French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe was told Wednesday that he needs to add a dose of humility to his undoubted talents in front of goal “if he wants to be loved”.
The advice came from Metz coach Frederic Antonetti after the mega-rich Ligue 1 champions needed a stoppage time winner to beat the bottom side 2-1 and preserve their 100 percent start to the domestic season.
Lionel Messi came on as a substitute to make his Paris Saint-Germain debut on Sunday but Kylian Mbappe stole the show by scoring both goals in a 2-0 win against Reims in Ligue 1.
Messi, wearing the number 30 jersey, came off the bench in the 66th minute to replace Neymar at the Stade Auguste-Delaune, where fans in the sell-out 21,000 crowd had earlier chanted his name as he emerged to warm up.
The Argentine had not played since arriving in Paris from Barcelona almost three weeks ago, his last appearance in any game dating back to the Copa America final on July 11, when he led his country to victory against Brazil.
The six-time Ballon d’Or winner will have to wait for his first goal with his new club, and his first start, which could come when PSG host Clermont in their next match on September 11.
After that, they will begin their Champions League campaign away to Club Brugge in Belgium.
The week leading up to this game had been dominated not by Messi but by talk of Mbappe’s future, with Real Madrid reportedly having two offers for the France World Cup-winning striker rejected.
The latest of these offers was understood to be worth 180 million euros ($212m), an astronomical amount for a player whose contract expires at the end of the season and who will be free to negotiate a deal with a new club in January without PSG being able to get a transfer fee.
That amount is also equal to what PSG paid Monaco in 2017 to sign Mbappe, who was clearly eager to go out on a high if this was to be his final appearance for the club.
With the transfer deadline looming on Tuesday, the 22-year-old did not appear remotely distracted by the talk of a move as he headed in a glorious Angel Di Maria cross in the 15th minute to put the away side in front.
Mbappe then scored his second of the night, and third of the season, just after the hour mark, finishing off an inviting low cross to the back post by Achraf Hakimi.
Reims were once France’s pre-eminent club, twice reaching the European Cup final in 1956 and 1959, but it is a long time since the footballing spotlight has been on the city, which lies 150 kilometres north-east of Paris in the Champagne region, to such an extent.
The home side, whose coach Oscar Garcia played for Barcelona in the 1990s, had what they thought was an equalising goal by Zimbabwe’s Marshall Munetsi early in the second half disallowed for offside.
They put up a good fight but the chances of any team in France stopping PSG — even if Mbappe departs — are slim.
Neymar started, making his first appearance of the season, while Di Maria also played in an all-star attack in Mauricio Pochettino’s side.
The Qatar-owned club are the only team in Ligue 1 with the maximum 12 points after four games and they lie two points clear of surprise package Angers, who had earlier beaten Rennes 2-0.
Also on Sunday, defending champions Lille recorded their first victory of the Ligue 1 campaign as Yusuf Yazici and Canada’s Jonathan David scored in a 2-1 win over 10-man Montpellier.
Monaco bounced back from their elimination from the Champions League in the play-off round in midweek to win 2-1 at Troyes, Sofiane Diop’s brace securing their first victory of the Ligue 1 season.
Lille striker Burak Yilmaz and Paris Saint-Germain pair Kylian Mbappe and Neymar have been named among the five nominees for the Ligue 1 players’ player of the season award, the French league (LFP) announced Tuesday.
Monaco striker Wissam Ben Yedder and Lyon forward Memphis Depay make up the list.
Turkey veteran Yilmaz has hit a rich vein of form in the closing stages of the campaign, netting six times in five matches to put Lille on the brink of a shock title success.
Lille need just four points from their final two games against Saint-Etienne and Angers to secure their first Ligue 1 triumph since 2011.
Reigning champions PSG are in danger of failing to win the league for only the second time in nine seasons.
Mbappe is still Ligue 1’s top scorer this term with 25 goals, six clear of Ben Yedder and Depay, but Neymar has endured a frustrating season, netting only eight times while spending time sidelined through injury, suspension and after contracting coronavirus.
Kylian Mbappe warned he is “only just getting started” after scoring his 100th goal in France’s top flight as Paris Saint-Germain swept aside title rivals Lyon 4-2 on Sunday to move to the top of Ligue 1 following a shock defeat for previous leaders Lille earlier.
