‘This is your time’ – Mbappe keeps PSG dream alive


There comes a time when superstar players have to step up and deliver for their team.

Paris St-Germain forward Kylian Mbappe may already be considered one of the best players in the world with a World Cup and five Ligue 1 trophies under his belt.

But the Frenchman has yet to help his home city club win the trophy that has always eluded them – the Champions League.

On Tuesday the 25-year-old scored twice as PSG beat five-time champions Barcelona 6-4 on aggregate to reach the semi-final of Europe’s top competition, where they will face Borussia Dortmund.

The first was a penalty – calmly smacked home after Joao Cancelo brought down Ousmane Dembele – before the ball came to him on the edge of the area in the 89th minute. Mbappe’s first effort was denied by Marc-Andre ter Stegen, but he smashed the rebound into the net to round off a superb night for PSG.

“I have the dream of winning the Champions League for Paris,” said Mbappe.

“I’m proud to be at PSG since the first day. It’s not because there are good times and bad times that my pride takes a hit. The pride of playing for this club, of representing the club of the capital of my country, it’s something special for me who grew up there.

“To experience an evening like this one as a Parisian, it’s great. We have one more step to go before we reach the final in Wembley, so we need to stay calm.”

The double took Mbappe’s goal tally to eight in 10 Champions League games this season.

“I just think some people seem like they are blessed from above that this is your time and it feels like that for Mbappe,” former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand said on TNT Sports.

“For his second goal, that’s not falling to anyone else, but it falls to him because he is that guy.”

Mbappe was kept quiet in the first leg in Paris and did not dazzle in Barcelona until scoring on 61 minutes, but PSG boss Luis Enrique praised his striker for his control in the game.

“He was a leader from start to finish, and when a team senses that a player as important as him is ready to bring everyone with him, you make the most of it,” the Spaniard said.

PSG fans have been waiting for Mbappe to deliver them a much-anticipated and expected Champions League trophy.

There are even those that believe that, if he fails to do so, his career in Paris will be considered a failure with a move to Real Madrid planned this summer.

The expectation on Mbappe is high.

Only Cristiano Ronaldo (23 goals in 39 games) has scored more times away from home in the knockout rounds of the Champions League than Mbappe (15 in 12 games).

“There is going to be a moment over the two legs [in the semi-final] where Mbappe has got to come to the fore,” said Ferdinand.

“He is in the high-quality category of player.”

So could it finally be Mbappe and PSG’s time?

While PSG are on track to win a third successive Ligue 1 title and have now reached the last four in Europe, it has not all been plain sailing for Mbappe.

This is set to be his last season at his hometown club with a move to Spanish giants Real set for this summer.

In February Mbappe met with PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and told him he was leaving to join Real, where he will sign a five-year deal, earning 15m euros (£12.8m) a season, plus a 150m euro (£128m) signing-on bonus to be paid over five years.

Subsequently, Mbappe has dropped in and out of the team, either substituted on or off in five of PSG’s past six league matches.

Despite that, he has still managed to score 41 goals in 42 games in all competitions.

PSG owners Qatar Sports Investments have made no secret of their main goal of winning Europe’s elite competition, despite the Paris club winning nine Ligue 1 titles since the 2011 takeover.

The closest they have come to Champions League glory was in 2020 when they reached the final but were beaten by Bayern Munich.

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