Mbappe and Messi a dream left to Be.

Mbappe and Messi a dream left to Be.

Open Talk

Football

January 9th, 2024

When Lionel Messi, the celestial maestro, arrived at Paris Saint-Germain in 2021, it felt like footballing royalty gracing the Parc des Princes. Partnered with Kylian Mbappe, the Parisian prodigy, it seemed like PSG had orchestrated a dream duo, destined to dance their way to Champions League glory. While their time together was shorter than many hoped, Mbappe and Messi's PSG partnership was a fascinating tapestry woven with moments of brilliance, tactical adjustments, and the lingering question of how truly harmonious it could have been.

Messi's arrival undoubtedly altered the landscape for Mbappe. No longer the undisputed offensive focal point, he had to adapt to sharing the spotlight with arguably the greatest footballer of all time. Stats tell a fascinating story. In the 2020/21 season before Messi's arrival, Mbappe had a staggering 44 goal contributions (33 goals, 11 assists) in 41 appearances. With Messi alongside him in 2021/22, these numbers dipped to 39 contributions (39 goals, 20 assists) in 44 games. Mbappe's goalscoring remained potent, but his assists saw a noticeable rise, suggesting a shift in his role to accommodate Messi's playmaking genius.

Tactically, PSG manager Mauricio Pochettino experimented with various formations to fit both superstars. Initially, a 4-3-3 with Messi operating as a central playmaker and Mbappe on the left seemed natural. Later, a 4-2-3-1 emerged, with Messi dropping deeper and Mbappe roaming freely across the frontline. These adjustments, while aimed at maximizing individual strengths, sometimes led to inconsistencies. The media, hungry for a narrative, began speculating about a power struggle, fueled by occasional on-field misunderstandings.

However, both players vehemently denied any rift. "There is no problem with Kylian," Messi declared after the 2022 World Cup final, where Argentina faced off against Mbappe's France. Mbappe echoed the sentiment, stating, "Playing with Messi was special." He later admitted to Prime Video Sport, "You'll always miss no longer playing with Messi. For an attacker like me, who likes to eat up the space, with him, there was always the guarantee that you'd have the ball. It was a luxury that almost only he could afford."

Ultimately, Mbappe and Messi's PSG partnership, though brief, leaves an intriguing legacy. While the Champions League crown remained elusive, they produced moments of breathtaking synergy, showcasing their individual brilliance while learning to co-exist. Their statistics may not paint a definitive picture, but their shared experience on the Parisian stage will forever be a footnote in footballing history, a testament to the complexities and challenges of uniting two generational talents.

 

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img via: EPA

tag: Kylian Mbappe , Lionel Messi

Klind Parangoni Author

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