PSG's Mbappe tipped for greatness after Camp Nou masterclass

Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe scores to complete his hat-trick in the Champions League last 16 first leg match against Barcelona at Camp Nou, Barcelona on February 16, 2021
Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe scores to complete his hat-trick in the Champions League last 16 first leg match against Barcelona at Camp Nou, Barcelona on February 16, 2021
Image: ALBERT GEA / REUTERS

Paris St Germain's Kylian Mbappe has what it takes to reach the level of modern greats Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, Barcelona's Antoine Griezmann said after the 22-year-old scored a hat-trick in a 4-1 Champions League win on Tuesday.

One of the key men in France's 2018 World Cup triumph as a teenager, Mbappe again stood tall on a big occasion in his first match at Camp Nou, promptly cancelling out Messi's penalty in the first half before striking twice after the break.

He also became the first player to net a treble away to Barca in Europe's elite competition since Dynamo Kyiv's Andriy Shevchenko in November 1997, over a year before Mbappe was born.

"Kylian had a great night," said Griezmann, Mbappe's strike partner with France. "PSG have a star for the future, who will be at the same level as Leo Messi or Cristiano."

PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino also heaped praise on Mbappe, who helped the Argentine record only his second victory over Barca after spending years as a player and then coach with their long-suffering city rivals Espanyol.

"It's obvious that Kylian is a great footballer," said Pochettino following his side's last-16, first leg victory.

"He proved that with his three goals but he also showed real commitment by getting involved with defensive work too. As well as being brilliant for the three goals, he put in a huge effort for the team when Barca were putting pressure on us."

The PSG coach added: "Yesterday in our training session he asked me how many times I had won at the Camp Nou. I said once with Espanyol, and he assured me that tonight I'd win for a second time. He's a top guy."

PSG's former Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas also praised Mbappe's selfless qualities.

"Mbappe played very well and he always thought about doing the best for the team, he wasn't just thinking about distinguishing himself," he said.

"He doesn't need to prove himself to anyone, the whole world knows him already and we're very happy to have him. When we see him go and perform like that, we feel privileged."

- Reuters

 

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