Mbappe's admission: I feel freer with France than at PSG

FT Desk
  • FT Desk
  • 23 Sep 2022 09:47 BST
  • 3 min read
FT Desk 23 Sep 2022 09:47 BST 3 min read
Kylian Mbappe, 2022-23

Kylian Mbappe was on target as France beat Austria 2-0 on Thursday, and he hinted that he prefers playing beside Olivier Giroud at international level than he does with Neymar and Lionel Messi at PSG.

Mbappe has been in fine form this season, plundering 10 goals from his nine games in all competitions for Paris Saint-Germain at a rate of one every 77 minutes he has played.

Mbappe spurned Real Madrid to extend his deal in the French capital by three years in May, and new Paris coach Christophe Galtier appears to have worked out how to get the best out of the Frenchman, Neymar and Messi in a 3-4-1-2 system.

But Mbappe is at the point of the attack in Paris, a role which AC Milan striker Giroud fulfilled against Austria in midweek. Mbappe scored as well as having a goal disallowed when cutting in from the left, something he reflected on post-game.

"I play differently, they ask other things of me here than at my club," he said. "I have a lot more freedom here. The coach knows that there's a No.9 like Olivier, who keeps defences occupied.

Freedom with France

"Me, I can walk around, get into space, ask for through balls. In Paris, it's different not having that. I'm asked to be a pivot which is different. I'm very happy with today's game."

Neymar and Messi have scored 11 and six goals in all competitions respectively, but not one of those 17 strikes has been assisted by Mbappe, and the suspicion remains that the 23-year-old is unhappy playing with the former Barcelona teammates - something he denies.

"No, I take pleasure everywhere!" he asserted.

The Austria win was France's first victory in five games, meanwhile.

"When you don't win for an entire run in the France team, it's difficult," Mbappe said. "But we had no doubts. We know our strengths, even with a lot of changes in the team. We have an incredible pool of talent."

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