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Kylian Mbappé The Hero For PSG As Real Madrid Left Wondering What If

Kylian Mbappé The Hero For PSG As Real Madrid Left Wondering What If
By Jonathan Byrne
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Kylian Mbappé. What a player.

The meeting of Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid looked to be one of the most mouth-watering ties since the Champions League knockout draw was made.

The atmosphere in Parc de Princes felt like a matchup of two European heavyweights. There was plenty of talent on show on both sides of the pitch.

However, the first 45 minutes were fairly cagey, and while the second half opened up more, it still felt a bit lackluster on Real Madrid's behalf.

Madrid were set up well in midfield and forced Paris Saint-Germain onto the wings, which they did have some success, largely down to the trickery of Kylian Mbappé.

Danny Carvajal was given the impossible task of being Mbappé's shadow all game, which he did fairly well until he made way for Lucas Vasquez with fifteen minutes to go.

The Spaniard did slip up on one occasion which could have proved costly. Minutes after the second-half whistle, Mbappé looked to be going into no man's land.


Carvajal lunged into him in the box and his mistimed challenge resulted in a PSG penalty. Lionel Messi stepped up to take it and you could already read tomorrow's headlines.

Thibaut Courtois had different ideas, however, and presented a strong hand to push the ball away from Messi's spot-kick. It was a pivotal moment in the game.

Things began to open up on both sides, but Paris Saint-Germain were the standout team on the attacking front, looking far more dangerous and accumulating more chances.


Mbappé would be called upon again minutes later after some nice link-up play at the edge of the box. Courtois did well to deny the Frenchman of opening the scoring.

As the minutes went on, it felt like things were falling by the wayside for PSG. They attacked through Messi, Mbappé, and substitute Neymar but they couldn't find a way in.


Mbappé had a chance that crossed the goalmouth and Messi did something similar with a cross that wasn't met in the box. The game was still scoreless into injury time.


Then, Mbappé finally found his opportunity. A nice backheel from Neymar put him free on the wing, and he effortlessly dashed into the box to slot the ball into the bottom corner.

The Paris crowd erupted as a one-goal lead will be vitally important heading into the next leg. PSG will do enough with a draw at a minimum at the Bernabeu.

Mbappé Proving His Worth

In fairness to Carlo Ancelotti, he had a clear game plan. Man marking Mbappé was a wise move, given his threat, but also a difficult task over ninety-plus minutes.


Despite his slip-up, Carvajal did well to contain him for most of the game. Bringing on Lucas Vazquez was likely viewed as a pair of fresh legs, but may have been counter-intuitive.

Vazquez is a natural wing-back and a player that has transformed from a right-winger to a defender over time. It's not his strong suit to be ultra defensiveultra-defensive.

But given Mbappé's world-class talent, sometimes your best efforts aren't enough. That seemed to be the case as it took ninety-three minutes for him to break the deadlock.

It's an interesting backstory with this tie. Mbappé has been heavily linked with a move to the Spanish giants, with talks reaching a stalemate last summer.

A reported €170 million plus fee couldn't be agreed upon and instead, PSG have decided to roll the dice and allow Mbappé to enter this summer as a free agent out of contract.

They can survive without Mbappé with the attacking options of Messi, Neymar, and Di Maria etc, but he'll still prove to be a huge loss given his goal ratio.

This season he's scored 21 times across all competitions, with no other PSG player scoring more than 7. It shows how relied upon he is for his goals for the French giants.

Real Madrid are flying high domestically this season, but adding someone of Mbappé's quality can only raise their ceiling at home and in Europe.

There'll be a few executives left red-faced that they didn't pull the trigger last summer. Nonetheless, all eyes will be on Mbappé's decision in a few months time.

In the mean time - good luck to Real Madrid trying to contain him at the Bernabeu.

See Also: Why Win In Lisbon Shows This Year Might Be Different For Manchester City In The Champions League

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