Mbappe underlines value to PSG and leaves Messi in shade

  |  Wednesday, February 16th, 2022 |  7:03 pm

Kylian Mbappe’s importance to Paris Saint-Germain was all too evident long before his stoppage-time strike gave them a narrow win over Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League showdown on Tuesday and left them on course for a place in the quarter-finals.

It is understood that PSG rejected an offer worth up to 180 million euros ($204m) from Real in August for Mbappe, despite the France World Cup-winning striker being in the final year of his contract, reports AFP.

They wanted at least one more season with Mbappe at the Parc des Princes knowing that, even with Lionel Messi and Neymar there too, he is the man they need if they are finally to win a first Champions League title since the Qatari takeover of 2011.

Mbappe is still expected to leave at the end of the campaign for Real, the club who have tracked him since he was a teenager but who are now in danger of going out of the Champions League after his last-gasp winner.

The last-16 first leg in the French capital was still goalless in the fourth and final minute of injury time when the 23-year-old Mbappe burst into the box and finished through the legs of Real goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois.

That gave PSG a 1-0 victory that even Real coach Carlo Ancelotti admitted was deserved after a game dominated by the home side.

Mbappe had the Ligue 1 leaders’ best chance of the first half and forced a good save from Courtois early in the second half before winning a penalty just past the hour mark when he was fouled by Dani Carvajal.

Messi took the spot-kick only for Courtois to save, but Mbappe kept tormenting the Real defence and eventually got his reward, confirming why the Spanish giants are so desperate to secure his signature.

“I have been working with him for just over a year now and you could see tonight just how good a player he is,” said PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino.