Kylian Mbappe has received the glowing praise of France's president Emmanuel Macron, who hopes the star continues to "enchant the public".

Mbappe has enjoyed a sensational rise and, at just 23, is already considered one of the world's best players.

Having burst onto the scene at Monaco in 2016-17, Mbappe has gone on to win four Ligue 1 titles, three Coupe de France crowns, the Coupe de la Ligue twice and the 2018 World Cup.

Since joining Paris Saint-Germain in 2017, Mbappe has scored 150 goals in 196 appearances, ranking him third out of players across Europe's top five leagues within that timeframe, behind Robert Lewandowski (208 goals) and new PSG team-mate Lionel Messi (162).

This week, Mbappe was placed at number one on French sports newspaper L'Equipe's list of "30 who make French football".

President Macron, who last year expressed his desire to see Mbappe remain at PSG amid interest from Real Madrid, provided a glowing appraisal of the Parisian forward.

"Kylian Mbappe may be so young, but he espoused the excellence of his sport for [his] club and national team, he lived the most extreme experiences and he demonstrated the qualities of the greatest: lucidity, courage, resistance. I am sure of one thing: he will continue to amaze us," Macron wrote.

"Everyone obviously wishes him to make this promise come true by building the best track record in European football and above all to continue to enchant the public with his jubilant gestures, his brilliant passes and his magical goals. We know that he can.

"But if Kylian Mbappe has taken a special place in the hearts of the French, it is also through his attitude on and off the field."

Mbappe may not be in Ligue 1 for much longer. He does not seem to intend to sign a new deal with PSG and, from this month, he is eligible to sign pre-contract agreements with teams from other countries.

Madrid, who had multiple bids rejected by PSG in August 2021, are the frontrunners for his signature.

Carlo Ancelotti insisted Real Madrid's planning for next season was "already done" but did not reveal whether the club have made a fresh bid for Kylian Mbappe.

Paris Saint-Germain frontman Mbappe has entered the final six months of his contract at the Parc des Princes and it is no secret that Madrid want to bring him to Spain.

The 23-year-old was a target for Los Blancos during the last transfer window but recently ruled out leaving PSG in mid-season.

However, Italian agent Giovanni Branchini claimed LaLiga leaders Madrid have offered €50million to sign Mbappe now, less than six months after they reportedly offered up to €200m.

They could hire him as a free agent at the end of the campaign should Mbappe refuse new terms in Paris, but getting the France international through the door now would also be a major coup.

Ancelotti was asked about Branchini's comments in Madrid's news conference on Tuesday, but elected to sidestep the issue.

"Talking about players who are not here does not seem fair to me," said Ancelotti.

"I have a good relationship with Branchini. I prefer not to comment on this."

Mbappe scored a hat-trick in PSG's 4-0 Coupe de France win over Vannes on Monday and has indicated he wants to fight for trophies with Mauricio Pochettino's side this season.

Madrid are looking both short term and long term, and Ancelotti said: "The planning for next season is already done. I would find it unprofessional if a club like Madrid hadn't planned already."

On Wednesday, Madrid face Alcoyano at the Copa del Rey last-32 stage, a year on from being humiliated by the minnows at the tiny Estadio El Collao in Alcoy.

Madrid's then-coach Zinedine Zidane and his players had to swallow a 2-1 defeat last January against the third-tier team, who snatched an extra-time winner while down to 10 men.

Ancelotti said his preparation for the rematch had not involved watching a video nasty of last year's upset.

"I haven't seen last year's game," Ancelotti said. "I know what happened because the players have told me about it. It's still an open wound.

"The players know better than I what happened and what doesn't have to happen tomorrow."

A 1-0 defeat to Getafe on Sunday was a jolt to start the new year for Madrid, and Ancelotti quipped afterwards that it was as though he and his players had taken an extra day of holiday. But it will be down to business for the cup game.

"We are going to take it seriously. We know the difficulties we may have, and I will put the best team possible together," Ancelotti added.

Gareth Bale will be absent, unwell rather than injured, but Ancelotti said the Wales forward could come into the equation for the LaLiga tussle with Valencia on Saturday.

Kylian Mbappe scored a second-half hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain breezed through to the Coupe de France last 16 with a 4-0 win over Vannes.

Presnel Kimpembe was also on target for the defending champions, who remain unbeaten in 90 minutes in the competition since 2014.

The skipper headed the runaway Ligue 1 leaders in front after 28 minutes at Stade de la Rabine.

