Lionel Messi is NOT the star of PSG’s attack and he should RESPECT Kylian Mbappe ‘because he’s No 1’, claims Nicolas Anelka
- A warning has been sent to Lionel Messi about the hierarchy of PSG’s attack
- Nicolas Anelka believes fellow Frenchman Kylian Mbappe is the No 1 option
- The ex-Arsenal and Chelsea striker has called on Messi to show Mbappe respect
Kylian Mbappe is Paris Saint-Germain’s No 1 attacker and Lionel Messi needs to show the young Frenchman more respect, according to ex-Arsenal and Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka.
Messi was hailed as the ‘best player in the world’ by PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino on Monday in his pre-match press conference.
But Anelka believes that Messi, who arrived in the summer on a free from Barcelona, must now play a role to ‘serve’ Mbappe, rather than be the centerpiece of the side.
Kylian Mbappe is ‘No 1’ at PSG and Lionel Messi (right) must respect him, says Nicolas Anelka
Anelka (centre) believes Messi must show respect to Mbappe, who has been at PSG since 2017
‘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 has a year left on his deal and is yet to reach an agreement over an extension amid strong interest from Real Madrid.
The World Cup-winning striker is the team’s top scorer so far this season on four goals, three ahead of Neymar and four ahead of Messi, who is yet to score for his new team.
Mbappe (middle) is PSG’s top scorer this season but all the spotlight has fallen onto Messi
While Anelka believes the team needs to cater to the demands of Mbappe, the former France striker has been left bemused at Pochettino’s treatment of Messi so far.
‘A forward needs his coach to show him confidence, and that right there won’t do it,’ he said, referring to Messi’s surprise at being substituted against Lyon.
‘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.’
Anelka added: ‘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.’
Messi looks to have shaken off a knee injury to be fit for Tuesday’s heavyweight Champions League clash with Manchester City.
Anelka feels Messi (right) needs to play in a way that best ‘serves’ Mbappe as PSG’s No 9 striker
Fans are hopeful that Mbappe, Neymar and Messi will be unleashed as an attacking trident once more.
Pochettino revealed on Monday that he is still yet to decide on his starting eleven but did call for patience for his attackers to gel and work out how to co-exist.
‘It takes time to work and evolve in different conditions,’ he said.
‘That they get to know each other so that they can play well together. Everyone is under pressure. The most important thing is that we are happy with the team.
‘We need a little time. The players need to feel free to evolve properly.’