Navas revelling in the company of 'extraordinary' Mbappe at PSG

By Sports Desk October 31, 2019

Kylian Mbappe's willingness to work for the team has made a strong impression with Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Keylor Navas.

Goalkeeper Navas joined the Ligue 1 champion on transfer deadline day in September, penning a four-year deal in the French capital.

The 32-year-old was a three-time Champions League winner at Real Madrid, so it is hoped his pedigree at the highest level of European football can help a talent-stacked squad under Thomas Tuchel take an extra step in the competition.

Mbappe has eight goals in nine appearances across all competitions this season and the 20-year-old's presence in the attack gives Navas plenty of reasons for optimism.

"He is a very young player who does extraordinary things for his age," the Costa Rica international told a news conference ahead of Friday's Ligue 1 game against Dijon.

"In addition to what we already know, and what we can see, he puts his talent at the disposal of the team, with good qualities of movement and always the right gestures."

Following Gianluigi Buffon's return to Juventus and Alphonse Areola's move in the opposite direction to Madrid, Navas has settled quickly into life as PSG's number one.

"I've been here for several weeks now. My adaptation is going very well - at the club, with my teammates but also in this championship," he said. 

"I am happy. The results follow and we progress on a daily basis. I came with humility, but with the desire to bring something. 

"I want to bring my leadership to the field and help everyone move forward."

PSG head into the 12th round of fixtures in Ligue 1 with an eight-point advantage over Nantes at the top of the table, having won nine and lost two of their games so far this season.

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    Speaking two weeks ago, PSG head coach Thomas Tuchel said key man Mbappe required "a miracle" to recover from an ankle sprain sustained on July 24.

    But the France international was named among the substitutes on Wednesday and made a big impact from the bench in the final half an hour of the Ligue 1 champions' remarkable 2-1 triumph.

    Mbappe linked up with Neymar and set up fellow substitute Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting for a 93rd-minute winner, 149 seconds after Marquinhos cancelled out Mario Pasalic's opener. 

    After helping his side book a first semi-final appearance in the competition since 1995, the 21-year-old went on social media to praise the club's backroom staff.

    "You don't talk to me about pain," he tweeted. "A big thank you to the medical staff for getting me back on my feet, no one believed it except us. 

    "Congratulations to the whole group, we want to get this one."

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    The stars helped PSG to an incredible come-from-behind 2-1 win over Atalanta in the Champions League quarter-finals in Lisbon on Wednesday.

    Contracted at PSG until 2022, Neymar and Mbappe have both been linked with moves away from the Ligue 1 champions.

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    "Ney was the man of the match [against Atalanta]. He had a great match. He and Kylian are not going to leave. They are going to stay."

    Behind to a Mario Pasalic goal, PSG left it late to overcome Atalanta, Marquinhos equalising in the 90th minute before Eric Maxim Choupo-Moting netted the winner three minutes later.

    Al-Khelaifi was proud of PSG, who are aiming to win their first Champions League title and face either RB Leipzig or Atletico Madrid at the semi-final stage.

    "It's a very special day for us, it's magnificent. It's something special, we need that to change mentalities," he said. 

    "I am very proud, I thank the players, the staff. It was not easy after stopping the Championship [due to the coronavirus pandemic]. 

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    "This is the first time that we have reached the semi-finals [since Qatar Sports Investments took over in 2011]. It's historic."

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    Dortmund sporting director Michael Zorc declared earlier this week that Manchester United target Sancho will remain at the German club for the 2020-21 campaign.

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