Mbappe then took centre stage after the break, striking three times to put the fourth-tier side to the sword.

Unbeaten against lower-league opposition in the Coupe de France since 2010, a much-changed PSG quickly imposed their authority on proceedings, enjoying over three-quarters of the possession.

The visitors, who have won six of the last seven editions of this competition, also registered eight shots inside the opening 25 minutes, with Kimpembe, Xavi Simons, Ander Herrera and Georginio Wijnaldum all drawing saves from Clement Petrel.

But there was no denying Kimpembe, who broke the deadlock with a free header from Nuno Mendes' corner.

Kimpembe turned provider 14 minutes after the restart, Mbappe latching onto his hopeful long ball and racing away before doubling the lead.

The France striker made it 3-0 in emphatic fashion in the 71st minute as he fired a stunning 20-yard effort into the top corner from Simons' pass.

That was the talisman's fourth brace in as many appearances for PSG in all competitions.

But hungry for more, he completed his hat-trick five minutes later, playing a neat one-two with Eric Ebimbe before sliding into the empty net.

Kylian Mbappe has convinced Mauricio Pochettino he will not be affected by transfer speculation as Paris Saint-Germain battle to keep the striker from Real Madrid's clutches.

France frontman Mbappe was targeted by Madrid in August and the Spanish giants are expected to attempt to sign the 23-year-old once more, with his contract less than six months away from expiring.

So far, Mbappe has given little indication about his plans, and it is an enviable choice that awaits the former Monaco player.

PSG head coach Pochettino will keep his focus on matters on the pitch, with contract negotiations not part of his remit. Mbappe could leave on a free transfer, but PSG hope he will agree to lucrative terms on a long-term extension.

Pochettino has been assured by Mbappe's words and deeds that the player who has 15 goals in 24 games this season will not be distracted by the question of where he will be playing next term.

"I think the contract situations in football only affects you if you are not mature enough," Pochettino said in a news conference on Sunday.

"Kylian Mbappe is mature and we know what the conditions are here. We do not think it is a problem. We all hope Kylian Mbappe can stay at the club for many years, but there are two sides to making this decision.

"We hope that Kylian Mbappe continues performing as he has been doing and that there is a positive solution for everyone."

Mbappe has said he has no intention of jumping ship in mid-season, meaning PSG can plan around him for the rest of this campaign.

They lead Ligue 1 and are through to the last 16 of the Champions League, where Madrid of all teams will be their opponents, which will inevitably trigger a new wave of speculation.

Speaking to CNN, Mbappe said in December: "No, I'm not joining Real Madrid in January. In January it's not happening.

"I'm in Paris Saint-Germain, I'm really happy, and I will 100 per cent finish the season as a PSG player. I'll give everything to win with Paris all titles this year."

PSG will hope to win the Coupe de France again, after taking that title in six of the last seven seasons, and begin their campaign against fourth-tier outfit Vannes on Monday.

"I like the Coupe de France," said Pochettino. "It's the oldest competition in France, we love this competition and playing against teams like Vannes. That's real football, it's a football that speaks to everyone and we can’t wait to be there."

January 1 2022 is a date Real Madrid and Kylian Mbappe have been anticipating for some time.

Los Blancos were the subject of two failed bids for the Paris Saint-Germain superstar in the previous transfer window.

But the new year sees Mbappe enter the final six months of his contract at the Parc des Princes meaning he is free to talk to clubs outside of France.

And it seems Madrid are more confident that ever of landing their top target.

 

TOP STORY – MADRID HAVE 'TOTAL OPTIMISM' ON MBAPPE

The future of Mbappe has dominated the rumour mill for months and Spanish publication Marca claims there is "total optimism" among the Madrid hierarchy they will land their man.

One complication is the fact the two teams are set to meet in a Champions League last-16 grudge match, with any announcement unlikely to happen before that tie.

But come July 1 there is growing expectation Mbappe will be a Madrid player, with the signing of Lionel Messi and potential future arrival of Zinedine Zidane as head coach seemingly not enough to convince him to remain in the French capital.

 

ROUND-UP

- Chelsea's need for defensive reinforcements may be exacerbated by the fact Andreas Christensen has no intention of signing a new contract. Spanish paper Sport says the Dane, who is out of contract at the end of the season, is close to joining Barcelona.

