Kylian Mbappe Plays Down 'Supposed Rivalry' with Neymar at PSG

Gill Clark@@gillclarkyFeatured Columnist IIDecember 23, 2019

Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe (L) is congratuled by Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian forward Neymar after scoring a goal during the French L1 football match between Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) and Amiens at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris on December 21, 2019. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
FRANCK FIFE/Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has played down the "supposed rivalry" that exists between himself and team-mate Neymar at the Parc des Princes. 

The 21-year-old told France Football (h/t Get French Football News) that when he arrived at PSG from Monaco he told the Brazilian he was there to help him and not to provide competition.

"When I arrived in Paris, there was not a debate. It was him (Neymar) who was the superstar, that I had come to shoulder, help. He injured himself, he did not have a successful World Cup and I won it. And at that point, stories started to come out about a supposed rivalry between us, about my apparent desire to take his place.

"I was upset to hear all that. When I came back to the Camp des Loges in August 2018, the first thing that I did was to catch up with 'Ney' to tell him: 'Maybe you didn't have a successful World Cup ... which was a good thing for us (France). But, here, don't worry, I will not be treading on your toes. I will "play" for the France Football Ballon d'Or this year because you are not in the race for it, but I assure you that I do not want your place, you can keep it. I am always here to help you."

The duo both joined PSG in the summer of 2017 and have gone on to enjoy a prolific partnership in attack along with Uruguay international Edinson Cavani:

Mbappe and Neymar seem to enjoy a particularly strong relationship both on and off the pitch and have fired the club to two Ligue 1 titles, the Coupe de France and the Coupe de la Ligue.

The UEFA Champions League is the club's top priority, and although that trophy has so far eluded both players during their time in France, they have shown their class in Europe's top competition:

Neymar arrived at PSG from Barcelona as one of the biggest stars in world football but has frequently been outshone by his younger team-mate in the French capital.

Mbappe finished second behind Lionel Messi in the race for the 2019 European Golden Shoe and was ranked sixth in the 2019 Ballon d'Or:

Neymar was the most high-profile omission from the 30-man shortlist for the Golden Ball which is the first time since 2010 that he has missed out.

The Brazil international bagged 23 goals in 28 games last season but injury saw him miss PSG's Champions League exit at the hands of Manchester United as well as the Selecao's Copa America campaign.

Neymar spoke to France Football (h/t Matt Dorman of Goal) about Mbappe at the start of December and described how close the two players have become.

"My relationship with Kylian is very good," he said. "We are good friends and help each other to win matches, to score goals. I feel that there is something special. There is no competition between us."

Both players have had spells out injured this season but have still come up with the goods for PSG:

PSG manager Thomas Tuchel told reporters after Saturday's 4-1 win over Amiens that the duo are good together because: "Neymar motivates Mbappe, and Mbappe motivates Neymar, that's good."

Mbappe and Neymar have helped fire PSG to the top of the Ligue 1 table, seven points ahead of Marseille going into the Christmas break. The club are also into the last 16 of the Champions League and will play Borussia Dortmund for a place in the quarter-finals.

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