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Manager discusses Messi-Mbappe relations after World Cup drama

The pair will reunite at Paris Saint-Germain after being on opposing teams in Qatar

There are no lingering tensions between Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappe despite the pair being on opposing sides in the World Cup final in Qatar earlier this month, according to Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier.

PSG teammates Messi and Mbappe experienced contrasting emotions at Lusail Stadium on December 18, when Argentina beat France on penalties to win the title.

Mbappe is already back in training in Paris ahead of the resumption of the Ligue 1 season on Wednesday, when PSG host Strasbourg.

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Meanwhile, Messi is set to rejoin the team in early January after enjoying the wild World Cup celebrations back in his homeland.

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PSG boss Galtier said on Tuesday that he does not expect any rift between the two star forwards.

“There is no reason to mix everything up in the relationship between Kylian and Leo [Messi],” Galtier said, as quoted by Reuters.  

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“Kylian has a very good attitude having lost the World Cup. When you lose a World Cup final, you have a reason to be very, very disappointed.

“He was very disappointed, but he knew how to go on and behave, and had a lot of class to congratulate Leo and that’s very good for the club and for the team.”

Messi captained his country to their first World Cup success since 1986, ending his quest for a title that had eluded him during his glittering career.

Mbappe ended up on the losing team with defending champions France despite becoming only the second ever player to score a hat-trick in a World Cup final.

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Galtier added that Messi had been granted leave until January 1 and was expected back in France one or two days later.

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Regarding the third man in the all-star PSG attacking line-up, Galtier said Neymar was ready to return to action following his disappointing World Cup quarterfinal exit with Brazil.

“When [Neymar] returned here on the December 22, he worked inside. Immediately afterwards he trained outside without restrictions. He is fine on a physical level, his ankle is fine,” said Galtier.

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“On a mental level, he really wants to play, that’s a good sign.”

PSG resume their Ligue 1 campaign at the top of the table, five points clear of Lens.

Their pursuit of a maiden UEFA Champions League title continues with a blockbuster meeting with Bayern Munich in the last 16, starting with the first leg at the Parc des Princes on February 14.


READ MORE: French media fume at ‘illegal’ Messi World Cup goal

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PSG have received a boost in recent days with reports that Messi, 35, is prepared to extend his time in Paris until at least 2024 – and possibly one year beyond that.

Messi won the Golden Ball for the best player at the Qatar World Cup, also scoring seven times at the tournament – including twice in the final.

Mbappe, 24, ended with the Golden Boot on eight strikes, but that was not enough to fire France to more success following their World Cup triumph in Russia four years ago. 

Both Messi and Mbappe are expected to contest next year’s Ballon d’Or, where Messi will be aiming for a record-extending eighth accolade, while Mbappe will be hoping to capture his first.   

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December 28, 2022 at 03:34PM
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