Kylian Mbappé was able to at least briefly conceal the World Cup frustration on his lightning return. Just ten days after France's final knockout from Qatar against Argentina, the superstar gave Paris Saint-Germain a successful end to the year with a last-minute penalty converted.
World Cup top scorer Mbappé tore his jersey off his body after his penalty in the 6th minute of added time in the home game against second-bottom Racing Strasbourg and whirled it over his head. Mbappé danced with his teammates Sergio Ramos and Achraf Hakimi in front of the enthusiastic PSG fans in Paris' Prinzenpark. Then the 24-year-old received a yellow card in the 2-1 (1-0) in Ligue 1 for his mini-strip and later returned to the catacombs with his thoughts on Qatar.
Lost World Cup final has an effect
"I think you'll never digest that," said Mbappé, admitting that he still hasn't gotten over the 4-2 penalty shoot-out in the final against Argentina. "I tried to come back with the best possible energy and to be as positive as possible. I didn't play a crazy game but I kept believing in myself and pushing because I knew that out of nowhere you could still turn the tide, and we did that very late in the game," Mbappé continued.
The national player took the flattering penalty against Strasbourg himself. After a fatal mistake by Jean-Ricner Bellegarde in the build-up, Mbappé started in the penalty area. Gerzino Nyamsi held him by the upper right arm and the top striker didn't let this invitation to fall slip away. Mbappé then converted his fourth penalty (three in the World Cup final alone) from the past two games.
"There are different emotions, different scenarios. You lose at the World Cup, here you know that a penalty will bring you victory. You didn't know it at the World Cup," Mbappé described the different starting positions.
Neymar sent off
When the goalgetter made the Prinzenpark foam with happiness, teammate Neymar had not been on the lawn for a long time. The noble technician, who failed with Brazil at the World Cup in the quarter-finals against Croatia, failed to overcome his frustration. Neymar saw a yellow-red card for a swallow in the 62nd minute and had to go into the dressing room early.
The Parisians' Argentine superstar was completely absent. World champion Lionel Messi can still enjoy days off until the new year. Of course, Mbappé was also asked about the 35-year-old and the Argentine players' celebration after the triumph at the Lusail Iconic Stadium. Videos of the Argentines dancing in their dressing room circulated on the internet after the final, one of which saw goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez taunting Mbappé and demanding: "A minute's silence for Mbappé!"
The attacker now reacted pretty cool. "Celebrating is not my problem. You shouldn't waste your energy on such trivial things, for me it's important to do my best for the club," said Mbappé. "We'll wait for Leo to come back so we can win games and score goals again."
The Paris coach Christophe Galtier has no concerns that the reunion between Messi and Mbappé could be problematic. Not even after Mbappé was mocked by Martinez. It wasn't Messi who did it, Galtier emphasized in the run-up to the home game against Strasbourg: "There's no reason to mess it up."