Neymar and I have a good relationship, Mbappe insists

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Published: 9/6/2022 4:59:47 AM

Kylian Mbappe insists his relationship with Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar is one based on deep respect, even though it can be "hot and cold."

PSG are preparing to open their Champions League campaign in a marquee fixture at home to Juventus on Tuesday.

They go into the game having made an impressive start to the Ligue 1 season, collecting 16 points from six games and scoring 24 goals in the process.

Mbappe and Neymar have racked up seven goals each – only Erling Haaland (10) has a higher total in Europe's top five leagues.

But Mbappe did face criticism earlier in the season for his actions during the 5-2 win over Montpellier, which included a public argument with Neymar.

"It is our sixth year together," PSG striker Mbappe said. "Neymar and I have always had a good relationship based on respect. 

"We have had moments where it has been colder or hotter – moments where we have been best friends and other times when we have spoken less – that is how our relationship is.

"There are incidents that happen, but there is a lot of respect between us. I have huge respect for him as a player and his importance in our team. 

"When you have two players with strong characters, it's not a linear thing, but there is always respect and it is all in the interest of PSG."

Mbappe, who signed a lucrative new deal to stay at PSG back in May, snubbing Real Madrid's interest, had missed a penalty earlier in that Montpellier contest.

Neymar later stepped up to take PSG's second penalty of the game, but Mbappe felt he should have remained on spot-kick duties, and in his rush to raise the issue with Neymar, he even barged past Lionel Messi.

The Brazil star subsequently converted from 12 yards before helping himself to a second, and while Mbappe got on the scoresheet himself, he did not celebrate.

Mbappe also reacted furiously to Vitinha's decision to pass to Messi rather than him, throwing his arms up in disgust and seemingly refusing to continue with the attack. 

PSG coach Christophe Galtier and president Nasser Al-Khelaifi have been among the key figures at the club to try to minimise the situation, with a similar tone struck by Mbappe ahead of the Juve clash.

Asked what would happen with penalties going forward, he replied: "We will see. There is always a discussion about that. We have to see how it is going during the game, we haven't decided. 

"If the match shows that Neymar takes it, that’s fine. If it is me, also fine, there are no problems. 

"When you play with the sorts of attackers that we have, you have to know how to share. There is no issue there."

PSG have only lost one of their past 30 home games in the Champions League group stage (W24 D5).

But glory in this competition has eluded them, with Mbappe yet to add the biggest honour in club football to his World Cup winners' medal at international level.

He added: "The reality now is that the Champions League is very difficult; the top teams have strengthened and signed world-class players. 

"We are going to battle with what we have and try everything to have as good a campaign as possible.

"Of course, our ambition is always to win. I always want to win. Everyone knows my aim when I take to the pitch is to do everything to get the victory.

"I am the same as last season. I am trying to do the same job, which means performing on the pitch, being decisive and winning as many trophies as possible."

Mbappe has scored in each of his past four Champions League matches, although he has never netted in five in a row. The last player to do so for PSG was Neymar in 2017.

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