As Paris Saint-Germain prepares for a pivotal trip to Bayern Munich, Kylian Mbappe will lead the team into their match against Nantes on Saturday searching for the goal that will establish him as the club’s all-time leading scorer.
Mbappe reached 200 goals for the Qatar-owned club last weekend and surpassed his former teammate Edinson Cavani to become their all-time leading scorer with a brace in PSG’s 3-0 victory over bitter rivals Marseille.
It would be unexpected if a player who has scored four goals in his past two games since making a comeback from a thigh injury did not break the record against Nantes at the Parc des Princes.
“Kylian will no doubt beat the record. He is the best striker in the world at the moment, without question,” PSG coach Christophe Galtier said after the Marseille triumph.
“He is very quick, and he does everything fast. He always turns up in big games, which is what great players do.”J
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It has taken the France superstar just 246 games, and five and a half years, to reach a double century of goals for PSG since signing from Monaco in August 2017.
It took Uruguay striker Cavani 298 matches between 2013 and 2020 to get there. Zlatan Ibrahimovic, one of the first superstars of the Qatar era, had previously held the record with 156 goals in his four years in Paris up to 2016.
For Mbappe, the landmark has arrived just two months after he finished as the top scorer at the World Cup in Qatar, in which he netted an astonishing hat-trick in the final against Argentina.
France’s agonising defeat on penalties in that epic encounter in Doha was surely all that stopped him from winning the FIFA Best award for 2022 — he was sat next to Lionel Messi as the Argentinian pipped him to that gong in a ceremony in a Paris theatre on Monday.
Now Mbappe and Messi are gearing up for next Wednesday’s crunch clash with Bayern as PSG head to Germany for the second leg of their Champions League last-16 tie needing to overturn a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.
Mbappe’s injury meant he was only able to make a cameo appearance off the bench in that game, although he was still only denied an equaliser by a marginal offside call.
While Neymar recovers from an ankle injury, as long as Mbappe is fit PSG have every reason to believe they can turn the Bayern tie around.
Their season is riding on that game, even as they lie eight points clear at the top of Ligue 1 and on course for another domestic title.
Nantes Sign Super Eagles Moses Simon
Player to watch: Andre Gomes
The elegant Portuguese midfielder joined Lille at the start of the campaign on a season-long loan from Everton, looking to revive a career that had stalled since an earlier move to Barcelona did not work out as hoped.
Now 29, ex-Benfica playmaker Gomes signed for the Catalans from Valencia after helping Portugal win Euro 2016. He soon fell out of favour at the Camp Nou and was then hampered by fitness problems in the Premier League.
But after being persuaded to relaunch his career in France, Gomes is finally flourishing again in a Lille team coached by his compatriot Paulo Fonseca and who are fighting for European qualification ahead of a huge game this weekend away to local rivals Lens in the northern French derby.
17 – Reims are unbeaten in 17 Ligue 1 matches, the best run in their top-flight history
20 – The number of points taken by Nice in eight games, from a possible 24, under new coach Didier Digard
4 – Mbappe’s tally of 200 goals for PSG features just four headers
Fixtures (times GMT)
Nice v Auxerre (2000)
Lens v Lille (1600), Paris Saint-Germain v Nantes (2000)
Troyes v Monaco (1200), Montpellier v Angers, Reims v Ajaccio, Strasbourg v Brest, Toulouse v Clermont (all 1400), Lyon v Lorient (1605), Rennes v Marseille (1945)
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