Paris Saint-Germain have to use Lionel Messi to provide Kylian Mbappe with chances, and not the other way around, at least according to Nicolas Anelka.
The former French forward is a huge admirer of the PSG striker’s ability, and he thinks that even Messi has to adapt his game to suit the World Cup winner’s attributes.
“Mbappe has to lead the attack because he’s No.1,” Anelka told Le Parisien. “Messi was at Barcelona, but now he has to serve Mbappe.
“He’s been at the club for five years and Messi has to respect him.”
Mbappe is expected to leave the Parc des Princes for Real Madrid next summer, and Anelka understands his desire to leave France if he wants to go on and win the Ballon d’Or.
“He’s a phenomenal player in terms of his speed, there’s no one better on the planet,” Anelka said. “If Paris want to have the best team, they have to do everything they can to keep him.
“But I think it’s very clear in Kylian‘s head. He wants to see something else, and that makes sense. He’s dreaming of the Ballon d’Or, and how can he win it if he’s playing in the sixth best league by UEFA coefficient?
“If Kylian had been in England or Spain for the last three years, he would have already won the Ballon d’Or.”
Messi‘s arrival hasn’t been all smooth sailing so far though, and there was some controversy when Mauricio Pochettino chose to take him off while chasing a goal in a recent win against Lyon. It did, though, later transpire that the Argentine had been injured.
“Completely,” Anelka said, when asked if he understood Messi‘s frustration with the change.
“You don’t take off a six-time Ballon d’Or winner in the 65th minute, when he hasn’t scored for his team. That plays with his head a lot.
“A forward needs his coach to show him confidence, and that right there won’t do it. I’m getting ahead of myself but Messi will not forget what Pochettino has done. It will stay with him. He’s the star of the team and it was his first game at the Parc des Princes. It’s going to be very difficult to recover from that as a situation.
“Messi didn’t play against Metz, and for me that’s already a response. You can’t manage Messi like that. The coach wanted to send out a strong message, which is good, but this is Messi.”
Anelka also revealed his plans for his coaching career, which he says he’ll do the right way by starting with academy teams and reserve sides before taking a first-team job when he feels ready, but it won’t be in Europe.
“My idea is not to manage in Europe,” Anelka said. “I’d rather live in Asia or in the Gulf.
“But if I have the chance to manage PSG, why rule myself out now? PSG are the only European club I would manage.”