Mbappe describes Neymar relationship as 'hot and cold' ahead of Juve clash

By Sports Desk September 05, 2022

Kylian Mbappe insists his relationship with Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar is one based on deep respect, even though it can be "hot and cold".

PSG are preparing to open their Champions League campaign in a marquee fixture at home to Juventus on Tuesday.

They go into the game having made an impressive start to the Ligue 1 season, collecting 16 points from six games and scoring 24 goals in the process.

Mbappe and Neymar have racked up seven goals each – only Erling Haaland (10) has a higher total in Europe's top five leagues.

But Mbappe did face criticism earlier in the season for his actions during the 5-2 win over Montpellier, which included a public argument with Neymar.

"It is our sixth year together," PSG striker Mbappe said. "Neymar and I have always had a good relationship based on respect. 

"We have had moments where it has been colder or hotter – moments where we have been best friends and other times when we have spoken less – that is how our relationship is.

"There are incidents that happen, but there is a lot of respect between us. I have huge respect for him as a player and his importance in our team. 

"When you have two players with strong characters, it's not a linear thing, but there is always respect and it is all in the interest of PSG."

Mbappe, who signed a lucrative new deal to stay at PSG back in May, snubbing Real Madrid's interest, had missed a penalty earlier in that Montpellier contest.

Neymar later stepped up to take PSG's second penalty of the game, but Mbappe felt he should have remained on spot-kick duties, and in his rush to raise the issue with Neymar, he even barged past Lionel Messi.

The Brazil star subsequently converted from 12 yards before helping himself to a second, and while Mbappe got on the scoresheet himself, he did not celebrate.

Mbappe also reacted furiously to Vitinha's decision to pass to Messi rather than him, throwing his arms up in disgust and seemingly refusing to continue with the attack. 

PSG coach Christophe Galtier and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi have been among the key figures at the club to try to minimise the situation, with a similar tone struck by Mbappe ahead of the Juve clash.

Asked what would happen with penalties going forward, he replied: "We will see. There is always a discussion about that. We have to see how it is going during the game, we haven't decided. 

"If the match shows that Neymar takes it, that’s fine. If it is me, also fine, there are no problems. 

"When you play with the sorts of attackers that we have, you have to know how to share. There is no issue there."

PSG have only lost one of their past 30 home games in the Champions League group stage (W24 D5).

But glory in this competition has eluded them, with Mbappe yet to add the biggest honour in club football to his World Cup winners' medal at international level.

He added: "The reality now is that the Champions League is very difficult; the top teams have strengthened and signed world-class players. 

"We are going to battle with what we have and try everything to have as good a campaign as possible.

"Of course, our ambition is always to win. I always want to win. Everyone knows my aim when I take to the pitch is to do everything to get the victory.

"I am the same as last season. I am trying to do the same job, which means performing on the pitch, being decisive and winning as many trophies as possible."

Mbappe has scored in each of his past four Champions League matches, although he has never netted in five in a row. The last player to do so for PSG was Neymar in 2017.

Related items

  • Football rumours: Former Celtic winger Jota could reunite with Ange Postecoglou Football rumours: Former Celtic winger Jota could reunite with Ange Postecoglou
    What the papers say

    Portuguese winger Jota is reportedly looking to reunite with his former Celtic boss Ange Postecoglou at Tottenham, the Sun reports. However Postecoglou is unsure if the club will make a move for the 24-year-old. Jota currently plays for Al-Ittihad in the Saudi Pro League.

    The Daily Express reports Manchester United have joined the ever-growing race to sign Brentford striker Ivan Toney. Arsenal, Chelsea and Tottenham are also interested in the 27-year-old.

    The Manchester Evening News says Crystal Palace defender Marc Guehi has ruled out a mid-season move to Manchester United as he does not want to dampen his chances of being selected in England’s Euro 2024 squad.

    Social media round-upPlayers to watch

    Lucas Paqueta: Manchester City could reportedly lose interest in the West Ham midfielder if there is no resolution found over the gambling investigation into the midfielder, Football Transfers says.

    Estevao Willian: Teamtalk reports the 16-year-old Brazilian is being chased by a plethora of clubs including Manchester City, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Borussia Dortmund.

  • Dozens arrested following violence from Legia Warsaw fans at Villa Park Dozens arrested following violence from Legia Warsaw fans at Villa Park

    More than 30 people have been arrested following violence from Legia Warsaw fans prior to their Europa Conference League game against Aston Villa at Villa Park.

    Missiles were thrown at police as the visiting fans were held in the coach park near the stadium, before they were due to enter for Thursday’s group game.

    West Midlands Police said four officers were injured and although the game started on time, no Legia fans were allowed into the stadium ahead of kick-off.

    The force said in a statement following the game that 39 people were arrested after the “disgusting and highly dangerous scenes”, with one of the injured police officers taken to hospital.

    Two police horses and two police dogs were also hurt.

