PSG move on the lawn of Manchester City on Tuesday evening in the semi-final second leg of the Champions League.
The Parisians, who will have to score at least twice to qualify, do not know if they will be able to count on Kylian Mbappé, affected in the calf during the first round and forfeit last weekend in the league.
The French striker, who will know this Tuesday morning if he is part of the group, is used to injuries to be treated in fourth gear before a big meeting and will be ready, once again, to grit his teeth to be present .
The big bluff doesn't work with Pep. It is not known if the Manchester City coach saw the little video of Kylian Mbappé conspicuously dragging his leg when he arrived at Le Bourget airport on Monday noon, but as with Marquinhos before the first leg, he has no doubts about the presence of the French striker on Tuesday for the second round of this semi-final of the Champions League.
The Manchester City coach is convinced that PSG, obliged to win by scoring at least twice, cannot do without their top scorer in the competition.
And, above all, that the player, hit in the calf during the match at the Parc last week and left to rest this weekend against Lens, cannot conceive of a single second of missing this meeting.
"He's going to play," the Catalan cut short when the question was asked at a press conference on Monday.
And I'm very happy that he's playing, for football, for this match.
Kylian # Mbappé arrived at Le Bourget airport.
He will fly with the rest of the squad to Manchester this morning.
- The Parisian |
PSG (@le_Parisien_PSG) May 3, 2021
We will see if he is right, but it is difficult to reproach him for this conviction. If Mauricio Pochettino left in doubt, assuring at the end of the afternoon that a decision would not be taken until Tuesday, Mbappé proved that he was more the type to want to return to the front with a bullet in the leg than to request his demobilization for an ingrown nail. Last year for example, Didier Deschamps spoke of his "always overflowing desire to want to play even if he is not at 100%", while the player was trailing an injury to the adductors.
Feigned or not, this uncertainty before a big date is nothing new for Bondy's crackito.
Several times already in his young career, he had to deal with more or less serious injuries and manage the stress of a race against the clock to be able to hold his place.
But if he succeeded every time, the result was not always up to par.
Supersonic comeback for the Final 8
We remember for example the round of 16 against Real Madrid in February-March 2018. Already not very dashing in the first leg (3-1 defeat), he had received a blow against OM which had awakened a former sprain to ankle, a week before return.
Hours of healing later, he was there to take part in Operation Reassembled… which ended in dismal failure (another 1-2 defeat) and a ghostly performance by Kyky.
Closer to home, the speed with which he came back to compete in Final 8 after being badly cut up by Loïc Perrin in the final of the Coupe de France last summer, had amazed everyone.
While the club had announced a period of three weeks off to treat his "sprained ankle with external ligament injury", he entered on time against Atalanta sixteen days later.
"You don't talk to me about pain," he tweeted, laughing after the meeting, referring to his famous line about his age.
A few days later, after the victorious semi-final against Leipzig, he returned more seriously to those days spent whipping.
And did not hide that he was far from evolving at 100%.
The night of the victory against Saint-Etienne, I couldn't believe it. I thought it was dead. I cried all night. But I woke up the next morning telling myself to try to do my best, caring days, to come home and do some more care. I launched into a delirium on my own (…). But it's not behind me yet. I feel good, better and better, but I have to play with a very thick strap, it's not the best. "
Mbappé is capable of anything when he has a goal in mind.
And he has arguably above-average pain tolerance.
But is it still reasonable and productive?
“All I want is to win.
I came here for this.
No matter the pain, I will leave my body on the ground and do everything to win on Sunday, ”he said before the final.
As a result, he had missed many things, including a face-to-face with Neuer that could have changed the course of history.
Fail or regret?
It would still be unfair to say that the perseverance of the golden boy has never been rewarded.
Kept secret during the last week of the World Cup in Russia, the episode of his three vertebrae blocked while collecting things to go to shower the day before the semi-final against Belgium is now part of the little stories that we is told by the fireside.
His loose back did not prevent him from making the Belgians and the Croats dance, with the fourth goal of the final being the icing on the Vatrouchka.
Monday evening, Mbappé trained separately, testing himself on small races without forcing too much.
Not really reassuring, but it is hard to imagine that he does not return at least during the match if the scenario calls for it.
Without guarantee on what he will be able to bring, but the player will always prefer that to the regrets.
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