'They are good friends' – Paris Saint-Germain president claims Mbappe and Neymar have no issues

By Sports Desk August 25, 2022

Paris Saint-Germain president Nasser Al-Khelaifi insists there are no issues between star players Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, comparing any frustrations between the pair to sibling squabbles.

Rumours of discontent at the Parc des Princes have been swirling since Paris Saint-Germain's 5-2 win against Montpellier on August 13, where Neymar decided to assume penalty duties following an earlier miss from the spot by Mbappe.

During that game, Mbappe reportedly appeared frustrated with multiple teammates, which was said to have boiled over in the dressing rooms afterwards, requiring Sergio Ramos to step in and keep the peace.

Soon after, Neymar was seen to have liked a tweet that said Mbappe's new contract with the French giants had him acting like the "owner of PSG".

After the Champions League draw on Thursday – where Paris Saint-Germain landed in Group H with Juventus, Benfica and Maccabi Haifa – Al-Khelaifi was adamant that any supposed rift between his superstars was being overblown.

"No, no. There's no problem at all," he said. "I think it's really... I mean, I think it's you making a problem especially, and the media. 

"There's no problem at all. I mean, I can argue with my brother, or sister, it's normal. But the media, because it's Kylian Mbappé... they are good friends and they are very good team-mates. And they will always be good team-mates."

Through three games of the Ligue 1 season, Paris Saint-Germain are the only team with three wins, and have done so with 17 goals for, and only three against.

"It's a good start, it's just the start," Al-Khelaifi said. "They need to work harder and there's a lot of things to work on and to improve, because the season is too long, it's just the start. We are very happy with the start."

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    Ivan Schranz's seventh-minute finish in Frankfurt proved the difference on Monday as Slovakia stunned the world's third-best side in their tournament opener.

    Belgium forward Lukaku produced a profligate showing, spurning a pair of glorious first-half chances before seeing two goals disallowed by the VAR as Tedesco's side chased a late equaliser.

    Lukaku accumulated an expected goals (xG) tally of 0.82 throughout the Group E meeting, with that total far greater than the entire Slovakia team combined (0.59).

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    "I knew we would lose one day but unfortunately it was today. Honestly, there is not much I can say to the team to improve.

    "We created many chances, big chances. Of course, if we take one, then it makes the game easier."

    When pressed on Lukaku's form in front of goal, Tedesco defended the former Chelsea and Manchester United striker.

    "Romelu has been playing for Belgium for a long time," the Red Devils' head coach said. 

    "He knows how to score goals, I don't need to tell him that. He is a top-class player with great character."

    Lukaku saw his first effort ruled out for an offside after Amadou Onana's headed knockdown before his late finish was again overturned as Lois Openda was deemed to have handled in the build-up.

    "It's tough to speak," Tedesco continued. "If we had won I could tell you more about my opinion.

    "But we lost and I want to be seen as a fair manager so I don't say anything. We have to trust these guys. I trust the VAR. If they decide it's handball, we have to accept it."

    Belgium's defeat leaves Group E wide open after Romania hammered Ukraine 3-0 on the same day, with Tedesco's side needing a response against Edward Iordanescu's team on Saturday.

    Another loss would push Belgium further towards an unlikely group-stage exit, though Tedesco wants to use the Slovakia disappointment as motivation.

    "Naturally everyone is disappointed but you can harness that," he said. "You can make use of it. I always said our group would be very tricky and shouldn't assume that we will go through."

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    The 24-year-old still managed 19 passes in the final third, only bettered by match-winning team-mate Jude Bellingham (24), but failed to register a single shot in an unusually quiet outing.

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    "This idea that you should start taking him out of the team, Phil Foden is an amazing, fantastic player who has had a great season," Keane said on ITV on Monday.

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    England head to Frankfurt on Thursday to face Denmark, aiming to extend their embryonic lead at the top of Group C before their final meeting with Slovenia.

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