Kylian Mbappe completes his hat-trick
Kylian Mbappe said his “hard work is paying off” after a stunning hat-trick saw Paris Saint-Germain thrash Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.
Mbappe produced a passing of the torch performance at the Camp Nou, blowing away Lionel Messi’s tired Barcelona on a night that surely cemented his place as the best player in the world.
“We are very happy. It was a very important match for us. We wanted to come here and win. And we did it in style. Now we have an important match on Sunday in the league,” Mbappe told RMC.
“Tonight, it is magnificent but we have not won anything yet. I am happy. I always want to give the best of myself. I have not always had that success. But never in my life will I hide. Today, my hard work is paying. We were a little heckled, there was Covid. But we are feeling better and better physically.
Questioned about his future, with the 22-year-old still yet to agree a contract extension with PSG, Mbappe added: “It would be stupid to decide my future on a single match. The truth is that it is about reflecting for the long term. I have always said that I am happy here. This sort of match makes me even happier… The PSG shirt is one that I hold dear to my heart.”
Kylian Mbappe is embraced by Mauricio Pochettino at full-time
The victory also marked a decisive moment for Mauricio Pochettino, still so early into his tenure with the French champions, who singled out Marco Verratti for praise, with the Italian producing a masterful performance in midfield.
“[Verratti] is a player with a very good ability to read the game,” Pochettino said. “He allows for us each time to have attacking possession and to bring the ball out into good situations, to better start off attacks. In attacking phases, he can double his efforts and provoke situations going forward. For me, he is a truly great player.”
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Pochettino added: “Yesterday, at training, [Mbappe] asked me how many times I had won at the Camp Nou. Once, I told him. He replied to me: tomorrow, we are going to win a second time. He is a top player.”
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