Many Champions League night at the Nou Camp has always been about the irrepressible Lionel Messi but against PSG, he was well and truly upstaged by Kylian Mbappe’s superb performance.
As early as the second minute, the France forward was giving the Barcelona defense a fright with his pace and from then on, every time he got the ball, he caused Ronald Koeman’s side problems.
It was a performance that drew special praise from Barca forward and international team-mate Antoine Griezmann. “Kylian Mbappe had a great night,” he said. “PSG has a great star for the future, who will be at the level of Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.”
Of players with 20 or more goals in the UEFA Champions League, Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe has netted the highest proportion in away matches (71 per cent – 17/24).
In the absence of Neymar and Angel Di Maria, who were missing through injury for PSG, Mbappe went on to produce three fine finishes to become only the third player to score a treble in the competition against Barcelona, after Faustino Asprilla for Newcastle and Andriy Shevchenko for Dynamo Kiev (both in 1997) and the first player to score a hat-trick against the Spanish club in the knockout phase.
With 110 goals now to his name, the 22-year-old is already PSG’s third highest goalscorer in all competitions, overtaking Pauleta (109). Now only Edinson Cavani (200) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) have netted more for PSG, but, if he stays at the club those records will not be intact for long.
He has also drawn level with Zinedine Zidane with eight goals in the list of the top goalscorers in the Champions league knockout stages, with just Thierry Henry (12) and Karim Benzema (18) ahead of him.
The sky is the limit for Mbappe, who confirmed himself as football’s best young player with an astonishing performance that Messi himself would have been proud of.
“Yesterday, at training, he asked me how many times I had won at the Camp Nou. Once, I told him. He replied to me: tomorrow, we are going to win a second time. He is a top player.”Mauricio Pochettino on Mbappe