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Mbappe happy to let Messi play in his position and become PSG’s leading man

12:31 GMT+3 07/02/2022
Lionel Messi Kylian Mbappe PSG 2021-22
The World Cup-winning France international has been deployed as a central striker at times, but he sees an Argentine colleague thriving in that role

Kylian Mbappe is happy to let Lionel Messi become Paris Saint-Germain’s leading man in a central attacking position, with the France international willing to play a support role on the wings.

The World Cup winner has been deployed across Mauricio Pochettino’s front three this season, but is at his most effective when operating down the middle or from the left.

Mbappe has occupied both of those berths when lining up in the same XI as Messi, but was moved wider for a 5-1 win over defending Ligue 1 champions Lille on Sunday – with a couple of superstar forwards getting their names on the scoresheet.

What has been said?

Mbappe was asked by Amazon Prime Video on whether Messi is at his most destructive when playing down the middle, and said on the back of a stunning performance from PSG: “I'm not a coach, but Leo is a player who needs to touch the ball, to feel the game and the match.

“I think it's a good position for him. He is free, he can move, pick up the ball, he is close to the goal.

“Beyond that, I can play everywhere. I have started in the middle, on the right, I played on the left, I still have a certain freedom in my movements.

“For the moment we feel good like that. Afterwards we will have to configure the team with Ney because he is an important player, he is a player who changes our team. We'll see when he comes back.”

Brazil international Neymar has returned to training at PSG, but he has been missing since November 28 with an ankle injury.

He will be eased back into the fold by Pochettino, with no risks taken on his fitness, but the hope will be that he is ready to play some part in the first leg of a heavyweight Champions League last-16 encounter with Real Madrid on February 15.

Has Mbappe made a decision on his future?

While Mbappe is focused on the present and welcoming Neymar back into the PSG team, questions continue to be asked of what his future holds.

The 23-year-old is running his contract down towards free agency, and La Liga giants Real are reportedly ready to thrown open the doors at Santiago Bernabeu to another ‘Galactico’.

Mbappe is aware of the speculation surrounding his intentions, but insists no decision on his next move has been made as yet.

He added when asked about his plans: “Have I made a decision over my future? No.

“Playing against Real Madrid changes a lot of things. Although I have the freedom to do what I want in this moment, I am not going to speak with a rival or do that type of thing.

“I am concentrated on winning against Real Madrid. And then we will see what happens.”

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