Former PSG and Manchester City striker, Anelka believes that Messi must put himself at the service of Mbappé.
At PSG, there is Messi, Neymar and Mbappé but always only one ball to play. For Nicolas Anelka, the Parisian attack should be led by Kylian Mbappé. The former PSG and Manchester City striker insisted Lionel Messi “must serve” the 2018 World Cup winner.
Mbappé has been a vital pawn at PSG since his transfer from Monaco in 2017, and the 22-year-old has scored 136 goals in his first 180 games for the club.
Four of those goals were scored at the start of the 2021-22 campaign, but Mbappé has to share the limelight with Neymar and summer rookie Messi, who arrived at Parc des Princes for free after leaving FC Barcelona.
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“Mbappé would have already won the Ballon d’Or in England”
It has been suggested that Mauricio Pochettino will need to build his squad around Messi in order to win the Ligue 1 title and the Champions League, but Anelka believes Mbappé deserves to be the main man of the PSG squad.
The former French international, who started his playing career at Parc des Princes, told Le Parisien: “Mbappé must lead the attack because he is number 1.”
“Messi was at Barcelona, but now he has to serve Mbappé. He has been at the club for five years and Messi has to respect him.”
Anelka then addressed the ongoing speculation around the future of his compatriot since Real Madrid, where Anelka played, reportedly intend to bring in Mbappé when his current contract at PSG expires in June 2022.
Discussions about a possible contract renewal for Mbappé have yet to progress, and Anelka can understand why he would be tempted to take on a new challenge at the Santiago Bernabeu.
“He is a phenomenal player in terms of speed, there is no one better on the planet,” he added. “If Paris wants to have the best team, they have to do everything they can to keep it.
“But I think it’s very clear in Kylian’s head. He wants to see something else, and it makes sense. He’s dreaming of the Ballon d’Or, and how can he win it if he plays in the sixth? best league according to the UEFA coefficient? ”
“If Kylian had been in England or Spain for the past three years, he would have won the Ballon d’Or by now.”
Messi “won’t forget” Pochettino’s decision
Anelka has also opened up on Messi’s reaction to being replaced prematurely on his PSG debut against Lyon on September 19. He believes the Argentina coach has already caused irreparable damage to his relationship with the six-time Ballon d’Or.
When asked if he understands Messi’s apparent frustration with the change, Anelka replied: “Completely. You don’t release a six-time Ballon d’Or in the 65th minute, when he didn’t score for his team. It plays a lot with his head.”
“A striker needs his coach to give him confidence, and he doesn’t. I step forward a bit, but Messi won’t forget what Pochettino did. He won’t forget it. He’s there. star of the team and it was his first game at Parc des Princes. It will be very difficult to recover from this situation. ”
“Messi didn’t play against Metz, and for me that’s already an answer. You can’t handle Messi like that. The coach wanted to send a strong message, which is good, but it’s Messi. ”