    Chief Inspector Tim Robinson said: “This should have been a great evening of football which was enjoyed by fans from both clubs.

    “Unfortunately, there were appalling scenes which saw away fans dangerously throw flares and other missiles at our officers.”

    He said the “extreme violence” left police with no other choice but to prevent away fans entering the stadium, adding: “The safety of everyone is our priority, and clearly we had no other option.”

    Villa and West Midlands Police both released statements before the game had finished, with the Premier League club revealing requests to the Polish club before the tie for help in preventing ticketless fans from travelling went unanswered.

    Villa said: “Aston Villa Football Club can confirm that no away fans were allowed into Villa Park for this evening’s UEFA Europa Conference League fixture with Legia Warsaw on the advice of West Midlands Police following large-scale disorder outside the stadium caused by visiting supporters.

    “The UK safety authorities, UEFA and Aston Villa, communicated on November 2 that the ticket allocation for away fans for this fixture would be reduced to 1,002 on the advice of safety authorities as a result of previous large-scale disorder caused by Legia fans last month at AZ Alkmaar.

    “A number of Dutch police officers were injured during that disorder. As a consequence, UEFA banned Legia supporters from travelling to Mostar for their game against HSK Zrinjski.

    “In spite of numerous requests for cooperation from Legia Warsaw concerning their travelling supporters, especially in the last two days, no assistance on the serious safety matter of away fans attending Villa Park was forthcoming from the visiting club.

    “The club has repeatedly, including this morning, raised concerns in conjunction with UEFA and all the relevant authorities to Legia that ticketless away supporters were attempting to attend Villa Park.”

    Villa said Legia fans “engaged in planned and systematic violent acts against West Midlands Police officers” about an hour before kick-off.

    The club added: “Aston Villa strongly condemns the behaviour of those visiting supporters and would like to thank West Midlands Police for their professionalism in very difficult circumstances.”

    In its own pre-game statement, the Polish side accused Villa of restricting access to their fans in a move it called “counterproductive and baseless”.

    It said senior executives, including the club’s owner, made the decision to boycott the game in response to the move.

    Legia coach Kosta Runjaic refused to be drawn on the disorder in the post-match press conference.

    He said: “I think its a different topic, it’s not my business. I’ve been in a big focus to lead the team. We represented Polish football in a good way, all other things outside the stadium I don’t want to comment.

    “We have great fans, they support us home and away. We can always count on them. So far since I’ve been at Legia I’ve had a good experience with our fans. I don’t know the content of it all happening.

    “I don’t know the details, which is why it’s better I don’t speak too much about it. Unfortunately our fans weren’t in the stadium and the atmosphere would have been better.

    “It’s not about the fans, it’s a pity but we can’t change it.”

  • Jurgen Klopp satisfied as Liverpool secure top spot with a game to spare Jurgen Klopp satisfied as Liverpool secure top spot with a game to spare

    Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp declared himself satisfied with the 4-0 victory over LASK which secured top spot in their Europa League group with a match to spare.

    Two goals from Cody Gakpo and one apiece from Luis Diaz and Mohamed Salah, his 199th for the club, saw them coast past the Austrians at Anfield.

    Toulouse’s draw with Union Saint-Gilloise meant Klopp’s side cannot be caught at the top and crucially that means avoiding the play-off round when the competition restarts in February.

    “Two top results for us tonight in the group,” said Klopp.

    “It was clear, with the defeat at Toulouse (last time out) we made it a bit more tricky but because of our result and their result we are now top of the table and that will not change.

    “That’s good, very important in the busy schedule we have from now on.

    “A lot of positives in the game, a lot of good football. The thing I didn’t like too much, and told the boys at half-time, (was) this game should have been put to bed already at half-time.

    “You cannot play better, you cannot set it up better, (but) you can finish it better obviously – but we didn’t.

    “Caoimhin (Kelleher) worked for his clean sheet, which he desperately wanted, and that’s good.

    “We scored a fourth goal in the last minute or whatever, so result top, performance really good (and) nobody got injured. All good.”

    Liverpool are favourites for the Europa League but having put themselves firmly in the title race the demands on Klopp’s side are likely to be significant when the competition resumes.

    However, the Reds boss refused to relegate Europe to a second-tier ambition.

    “Unfortunately, my career is not like this where I can choose, to be honest,” he added.

    “I have to take what I get. When we play the competition it’s the most important competition on the planet. Easy as that.

    “But now we play Premier League on Sunday (at home to Fulham) and so that is then the most important competition, definitely.

    “We want to go as far as somehow possible (in the Europa League).”

    Gakpo said the squad were determined to compete in all competitions they were in.

    “We have to keep going because we have big goals for the season. That’s it,” he told TNT Sports.

    “We just have to keep going and win as much as possible. We have a lot of quality in the group and I think with this quality we can win a lot of games.”

© 2023 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.