- Speaking of Barcelona, AS reports the future of Memphis Depay is shrouded in doubt. With Ferran Torres having arrived from Manchester City and Alvaro Morata a top target, Depay may be set for a close-season exit after a solitary campaign at Camp Nou.

- Manchester United could be about to get one over old boss Jose Mourinho by landing Boubacar Kamara. The Daily Mirror reports the Red Devils are attempting to beat Roma to the signing of the Marseille midfielder.

- Roma have also been in the hunt for Arsenal midfielder Ainsley Maitland-Niles, but they apparently face competition from Everton according to the Liverpool Echo.

- Over on the Red side of Merseyside, Italian agency ANSA is reporting Liverpool are about to pip Arsenal and Tottenham to the signing of Milan midfielder Franck Kessie.

- The Athletic suggested the Gunners are also likely to have more frustration. Arsenal have been linked with a move for Lille forward Jonathan David but will apparently have to wait until the end of the campaign to land their man.

January 1 ushers the start of a new year and, for many, a chance for a fresh start. That is particularly true in the world of football as it signals the day the transfer window opens and some of Europe's top talents can plot a lucrative move elsewhere.

A number of the sport's top talents, including Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe and Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, are due to be out of contract at the end of 2021-22 and can therefore open talks with teams abroad in January.

While the futures of Mbappe and Pogba will be heavily discussed in the coming weeks, other big names across the continent will also become that little more attractive to buyers given their availability on a free (notwithstanding their lucrative salaries, of course!).

Stats Perform looks at the best players soon to be out of contract and therefore available to sign pre-contract agreements elsewhere from January 1.

 

Hugo Lloris (Tottenham)

Where better place to start than with a goalkeeper potentially seeking a new destination. Lloris has spent 10 seasons with Tottenham and has captained the side for the past six years, while also skippering the France national team since 2012.

Spurs have historically been reluctant to offer long-term deals to players in their 30s and that policy could see them lose one of European football's finest goalkeepers from the past decade. He has racked up 392 appearances for Tottenham, keeping 131 clean sheets in the process.

Anthony Martial (Manchester United)

Martial did not quite transform into the superstar forward many were expecting upon joining United from Monaco six years ago, but neither has the France international been as big a flop as some would suggest.

Indeed, since making his Premier League debut in September 2015, only Marcus Rashford (57) has scored more goals for United than Martial's 56. Those goals have come from an expected goals (xG) return of 43, with that xG differential of 13 the largest of any player at the club in that timeframe.

 

Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea)

Chelsea face the prospect of losing four defenders without receiving a fee of any sort at the end of the campaign, with Andreas Christensen, Thiago Silva, Cesar Azpilicueta and Rudiger all nearing the end of their respective contracts.

Tying down Rudiger to fresh terms should be the priority, given there has arguably been no better defender in the Premier League since Thomas Tuchel first took charge of Chelsea on January 27, backed up by the centre-back's Premier League-leading 17 clean sheets over that period.

Paul Pogba (Manchester United)

No player has quite dominated the transfer column inches in the same manner as Pogba in recent years and, with no sign of a new contract being signed anytime soon, it now looks certain the 28-year-old will depart United for a second time.

Pogba may have struggled for consistency at Old Trafford, not helped by niggling injury issues, but he has averaged one assist per 90 minutes in the Premier League this season – a tally not matched by any player to have played more than once.

Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain)

PSG rejected multiple offers from Real Madrid in 2020, but as it stands they are powerless to stop one of the game's leading lights departing at the end of the season.

As well as breaking a number of goalscoring records, Mbappe's 215 direct goal involvements in all competitions since making his PSG debut in September 2017 – 147 goals of his own and 68 assists – is a tally bettered by only Robert Lewandowski (242) and Lionel Messi (246).

 

Marcelo Brozovic (Inter)

Inter have so far been able to persuade Nicola Barella and Lautaro Martinez to extend their stays at San Siro, but Brozovic's future remains unclear heading into the new year.

Brozovic was a key part of Inter's Scudetto-winning side last term, featuring in 33 of their 38 games, and has started all 19 of their matches this campaign. Only Ruben Dias (1,713), Joao Cancelo (1,803) and William Saliba (1,840) have played more successful passes than the Croatia international (1,681) among players from Europe's top five leagues in 2021-22.

Luka Modric (Real Madrid)

Gareth Bale and Isco are two high-profile Madrid players set to move on either in January or at the end of the season, but as well as trying to seal Mbappe's signing, Madrid's other priority might be ensuring Modric does not bring an end to his decade-long spell at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2022.

