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PSG: Mbappé's last chance in the Champions League?

Where will Kylian Mbpapé play next season? Several sources suggest that the future of the 25-year-old striker will be written far from Paris at the end of the current season, his seventh on the banks of the Seine, and in this case on the side of Madrid.

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PSG: Mbappé's last chance in the Champions League?

Where will Kylian Mbpapé play next season? Several sources suggest that the future of the 25-year-old striker will be written far from Paris at the end of the current season, his seventh on the banks of the Seine, and in this case on the side of Madrid. Nothing confirmed, signed, acted upon. A strong trend. “A hunch about his future? He will be there against Real Sociedad,” Luis Enrique smiled on Saturday in the form of a pirouette, after the 3-1 victory over Lille. A match that Mbappé had watched… from the bench. “He would have played if it had been a final,” said the Spanish coach, who “did not want to take any risks” when his star scorer had received a severe blow to the ankle a few days earlier, against Brest (3 -1). Not stupid. “KM” however resumed training the next day.

Asked if he can start against Real Sociedad this Wednesday (9 p.m., Canal and RMC Sport 1), in the round of 16 first leg of the Champions League, Luis Enrique did not hesitate: “Yes”. So much the better for Paris-SG, which is counting more than ever on its offensive leader (30 goals in 29 matches) to shine on the European scene, to shine at all. And this even if Luis Enrique has been doing his best since the start of the season, successfully, to make this Parisian team... a real team. The proof last Saturday, with a largely reworked 11 but a high-level collective performance against Losc, several usual replacements having seized their chance to show that they are worth more than an understudy status. The benefits of the Luis Enrique method, sometimes hard to follow, with incessant changes within the starting 11. It pays. “I want a team where everyone is ready and knows they can help the team,” says “Lucho”.

“We will be much stronger in February,” insisted the Spanish technician last December, after the draw in Dortmund (1-1) to conclude the group stage. The figures tend to prove him right, knowing that PSG remains undefeated for three months and 17 matches. The ex-Barça coach managed to involve the majority of his squad and find a balance between his obsession with possession and transition play. Paradoxical but effective.

The arrows of the Parisian attack have no equal in making their opponents pay in cash for their mistakes. Errors caused, like Ousmane Dembélé's pressing on the first Parisian goal last Saturday. “He’s one of the most consistent, most consistent players. He is the one who has the most capacity to overwhelm, generate assists, numerical superiority, overcome opposing pressure and help us in defense. He is one of the best recruits of the season and a vital player for us,” greets Luis Enrique about “Dembouz”. If Paris-SG is on the ascendant phase, it is also because the successor of Christophe Galtier has found a formula that works up front, a trio composed of the surprise Bradley Barcola on the left, Kylian Mbappé increasingly on the comfortable in the axis and therefore Ousmane Dembélé on the right, the latter having also found his partner Achraf Hakimi after the African Cup of Nations, with Morocco.

Which Mbappé is therefore, perhaps, playing his last campaign in C1 with the capital club, and therefore perhaps his last match at the Parc in the Champions League with the Red and Blue jersey on his shoulders. Multiple sources assure that he has made his choice, that his decision is made. Except that he has still not announced anything to PSG, suggesting that everything is not complete. According to Spanish sources, Madrid's salary proposal does not meet the expectations of the Mbappé clan... “It's up to him to decide. We don’t talk about it, we talk about football, and the topic of the moment is the match (this Wednesday),” says Fabian Ruiz. Luis Enrique is not in the mood to comment on this potential last match of the ex-Monegasque at the Parc des Princes in the Champions League: “That's not how I see it. So I feel neither joy nor sadness, nothing in particular compared to usual.”

All eyes will nevertheless be on the captain of the Blues, he who has so often made the difference in decisive matches, in Paris as well as in the selection. Whether he has made his choice or not, whether he leans towards Madrid or not, Mbappé will certainly be even more keen to shine against the San Sebastian club, ravaged by injuries, seventh in the Liga standings and which remains on four matches without winning or scoring but who finished at the top of his group in C1 ahead of European vice-champions Inter Milan, without losing (3 wins, 3 draws) and conceding only two goals.

The Bondynois has never hidden the fact that he “dreams” of offering Paris its first Big Ears Cup. This is perhaps the last opportunity to do so this year, while PSG is, for once, relatively spared from injuries. The Parisians still need to transform the enormous pressure inherent in the European Cup into positive energy. “We're not stressed, we just have a lot of enthusiasm,” promises Fabian Ruiz, assuring that he feels “neither pressure nor obligation” to win the “Champions”. “The best thing is to enjoy it. I see that there is a lot of tension around the Champions League here when you have to play it thinking that it is magnificent. It's been two weeks since we've been talking about C1. Relax ! The team is doing very well, we are going to enjoy (…) without pressure but with a lot of dreams,” Luis Enrique insisted on Saturday. If there is one player who is impervious to pressure, whatever the context, it is Kylian Mbappé. It is up to him to show the way.

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