Kylian Mbappe has spent five-and-a-half seasons playing for Paris Saint-Germain and these are the French club’s statistics in Ligue 1 during that time — played 202, won 149, drawn 27, lost 26. Goals for 519, against 172.
The 24-year-old has won the league easily every season he has been at the club, apart from in 2021 when Lille squeezed PSG out by a point.
It looks like it has been a fun ride for a kid with a smile as wide as the Seine. Mbappe, born in the Paris suburbs, has scored almost a goal a game and more than a quarter of that huge total of 519. In doing so he has established himself as one of the world’s elite players.
But there comes a time in everyone’s life when the fun has to stop and the real work must begin. That time feels like now for Mbappe, a forward who simply cannot continue to take free hits forever.
Mbappe was marvellous at the World Cup. His club mate Lionel Messi somehow managed to outdo him in that ‘I was there’ final in Doha but Mbappe was, in my opinion, the best player of the tournament.
Kylian Mbappe is in danger of drowning in French football’s desperately shallow pond
French football is not competitive and PSG flunked it in the Champions League in their first-leg defeat to Bayern Munich at the Parc des Princes on Tuesday evening
Mbappe was the star of the World Cup but PSG team-mate Lionel Messi prevailed in the final
He has a World Cup winner’s medal already. He scored in France’s 2018 final win over Croatia in Moscow. He was still a teenager then.
So Mbappe is a genuine global star, one of football’s really big fish, but he is now in danger of drowning in French football’s desperately shallow pond. A move to the Premier League (please, yes) or Spain’s La Liga should be his next step.
It would improve his status but more importantly it would improve his football. French football is not competitive, not remotely. Just look at the way PSG’s domestic season started last July — it went 4-0, 5-0, 5-2, 7-1.
But this week, when the Champions League began to get serious, they flunked it. Tuesday’s 1-0 home defeat to Bayern Munich, that Mbappe started on the bench, appears to have set PSG up for another exit. In 12 years of Qatar ownership, PSG have been to just one final, in the Covid season of 2020, and lost.
Some will argue it’s just one of those strange anomalies, similar to that which tells us Manchester City have not won the Champions League either. But it’s not that. It’s not remotely that. The French league does not prepare its champions for the hike in standards presented by European football’s elite competition.
How can it? Playing a series of easy games week in, week out, sometimes against under-strength teams fielded by opponents who know they literally cannot win, and then running into Bayern, City or Real Madrid is the sporting equivalent of playing Sunday League cricket all year and then being asked to open the batting in an Ashes series.
PSG can be marvellous to watch moving forward. How can they not be? Messi and Brazilian golden child Neymar also play for them. So does the talented Italian Marco Verratti. But they always seem to be a team without a real soul, without a heartbeat. So when it comes to it, when a step up in class and character is called for, they come up short.
Mbappe needs to plot a route out of Paris if he is to hang on to his sporting credibility
We know why Messi is there. It’s the last lucrative staging post for the 35-year-old before the American MLS.
Neymar? He has been wrapped up in his own bubble of vanity for so long that it’s impossible to know what he thinks, or indeed who it is who is actually doing his thinking for him. I lost all interest in him ages ago.
But Mbappe strikes me as somebody different to all of that. I loved watching him play in Qatar. I loved the way he almost won his country a World Cup from nowhere almost on his own. I loved his spirit, his ambition and his freedom.
He is a wonderful footballer but he also strikes me as a serious footballer. And serious footballers should be fronting up defenders from the really top clubs as often as possible.
Mbappe at Old Trafford or Anfield or Stamford Bridge sounds mouth-watering and it should feel that way to him too. Ditto the Nou Camp or Bernabeu.
There is always politics at PSG. That dressing room sounds like a cesspit. But this is not about that. It’s not about escaping the poison. It’s more fundamental. It’s about sporting credibility.
If Mbappe wishes to hang on to his, he needs to plot a route out of Paris towards a proper league before it’s too late.
Nunez is set to become a superstar
I don’t bet on football because I am hopeless at it, but here is one thing I am sure of.
Darwin Nunez is set to become a superstar at Liverpool and, barring injury, will score more than 20 Premier League goals next season.
Jurgen Klopp has some issues to address at Anfield but the talent, attitude and suitability of his Uruguayan forward is absolutely not one of them. The Kop have a song for Nunez now and that always tells you something.
Darwin Nunez will become a big hit at Liverpool and score over 20 goals next season
Concern over UEFA games
I was unnerved when I walked from the tube station to Wembley on the day of the Euro 2020 final and I was unnerved again when briefly stuck in a bottleneck in Paris ahead of last June’s Champions League final.
With the same people still running the show at UEFA, what reason do I have to ever feel safe at one of their big games again?
Take the time-wasters to task more
Buried within an absorbing match between Arsenal and Manchester City was what I hope will prove a landmark moment from referee Anthony Taylor.
Tired of City’s time-wasting, Taylor booked goalkeeper Ederson with an hour left to play. Too often referees let keepers get away with it and then book them in stoppage time. What use is that?
Meanwhile, refereeing head Howard Webb seems perfectly qualified to take Premier League officials to task following their shambolic efforts to make the best use of VAR technology.
Webb was handed the biggest test of his own career in the shape of the 2010 World Cup final in South Africa and made an absolute mess of it. He of all people should know how it feels to have a really bad day.
Ederson was rightly handed a yellow card for time wasting with an hour left to play
Saints are now strategic sinners
Southampton were the club who once had the foresight to sack a successful manager in Nigel Adkins simply because they had identified a better one. His name was Mauricio Pochettino.
They were also the club who made big profits having bought up-and-coming players like Sadio Mane, Dejan Lovren, Morgan Schneiderlin and Virgil van Dijk.
Now Southampton are the kind of club who take a knee-jerk punt on a Championship manager and, when that doesn’t work, turn straight to a bloke who has just been sacked by Leeds.
Southampton used to be planners. They used to be strategists. Now they look like a club thrashing about wildly on their way to relegation. Their supporters have every right to ask what on earth has happened.
Southampton used to be strategists at a time when Mauricio Pochettino was manager and they made big money for the likes of Sadio Mane, Virgil van Dijk, Morgan Schneiderlin and more
Source of data and images: dailymail
The post IAN LADYMAN: Kylian Mbappe is WASTING his career at PSG… it’s time he moved to a proper league first appeared on Elrisala.
Kylian Mbappe has spent five-and-a-half seasons playing for Paris Saint-Germain and these are the French club’s statistics in Ligue 1 during that time — played 202, won 149, drawn 27, lost 26. Goals for 519, against 172. The 24-year-old has won the league easily every season he has been at the club, apart from in …
The post IAN LADYMAN: Kylian Mbappe is WASTING his career at PSG… it’s time he moved to a proper league first appeared on Elrisala. Sports – Elrisala