Proving that age is just a number, 36-year-old Modric has been as good as ever for LaLiga leaders Madrid this season. The six big chances created by the midfielder in 2020-21, leading to four assists, has been bettered by only four others in the division.

 

Ousmane Dembele (Barcelona)

Dembele has struggled to come close to justifying his hefty transfer fee, reported to be an initial €105million, but he was recently described as having the potential to be the best attacking player in the world by head coach Xavi.

Barca president Joan Laporta is also eager to keep hold of Dembele, who has managed 30 goals and 22 assists in 126 appearances since his debut in September 2017, meaning he has been directly involved in 0.6 goals per 90 minutes. For comparison, that is an identical number to Antoine Griezmann during his short-lived stint at Camp Nou.

Denis Zakaria (Borussia Monchengladbach)

Strongly touted as a target for the likes of Barcelona and Bayern Munich, Zakaria will depart Borussia Monchengladbach in 2022 after confirming to the German club that he intends to run down his contract.

The defensive midfielder averages 52.3 passes every 90 minutes and 47.1 successful ones, the latter being the ninth-most this season among Bundesliga midfielders with at least 500 minutes played. Among the same group of players, only seven average more than his two successful dribbles every 90 minutes – all of those being more attack-minded players.

Paulo Dybala (Juventus)

Dybala has indicated that he wants to remain a Juventus player beyond this season but the longer talks over a new deal drag on, the more unlikely it appears he will still be in Turin six months from now – and that would be a major blow for the Bianconeri during an already difficult period.

The Argentina international has eight goals and four assists in 17 appearances this term, without being at what many would consider his best form – at least three more direct goal involvements than Juve's next most threatening player Alvaro Morata and double that of Federico Bernardeschi in third.

Kylian Mbappe has promised he will not leave Paris Saint-Germain for Real Madrid in the January transfer window.

Mbappe has just six months left to run on his contract and was the subject of a big-money bid from Los Blancos in August, but PSG rejected that interest.

The 23-year-old says he has no intention of jumping ship in mid-season, however, and is focused on winning more silverware in the French capital.

"No, I'm not joining Real Madrid in January," Mbappe told CNN. "In January it's not happening.

"I'm in Paris Saint-Germain, I'm really happy, and I will 100 per cent finish the season as a PSG player. I'll give everything to win with Paris all titles this year.

"I will give everything I have to win the Champions League, the league and the cup. And to give all the pleasure to the fans, because they deserve it.

"I'm happy to stay. It's my city too. I'm French. I want to win everything this season."

The Ligue 1 giants are hopeful France striker Mbappe will agree a contract extension but risk losing him on a free transfer should he refuse a new deal.

PSG and Madrid meet over two legs in the Champions League round of 16 and Mbappe assured fans he remains fully committed to helping his current employers overcome prospective ones.

Despite significant spending on transfer fees and wages, PSG have failed to win Europe's premier club competition, going closest in 2020 when they were beaten 1-0 by Bayern Munich in the final.

"[The only thing on my] mind is to beat Real Madrid in February and March," Mbappe said. "We have to be ready. It's time.

"It's the most important part of the season. Of course, we want to step up now. It's been two years [that we've been in the] final [or] semi-final, but now we want to win."

Mbappe also revealed the emotional pull of playing for the capital club as a Parisian, as well as expressing his delight at this season's unexpected opportunity to link up with seven-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

"Paris is my city, it's where I was born, it's where I grew up," Mbappe said. "To play for PSG, it's an amazing feeling to play with your family and friends alongside of you.

"It's a big pleasure for me to say to my kids, to my friends, I play with [Messi]. We have to enjoy seeing him in Paris. It's an amazing moment in the history of the game."

Kylian Mbappe and Robert Lewandowski have expressed concerns about the lack of rest players will get if plans for a biennial World Cup come to fruition.

FIFA's proposal to host the tournament every two years instead of four has largely been met with scepticism.

Both Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe and Bayern Munich striker Lewandowski are not in favour of the change, with the former suggesting that the quality of the spectacle would suffer if the health of players is not taken into account. 

"We like to play but it's too much," Mbappe said in Dubai, where he was named men's player of the year at the Globe Soccer Awards. "If people want to see quality, we have to take a break.

"Playing the World Cup every two years would make this competition 'normal' and that shouldn't be the case. The World Cup, the Nations League... we love to play but it's too much.

