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16th Dec 2022

Kylian Mbappé’s ‘issue’ with Lionel Messi revealed ahead of World Cup final

Robert Redmond

Messi and Mbappé have been teammates at PSG for over a year

Lionel Messi and Kylian Mbappé face off in the World Cup final on Sunday as Argentina take on France in Qatar.

Messi can cement his status as the greatest footballer ever by leading Argentina to their first World Cup win since 1986. Mbappé, meanwhile, could confirm his place as the current best player in the world by winning the tournament for the second time.

The pair are teammates for Paris Saint-Germain and have played almost 50 matches together, combing for 26 goals. Yet, according to reports, while they respect each other, they are not close friends. Mbappé, 23, is also said to have an ‘issue’ with Messi’s power at the club.

Kylian Mbappe Lionel Messi World Cup final

Kylian Mbappé and Lionel Messi.

According to the Spanish newspaper El Pais, Mbappé is good friends with PSG teammate Achraf Hakimi but with Messi and Neymar, the French forward’s relationship ‘never exceeds strictly professional limits.’ His relationship with Neymar is said to be strained.

Meanwhile, back in October, Spanish media outlet Marca reported that Mbappé has an ‘issue’ with Messi. The forward reportedly believes that his teammate has too much power in the PSG squad. Messi is said to have assumed a similar position to the one he held at Barcelona, where he was the dressing room leader.

It was also reported that after he signed a new contract to remain in Paris, Mbappé instructed PSG bosses to ‘dismantle the Argentine Republic‘ at the club so he could assume the mantle of the team’s undisputed leader.

The French forward is said to have wanted the club to move on players such as Messi, Mauro Icardi, Leandro Paredes and Ander Herrera and Keylor Navas (even though Herrera and Navas are not Argentinian).

Messi remained at the club, but Icardi left for Galatasaray on loan and Paredes joined Juventus on loan last summer. Herrera, meanwhile, joined Athletic Bilbao on loan. PSG also sacked their Argentine manager Mauricio Pochettino and replaced him with French coach Christophe Galtier.

Yet, Mbappé was said to be still unhappy about the situation at the club. In October, ESPN reported that the striker wanted to leave the club as he felt promises had not been kept by the PSG hierarchy.

Mbappé reportedly disliked playing with Neymar and Messi and preferred to play alongside a traditional centre-forward, such as Olivier Giroud as he does for the national team.

“What they ask of me here [with France] is different,” Mbappe said in September.

“Here, I have much more freedom than at PSG. The coach knows that there is a number nine, like Giroud, and so I can move and go into space.

“In Paris it is different. They ask me to play pivot, although I enjoy [playing] everywhere.”

Messi has been linked with a move to Inter Miami at the end of the current season, and Mbappé’s links to Real Madrid won’t go away, so the pair may not be teammates for much longer.

All of that, however, and the reported difficulties between the pair, will be put aside on Sunday as they prepare for the biggest match of their respective careers.

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