup.

PSG, with their names in Chinese characters on the back of their shirts, were the aggressors and they took the lead via Di Maria’s sumptuous dead ball play on 33 minutes.

The Argentina forward swept over the wall and into the top-right corner from 25 metres, evading Diego Benaglio’s despairing dive.

As Tuchel watched while sitting on an ice box in the technical area, Nkunku made it 2-0 on 40 minutes with a close-range finish from Stanley Nsoki’s inviting cross.

Weah went close and Di Maria then left Benaglio nursing sore fingers with a powerful drive near the break as the French champions went into half-time firmly in control.

In the 67th minute, Weah put the win beyond doubt when he stroked home Nsoki’s lay-back, before Nkunku rattled the crossbar from close range shortly afterwards.

There were loud cheers from the 41,000-strong Shenzhen crowd when Neymar was introduced on 76 minutes but the world’s most expensive player, last seen in Brazil’s World Cup quarter-final loss to Belgium, couldn’t add to the scoresheet.

Di Maria, deservedly, had the last word when Adrien Rabiot‘s long run set him up for an easy finish which he slotted past the beleaguered Benaglio in the third added minute.

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