Luis Enrique pays tribute to Kylian Mbappé, a “legend” of Paris Saint-Germain

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PSG coach Luis Enrique (right) with Kylian Mbappé during the Champions League semi-final second leg against Dortmund, at the Parc des Princes, May 7, 2024. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

Luis Enrique’s reaction was expected. Since a leak in the press in mid-February, we knew that Kylian Mbappé’s adventure at Paris Saint-Germain would not continue, at the end of his contract, at the end of the season. But the club coach had been clear on his line: there was no question of speaking on the subject until one of the two parties involved – the player or PSG – had first spoken. This was done on the evening of Friday May 10, when the attacker posted online on social networks a goodbye video that went viral.

Read also | Kylian Mbappé formalizes his departure from PSG and France, his next club still not announced

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Present at a press conference the next day, the coach knew that the questions would not relate to the reception of Toulouse, Sunday at 9 p.m. on behalf of the 33e day of Ligue 1, but on the top scorer in the history of PSG (255 goals). “Despite the fact that people often wanted to confront us, everything I can say about him is wonderful”explained Luis Enrique, whose relationship with his number 7 sometimes seemed stormy during the season.

Arriving in the summer of 2023 on the Parisian bench with the mission of building a more coherent team, the Spaniard immediately found himself, despite himself, at the center of a communication war between the club’s management and its best player. . This Saturday, he finally had the opportunity to make his voice heard. [Kylian Mbappé] spent seven years here, he’s a legend, greeted the Asturian. (…) He helped the team, he was a leader, a leader with a smile. I am very proud to have lived this year with him. »

Despite being put on the shelf at the start of the season and preparation on the sidelines of the group, the captain of the Blues once again signed a remarkable year under the red and blue colors in terms of accounting: 43 goals, 10 assists in 46 matches in all competitions. .

To the point of being compared to Lionel Messi and Neymar? Luis Enrique, who rubbed shoulders with the Argentinian and the Brazilian during his time at FC Barcelona (from 2014 to 2017), preferred to kick into touch. “I have been very lucky to have always had a very direct relationship with some of the best players in the world. Everyone has their own personal situation, but those I have worked with have always behaved well. I don’t like to make rankings, I can only say wonderful things. »

“We have known this for a long time”

Kylian Mbappé’s announcement, three days after the elimination of PSG by Borussia Dortmund in the semi-finals of the Champions League, obviously surprised no one. “We have known this for a long time, it was only made public yesterday”he recalled. “I wish him the best for the future. He didn’t say where he was going, but I think it’s clear “, also slipped the former Blaugrana coach, while Kylian Mbappé, announced at Real Madrid, has not yet formalized his new destination.

Will the captain of the Blues be able to adapt to his new club? Luis Enrique is not worried. “He is a close, warm, optimistic person, prepared for all situations. I give him 10/10 as a person and 10/10 as a footballer. »

Asked about the loss of the figurehead of the QSI (Qatar Sports Investments) project, the Spaniard wanted to be reassuring: “It’s a sport that is complex enough that the teams with the best players don’t always win every game. This doesn’t change anything in the general picture. We have the same goals. I am convinced that, regardless of our players, we will be stronger next year. »

Read also | Article reserved for our subscribers Kylian Mbappé sulks Nasser Al-Khelaïfi in his goodbye message to PSG, the outcome of a relationship that has deteriorated over the years

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Sunday evening, Kylian Mbappé will play his last match in Parisian colors in front of the public at the Parc des Princes. It remains to be seen whether number 7 will receive a tribute commensurate with the services rendered. Luis Enrique could not answer the question. “I will defend my opinion anywhere, but these issues are not for me. We made sure it ended in the best possible way.”he said.

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Thanking in his video all the people he was able to meet during his visit to Paris, Kylian Mbappé however omitted Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, the president of the club. The latter’s reaction to his departure is still awaited.

Oscar Korbosli

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