Mbappe netted twice at the Groupama Stadium with Danilo Pereira and Angel Di Maria also on target before Islam Slimani and Maxwel Cornet pulled goals back for the home side.
The result allowed Mauricio Pochettino’s team to move into first place on goal difference from Lille, who were beaten 2-1 at home by struggling Nimes in a huge blow to their own title hopes.
Lyon would have gone top themselves with a victory but instead they remain three points off the lead in third place, while Monaco are another point back in fourth after winning 4-0 at Saint-Etienne on Friday.
Mbappe is Ligue 1’s leading scorer with 20 goals this season and has reached a century of goals in France’s top flight in 142 appearances at the age of just 22.
“I knew I was just two goals away. It’s a new step in my career, another step towards history. These are things that stay with you,” Mbappe told Canal Plus.
“I am only just getting started. I still have a lot of years in front of me to perfect and improve my game so I think it can only get better.”
It was a perfect night for PSG, as the reigning champions bounced back from a surprise 2-1 home loss to relegation-threatened Nantes last week and claimed a win against a direct rival in the title race for the first time this season.
They also saw Neymar return after a month and a half, and nine games, out injured. The world’s most expensive player came on as a substitute, replacing Mbappe midway through the second half.
Mbappe was close to his electrifying best and the World Cup winner opened the scoring 15 minutes in, following up to find the net after Marco Verratti’s shot was parried by Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes.
Marquinhos then nodded down a Presnel Kimpembe cross for Pereira to slam in and make it 2-0 just after the half-hour mark, and any hopes Lyon had of a comeback were blown away at the start of the second half.
First Di Maria whipped in a free-kick from wide on the right that evaded everyone on its way into the net, and then Verratti released Mbappe to break clear and finish for his second of the game on 52 minutes.
PSG took their foot off the pedal after that and allowed Lyon back into the game with Algerian striker Slimani firing in from outside the box just past the hour mark before Cornet made it 4-2 inside the final 10 minutes.
“We played well, we won, we have taken back first place and now we’ll try not to give it up,” Mbappe added.
– ‘No excuse’ for Lille – Pochettino’s side are next in action after the international break on April 3 when they entertain Lille in another top-of-the-table encounter.
Lille had been top at the start of the day but their hopes of a first title in a decade suffered a major blow against Nimes.
Goals from Senegalese striker Moussa Kone and captain Renaud Ripart, either side of Xeka’s equaliser for Lille, gave Nimes a victory which lifted them out of the automatic relegation places.
Lille have now won just twice in league games and been eliminated from both the Europa League and French Cup in recent weeks.
“We didn’t perform well. There is no excuse, but there are eight matches left until the end of the season and the battle goes on,” Lille captain Jose Fonte told Canal Plus.
“Our rule number one is to defend well, not concede goals, and then we will get chances in every game, but we didn’t do that and when you don’t defend together as a team it is always difficult.”
Nimes move up into the relegation play-off position while Nantes, held 1-1 by Lorient, slip to 19th.
European player of the year Robert Lewandowski is one of 10 players on the shortlist for the Best FIFA Men’s Player award unveiled Wednesday, alongside the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kylian Mbappe.
Besides Polish striker Lewandowski, one other winner of the Champions League with Bayern Munich made the list, Spanish midfielder Thiago Alcantara, who joined Liverpool in September.
The English champions also count Senegal’s Sadio Mane, Egyptian Mohamed Salah and Dutchman Virgil van Dijk on the shortlist.
Paris Saint-Germain, beaten Champions League finalists, are represented by Mbappe and Neymar.
Manchester City’s Kevin De Bruyne and Real Madrid’s Sergio Ramos complete the list.
Argentinian coach Marcelo Bielsa, who led Leeds into the English Premier League, headlines a list for the men’s coach award, which also features Bayern’s Hans-Dieter Flick, Liverpool’s Jurgen Klopp, Sevilla’s Julen Lopetegui and Real Madrid’s Zinedine Zidane.
Kylian Mbappe has been ruled out of France’s Nations League game against World Cup runners-up Croatia on Tuesday after testing positive for Covid-19, national team management said Monday.
Mbappe, who took part in Monday evening’s training session before learning the result of his test, is the seventh Paris Saint-Germain player to contract the virus. Neymar was among the first to test positive last week.
“He was set aside from the group after receiving the results at the end of training before returning to his home in the evening,” French team management said.
