LIGUE 1

Pochettino: "It's a gift to have Mbappé at PSG"

Kylian Mbappé's future remains unclear amid rumours of a move to Real Madrid, but he was the star turn for PSG against Stade Reims on Sunday.

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Pochettino on Madrid-linked Mbappe: It's a gift to have him at PSG

Mauricio Pochettino described it as a "gift" to have Kylian Mbappé after the forward demonstrated his abilities with both goals in Paris Saint-Germain's 2-0 win over Reims.

Messi debut overshadowed

Mbappé has been the centre of much transfer speculation having apparently told the club he wants to leave. Real Madrid are seemingly the only runner in the race to sign a player who is in the final year of his current contract at PSG. There was no questioning his commitment to his current employers on Sunday, though, as the 22-year-old scored twice at Stade Auguste Delaune, in the process overshadowing a debut appearance off the bench for new recruit Lionel Messi.

Madrid have reportedly had two bids rejected for Mbappé, with sporting director Leonardo making clear PSG hope he stays in the French capital.

"Kylian is our player," Pochettino said in his post-match interview on Amazon Prime after a fourth straight win at the start of the new Ligue 1 season. "You know in football there are rumours, but I think our president and our sporting director are very clear, he is here. We are very happy to have him here, that is. He is one of the best players in the world. It's a gift to have him."

Mbappé has scored or assisted a goal in each of his past nine games in Ligue 1 (10 goals, three assists). Both goals against Reims came from crosses, with the opener headed in from Ángel Di María's delivery. Achraf Hakimi was the provider for number two in the second half, albeit only after the home team had seen a potential equaliser ruled out by VAR for offside.

Kylian is a phenomenon - Verratti

"Of course we like to play with the strongest and Kylian has shown that he's a great striker," PSG midfielder Marco Verratti told Amazon Prime after the final whistle. "It's not today that we discover Kylian. He's a phenomenon, everyone expects a lot from him. Sometimes we wait until he misses a game to fall on him but we know him, we are very happy with him."

PSG are unbeaten in 11 Ligue 1 away games (W10 D1), their longest unbeaten run away from home in the top flight since a 17-match streak between February 2018 and January 2019.

A home clash with Clermont is up next for Pochettino's side, albeit not until after the international break, by which time Mbappé could well have departed for Spain.