Neymar Compares Relationship with Kylian Mbappe to Lionel Messi Partnership

Christopher Simpson@@CJSimpsonBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 4, 2019

PARIS, FRANCE - JANUARY 19:  Kylian Mbappe of Paris Saint-Germain celebrate his goal with Neymar Jr during the Ligue 1 match between Paris Saint Germain and EA Guingamp at Parc des Princes on January 19, 2019 in Paris, France.  (Photo by Xavier Laine/Getty Images)
Xavier Laine/Getty Images

Neymar has compared his relationship with Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe to the partnership he enjoyed with Lionel Messi at Barcelona.

Neymar and Mbappe both arrived at the Parc des Princes in 2017, and they have quickly become close friends.

The Brazilian told Globo Esporte (h/t Goal's Sacha Pisani):

"The relationship I have with him is the best possible, both inside and out of the pitch.

"I call him 'Golden Boy'. He's a boy for whom I have a very special affection, who will become one of the best players in football history, and I try to help him in the best way possible. 

"Whatever attitude he has in training or in the game I come and talk to him, or he comes to talk to me. It is as if he were a brother. By competition, this is not what leads us to winning titles, thinking of individual titles, it is not because of that. 

"We do not envy each other. When he scores a goal, he wants to give me a pass, when I give him a pass, I want him to score a goal too. We have this partnership, as I had with Lionel Messi as well."

Neymar left Messi's shadow when he departed the Camp Nou in a world-record move to Paris, but he has since been forced to share the spotlight with Mbappe because of the 20-year-old's sensational performances.

On Saturday, the youngster reached an impressive milestone for PSG when he scored a brace in a 2-1 win over Caen:

OptaJean @OptaJean

50 - Kylian Mbappe 🇫🇷 with Paris in all competitions: 76 games 50 goals ⚽ 28 assists 🎯 Involved in a goal every 77 minutes ⚡ Impressive. #SMCPSG https://t.co/KtqQVHs7vO

Of Mbappe's 50 goals for PSG, Neymar has been on the pitch for 31 of them. Per Squawka Football, Neymar has assisted eight of those 31 goals, and Mbappe has returned the favour with nine assists for his team-mate, so their chemistry has had a productive impact for PSG.

At Barcelona, Neymar was part of a similarly potent front line that also contained Messi and Luis Suarez.

Because of Messi's status as the best player in the team, Barca players often look to get the ball to him wherever possible.

For all his own ability, Neymar was not immune to that either, as ESPN's Dermot Corrigan noted:

Dermot Corrigan @dermotmcorrigan

One of the really impressive things about Dembele is he doesn't always first look for Messi - often even uses Leo as a decoy, and heads off in other direction. Even Neymar found that difficult to manage.

The forward is fond of the Argentinian:


Lionel Messi was there for Neymar when he needed him ✨ https://t.co/TDc60VeTM6

That he has been able to forge a similar partnership with Mbappe is excellent news for PSG, because their chemistry can help make them a more cohesive attacking unit.

As such, they can be greater than the sum of their considerable parts and give the club a strong platform to build toward success at the highest level.