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PSG

Mbappé's camp claim a “lack of respect” from PSG boss Luis Enrique as relationship breaks down

According to L’Équipe, those close to the player say there has been “lack of respect” from the Spanish coach.

According to L’Équipe, those close to the player say there has been “lack of respect” from the Spanish coach.
NICOLAS TUCATAFP

Paris Saint-Germain’s positive string of results, with all competitions underway and a French Super Cup title to their name, contrasts with the relationship problems between Luis Enrique and Mbappé that have been going on for more than a month. The latest episode of the soap opera occurred on Sunday, at the Vélodrome in Marseille, after the Spanish coach replaced the World Cup winner in the 63rd minute.

Although his minutes have been considerably reduced in recent weeks, mainly because Mbappé told PSG in mid-February that he is leaving at the end of the season, the player has not understood Luis Enrique’s decisions. This feeling extends to the player’s entourage who, according to L’Équipe, considered it a “lack of respect” given both the status of the match and the unfolding picture on the pitch that was fovouring the forward.

Mbappé has only played 90 minutes in one of his last seven Ligue 1 matches, on March 17 against Montpellier, in which he scored a hat-trick. Luis Enrique has consistently argued that taking minutes away from him is mainly to prepare for PSG’s future, next season, when he will be without the club’s all-time leading scorer.

The first ‘big’ spat between the two occurred on March 1, in a 0-0 draw in Monaco, in which Luis Enrique hooked off the player at the end of the first half. Mbappé went straight down the tunnel and a day later requested a private meeting with the PSG coach. The manager assured him that he was still part of his plans for important matches, such as the Cup semi-final against Rennes, but in Ligue 1 he planned on reducing his playing time.

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Mbappé complied with the decision, but his substitution against Marseille has reopened a wound that seemed, at least from the outside, completely healed. Both parties, however, will put collective interests before individual ones: Luis Enrique cannot deprive his team of the best player in the world in key matches; Mbappé wants to leave Paris a hero, trying to bring the club their first ever Champions League.

April will be the month of judgment in Paris. The next episode is set for Wednesday, at the Parc des Princes, in a match against Rennes in which PSG will be favourites to reach their first final in three years. In the Champions League, from April 10, Mbappé will have to step up to lead his team against Barcelona. With each passing day this game becomes more underlined on the calendar: it is a tie that will mark the immediate future of the captain of the French national team, as well as that of Luis Enrique.

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