Kylian Mbappe shows why Real Madrid are obsessed – he’s a player they need to sign

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By Dermot Corrigan Feb 16, 2022 25
Kylian Mbappe was not to be denied.

Real Madrid had somehow held out against everything Paris Saint-Germain had thrown at them, but the player who had dominated the build-up to the game, and then the 90 minutes at the Parc des Princes, still had a statement to make.

Mbappe bamboozled Eder Militao and Lucas Vazquez to work himself into space inside the Madrid area before calmly placing his shot through the legs of Thibaut Courtois.

It was 1-0 to PSG, and Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 first leg had been decided by a player who had seized an occasion as only the biggest superstars can.

There were so many stars on show — PSG had Lionel Messi, Marco Verratti and Angel Di Maria, then Neymar entered as a substitute. Madrid had Karim Benzema, Luka Modric, Vinicius Junior, Toni Kroos.

But Mbappe, from start to finish, was head and shoulders above them as the best and most influential. Inside a few minutes, he had twisted and turned Dani Carvajal inside out, to set up a chance that Di Maria fired too high.

When Messi’s fine through ball sent Mbappe clear in behind, Courtois made an excellent save with his feet. The Belgium goalkeeper again denied the Frenchman after half-time, with an even better save to get down and stop a low, hard 15-yard drive.

The moment seemed to have come when Mbappe beat Carvajal for the umpteenth time, and the hapless Madrid right-back tripped him inside the area. But Messi grabbed the ball and took the penalty, and Courtois made yet another fine stop.

Mbappe continued to keep probing and pushing with indefatigable energy and confidence — he had seven shots by the end, four on target, including the one that finally found the net.