“Like the rest of the squad, Mbappe had undergone a test prior to meeting up. The result was negative like the one on Wednesday” requested by UEFA ahead of the Sweden fixture on Saturday in Solna, management said.
Mbappe scored the winner for the world champions in a 1-0 victory over Sweden in their opening Nations League encounter.
However, he was expected to be rested for the game at the Stade de France against Croatia, with PSG’s opening match of the Ligue 1 season scheduled for Thursday away to Lens.
The Lens game was initially due to go ahead on August 29 but was controversially postponed to give the PSG squad a break after their run to the Champions League final in Lisbon on August 23, in which they lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich.
Instead of playing the game, their squad were granted time off but the club has now been left to deal with a cluster of coronavirus cases which raise questions about why the French league decided to postpone PSG’s match in Lens, only for so many of their players to travel abroad on holiday during a pandemic.
Mbappe could also sit out Sunday’s clash with bitter rivals Marseille. According to the league’s health protocols, a player who tests positive must self-isolate for eight days.
The French league (LFP) recently loosened its coronavirus protocols in the top two divisions to allow clubs to play even if 10 players have tested positive.
The LFP said it had taken the decision “in conjunction with the public authorities” and in response to “requests from clubs”.
Up to now, matches could be postponed after four cases at a club over eight consecutive days.
Under the new protocol, the LFP said, a club can fulfil fixtures if 20 of the 30 players registered for league matches, including at least one goalkeeper, test negative.
Mbappe is the fourth player to be withdrawn from the France squad following a positive Covid-19 test.
Paul Pogba was omitted just before coach Didier Deschamps revealed his 23-man squad last month, with Houssem Aouar forced out a few days later.
Goalkeeper Steve Mandanda, who originally tested positive on August 16 with Marseille, also left camp following two further positive tests likely due to “residual” traces of the virus.
Japan defender Gen Shoji has already endured a bruising experience against one global superstar in Cristiano Ronaldo but hopes that experience will work in his favour when he confronts another in the shape of French World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe on Sunday.
Shoji gets his chance to shut out Mbappe, one of football’s hottest properties, when his Toulouse team take on mighty Paris Saint-Germain in Ligue 1.
The 26-year-old, who arrived in France in the winter transfer window, came off worse when Ronaldo bagged a hat-trick in a 4-2 win for Real Madrid over Kashima Antlers at the 2016 World Club Cup.
“With my Japanese club, we tried to stop Ronaldo collectively. In France, when we defend, I feel as if the individual duel is more important so I will have to adapt the way I do things against Mbappe and the others,” said Shoji.
“To compare Ronaldo and Mbappe, I will have to have played both of them. I should have a better idea after the game but it will be complicated.”
Shoji, a native of Kobe, left Kashima Antlers — his only previous club — after 11 years and has helped Toulouse to a respectable mid-table place in Ligue 1.
“I wanted to have new experiences,” said Japanese international Shoji who admitted he has had to quickly adapt to a vastly different culture in France.
“You have to get out of your shyness. In Japan, if you are a little reserved someone will come to you; here, if you don’t make the effort, no one will come to you.”
To help him integrate in La Ville Rose (The Pink City), Toulouse have drafted in Japanese compatriot Toru Ota, who has played in the women’s teams at Lyon and PSG.
She interprets for Shoji in the dressing room and translates tactical tips being passed on to the pitch from the bench. A French teacher is also in the process of being hired.
Shoji opted against joining Toulouse after the World Cup last summer because he wanted to help Kashima win the Asian Champions League for the first time.
With that ambition achieved in November, Shoji was free to move to France in a three-million-euro deal.
“He learns very quickly. He has been a good purchase,” said Toulouse coach Alain Casanova.
For his part, Shoji believes that from a technical perspective “the Japanese championship is perhaps better” but “Ligue 1 is superior when you add in the speed and physicality”.
“I was very surprised by the quality of French football,” added the 15-time capped international who was left heartbroken by Japan’s World Cup elimination in a 3-2 last-16 loss to Belgium in Russia last summer after they had led 2-0.
“But you will see and I do not know when, maybe it will be after me, but one day, Japan will go very, very far at the World Cup,” he predicted.
In his brief Ligue 1 career, Shoji has endured some sobering experiences — a 5-0 rout at the hands of Lyon was particularly painful.
