France legend, Emmanuel Petit, has bared his thoughts on where Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe might ply his trade next season – potentially even in the north-east of England.
Petit praised Mbappe for not only his skills on the pitch, but his composure off it, and also reflected on what was a disappointing Euro 2020 for his country, France.
Speaking exclusively to Gambling.com, Petit gave his thoughts on the future of the French young star who is reportedly frustrated by his current situation at PSG.
With the influx of cash to Newcastle’s coffers in recent weeks, Petit believes a move is possible, but also warned of Mbappe’s childhood obsession with Real Madrid.
Anything can happen,” former France midfielder Petit told Gambling.com when asked about Mbappe’s future.
“We see what’s happened with Newcastle United – there have been rumours and you never know what’s going to happen at the end of the day, things can turn very easily and very quickly.
“There is a big link with Real Madrid and I know that in his mind when he was a child he was dreaming of playing for clubs like this, because of the stars they have there and the history of the club.
“I think he’s been frustrated and tired by the situation at PSG over the past year. We’ve seen some trouble on the pitch between players both at Paris Saint-Germain and the national team, which was reflective in his game and his mood.
“Maybe he’s interested in Real Madrid because he’s tired of what’s happening here in France. I think he gets the feeling sometimes that he doesn’t get the same recognition as players like [Lionel] Messi or Neymar.
“Messi, before he came here, he was the king of Barcelona. But for me, the king of Paris Saint-Germain is Mbappe, not Messi or Neymar. With all the respect I have for Messi, Mbappe is still number one.
“For me he’s been the best player at PSG since the beginning of the season and he still has a bit of time left on his contract,” said Petit.
“At the beginning of the season he was being booed at every single stadium in France because of the stuff about what the press were saying about his transfer to Real Madrid and that he doesn’t want to sign a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain.
“Yet from the first minute of the season he’s been their best player, he’s taken on that responsibility and shown real character. Honestly, what he’s doing at his age leaves me speechless. The next few months will be crucial for his career and I’m expecting him to reach an even higher level.”
Petit is blown away by how well Mbappe is able to handle himself at the age of 22, with the young Frenchman coming across extremely articulate when faced with the Parisian media.
He said: “He has been incredible in terms of scoring goals and making assists, but the way he has developed himself on the pitch and off the pitch as well, the way he’s communicating with the press and the way he talks. The maturity he’s showing, for me, is impressive for his age – especially with the pressure he receives every single game.
“He’s got so much ambition and he’s got so much quality as well. The fight is still young and he’s showing so much maturity on the pitch and he’s improved mentally since he left Monaco for Paris Saint-Germain.”
The French camp had not been a happy one during the summer but Petit believes differences have been put to one side and with Mbappe firing again – he hit four goals in one game against Kazakhstan in last week’s international break – France are looking in good shape to defend the World Cup next year.
“You know, you cannot win every single competition,” said Petit, reflecting on the Euros.
“So what happened at the Euros on the pitch and off the pitch has been settled between the players, I think. And if you look at the recent games they’ve won, you can see that.
“Okay, with all due respect for Kazakhstan, it was not one of the greatest teams in the world, but France did a very good job and most importantly they look to be taking pleasure on the pitch, which is for me the most important thing. It’s the best message you can send to the fans and to people.
“During the Euros you could see that they had no pleasure on the pitch but they have recovered their pleasure between each other. For me, this is the most important thing. We’ve qualified for the World Cup and I think the way they’ve done it was very good as well, it was the best answer to the critics.”