Everybody loves Mbappe! Pauleta likens PSG superstar to Messi and Ronaldo

Oleh John Skilbeck 23 Ogos 2020 36
Everybody loves Mbappe! Pauleta likens PSG superstar to Messi and Ronaldo

Kylian Mbappe is turning heads in the manner of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo and can drive Paris Saint-Germain to Champions League glory, according to PSG great Pauleta.

The 21-year-old Mbappe is already a World Cup winner and, after a domestic treble this season, he and the Parisians are within reach of a landmark success in Europe.

Pauleta, who is proud his native Portugal has put on such an impressive show after the quarter-finals, semi-finals and final were moved to Lisbon, is also beaming at the prospect of a PSG triumph.

Sunday's final against Bayern Munich is "a 50-50 game", according to Pauleta, who scored 109 goals in 2011 games for PSG from 2003 to 2008, in an era before Qatari investment transformed the club.

Mbappe is one player who could make the difference in UEFA's showpiece game, and Pauleta even likened the striker's appeal to that of French great Zinedine Zidane, now boss of Real Madrid.

"He is hugely skilled technically, he's incredibly fast, physically he's amazing," Pauleta told Stats Perform News.

"He's a player that everybody admires, like Zidane, we all loved him, like Messi, like Cristiano. He's among these kind of players.

"You watch the game on TV to see what he's going to do. You know that he's going to do something that will leave you dumbstruck.

"I admire him a lot, he's a humble person but I think he will have a tremendous career. He already has an opportunity to win the two biggest competitions in the world, the World Cup and the Champions League. I hope he'll win it."

Pauleta insisted, however, that it would not just be about Mbappe when the champions of France and Germany meet in the Estadio da Luz.

"Bayern has a team with tremendous quality, physically they're very strong, but honestly when I look at PSG, that squad and the chemistry of that squad, I think everything is possible," Pauleta said.

"It's a 50-50 game but I believe a lot in PSG, I see a team very united, a good atmosphere and sometimes it makes the difference.

"Of course, we know that Bayern has players with great qualities and a great spirit, German football is always mentally strong. But I believe that PSG will play a great game and beat Bayern."

PSG have never won the Champions League, although they triumphed in the 1995-96 European Cup Winners' Cup, and Pauleta sees taking that next step as crucial to fulfilling the club's ambitions.

"You can have all the players, you can have all the money, but in the end, it's about the title you win," the 47-year-old said.

"They all know that, the chairman, the club, the players. They have a big opportunity to get that title. Paris have been looking for that trophy for 50 years and I hope it will happen on Sunday."

Whether or not his old team carry off the trophy, Pauleta will savour the moment of Portugal staging another major football final.

"It is very important for us in Portugal to have such an important competition like Champions League," he said. "Especially during such tough times for everybody in the world because of the virus.

"We're a small country but because of the work of the football federation and its president, we can have such an important tournament in Portugal and that final on Sunday.

"It's very important for the country and the Portuguese people. On top of that, having that final for me is very important, having my club of heart, PSG, and I hope everything will end well for the Champions League and for PSG."

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John Skilbeck