Paris Saint-Germain begin Champions League campaign against Juventus but start of competition marred by reports of feud between Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, who has been dragged into Paul and Mathias Pogba’s public falling out
Tuesday 6 September 2022 00:16, UK
Kylian Mbappe has played down reports of a feud between himself and Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar.
The forwards clashed in August’s win over Montpellier when Neymar prevented Mbappe, who had seen an earlier penalty saved, from taking another spot-kick, ignoring the order of penalty takers assigned by boss Christophe Galtier.
Sergio Ramos reportedly had to separate the two feuding stars in the dressing room after the match and Neymar’s liking of posts on social media poking fun at Mbappe’s missed penalty have only fanned speculation of unrest.
But, speaking ahead of PSG’s Champions League Group H clash with Juventus, Mbappe revealed that while there were ups and downs in his relationship with Neymar there was still the utmost of respect for the Brazilian.
“To talk about Neymar, this is the sixth year, I think we’ve always had a relationship like this based on respect,” Mbappe told reporters.
“But we’ve always had moments like this where sometimes we’ve had moments that were a bit colder and moments that were a bit hotter.
“There are times, you’ll see, when we’re the best of friends and sometimes we don’t talk so much, it’s the nature of our relationship that’s like that.
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“But there is a lot of respect, I have a lot of respect for the player he is, the player he represents and the importance he has in our team.
“Afterwards, when you have two players with a strong character like that, life is not linear, it’s sure that sometimes things happen but it always remains in the respect and in the interest of PSG.”
Asked who would take a penalty were PSG to win one against Juventus, Mbappe added: “We’ll see, we’ll see, there’s always a discussion, we have to see how it goes during the match.
“I think we’re not both closed [to discuss it]. If the match makes it Neymar who shoots, it will be Neymar who shoots, if the match makes it me who shoots, it will be me who shoots, there’s no problem on that.
“Number one doesn’t mean that you take all the penalties. I don’t think that exists in any club, even less when you play with three players like that.
“You have to know how to share the cake and feel, it’s a question of feeling, and also know how to put water in your wine. We’ll see tomorrow but there’s no problem with that.”
Mbappe has been dragged into another unfolding drama to hit French football, after Mathias Pogba’s claims his brother Paul had put a curse on the PSG striker.
The Pogba’s are embroiled in an public falling out, with Mathias promising to reveal “explosive” information about his brother and other players, and Paul claiming to have been the victim of extortion at the hands of his sibling.
Asked whether the case involving the Pogba brothers would damage his relationship with Paul in the French squad, Mbappe said: “No, because I believe that today I prefer to trust the word of a teammate.
“He called me and gave me his version of the facts. Today, as I speak, it is his word against his brother’s, so I will trust my teammate.
“I think in the interest of the selection too, I think we have a great competition. At the moment I think that he is in some problems, I think that it is not the moment to add to his problems and we will see how it goes, I am quite detached from all that.”
Juventus and France midfielder Paul Pogba is a major doubt for the World Cup in Qatar as he requires surgery on a knee injury.
The 29-year-old has yet to feature this campaign after sustaining the injury in pre-season and the club have decided he needs surgery to fix the problem.
“This morning Pogba trained for the second time, but then stopped, and it was then decided that he undergo surgery,” Juventus boss Massimiliano Allegri said on Monday.
“We will realistically get him back in January. The World Cup is not my problem, Juventus’ problem is that he comes back in January.”
Pogba returned to Juventus from Manchester United on a free transfer this summer, but injury has prevented him from making a single appearance in his second spell with the Bianconeri.
France’s first match of their World Cup defence is against Australia on November 22.
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