Domestic dominance but still no Champions League – Measuring Mbappe’s five years at PSG
It wasn’t particularly certain that we would come to Kylian Mbappe’s fifth birthday at Paris Saint-Germain.
For more than a year, the superstar striker was expected to swap the French capital for the Spaniard and join European heavyweights Real Madrid.
But, oh surprise, a tantalizing new deal until June 2025 was agreed in May, much to the fury of Madrid and the delight of the PSG faithful.
A lot has changed since 2017, including the fact that Mbappe is now a World Cup winner with France.
And yet, there is a feeling that PSG’s mission is not accomplished at all, so how do we judge Mbappe’s success at Parc des Princes so far?
Mbappe won Ligue 1 in four of his five seasons with PSG, adding to the title won in his final year with Monaco in 2016-17, and also has three Coupe de France, two Coupe de la Ligue and two Trophées des Champions under his belt. Last name.
Although it wasn’t quite a sweep of honors for the Parisians, they dominated domestically during Mbappe’s time at the club and the France international played a huge part in that.
Indeed, since his PSG debut in September 2017, only Robert Lewandowski (185) and now team-mate Lionel Messi (203) have been directly involved in more goals in Europe’s top five leagues than 167 – 123 goals and 44 assists decisive Mbappe.
Yet, hard or otherwise, Mbappe’s domestic achievements with PSG are often discredited due to the club’s financial might. For all Ligue 1 titles, it is the Champions League that is seen as the true barometer of the French giants’ success.
PSG have consistently fallen short of expectations in the Champions League, coming closest to winning Europe’s elite club competition in the 2019-20 season when they lost to Bayern Munich in the Lisbon final. .
The following season, PSG reached the semi-finals of the competition before losing to Manchester City. In Mbappe’s other three seasons in Paris, they fell in the round of 16 – most recently last season against Real Madrid.
In Mbappe’s five years at the Parc des Princes, he scored more Champions League goals than any of his team-mates, netting 27 goals in all, with Neymar his closest rival in that regard with 20. .
Although Mbappe can’t do it all himself, he has to take some responsibility for PSG’s continental shortcomings – especially as in his first three seasons at the club he scored just one. only knockout goal in the competition.
This happened in 2018-19 in the round of 16 against Manchester United, when PSG were eliminated after the Reds Devils’ remarkable return to the Parc des Princes.
Mbappe also failed to score in the Round of 16 in 2019-20 as PSG finished second in the competition, although there has been a significant upturn in the past two seasons with the striker scoring four goals in two matches against Barcelona in 2020-21 last 16, including a famous hat-trick at Camp Nou, then scoring twice in the quarter-finals as PSG knocked out Bayern.
In the 2021-22 season, Mbappe repeated the feat against Real Madrid in the round of 16, scoring twice, but PSG were knocked out as Karim Benzema turned the tables.
In total, nine of Mbappe’s 27 Champions League goals have come in the round of 16, eight of them in the past two seasons. Including the group stages, Mbappe has scored 14 goals in the last two seasons, compared to 13 in his first three years.
Still, all he has to show for it is that 2020 runner-up medal.
ANOTHER NEW ERA, A DIFFERENT HISTORY?
With five years already under his belt as a PSG player and potentially three more to come (although Madrid surely have something to say about that), Mbappe still has plenty to do in his hometown.
Just 26 goals short of overtaking Edinson Cavani as the club’s top scorer, but personal milestones will surely be sacrificed in the pursuit of that elusive Champions League crown.
Now joined by Neymar and Messi in one of the most star-studded forward lines in history, anything less than going all the way for PSG will be seen as a massive failure – as they did last season. when the top three struggled to really click.
After agonizingly failing with that aforementioned loss to Madrid in last season’s knockouts, the French champions took a calculated gamble by replacing Mauricio Pochettino – who never quite took the job – with the former boss of Lille and Nice Christophe Galtier.
Reunited with postman sporting director Luis Campos, with whom he worked closely at Lille to help create the team that propelled PSG to the Ligue 1 title by one point in 2020-21, the Parisians chose to take a different approach in their quest to be kings of Europe.
Early indications are also positive, with PSG winning their first three Ligue 1 games and scoring 17 goals in the process – a tally only Rennes (18 goals in 1950-51) have bettered in the competition’s history at this stage. .
PSG were held 1-1 by Monaco last time out, however, and their impressive start did not come without complications. Neymar and Mbappe clashed in the 5-2 win over Montpellier over who would take a penalty, and the latter was also spotted sulking in the same game after the ball went unplayed.
It looks like some things will never change at PSG in this regard, but ending the club’s wait for continental glory is something that simply needs to happen if Mbappe is to finally step down after realizing all he had. planned in his childhood club.