Speaking to L’Équipe, Kylian Mbappé breaks his silence over his failed move to Real Madrid, his performances at EURO 2020, feuds with Neymar and Olivier Giroud and much more.
Since the start of the season, PSG’s spectacular recruitment hasn’t translated into great performances, notably in the connection between the “MNM” trio.
For starters, you have to underline that it was an amazing window. We filled in a lot of gaps. We have a very competitive team, which is ready to compete for every trophy. Over the August-September period, we had players coming back late and arriving injured. Lots of little problems made it so that we weren’t all in form at the right time. Against Manchester City, it was the first that we were all there playing at a decent level, even if we’re not at the peak of our form yet. Beating City is a catalyst to get this season going [the interview was carried out before PSG’s loss to Rennes over the weekend].
When you see this squad, do you feel that excitement as well?
Of course! We’re all excited, we shouldn’t trivialize it. We’ve only been talking about Messi but we’ve brought in some great players. I’ve always said I wanted to play with great players, so this year I’ve certainly got that. Now, it’s up to us to bring their ingredients to the table, put a little water in their wine to help this team so that the collective aspect comes out in order to win trophies.
What do you mean by “put a little water in their wine”?
When you only play with great players, you have to make concessions. You’re not the only big player. It’s not you and the others anymore, it’s everyone all together. Because all we want to do is win.
Does that mean that, in a match like the one against City, you find it easier to track back than if Messi wasn’t there?
Of course. When you have Messi in your team, you know that he has to do a bit less in order to have some fuel left in the tank to be more clear-headed to score. So if you have to go back, that’s what you do. It’s not an issue, there’s an established hierarchy. I’m happy to run when Messi’s walking, it’s not an issue! Come on, it’s Messi [smiles]!
What’s it like to play alongside Messi? You must have imagined it…
No! I never imagined him coming here! He’s one of the rare players who I put in the “impossible-for-me-to-play-with” category. For me, he was never going to leave Barcelona. I am savoring every moment alongside him. You can’t forget that it remains a privilege. He’s someone who loves football. He speaks with everyone, he’s trying to integrate in his own way, even if he is a bit shy. But he’s not shy on the pitch [laughs].
Have you ever had this feeling with other players?
Neymar, a bit, when he arrived. He was really extraordinary. But Messi is something else. It’s amazing to think that the only other club shirt he’s worn, other than Barcelona, is PSG. We have to realize that this is something extraordinary.