The argument between Kylian Mbappe and Thomas Tuchel during PSG’s demolition of Montpellier at the weekend might have looked like the sort of tiff we see all the time, but if tensions rise then it could be a disagreement that sees one of them leave the club.
Mbappe was subbed off not long after the hour mark during the 5-0 win, having already scored once himself, and on his way to the bench had some very public words with Tuchel. Mouths were covered, but we all got the general gist: Mbappe was most vexed at being replaced.
“As soon as his number came up he was not happy,” said Julien Laurens on this week’s European edition of the Totally Football Show. “He clearly didn’t know that was the plan, that he would only play 70 minutes, and I think where Tuchel made a mistake – and I’m not justifying what Mbappe did – was that he stopped him to have a word – he didn’t need to do that in front of everyone, in front of the cameras.
“As soon as he did that Mbappe retaliated, there was a minute-long exchange where things got really heated. I think if Tuchel let him go to sit on the bench, as angry as he might have been, then sort it out in the dressing room, then it would’ve been better for everyone.”
— Nicolas Ruderman (@nicolasruderman) February 1, 2020
It’s not the first time this has happened between manager and star player.
“Unfortunately it’s become a really bad habit for Mbappe: in the return game in Montpellier he wasn’t happy to come off, against Nantes he wasn’t happy to come off, in the Club Brugge game in the Champions League when he scored a hat-trick in half-an-hour, at the end he said “I wanted to show Tuchel that he cannot, not play me.” I think that sort of mentality – let’s not forget he’s still only 21 – is not the right thing to do.
“The big debate in France is whether he was right to react the way he did: someone like Christophe Dugarry said he was outraged to see Mbappe, at 21, in front of the cameras and everything, responding like this to Tuchel.
“Mbappe’s point of view would be that Tuchel treats him like an under-19s player. Neymar is never taken off, Di Maria is never taken off, but he always takes Mbappe off. He would say “PSG value me and treat me like a superstar, and yet the manager keeps taking me off.”
Could this all be part of Mbappe laying the groundwork to leave the club?
“If he says to PSG “it’s either me or Tuchel”, it’s an easy one. Tuchel said on Sunday – and this is what the club are briefing too – that they don’t think this will have an impact on his contract negotiations, or him leaving for Real Madrid.
“But if the tensions increase to where he says “I don’t want to work with Tuchel anymore: it’s him or me”, the club will choose Mbappe every day.”
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