PSG boss Pochettino: Mbappé is on par with megastars Messi and Ronaldo

·2 min read

Paris Saint-Germain boss Mauricio Pochettino bracketed striker Kylian Mbappé alongside Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo just days after the 22-year-old scored the winning goal for France in the Nations League final.

Mbappé completed the French comeback in Milan on Sunday night with a cold-blooded finish in the 80th minute to give his country a 2-1 victory over Spain.

Speaking to the Spanish football podcast El Larguero, Pochettino said: "Kylian is one of the great talents, he is the present and the future.

"He is only 22 years old but he is very mature. I enjoy being with him. He's at the level of Messi and Cristiano at the moment."

Primacy

Messi and Ronaldo have established themselves as the alpha males over the past decade and a half, winning the coveted Ballon d'Or 11 times between them.

Messi, who claimed six of the trophies during his time at Barcelona, moved to PSG during the summer to add his heft to a forward line containing Angel Di Maria and Neymar – the world's most expensive player.

"It's a fantastic opportunity to have Kylian here with Neymar and Messi," Pochettino added.

"It's a huge satisfaction to see the three of them together every day in training.

"He has a good relationship with all his partners. He gets on well with everyone quickly and has the respect and admiration of his teammates."

Supremacy

PSG made a blistering start to the Ligue 1 season. They won their first eight games of the campaign before slumping to a 2-0 defeat at Rennes just before the international break.

Pochettino's men entertain Angers on Friday night at the Parc des Princes but will be unlikely to field Messi, Di Maria or a host of South American players such as their skipper Marquinhos who played in 2022 World Cup qualifiers.

Mbappé, who was the subject of a 160 million euro transfer bid from Real Madrid in the summer, is expected to lead the attack with Italy international Marco Verratti pulling the strings in midfield.

"PSG will try to convince Kylian to stay," added Pochettino. "I, as a coach, would be delighted if he stayed for many years."

Development

Mbappé's deal with PSG runs out at the end of next June. He will be free to listen to offers from other clubs from January.

In an interview with the French sports newspaper L'Equipe, Mbappé admitted he wanted to leave for Madrid during the summer but accepted PSG's decision not to sell him.

He hinted he might stay in Paris.

"PSG will do everything possible to keep Kylian," said Pochettino. "Because we are talking about one of the best players in the world, with huge potential.

"But one thing I know is that until the last day, whether it's 30 June 2022 or five years or 10 years from now, he will be 100 percent professional."

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