Even with the 2022 FIFA World Cup just around the corner, Paris Saint-Germain manager Christophe Galtier decided to have multiple players who were called to represent their respective national teams at the tournament start in the Ligue 1 home fixture against AJ Auxerre.
Among them, PSG’s superstar attacking trio of Lionel Messi, Neymar, and Kyliafn Mbappe all were in the starting 11 on Ligue 1 matchday 15. Messi and Neymar were subbed off at the 75th minute, while Mbappe stayed on the pitch until the final whistle blew.
Speaking to Prime Video Sport France after PSG’s 5-0 win over AJ Auxerre, Galtier provided a bit of reasoning behind his decision to sub off Messi and Neymar but not Mbappe in the fixture.
“No one was especially concerned about the World Cup, surely more me than my players, and for me at one point I wanted to relieve Neymar, Leo (Messi) and Sergio (Ramos) who is not going to the World Cup but had a little fatigue in the calves,” Galtier said.
“Kylian is 23 years old, Neymar had stopped in the middle of the week on a training session, Leo was coming back from an overload on his calf, it also seemed appropriate to give playing time to other players.”
Fortunately for both PSG and the France national team, Mbappe did not come away from the match with any injury. The next time that Mbappe will step onto a football pitch will be in France’s World Cup group stage matchup against Australia.