11, February 2022
Paris Saint-Germain coach Mauricio Pochettino does not believe Kylian Mbappe’s future will be influenced by their Champions League last 16 tie with Real Madrid.
Mbappe’s contract with PSG expires in the summer and while the 23-year-old French international is widely expected to join Real Madrid, he suggested in December he could yet stay in France.
Real play the first leg of the last 16 tie at Parc de Princes on Tuesday.
“I don’t think that such an important decision depends on a game, or a tie,” Pochettino told Spanish radio station Cadena Ser on Thursday night.
“He is an intelligent, mature boy, with a tremendous ability to analyse and know perfectly well what he wants for his future.
“He has many people around him who I’m sure will advise him in the best way. So I don’t think that’s the case. I see him calm, focused on doing the best possible for PSG. You have to respect him. He will make a decision after the tie.”
The match is the blockbuster tie of the round, with Lionel Messi up against Madrid for the first time since leaving Barcelona while Sergio Ramos could be up against his former club, although the veteran defender is struggling with a calf injury.
“Leo is a genius, one of those players that emerges once in a hundred years,” said Pochettino.
“I think he comes into this decisive part of the season in his best moment. I have no doubt that he is going to show the best version of himself.”
Pochettino said Ramos has “suffered some relapses”.
“We will see if he is available, and if not for the second leg,” Pochettino added.
Neymar is also a doubt, after missing the last 11 games with an ankle injury.
“His recovery has been fantastic, I think he’s close to coming back,” said Pochettino. “The next few days will be key.”