Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino has warned that the French giants will do everything within their power to keep superstar Kylian Mbappe at the club past the end of his contract next summer.
Real Madrid have been heavily linked with the 22-year-old who recently admitted that he asked PSG to be allowed to join the Spanish capital outfit this past summer and Pochettino hinted that the former Monaco man could yet decide to stay at Parc des Princes.
“Kylian will make the decision that he has to make,” the Argentine told Josep Pedrerol of “El Chiringuito TV.” “The club will do everything possible to keep him. PSG can seduce him and convince him to stay. He could change his mind.”
Pochettino admitted that he thought the idea of bringing Lionel Messi to Paris was a joke when PSG sporting director Leonardo first suggested the possibility and that the legendary Albiceleste international’s arrival accelerated rapidly.
“Leonardo called me and asked me if I would like Messi,” said the ex-Tottenham Hotspur boss. “I asked him ‘is that a real question?’ Honestly, I thought it was a joke. Of course, yes. After that, things really started. Once the door opened, I think that he decided to come here.”
On the topic of Messi as a potential Ballon d’Or winner after his Copa America success this summer, Pochettino is in no doubt that his fellow Argentine should be handed his seventh title which would have been the case even if both were not together in Paris.
“The Ballon d’Or must go to Leo,” he said. “Even if I was not his coach, I would say the same thing.”
Another of PSG’s superstar talents, Neymar, suggested in an interview recently that the 2022 World Cup in Qatar might be his last with Brazil and Pochettino had nothing but praise for the former Barcelona man.
“Neymar has incredible mental strength and enormous sensitivity,” said the 49-year-old. “He is sincere and speaks his mind. He said something that can be interpreted in a thousand ways. I have no doubt: He wants to show his best face and to win.
“He spoke with Leonardo and explained his feelings to him. He said how he felt at that time in an interview. He is a 29-year-old who has been under immense pressure since he was young.”
However, Neymar is one of the South American players that will be unavailable to Pochettino against Angers SCO in Ligue 1 on Friday and the man from Murphy admitted that it is frustrating that he has yet to be able to pick from a full-strength squad this season.
PSG has a Champions League date with RB Leipzig a few days later on Tuesday — you can stream all of PSG’s UCL matches on Paramount+.
“We are frustrated that we do not have our players,” he said at Thursday’s press conference. “However, there will be no excuses as our squad is large. The players we put out will be capable of performing well.
“We do not yet have a full squad,” he added on the topic of the 2-0 loss away at Stade Rennais before the recent international break. “After Rennes, everyone went on international duty. There was no time to talk to everybody. You must take the time to analyze a defeat. It was an accident. We do not like losses in Paris. We are all aware of that.”
Goalkeeper Keylor Navas picked up an injury during CONCACAF World Cup qualification duty with Costa Rica and is a doubt for Friday’s game with Gianluigi Donnarumma set to continue his recent run of starts.
“Keylor is not back with us yet,” said Pochettino in conference. “We will look at him once he arrives. He felt a twinge. We hope that it was more out of precaution than anything else.”
Elsewhere, Pochettino hinted that Juan Bernat could finally make his comeback this week while Sergio Ramos remains out for at least 10 more days after PSG updated their weekly medical bulletin with his progress.