"If people want to see quality, I think we have to take a break."

Lewandowski echoed the France international's sentiments, stating that the schedule is already congested even without the added burden of an increased number of World Cups.

"We have a lot of games in the year, very dense weeks," Lewandowski said at the same event. "If you want to give the fans something different, you need a break.

"We have to look into the future, if we want to play a World Cup every two years, the level will drop. It's impossible for the body and the mind to perform at the same level."

Lionel Messi remains the best player in the world in Ander Herrera's eyes and the midfielder expects Kylian Mbappe to dominate world football "for many years to come".

Messi ended a glorious 21-year association with Barcelona amid well-documented financial difficulties for the Catalan club as he moved to the Parc des Princes on a free transfer in August.

The Argentina international reunited with Neymar to form a formidable frontline with Kylian Mbappe, while Mauricio Pochettino also brought in Sergio Ramos, Achraf Hakimi, Gianluigi Donnarumma and Georginio Wijnaldum.

Paris Saint-Germain, buoyed by their new array of attacking talent, sit 13 points clear at the top of Ligue 1, although Messi is yet to fully fire as he continues to settle into life in France.

Messi netted 672 times in 778 appearances for his former club, but he has only found the net on six occasions for PSG across all competitions – averaging a goal every 219 minutes.

However, Herrera still believes Messi is comfortably the best player in the world and insisted Pochettino's side are learning to adapt around the forward, such is the 34-year-old's quality.

"Players of Messi's level shorten the acclimatisation time," Herrera told Mundo Deportivo. "He will play the same way in France, in Spain, in Japan or in Madagascar.

"He has won his seventh Ballon d'Or and trains and enjoys as if he were only starting to play now. No training action is taken as a joke.

"At times we have already seen the best version of Leo, as against [Manchester] City at home, but I think it is also the responsibility of all those around him. We have to put ourselves at his service to get the best out of him. Normally, regular players have to adapt to a new context. 

"Now it is the other way around because we are talking about the best footballer in history."

Mbappe has outshone Messi thus far, the France international managing 15 goals – scoring every 134 minutes – and 12 assists across all competitions this term.

Indeed, since the 23-year-old scored on his PSG debut on September 8, 2017, against Metz, only three players – Robert Lewandowski (208), Messi (168) and Cristiano Ronaldo (157) – have managed more goals across Europe's top-five leagues in all competitions than Mbappe (147).

But Herrera believes Messi still holds the edge over Mbappe, who the Spain international thinks will dominate football for years to come.

"Kylian will be the best player in the world for many years to come, but we all agree that Leo is number one," Herrera added. "No doubt. Mbappe has an immense humility and desire to learn from Leo."

A new contract for Mbappe has also been at the forefront of most discussions, with Real Madrid plotting a move for the former Monaco man, whose current contract expires at the end of the season.

Madrid had multiple advances turned down for Mbappe in the last transfer window, though they can open contract negotiations with the PSG forward in January should a new deal with his current club not be agreed.

But Herrera remains confident Mbappe will stay with Pochettino's side.

"There is scope to try to renew Mbappe," he said. "We have many examples of footballers who have done it in February, March or April. There's still time.

"He is an open, friendly, funny guy. We do not pressure each other at all about our futures. I'm not kidding you, we don't talk about anyone's contractual issues in the dressing room."

Former Clasico foes but now team-mates, Ramos also followed Messi as he ended a long-standing association with Madrid to move to Paris.

However, the centre-back has been hampered by injuries and received a red card in just his third outing for his new side against Lorient on Wednesday, but Herrera expects his compatriot to become a key figure.

"Of course [It has not been easy for him]," he said of Ramos. "He's used to feeling important, playing and leading. But he has now been training for two or three weeks at a fantastic level and we are optimistic.

"It shows in his character and in the happiness he radiates."

With Ramos and Messi among a depth of talent on PSG's books, Herrera understands there is more pressure on PSG now to win the Champions League, though he feels Madrid are favourites for their Champions League last-16 tie in early 2022.

"We want to win the Champions League and we are going to try," he added. "There's no doubt. But just because we have Messi doesn't mean we're entitled to more than everyone else.

"We understand that people expect the best from us, but in Europe there are eight or ten other teams with the same chances of winning.

"A club that has 13 Champions League titles, against one that has not yet been European champions, has to be a slight favourite."

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe is capable of continuing his goalscoring form long into his career similarly to Cristiano Ronaldo, regardless of where he is plying his trade from next season.

