Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar lined up at the Parc des Princes for the first time together on Sunday evening as PSG met Lyon, and while Messi’s arrival was met with delight, the Frenchman was handed a very different welcome
Image: AFP via Getty Images)
The France international’s name was initially booed when the official starting lineups for their clash with Lyon were read out an hour before kickoff, by those supporters who had made their way into the ground early.
And when the World Cup winner’s name was read out again shortly before kickoff, he was again greeted by largely boos from a capacity crowd.
Bizarrely, broadcaster Amazon Prime went out of their way to claim that there were no boos for the Paris-born star.
Yet while there was a small smattering of applause for Mbappe, who had also been greeted with jeers in PSG’s previous home encounter, when they thrashed Clermont 4-0 last weekend, it was fanciful to suggest otherwise.
There is clear frustration among the club’s hardcore supporters over Mbappe’s decision not to sign a new contract at the club.
The 22-year-old is into the final nine months of his deal, and has thus far refused to put pen-to-paper on a new deal, despite the desire of president Nasser Al-Khelaifi to see him extend.
PSG rejected two offers from Real Madrid for Mbappe – for whom it is widely known to be a dream to play for Los Blancos – with the second believed to be in excess of £170million. It’s understood that Al-Khelaifi saw it as a point of principal on deadline day not to sell Mbappe to Madrid.
This week, PSG chief Leonardo claimed that he believes Mbappe could still stay in the French capital beyond the current campaign.
“I don’t see Mbappe leaving at the end of this season,” he told Canal Plus. “Nobody is thinking about the future of Paris Saint-Germain without Kylian.
“Kylian sort of represents the difference between the superficial and the deep. Kylian’s relationship with Paris Saint-Germain is deep. That’s why we don’t think about anything else.
“Kylian represents many things. Not only because he is French or one of the best players in the world.
“He has a way of being that we like and one that everyone likes.”
However, on a night where he, Messi and Neymar started together on home soil for the first time, Mbappe’s being liked is not as universal as it once was.