Mbappe not on Messi’s level yet, says Guardi­ola

Manila Times - - FOOTBALL -

Pep Guardi­ola says new Paris Saint-Ger­main for­ward Kylian Mbappe has plenty to prove be­fore he can be con­sid­ered on the same level as the all- time greats af­ter Arsene Wenger said he could be the next Pele.

The Arse­nal man­ager heaped praise on the French teenager, who joined the Paris gi­ants from Monaco in the trans­fer win­dow, link­ing up with Brazil­ian su­per­star Ney­mar to form a fright­en­ing for­ward line.

But the City boss, when asked by re­porters on Fri­day to com­pare Mbappe with Lionel Messi, whom Guardi­ola man­aged at Barcelona, re­acted cau­tiously.

“No­body can sit at the same ta­ble as Messi. Maybe Mbappe, he’s a top player, he will be an out­stand­ing player, I’m pretty sure of that.

“But to equal what Messi has done in 10 or 12 years, or Cris­tiano (Ron­aldo), for ex­am­ple, we have to wait. I ap­pre­ci­ate Mbappe wouldn’t like me to put more pres­sure on his shoul­ders.”

Guardi­ola said Ar­gen­tine for­ward Messi had pro­duced his best sea­son af­ter sea­son.

“I think Messi has the num­bers of 6070 games ev­ery sea­son, in the big games, al­ways be­ing there to score and as­sist, never in­jured, al­ways plays ev­ery three days, never in­jured be­cause he con­trols his body,” he said.

“That’s why I don’t think we help with hy­po­thet­i­cal suit­ors for him, say­ing you are go­ing to be the new guy. So let Mbappe have the fan­tas­tic ca­reer he will have and af­ter we”ll see in the fu­ture.”

Guardi­ola also said he had warned his Manch­ester City stars about the per­ils of so­cial me­dia although he has no in­ten­tion of curb­ing their use of it.

A num­ber of City play­ers, in par­tic­u­lar new French in­ter­na­tional full-back Ben­jamin Mendy, are pro­lific users of so­cial me­dia.

For­mer Monaco de­fender Mendy was widely crit­i­cized when he mocked Brighton’s Lewis Dunk on Twit­ter af­ter he scored an own goal in the match against City on the open­ing day of the sea­son.

Guardi­ola, 46, ad­mits that it is an area that he does not un­der­stand but, while he is happy for his play­ers to con­tinue to use it, he has is­sued a mes­sage of cau­tion.

“No,” said Guardi­ola when asked if he in­tended to limit play­ers’ use of so­cial me­dia. “They can com­mu­ni­cate, it’s part of their lives now.

“To­day is a dif­fer­ent world than what I lived in. Maybe in my pe­riod if we had Twit­ter I’d use Twit­ter.

“I just want re­spect for the other ones. I don’t want to see dis­re­spect for team­mates, the op­po­si­tion, the club, for the fans, for the is­sues hap­pen­ing in the world. That I don’t want to see from my play­ers, and we spoke about that.

“Of course, ev­ery­body is free, I’m not a guy to say ‘ban that, ban that’. They are adults, some of them are fa­thers, but re­spect, be care­ful what you write, be care­ful what you say be­cause I don’t want other guys to feel un­com­fort­able with what they say on Twit­ter.”

AFP PHOTO

Paris Saint- Ger­main’s Brazil­ian striker Ney­mar ( cen­ter) cel­e­brates with Paris Saint- Ger­main’s French striker Kylian Mbappe ( left) and Paris Saint- Ger­main’s Uruguayan striker Edin­son Ca­vani ( right) af­ter scor­ing the open­ing goal of the UEFA Cham­pi­ons League Group B foot­ball match between Celtic and Paris Saint- Ger­main ( PSG) at Celtic Park in Glas­gow, on Septem­ber 12.

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