Kylian Mbappé invisible on his big Champions League night

“My biggest dream is to win the Champions League with Paris Saint-Germain,” said Kylian Mbappé (25) during an interview back in 2021. With his time at PSG coming to a close, the France captain is in last-chance saloon.

It is thought that this will be Mbappé’s final season with PSG. It has been widely reported that he informed club president Nasser Al-Khelaifi of his intention to leave the club upon the expiry of his contract at the end of the season. However, before likely making the switch to Real Madrid in the summer, Mbappé has sought to realise his “biggest dream”. 

“It’s the time for the big players. I’m ready and of course, as usual, I won’t hide,” he told Canal Plus in the run-up to Wednesday’s Champions League first leg against Barcelona. However, he did hide, or rather, he was hidden.

Barcelona effectively shut down Mbappé during PSG’s 3-2 defeat, limiting the Frenchman’s influence on a match in which he was expected to be the protagonist. He made just 44 touches in the match, the fewest of any of PSG’s outfield players who played over 45 minutes. Jules Koundé, who knows Mbappé well from France duty, was consistently well-positioned but he was also helped out by the imperious Ronald Araújo, who was quick to come across and help Koundé snuff out any danger. 

His touches were therefore heavily limited and when Mbappé did get on the ball, he struggled, completing just one of his three dribbles, whilst it was also the first time since 28th April 2021, against Manchester City, that the former AS Monaco forward failed to get a shot on target when starting a Champions League match at the Parc des Princes. 

Mbappé’s desperate attempt to launch himself at the ball from a rebound late in the match was emblematic of a match in which the main man was largely invisible. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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