French football has been derided as a ‘creche league’ by people who see it as a development school for English, Spanish, and Italian football. Despite being the dominant force in European international football at the moment, the French domestic game is going through a minor nightmare. A botched TV deal has left most of the top-flight looking over their shoulder for red letters, with some even talking about potential bankruptcy. However, one club that has no money worries is Paris Saint-Germain. And now, they have precious few sporting worries.
While they watch as rivals like Olympique Marseille fall apart financially and competitively, PSG are going from strength to strength. New coach Mauricio Pochettino has adopted a work ethic that makes PSG more fun to watch, more aggressive, and more team-oriented. However, one thing that has really surprised is their ability to raise their game to meet higher standards in opposition. Domestic French football, where even they cannot dominate this year, sitting behind LOSC in the title race, has proven a challenge this year for Paris. However, as they have just shown, this could be a blessing.
Having to fight every weekend to get a result to get back to the top of the table keeps them sharp and hungry. It’s why the hat-trick that Kylian Mbappe scored against FC Barcelona should surprise nobody. This is a player who has been growing all the time and, under Pochettino, looks set to take another massive leap in how he pays the game.
Indeed, he has gone from having a barren run in the Champions League to scoring freely, with his hat-trick against Barcelona the first time ever someone has scored three in a knockout tie with FCB.
Mbappe’s 10/10 evening
The Frenchman showed his quality in 2017 and 2018 when he blew onto the scene, almost taking AS Monaco to the UEFA Champions League Final. A move to Paris seen Mbappe take another step forward in terms of quality. Now, though, the dynamic forward can say he has taken yet another step forward in making history. A FIFA World Cup record breaker and now a record breaker against the biggest club in world football arguably, Mbappe has really made his name fit into the rafters of football history.
With 6 shots and 3 goals, Mbappe brought a level of conversion to the Camp Nou that would make Messi himself blush. That wasn’t all he done, though; Mbappe also laid on four key passes for teammates, creating chances galore for others. He also went on an impressive 10 dribbles, comfortably the most of the game, and kept Barcelona pinned back.
From his early miss to the chances that he kept taking and creating, Mbappe started the game fast and continued to develop from there. Now, it would be hard to see anyone stopping him and Paris from continuing on this hot streak in the UEFA Champions League. Could he go all the way? Fitness and poor form at the wrong time meant Mbappe fluffed his first UCL Final; 2021, though, could prove the ideal redemption for a player who looks set to keep on creating history.