Sports

Mbappe effect keeps PSG out of reach


By AFP
Published : 04 Aug 2022 09:24 PM

Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay at Paris Saint-Germain was hailed as a boon for French football but it surely rules out any slim chance of a title race as the new Ligue 1 season kicks off this weekend.

France coach Didier Deschamps said Mbappe was "shining a positive light on the championship abroad" by choosing to sign a new three-year contract to stay in his home country, a decision which President Emmanuel Macron admitted he advised the striker to take.

French league president Vincent Labrune insisted Mbappe's new deal had sent "a strong message for the present and future of our league".

In reality, a move abroad will still probably happen before long for a player who looks certain to one day win the Ballon d'Or.

Yet the possibility of leading Qatar-owned PSG to Champions League glory will motivate Mbappe this season, alongside defending the World Cup with France in Qatar in November and December.

Mbappe is the dominant figure in Paris despite the presence of Lionel Messi and Neymar and the arrival of a new coach at a club whose title triumph last season was overshadowed by their Champions League last-16 exit against Real Madrid.

Coach Mauricio Pochettino and sporting director Leonardo have been replaced by Christophe Galtier and Luis Campos respectively.

Portuguese super scout Campos was named in the post of football advisor. He built the last two sides to deny PSG the domestic title: Monaco in 2017 and Lille in 2021.

Galtier, the finest French manager of the last decade, was the coach of that Lille side and spent last season in charge of Nice, but he knows the pressures in Paris will be altogether greater.