At the Parc des Princes,
We have known the Parc des Princes more resentful. A few hours after the bombazo dropped between pear and cheese by our friends from the Spanish press about Kylian Mbappé’s desire to leave for the next transfer window, one would have thought that the Parisian public was going to give him an explosive welcome as he knows how to do so well. Ask Neymar’s father, he still has nightmares, poor thing.
But no, nada. Or so little. Barely a few meager whistles when, around 8 p.m., the face of the enfant terrible appeared on the giant screens of the Parisian enclosure, then nothing. Le Parc even chanted its name when the players were announced by the announcer, as if, stunned as it was by the explosion that occurred in the afternoon, it was waiting for more information before judging on rooms. A lesser evil for the staff of PSG, which had just lived an afternoon to make you want to run a bridge club in the depths of the Creuse.
Mbappe, business as usual
On the side of Mbappé, on the other hand, nothing to report. A small smile at the club camera when arriving in the corridors of the Park, a classic warm-up during which he did not seem isolated from the rest of the group, then a match that was all in all correct given the overall lackluster performance of his teammates, crowned by a penalty goal at the end of the first period. For that, already, we can take our hat off to him. Because achieving such a clean match after setting fire to the house in such proportion seems like a mini-feat in itself. A small performance that could have turned into a masterclass if the referee had not raised his flag at the end of the game to cancel this marvel of acrobatic scissoring under the bar for the 2-1 goal.
Asked at a press conference after the match, Christophe Galtier first wanted to salute the match of his little protege. “He was dangerous, he scored a goal and he could even have scored another. He responded to that rumour,” he explained. A rumour, then. For the Parisian coach, information from the Spanish press, very quickly confirmed by well-informed journalists from the Parisianof The Team and France Bleu Paris are just hallway noise amplified by ugly media.
Galtier, where the conspiracy theory
Read instead: “What do I know? Nothing. I just know that a rumor has become information and information has almost become a statement [du joueur]. I haven’t seen anything different in Kylian’s preparation and I’ve never heard of anything with Kylian or the club management. Relaunched on the subject, Galtier even wondered who benefited from the crime.
“Obviously I’m surprised, it’s a rumor, he repeated. And that this rumor comes out four or five hours before kick-off… I have the right to be challenged. Who is this rumor for? It’s up to you, the media, to ask this question. Certainly not to us. »
To them, no, but to Mbappé perhaps? Because from what our colleagues report, the source of this rumor is fully identified and is none other than the player’s close entourage. To say that we are not surprised would be to lie. On the other hand, the signals of any anger from the Parisian striker have not been lacking since the start of the season.
From his hateful and sulky attitude during the match against Montpellier in mid-August, to his raised eyebrows when asked what he thought of the Parisian transfer window, through his declas in the France team and the « #pivotgang gate », Mbappé did everything to make it clear that there was a cojones in the soup this season. Galtier did try to smooth things over in press conferences last Thursday, it seems that it will take more to calm the storm which, we are telling you, has only just begun.
Mbappé regains his freedom
Is it in this sense that we should read the tactical evolution of the Parisian coach against Benfica? Galette has indeed chosen to bring Marquinhos up in the middle of the field in order to form a sort of hybrid 4-4-2, with a Marqui-Verratti midfielder accompanied a little higher by the Neymar-Vitinha duo, and in front of the Mbappé- Sarabia. We’ll never know. For the former Nice coach, the official explanation is elsewhere. “We wanted to get out of the pressure from Benfica compared to what we saw in the first leg. To have someone extra behind the defenders of Benfica, with Vitinha and Ney, to try to fix the two opposing midfielders with the two midfielders Verratti and Marquinhos, ”he theorized.
Anyway, there was something funny in seeing the small Spanish striker position himself almost blindly with Mbappé on the same line, to give Bondy’s Bip-Bip the famous freedom he would miss so much. On arrival, the heat map de Mbappé proves it, by moving as he pleases and occupying the left side more often than usual to leave launched, the French international has found a role that suits him better. Enough to calm his anger against his leaders, guilty in his eyes of having betrayed their pre-season promises? We wouldn’t bet our full tank of gas on that.