'It's easy to play with Messi' says Mbappe, who concedes PSG have to be better

By Sports Desk October 19, 2021

Playing with Lionel Messi is "easy" for Kylian Mbappe, who knows Paris Saint-Germain must find a higher level than they did against RB Leipzig on Tuesday.

Messi scored twice to take his tally of Champions League goals to 123 as PSG came out on top 3-2 in a thrilling encounter at Parc des Princes.

While he is yet to find the net in Ligue 1, Messi has now scored three times in UEFA's flagship competition for his new club, taking him level with Mauro Icardi and Neymar for the most goals inside three Champions League appearances for PSG.

With the injured Neymar watching from the stands, Mbappe played a crucial part in both of Messi's goals, first teeing up the 34-year-old to restore parity after Nordi Mukiele made it 2-1 to Leipzig, before winning the penalty from which the Argentine coolly chipped home the winner.

Mbappe opened the scoring in a frantic match, finishing brilliantly in the ninth minute to take his number of direct goal contributions for PSG in the Champions League to 40.

The youngster has already scored 28 goals in the Champions League; the most by any player in the competition before their 23rd birthday, ahead of Messi (25). Mbappe did, however, pull rank over Messi late on to take a second penalty, denying his team-mate the chance of a hat-trick, only to send his effort into the stands.

"We found each other tonight, it was good," Mbappe told RMC Sport when asked about Messi.

"Now, Neymar will come back. We will have to be good together, all three of us. We will need to be efficient. But, it's easy to play with Messi."

While Mbappe and Messi got PSG out of trouble and sent Mauricio Pochettino's side back to the top of Group A, it was another performance largely lacking in control, with Leipzig having 18 attempts in total, eight more than their hosts managed.

Andre Silva, who cancelled out Mbappe's opener, had previously hit the woodwork, while former PSG midfielder Christopher Nkunku also went close on several occasions. 

Though he is revelling in his growing relationship with Messi, Mbappe insisted the trend of performances cannot continue.

"In the league, we may be a bit laborious, but we have nine wins in ten games," he said. "We have to do better, it's true. For the moment, we are not playing well, [but] we are winning. But I think we have to play better to win more calmly."

It was a sentiment echoed by Marquinhos, who was also full of praise for Mbappe's display.

"Paris won, that's the most important thing," he said. "You have to suffer, there is no gift in football. We knew that there would be no easy matches. The main thing is to win, to gain confidence and experience.

"It's great to have a player like [Mbappe]. He's a very important player in the team. He plays great matches. It's very important to have him fresh, with confidence. He helps us on the field, it is very good for us that he is there."

Related items

  • Women's Euros: Spain's Putellas suffers ACL injury Women's Euros: Spain's Putellas suffers ACL injury

    Spain's Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas will not feature in the Women's Euros after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) injury.

    Barcelona captain Putellas finished as the Champions League's top goalscorer with 11 goals last season, ending her domestic campaign with 18 league strikes.

    Putellas, who has scored 27 goals in 100 international appearances and also picked up FIFA's The Best Women's Player award in 2021, was expected to provide creativity from out wide for La Roja, but faces a lengthy spell out of action after suffering the injury in training ahead of Spain's opening game against Finland on Friday.

    An update issued on the side's official website read: "The tests carried out on the Spanish international on the afternoon of this Tuesday, July 5, 2022, at King Edward VII's hospital in London, have confirmed that the captain of the Spanish women's national team suffered a rupture of the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee."

    Putellas' injury is a huge blow for Spain and the tournament as a whole, with the 28-year-old one of the biggest stars of the women's game.

    Spain, whose group also includes Germany and Denmark, were already without their record goalscorer Jennifer Hermoso due to injury.

  • Wimbledon: 'It's only going to get tougher' says Norrie, but semi-finalist vows to 'take it to' Djokovic Wimbledon: 'It's only going to get tougher' says Norrie, but semi-finalist vows to 'take it to' Djokovic

    Wimbledon semi-finalist Cameron Norrie has pledged to take the fight to Novak Djokovic in their last-four tie.

    Norrie defeated world number 58 David Goffin 3-6 7-5 2-6 6-3 7-5 on Tuesday to seal his progression to a maiden grand slam semi-final.

    He is the first British man in the Open Era to reach the semi-finals of Wimbledon after Roger Taylor, Tim Henman and Andy Murray.

    The world number 12's reward is a tie against top seed and reigning Wimbledon champion Novak Djokovic, who is in the hunt for a 21st grand slam title. Yet that daunting challenge is not dampening Norrie's enthusiasm.

    "It's great to get this now but it's only going to get tougher," said Norrie in his on-court interview.

    "I'm going to take it to Novak and hopefully you guys can get behind me and I'm sure you will."

    Jannik Sinner became the first player to win two sets against Djokovic at Wimbledon since Roger Federer did so in an epic final in 2019, but the Serbian hit back to win 5-7 2-6 6-3 6-2 6-2 on Centre Court.

    Djokovic has now won 84 singles matches at Wimbledon in the main draw, a tally that trails only Federer (105).

    Norrie has won two titles on the ATP Tour this year, but acknowledged it was hard to get an immediate grip of what he has achieved so far at Wimbledon.

    "I think just winning a match like this, I'm in shock. I don't know what to say now," the 26-year-old said.

    "I have flashbacks of all the hard work and all the sacrifices I have had to make and it's definitely paid off – and it feels pretty good."

  • Pochettino 'proud' of Paris Saint-Germain tenure after making way for Galtier Pochettino 'proud' of Paris Saint-Germain tenure after making way for Galtier

    Mauricio Pochettino expressed his pride at ending his Paris Saint-Germain tenure as a Ligue 1 champion after his departure was confirmed.

    PSG confirmed Pochettino's long-expected exit on Tuesday, appointing former Lille and Nice coach Christophe Galtier as his replacement on a two-year contract.

    Despite PSG winning their 10th Ligue 1 title in dominant fashion last season, the writing appeared to be on the wall for Pochettino since a spectacular collapse in a 3-2 aggregate Champions League defeat to Real Madrid in March.

    That represented PSG's fourth last-16 Champions League elimination in the last six seasons, while the former Tottenham boss also missed out on the Ligue 1 title to Lille – coached by Galtier – in his first half-season in France.

    Since Qatar Sports Investments (QSI) acquired the club in 2011, meanwhile, only Carlo Ancelotti (63.6) has recorded a lower win percentage as PSG boss than Pochettino (65.5).

    But writing on Instagram, Pochettino chose to focus on his successes and expressed his gratitude at being given the chance to lead the club, for whom he made 95 appearances as a player.

    "I want to wish everyone at PSG the very best for the future – the owners, the board, the players, all the staff and the supporters," Pochettino wrote.

    "To Nasser [Al-Khelaifi, PSG president] – I want to say thank you for giving me the opportunity to be part of the PSG family again.

    "We enjoyed some amazing moments and big wins all together and, as a coaching staff, with every experience we always take learnings to advance our evolution for the future.

    "We are proud to finish as league champions at a club that has meant so much to me and my family, from my time here as a player and a captain, and now as a coach."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.