PARIS: Kylian Mbappe will lead Paris Saint-Germain into their meeting with Nantes on Saturday looking for the goal that will put him out on his own as the club’s all-time top scorer as they get ready for a season-defining trip to Bayern Munich.
Mbappe’s brace in PSG’s 3-0 win at bitter rivals Marseille last weekend took him to 200 goals for the Qatar-owned club and allowed him to equal his former teammate Edinson Cavani as their record marksman.
It would be a surprise if a player who has four goals in his last two games since returning from a thigh injury did not find the net against Nantes at the Parc des Princes to claim the record outright.
“Kylian will no doubt beat the record. He is the best striker in the world at the moment, without question,“ PSG coach Christophe Galtier said after the Marseille triumph.
“He is very quick, and he does everything fast. He always turns up in big games, which is what great players do.”
It has taken the France superstar just 246 games, and five and a half years, to reach a double century of goals for PSG since signing from Monaco in August 2017.
It took Uruguay striker Cavani 298 matches between 2013 and 2020 to get there. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the first superstars of the Qatar era, had previously held the record with 156 goals in his four years in Paris up to 2016.
For Mbappe, the landmark has arrived just two months after he finished as the top scorer at the World Cup in Qatar, in which he netted an astonishing hat-trick in the final against Argentina.
France’s agonising defeat on penalties in that epic encounter in Doha was surely all that stopped him from winning the FIFA Best award for 2022 — he was sat next to Lionel Messi as the Argentinian pipped him to that gong in a ceremony in a Paris theatre on Monday.
Now Mbappe and Messi are gearing up for next Wednesday’s crunch clash with Bayern as PSG head to Germany for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.
Mbappe’s injury meant he was only able to make a cameo appearance off the bench in that game, although he was still only denied an equaliser by a marginal offside call.
While Neymar recovers from an ankle injury, as long as Mbappe is fit PSG have every reason to believe they can turn the Bayern tie around.
Their season is riding on that game, even as they lie eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and on course for another domestic title. – AFP