“In Japan, with Kashima, we won all the time. I have never thought that I have made a bad choice. I don’t have any experience of a team that has these kind of difficulties. It’s important to have this kind of experience.”
Casanova is confident that Shoji will be a success story in France. To help his new recruit, he has even picked up a smattering of Japanese.
“I have mastered the main words — hello and goodbye!”
Angel Di Maria scored a sumptuous free-kick and Kylian Mbappe was also on target as Paris Saint-Germain continued their relentless march towards another French title by hammering Montpellier 5-1 on Wednesday.
Layvin Kurzawa and Christopher Nkunku also scored for PSG at the Parc des Princes, while Montpellier captain Vitorino Hilton netted an own goal.
Florent Mollet had equalised at one point in the first half for the visitors before they crumbled in a rearranged fixture that had initially been postponed in early December due to disruption caused by “yellow vest” anti-government protests in France.
As they warm up for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie against Manchester United on March 6, PSG are now a huge 15 points clear of second-placed Lille, and still have a game in hand as they race to a sixth Ligue 1 title in seven seasons.
Coach Thomas Tuchel was without a host of players for this game, with the injured Neymar and Edinson Cavani joined on the sidelines by skipper Thiago Silva, who was suspended.
French international left-back Kurzawa was making his first start in the league in an injury-hit season and he opened the scoring in the 13th minute with a header from a Daniel Alves cross.
However, Montpellier recovered well from that and claimed a deserved leveller just after the half-hour mark from a Mollet free-kick. Gianluigi Buffon thought he had kept it out, but goal-line technology confirmed the ball had just crossed the line.
Nevertheless, Di Maria restored PSG’s lead in first-half stoppage time with a stunning free-kick from 30 yards that went in off the underside of the bar for his sixth league goal of the season.
PSG then ran away with the game in the closing stages, although only after both Mbappe and substitute Eric-Maxim Choupo Moting had efforts disallowed for offside.
Nkunku, the 21-year-old making a rare start, headed home in the 73rd minute after the ball fell to him following a corner, and Mbappe then took centre stage.
The young World Cup winner turned in a Kurzawa centre in the 78th minute, but the goal was attributed to Montpellier’s 41-year-old defender Hilton.
From the restart, PSG won possession back and Mbappe beat Montpellier goalkeeper Benjamin Lecomte with the aid of a huge deflection off Hilton.
This time the goal was given to Mbappe, who now has 20 goals in 19 league appearances this season, and 25 in all competitions.
Montpellier remain sixth, while PSG now host Nimes on Saturday before a French Cup quarter-final against Dijon and then a visit to Caen, as their busy schedule continues before the visit of United.
The other game in France on Wednesday saw bottom side Guingamp draw 0-0 at Bordeaux.
Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel said his two star forwards in Neymar and Kylian Mbappe could be fit to face Liverpool in the Champions League.
The pair were injured on international duty and missed PSG’s 1-0 league victory over Toulouse but Tuchel said Saturday that he is hopeful they can both feature in what could prove to be a must-win tie for the French club against the Reds on Wednesday.
“They’re getting better every day, we have time before now and Wednesday. It’s good for us. I think they’ll be able to play,” the German told television programme Telefoot on TF1.
PSG are on five points four rounds and mid-week wins for Jurgen Klopp’s side and second-placed Napoli would knock the French champions out at the group stage for the first since they made their return to Europe’s elite competition in 2012.
Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe’s rapid rise to global fame has earned the teenaged World Cup winner an appearance on the cover of Time magazine’s international edition, to appear on Friday.
Time said Mbappe was a global superstar who “is the future of soccer.”
Mbappe made headlines in September 2017 when he moved from Ligue 1 side Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain for a staggering 180 million euros ($207 million), a deal that saw the then 18-year-old player handed a reported monthly salary of 1.5m euros ($1.8m).
But the 19-year-old’s stock skyrocketed during this year’s World Cup, where a series of phenomenal displays drew compliments from Brazil legend Pele on his way to helping France end their 20-year wait to win another World Cup trophy.
Mbappe became the youngest French goalscorer in World Cup history when he struck in a 1-0 win over Peru in the group stages.
The teenager from the gritty Parisian suburb of Bondy then tore apart Argentina, scoring twice and earning a penalty as Les Blues eliminated the highly-fancied South Americans 4-3 in the last 16 knockout round.