That is according to Louis Saha, who also told Stats Perform that he expects Lionel Messi to blow Ligue 1 opponents away once he regains full fitness in the new year.

Mbappe is into the final six months of his existing contract at the Parc des Princes and is free to sign a pre-contract agreement with clubs outside of Ligue 1 from January.

Real Madrid had two bids turned down for the France international in the previous transfer window and remain the strong favourites to land the superstar in 2022.

Mbappe has scored 15 goals and assisted 12 more in 24 outings in all competitions this term in a star-studded attack that also contains Messi and the currently injured Neymar.

Only Mohamed Salah (31) and Robert Lewandowski (33) have been directly involved in more goals than Mbappe this campaign among players from Europe's top five leagues.

And while glad to see Mbappe remain in Ligue 1 for the 2021-22 campaign, Saha understands that his compatriot has a big decision to make on his future in the coming weeks.

"The main thing for me was for him to stay at PSG this year," Saha said. "Whatever he does next year, for me, that was logical for football in general throughout the world. 

"We wanted to see this trio of Mbappe, Messi and Neymar. It's incredible to see and today he has his destiny in his hands. He's a player who is exploding and he's reaching more milestones."

 

Mbappe recently became the youngest player in Ligue 1 history to score 100 goals for a single team with his second of the game for PSG against former club Monaco.

Since making his debut for PSG in September 2017, the 23-year-old has averaged a goal every 104.63 minutes in all competitions.

That ranks Mbappe behind only four others among Europe's elite attackers over that period and marginally ahead of Ronaldo, who averages a goal every 105.8 minutes at club level.

With Ronaldo still scoring regularly as he approaches his 37th birthday, Saha has challenged Mbappe to hit similar heights.

"If he can match Ronaldo's 40 goals a year average from the age of 20, that's something we want to keep seeing from Kylian," Saha said.

"That is not to put pressure on him. Kylian quite simply has the potential to do that."

Mbappe's 27 direct goal involvements this season is substantially more than PSG's next biggest attacking threat, with Messi second on the list with six goals and four assists.

The record seven-time Ballon d'Or winner has scored just once in 10 Ligue 1 appearances from an expected goals (xG) return of 4.7.

To put that in some context, Mbappe's nine goals in the competition this term have come from an xG of 10.9.

 

But while Messi's PSG career has yet to truly take off, Saha can see that changing once the Barcelona legend gets some regular starts under his belt.

"You can already see players who are not necessarily in great shape like Messi – imagine when he starts to find his form again!" Saha said. "I don't know how teams will cope. 

"PSG are an extraordinary team. I prayed for Mbappe to stay at PSG to see these three exceptional players. Neymar's injury has delayed that, but they have an incredible team. 

"Don't be surprised to see them win the league by 20 or 25 points come the end of the season."

Kylian Mbappe scored twice as Paris Saint-Germain cruised to a 3-0 win over minnows Feignies-Aulnoye in Sunday's Coupe de France round-of-64 clash

PSG never looked in danger of suffering an upset against their fifth-tier opponents, and they went 2-0 up after 30 minutes through penalties from Mbappe and Mauro Icardi.

Former Real Madrid captain Sergio Ramos was withdrawn at the interval on just his second appearance for the Parisians, perhaps not the best sign as he continues his recovery from injury, before Mbappe added a third goal early in the second period.

The Ligue 1 leaders, who have lifted the trophy in six of the last seven seasons, continued to create chances but ultimately fell short of adding gloss to the scoreline.

PSG went ahead in the 16th minute through Mbappe's penalty after the France international had been brought down inside the area by Ibrahima Diedhiou.

Icardi, who had earlier seen an effort ruled out for offside, inexplicably struck the post from close range midway through the first half, although he made amends on the half-hour mark, stroking home from the spot after Mbappe had been fouled by Gary Gerard Marigard.

Mbappe blazed wide when clean through as PSG failed to add to their tally before the interval, despite taking a whopping 20 shots in the first half.

The 22-year-old grabbed his second in the 51st minute, slotting home Colin Dagba's cut-back from the right.

PSG teenager Ismael Gharbi was denied a first professional goal by substitute goalkeeper Jordan Fernand inside the final 20 minutes as PSG booked their place in the next round with the minimum of fuss.


