PSG’s Mbappe-Neymar feud could lead to team’s undoing this season

PSG is stacked with talent. The feud between two of their biggest stars, Kylian Mbappe and Neymar, could dash the club’s hopes of any success this season.

The fight this past Sunday between Tottenham manager Antonio Conte and Chelsea’s Thomas Tuchel got all the attention. But the feud between Kylian Mbappe and Neymar could jeopardize star-studded Paris Saint-Germain’s case for success this season.

The PSG dressing room is split between Mbappe and Neymar, who along with Lionel Messi, form the core of the French club. Mbappe, who had a chance to leave for Real Madrid earlier this summer, opted instead to stay at PSG.

In doing so, PSG gave Mbappe a lot of power and decision-making abilities. Among those powers was having the French star take penalty kicks during games. The team’s PK taker had been Neymar. The Brazilian wrestled that role away from Edinson Cavani after signing with the team in 2017.

Mbappe has become increasingly unhappy with Neymar, so much so that their relationship has broken down to the point the Frenchman wants the Brazilian to be sold.

The Guardian reported the following on the divisive dynamics playing out at the club in recent months:

Neymar and Mbappe became fast friends when they joined PSG in 2017, but their relationship has broken down over the last six months. When his future was in doubt last season, Mbappe moved away from the large Spanish-speaking contingent in the squad, including Neymar and Messi, and toward the Francophone group, striking up a close bond with right-back Achraf Hakimi.

Those tensions played out publicly during Saturday’s 5–2 win against Montpellier in Ligue 1. Mbappe’s penalty kick was saved in the first half before Neymar stepped to the spot for the club’s second attempt and scored. The two players were seen debating the second kick before Neymar took it.

“For this match, the order was chosen thus,” PSG manager Christophe Galtier told reporters after the game. “Kylian shot first, so it was logical that Neymar went next. We’ll see in the future.”

PSG: Kylian Mbappe, Neymar feud could tear down club’s big chances

After the match, Neymar liked a tweet saying that he should be the club’s top penalty taker. According to the French newspaper Le Parisien, the drama led PSG football advisor Luis Campos to hold a meeting with the strikers to address the issue.

The drama didn’t end there. The PK spat aside, Mbappe was visibly upset during a counterattack when midfielder Vitinha didn’t pass him the ball, choosing instead to find Messi. Mbappe stopped running, leaving Messi confused.

Some on the team think this feud can help motivate them. Midfielder Marco Verratti said Mbappe is “a player who always wants to do well. I think that with the missed penalty, he was sulking a little bit, but that’s normal, he’s a great player, he always wants to make the difference and when he misses something, it’s, he’s disappointed, that’s normal.”

Verratti could be engaging in public relations here. This battle of egos needs to come to an end soon. Otherwise, PSG risk a total collapse this season. PSG are currently in great form, but this is a distraction that even such a talented side may not be able to absorb over time.

The team risks a full-blown crisis, something that can lead to failure domestically and, even worse, in the club’s desire to win the Champions League.

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