Paris Saint-Germain head coach Mauricio Pochettino says star Kylian Mbappé ponders England and Spain amid speculation about his future.
Future Mbappé: Madrid, Liverpool …?
Mbappé has been closely linked with La Liga champions Real Madrid as well as Premier League holders Liverpool before.
The French international is out of contract in 2022 but Ligue 1 champion PSG remain hopeful of signing the 22-year-old striker again.
Pochettino was asked about his relationship with Mbappé ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League semi-final first leg against Manchester City.
“Kylian loves football, he loves to talk about football,” Pochettino said. “He’s asking about England – how is the game, the mentality and the culture there? – and also Spain and Argentina. He will watch matches from England, France, Italy and Germany every day.
“He is only 22 years old but very mature, confident in his talent and open. He speaks French, of course, but also perfectly English and Spanish. I speak English and Spanish with him – plus English than Spanish.
“I told him the other day: ‘I need to practice my French with you, to improve myself’, and he said: “Of course, but it’s better for me to speak in English.” He likes to practice different languages.
“Before the [Champions League last 16] going to Barcelona, I told him that I had won there once with Espanyol and he said, very seriously: “OK, tomorrow will be the second time”. I said, “Are you sure?” And he said: “Yes do not worry. We will win’. He was laughing after the game and he said to me on the pitch: “I told you, I told you, I told you”. “
Pochettino spoke with praise of fellow PSG star Neymar, who has also been linked with a departure from the French capital – a return to Barcelona continually discussed after leaving Camp Nou on a world record contract in 2017.
Neymar, who looks set to extend his contract with PSG, has scored (three) or assisted (one) in each of his last three appearances in the Champions League semi-finals, while he was directly involved in nine goals in his 12 appearances against England’s sides in the competition (five goals and four assists).
“It’s so easy with Neymar because you don’t have to overdo it,” Pochettino added. “From day one he was very open to work. He is very humble, he always listens and accepts all instructions in a very good way.
“Brazilian players have something special inside. They love to play football because it’s like a dance. They play like they are dancing. Ronaldinho was my teammate when I was a PSG player and now Neymar . They need to feel good, to feel. Happy to be playing in the best way. “
PSG are only the third French team to reach the semi-finals of the European Cup / Champions League in consecutive seasons, after Saint-Etienne in 1975 and 1976 and Marseille in 1990 and 1991.
Pochettino’s PSG are also looking to reach their second consecutive Champions League final, following their loss to Bayern Munich in last season’s showpiece.
PSG are said to be only the ninth team to do so in consecutive campaigns, while only Atletico Madrid and Valencia have failed to lift the trophy in one of their first two final appearances.
“The goal for the last 10 years has been to win the Champions League and the club are working very hard to try to be there and win,” said Pochettino, who dominated city of Pep Guardiola en route to Tottenham’s Champions League final in 2019.
“It’s that last leg, which is always the hardest. If you remember at Tottenham, it was always about the last leg being the hardest thing. But Paris Saint-Germain is there and now it s ‘It’s about winning. I love. feel that. I love feeling that you need to win every game. “