What does it mean? No complacency from Pochettino's men

By naming the likes of Mbappe, Icardi and Marco Verratti in his starting XI, Mauricio Pochettino made it clear he was not taking PSG's significantly less illustrious opponents lightly.

The one concern from an otherwise routine affair was the withdrawal of Ramos at the interval. It has been a hugely disrupted start to life in France for the former Los Blancos star, and it will be hoped any new setback does not keep him out for long.

Mbappe's constant threat

Unsurprisingly, Mbappe was too hot to handle for Feignies-Aulnoye's defence. The World Cup winner won both penalties, the first of which he converted, and he scored a second goal in a display brimming with his usual blend of electric pace and skill.

Ebimbe squanders chance to shine

Eric Ebimbe rarely looked like opening his account for PSG during a disappointing showing. The 21-year-old, who was replaced in the 64th minute by Gharbi, had just a single shot on target and failed to play a key pass in a display that will surely be considered a missed opportunity.

What's next?

Runaway Ligue 1 leaders PSG play their last game of 2021 on Wednesday when they travel to Lorient.

Paris Saint-Germain's sporting director Kylian Mbappe has insisted he still believes in the possibility of the superstar forward signing a contract extension.

Mbappe will soon enter the final six months of his contract with PSG, who he joined, initially on loan, from Monaco in 2017.

The striker, who turns 23 on Monday, will be free to sign with another club outside of Ligue 1 on a pre-contract agreement from January, with Real Madrid determined to land the France star.

Los Blancos reportedly had three bids for Mbappe rejected by PSG in August.

Discussions over fresh terms between Mbappe and PSG have been ongoing for some time, but the player has always suggested he does not wish to extend his stay in Paris.

However, Leonardo has not given up hope and, after reiterating PSG's desire to keep Mbappe earlier this week, the Brazilian underlined his belief that an agreement can be reached.

In an interview with Europe 1 and Le Journal du Dimanche (LeJDD), set to be broadcast on Sunday, Leonardo said: "It's a very special situation because we are talking about the best player in the world who is coming to the end of his contract.

"We can say that there were times when we discussed more warmly, but that is part of building a relationship.

"People will think that we say that because we want to prolong it but it is beyond the interest of the club. At 22 years old, almost 23, Kylian has reached an incredible maturity.

"It's a complicated situation in the sense that we would like him to stay all his life and that we have to respect [the family's position]. I think we still have good possibilities to extend [the contract]. I believe in it."

Prior to PSG's Coupe de France clash with Feignies on Sunday, since the start of 2021, only Robert Lewandowski (58) and Erling Haaland (43) have scored more goals across all competitions than Mbappe (41), of players in Europe's "big five" leagues, outperforming his expected goals (xG) of 35.58.

Mbappe averages a goal every 107 minutes and has also provided 16 assists, creating 81 chances for team-mates.

However, his expected assists (xA) value of 10.84 suggests the opportunities laid on for his PSG club-mates have been finished exceptionally well.

Paris Saint-Germain remain committed to trying to retain Kylian Mbappe amid ongoing links with Real Madrid, according to sporting director Leonardo.

Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season and he is yet to re-sign with Ligue 1 giants PSG.

PSG reportedly rejected three bids – the last one said to be worth up to €200million – from LaLiga powerhouse Madrid for Mbappe heading into the 2021-22 campaign.

Madrid have been tipped to lure Mbappe to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the season, though PSG are refusing to give up hope ahead of their Champions League quarter-final tie.

"Kylian Mbappe is 'formidable'. He's different, he's fantastic," Leonardo said at La Sorbonne.

"And yes, you know what we want… it's clear. We'll see."

Amid the mounting speculation, Mbappe – who has spoken openly of his desire to join Madrid at the start of the season – was asked about his future.

"Moving from Monaco to Paris Saint-Germain was logical," the France international, who has nine goals and 14 assists for PSG in Ligue 1 this term, told Paris Match.

"But, now as I look ahead, there is room for the unplanned. Having fun, the surprise factor - that's part of the beauty of sport.

"Things can happen that change your mind. It's impossible to predict what I'll do in the next 20 years."

Mbappe became the youngest player in Ligue 1 history to score 100 goals for a single team with his second of the game for PSG against former club Monaco last week.

Aged just 22 years and 357 days, Mbappe is the youngest player to achieve the feat for one club in French top-flight history since Opta began recording data back in 1950-51.

 

Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe said it is pointless scoring 50 goals if the French giants do not win Ligue 1 or the Champions League.

