There was much hype heading into Paris Saint-Germain’s pivotal UEFA Champions League Round of 16 first leg fixture against Barcelona. With no Neymar and Angel Di Maria due to injury, PSG was going to need a player to step up and lead the side in the match.
That player turned out to be Kylian Mbappe, who scored a monumental hat-trick against the Spanish powerhouse.
For former PSG manager Thomas Tuchel, this performance from Mbappe was far from a surprise. The now-Chelsea manager (via AS) notes that Mbappe is one player who can deliver these kinds of performances on such a grand stage as the Champions League knockout stage.
“Scoring a hat-trick at Nou Camp is a message and is what he demands of himself,” Tuchel said. “It is his potential, it is what he has in him. He is still young, he is still hungry, he is a shark in his mentality.
“He wants to grab everything that he can have. This is the mentality that you need, and I mean it in the most positive way because he’s a nice guy in private and in person.
“He’s a nice guy, super intelligent, super funny, but once he’s on the pitch, he’s a shark. This is what the big guys are. If there is one drop of blood in the water, they arrive.”
There has since been much talk regarding whether Mbappe has what it takes to surpass Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo to become the best player in the world. Tuchel notes that it will not be an effortless task for Mbappe to do so.
“This is Kylian, and if he wants to enter on the level from the guys [Messi and Ronaldo] because they are there for years and years and years,” Tuchel said. “I don’t think they are ready to step aside just because he arrives.
“He has to take it. I think he will do everything to do it.”
Many can certainly attest to these comments from Tuchel. It would take a special talent to replace Messi and Ronald to claim the honor of the top player in this sport.
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