In doing so, Mbappe became only the second teenager, after Pele in 1958, to score two goals in a World Cup match.
When Mbappe scored with a five-yard strike in the final, a 4-2 win over Croatia, he became only the second teenager to do so, after Pele, in 1958.
With a total of four goals in the tournament, Mbappe received Fi Fa’s award for Best Young Player of the World Cup.
Arguably better still were the plaudits from Pele himself, who said: “If Kylian keeps on equalling my records, I’m going to have to dust off my boots.”
Mbappe‘s teenage days will end when he celebrates his 20th birthday on December 20.
He is expected to spearhead France’s attack Thursday when France host Iceland in a friendly in Guin gamp.
Kylian Mbappe tore Lyon to shreds on Sunday with four goals as a 5-0 thrashing at the Parc des Princes saw Paris Saint-Germain set a new French top-flight record of nine straight wins to start a season.
Thomas Tuchel’s Ligue 1 leaders broke the 82-year-old record of eight consecutive wins set by Olympique Lillois in 1936, having equaled the mark with their 3-0 victory at Nice last weekend.
“Fantastic, incredible. It was super hard in the first half, it was a crazy match,” PSG coach Tuchel told Canal+.
A Neymar penalty gave PSG a ninth-minute advantage, but Presnel Kimpembe was sent off just after the half-hour mark to give Lyon hope.
Bruno Genesio’s side threw away their man advantage, though, as Lucas Tousart was dismissed, and after missing a string of chances, the sensational Mbappe capped a virtuoso display by scoring four times in 13 minutes to seal history for PSG.
The capital-city giants, bidding for a sixth title in seven seasons, are already eight points clear of second-placed Lille at the top of the table, with Lyon five points further back in sixth.
Lyon endured the worst possible start to the match, as star man Nabil Fekir was forced off injured in the seventh minute, and the hosts were awarded a spot-kick just seconds later.
Mbappe raced to reach a loose ball, and visiting goalkeeper Anthony Lopes needlessly charged off his line to bring down the teenager.
Neymar stepped up and sent Lopes the wrong way with a stuttering run-up to score his 11th goal of the season.
Lyon responded well, though, with veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon having to shovel a Memphis Depay free-kick over the bar before Di Maria was fortunate not to concede a penalty for handball.
The reigning champions thought they had got lucky again when Kimpembe was only shown a yellow card for a nasty tackle on Tanguy Ndombele, but with the young midfielder lying stricken on the ground, a video review resulted in the centre-back’s punishment being upgraded to red.
But Lyon shot themselves in the foot on the stroke of half-time as Tousart tripped Mbappe inside the PSG half and was given a second yellow card.
OL should have equalized early in the second period, but Maxwell Cornet contrived to miskick with the goal at his mercy.
Cornet, who came on for Fekir, almost scored in bizarre circumstances shortly after, as a Silva clearance ricocheted off his back and bounced back off the base of the post.
Mbappe almost put PSG out of sight three times in the space of five minutes — powering clear after Cornet’s unwitting effort and drilling against the far post, seeing Lopes dive at his feet as he ran through one-on-one, and shooting too close to the Lyon ‘keeper.
But the World Cup-winner’s persistence finally paid off in the 61st minute as he latched onto the ball inside the area after Neymar had burst forward, turned his man and smashed the ball in off both posts.
Confidence was coursing through PSG, and the floodgates opened as centre-back Marquinhos drove into the box and squared for Mbappe to stab in his eighth goal of the campaign.
Neymar soon sent the 19-year-old bearing down on goal yet again, and Mbappe lofted the ball into the net to complete an incredible eight-minute hat-trick.
He was not done there, though, as he pounced to slam home his fourth with 16 minutes left after Neymar had seen a low shot blocked.
Monaco crisis intensifies
Earlier on Sunday, 10-man Monaco slumped to a fifth defeat in nine Ligue 1 matches as former PSG outcast Hatem Ben Arfa earned Rennes a 2-1 victory with his first league goal since April 2016.
Leonardo Jardim’s Monaco, runners-up to PSG last season, remain winless since the opening weekend and above the automatic relegation spots only on goal difference.
Elsewhere, ex-Japan coach Vahid Halilhodzic saw his Nantes side beaten 3-0 at Bordeaux on his return to French football, while Kostas Mitroglou and Florian Thauvin scored as Marseille climbed to third following a 2-0 victory over Caen