Mbappe scored 42 goals across all competitions last season, but PSG were dethroned by Lille in Ligue 1, while the capital club lost in the Champions League semi-finals.

PSG – who have never won the Champions League – are preparing for a quarter-final showdown with Real Madrid as they sit 13 points clear atop the Ligue 1 standings.

"Last year was good for me, I scored 40 goals, but we didn't win the league or the Champions League," Mbappe, who has 13 goals this term, told PSG's television station.

"In the end I wonder, what is the use of scoring 50 goals if we don't win? I would prefer to score less and win the league and Champions League.

"It was a good season but you don't enjoy it, the aim is to win titles, they are the most important things."

Mbappe – who has tallied nine goals and 14 assists in the league this term – became the youngest player in Ligue 1 history to score 100 goals for a single team with his second of the game for PSG against former club Monaco last week.

Aged just 22 years and 357 days, Mbappe is the youngest player to achieve the feat for one club in French top-flight history since Opta began recording data back in 1950-51.

"I need to feel the pressure, to seek challenges, I've always wanted to have the responsibility on my shoulders," France international Mbappe said.

"I want to be under pressure even if sometimes it ends in disappointment, it's a learning process, I never hide and it is part of the adrenaline rush.

"This is because we like to play high-pressure games, games that everyone watches, I see pressure as something positive."

PSG will face Feignies in the Coupe de France on Sunday before visiting Lorient in Ligue 1 action on Wednesday.

Lionel Messi has been involved in 43 shot-ending sequences in his last five appearances in Ligue 1, at least 14 more than any other player over that period. He has initiated nine of those sequences, also the highest tally in the top-flight.

Messi joined PSG from Barcelona at the start of the season and amid uncertainty of his own future, Madrid target Mbappe said: "It benefits you to have great players around you, I play in a team today with players who help me: Neymar, Messi, [Angel] Di Maria... it's easier."

Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain each have four nominees in the 23-man shortlist for the FIFA FIFPRO Men's World 11 for 2021.

Liverpool goalkeeper Alisson and full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold are also included, although there is no place for Mohamed Salah.

PSG's attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe are among the forwards, as is Manchester United star Cristiano Ronaldo.

Veteran Dani Alves also won enough votes to make the list, even though the 38-year-old, who recently rejoined Barcelona, only played 16 times in domestic competition in Brazil this year.

Professional footballers across the world were asked to vote for the three players they considered to have the best seasons during the 2020-21 season among goalkeepers, defenders, midfielders and forwards.

FIFPRO said: "For the first time in 17 years, FIFPRO is updating the announcement about the most-voted players, reducing the shortlist from 55 to 23. This has been done to resemble a real-life 'squad' which, usually for international competitions, is the number of players involved. 

"The three goalkeepers, six defenders, six midfielders and six forwards with the most votes earned a place in the 23-men World 11 'squad'. To complete this elite selection, the two remaining outfield players with the most votes were added."

The keeper, three defenders, three midfielders and three forwards with the most votes will be chosen for the World 11, with the remaining spot assigned to the outfield player with the next highest number of votes.

The final 11 will be announced at The Best FIFA Football Awards ceremony on January 17.

 

FIFA FIFPRO MEN'S WORLD 11 23-PLAYER SHORTLIST:

Goalkeepers:
Alisson (Liverpool, Brazil)
Gianluigi Donnarumma (Milan/Paris Saint-Germain, Italy)
Edouard Mendy (Chelsea, Senegal)

Defenders:
David Alaba (Bayern Munich/Real Madrid, Austria)
Jordi Alba (Barcelona, Spain)
Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool, England)
Dani Alves (Sao Paulo/Barcelona, Brazil)
Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus, Italy)
Ruben Dias (Manchester City, Portugal)

Midfielders:
Sergio Busquets (Barcelona, Spain)
Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City, Belgium)
Bruno Fernandes (Manchester United, Portugal)
Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona, The Netherlands)
Jorginho (Chelsea, Italy)
N'Golo Kante (Chelsea, France)

Forwards:
Karim Benzema (Real Madrid, France)
Cristiano Ronaldo (Juventus/Manchester United, Portugal)
Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund, Norway)
Robert Lewandowski (Bayern Munich, Poland)
Romelu Lukaku (Inter/Chelsea, Belgium)
Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain, France)
Lionel Messi (Barcelona/Paris Saint-Germain, Argentina)
Neymar (Paris Saint-Germain, Brazil)

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