Mbappe hits out at treatment of Lionel Messi in France

Amid uncertainty over his own future at Paris St Germain, Kylian Mbappe has hit out at the treatment of Lionel Messi by the club and French soccer in general following the high-profile departure of the Argentina star.

Messi signed for Major League soccer franchise Inter Miami last week after rejecting a contract extension at PSG, bringing to a close a two-year spell with the French team.

Messi’s final months at PSG were marked by jeers from fans as his form dipped after he helped Argentina win the World Cup, and a suspension by the club after an unauthorised trip to Saudi Arabia.

“We’re talking about potentially the best player in the history of soccer,” Mbappe said in an interview with Italian newspaper Gazzetta dello Sport.

“It’s never good news when someone like Messi leaves.

“Personally I haven’t really understood why so many people were relieved that he was leaving.

“We’re talking about Messi: he should be respected but instead he didn’t get the respect he deserved in France. It’s a pity, but that’s how it went. The club will have to do what they can to replace him.”

PSG might also have to find a replacement for Mbappe soon after the 24-year-old told the club he will not take up the option of a 12-month extension on his contract, which expires at the end of next season.

The news immediately saw Mbappe linked with Real Madrid, who have long been after the French superstar and had an offer of 180 million euros ($A286 million) rejected in 2021.

Madrid missed out again last year when Mbappe signed a new deal with PSG, but the French champions are unlikely to risk him leaving as a free agent next year.

“I didn’t ask to be sold, nor to go to Real Madrid,” Mbappe said. “I’ve just confirmed that I don’t want to activate the extra year foreseen in the contract.

“With PSG, we never talked about a renewal, but I am happy to stay here next season.”

Mbappe’s decision was likely to have been affected by another early exit from the Champions League for PSG as the Qatar-backed club’s quest to win European soccer’s top competition ended in the round of 16 for the second straight season.

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