Back from an ankle injury, Kylian Mbappé said he was ready to “leave (his) body on the ground” to win the Champions League.
Kylian Mbappé answered our questions at a press conference, following the historic qualification of PSG for the Champions League final. After a victory against Leipzig (3-0), the French striker assured that he was ready to do so “to leave (his body) on the ground” to go to the end and lift the trophy on Sunday in Lisbon.
How is your contract with Neymar? Can he become the best player in the world?
Kylian Mbappé: We feel very good on and off the field. It is important for the team and it is very nice to play with a player like Neymar. He is one of the best players in the world. He showed it today, even though he did not score. We passed, that’s the most important thing, and it benefited Di Maria who had a fantastic game. This year, the Ballon d’Or will not be awarded, but if we win the Champions League, he will of course be able to win the trophy. Of course, he is destined to win this type of trophy. I hope he wins it, it will mean we win the Champions League.
How do you explain this quasi-fraternal relationship with Neymar?
We are about the same age group. We share the same illusions outside. We manage to laugh together. We tell each other things honestly and we appreciate each other. The power passed immediately. We each try to stay in our place while maintaining mutual respect. We have fun, we have a lot of fun. And I also believe that we have improved in relation to our relationship with others. We are less focused on both. We understood that it is with others that we will win. We do not just win two.
You have experienced victory in the World Cup with France in a knockout tournament. Do you have the impression that there is a parallel with what PSG goes through in this “Final 8”?
Honestly Yes. We have managed to create a group, everyone knows their importance and contributes something to the building. It goes beyond the field, we do many more activities together. For some it may be too much, but I think that’s how you win. We did the same thing in the election, we created a group and it’s easier to run after a friend, to make the sacrifices, when you like. This applies to football and all jobs. I think we created it at PSG. Will it help us win afterwards? I do not know, but it will certainly help.
“The night of my injury, I cried all night”
With your ankle injury that occurred on July 24, were you afraid of missing the competition?
The truth is that on the night of the victory against Saint-Etienne (in the Coupe de France, note), I did not believe it. I thought it was dead. I cried all night. But I woke up the next morning and told myself to try my best, caring days, to come home and take care of more. When it comes to ligaments, we can always save time. I threw myself into a delirium on my own, maybe I was crazy, but the more it developed the more there were grounds for hope. I had better feelings, and above all I wanted to be part of the adventure. I knew that at some point the team would need me, but not necessarily my physical presence on the pitch. To get my good humor. I never wanted to show that I was wrong even though it was a difficult time. It was a great pleasure to come back against Atalanta to help the team qualify and be able to play again today.
Is your injury behind you?
No, it’s not behind me yet. I feel good, better and better. The more the days go by, the better I will feel. But I have to play with a very thick strap (bandage, note), it’s not the best. I have no more pain, but some precautions are needed. But I’m ready to help the team on the pitch we saw against Atalanta and Tuesday night. All I want is to win. I came here to win. It does not matter if it is pain or not, I leave my body on the field and do everything to win on Sunday.
Do you have a preference between Lyon and Bayern in the final?
A preference for Lyon, of course, because it is a French club. If we do not value our championship, who will value it? After that, I know it will be a very complicated game. If it’s Bavaria, it’s Bavaria. But if it’s Lyon, it will have a special taste.
Benjamin Quarez, our special correspondent in Lisbon.