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Kylian Mbappe As PSG’s Pinnacle Player According To Julien Laurens; Luis Enrique Instills A Fresh Mindset


Over years of closely observing Paris Saint-Germain, Julien Laurens reflects on the team’s journey, particularly highlighting the impending UEFA Champions League semi-final clash with Borussia Dortmund. He credits manager Luis Enrique’s straightforward approach as pivotal to PSG’s performance. Moreover, Laurens commends the exceptional talent of star forward Kylian Mbappe, whose departure looms over the club this summer.

In the eyes of TNT Sports expert Julien Laurens, Kylian Mbappe emerges as the preeminent figure in Paris Saint-Germain’s illustrious history. However, Laurens emphasizes the influential role Luis Enrique is poised to play in the crucial Champions League semi-final against Borussia Dortmund.

The unexpected success of both PSG and Dortmund this season has silenced skeptics, with PSG eagerly eyeing their maiden Champions League triumph.

Laurens underscores Enrique’s swift establishment of a team ethos since assuming his managerial role last summer.

“There’s definitely a different mentality this year to any I’ve seen before.

“I think it’s due to a few things. This is clearly the last season before there’s a big change, in the sense that Mbappe will leave after seven years.

“There’s the fact that Luis Enrique has arrived. There’s no nonsense with Enrique, he’s the star and he’s always said that he just wanted a team where everybody played for each other, and not just superstars that play for themselves.

“There’s also the timing; all of that happening at a moment where there’s fewer issues, let’s put it that way, in the dressing room and less egos. So, no more Messi, no more Neymar, no more Veratti, who were the ones, as good as they were on, off the pitch, were a bit like the Dons of the dressing room, if you will.

“I mean, Messi didn’t care that much, but still, it was Messi and now in the dressing room, you’ve got people who just get on with everyone, who tell jokes to everybody in different languages, whereas before you had clans, and it doesn’t seem that there are [any] clans anymore.

“Kylian could have been a disruptive presence in a way sometimes, last season, but even he wants to enjoy it. So even his ego seems to be a bit calmer than it would be in a normal situation considering he’s the best player in the world. So I think all of that put together makes it why this is much more of a team than really we’ve ever seen since the Qataris arrived.”

Furthermore, Laurens suggests that Enrique’s own storied career as a player and coach contributes to his authoritative presence in the dressing room. He notes PSG’s shift towards a more pragmatic, less star-centric approach to transfers under Enrique’s leadership.

“I think managers like Luis Enrique don’t mind having egos in the dressing room, because they know that in the end, they will win the battle anyway because his ego is bigger than anybody else’s in that dressing room.

“We thought he would clash with Messi in that kind of war of egos, because he knew that he would win in the end anyway. So I think he was the one to say, ‘Don’t worry, I’m going to make this dressing room play as a team.’ I think the club overall also had that in mind.

That’s why they wanted less of a bling-bling recruitment, and more ‘Let’s buy a Vitinha’, who is, by definition, an amazing team player instead of going and getting someone like Paul Pogba, for example, who thinks about himself more than the team itself.”

Turning to Mbappe, the discussion pivots to the player’s potential legacy and personal growth. Despite previous ego concerns, this season has seen a more mature Mbappe, attributed in part to the looming departure and a “Last Dance” atmosphere. Laurens speculates on the impact of such a transformation had it occurred earlier in Mbappe’s career.

“I think when he decided to stay two years ago, they told him they would do that [push for a more data-drive recruitment with fewer stars], but at the time, Luis Enrique was not the manager. and everything like that.

“Now it’s too late. Even if he thought this is really cool, I love this dressing room. Yes, Marquinhos is the captain, but really Kylian is the captain, I’ve got all my mates there, especially [Ousmane] Dembele.

This is great, my brother plays there. [But] it’s too late now, but it could have, at some point, if that was two years ago, he would have probably thought, you know what, I’m going to stick around a bit longer now.

“Now it’s too late. He’s going to Real Madrid anyway, he enjoys that. That’s why I think he’s brought his ego down a little bit compared to what it would normally be or what it could be.

“He will arrive in Madrid and be like “This is my club now”. That’s just the way he is, because there’s only a few weeks to go and because he knows that he is so close to potentially winning things, which will be amazing for him. There’s nothing else you would want more than to finish with the Champions League trophy for this club.

“I think he really cares about the club. He’s just too big now for Ligue 1. Of course he’s leaving, but I think he really cares. That’s why he’s so committed. If there was still Neymar, Messi, and Di Maria, [and] if the atmosphere wasn’t great, I don’t think he would care that much.

But now I think he can feel that something really nice [is] happening. That will still be nice when he’s gone. So let’s make the most of it and enjoy it because that could be pretty cool before he goes to the biggest club in the world where he’s going to be the biggest star. That’s exactly what he wants.”

In evaluating Mbappe’s legacy at PSG, Laurens suggests that the World Cup winner stands alone in his contributions to the club.

““He’s already the greatest player we’ve ever had, above George Weah, David Ginola, Ronaldinho and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. All those big names we’ve had before.

“I don’t think his record will ever be beaten, and on top of that if he can add the Champions League and bring that to Paris, that would be extra special because that would be his title, not shared with other big names, he’s the leader.  

“Since we’ve known and it’s been out there that he will leave, they haven’t booed him once, and they could have they could have turned on him, but they haven’t.  

“I think the dynamic is that they want to enjoy him before he goes nd this team that is seven, maybe eight games away from an unprecedented quadruple.  

“I mean, the league is done, so the double with the French Community Shield [The Trophee des Champions] then there will be the Coupe de France final at the end of May, and then potentially the Champions League as well.  

“And I think if you consider that he has given us seven years more than I think all of us thought initially, he’s soring all those goals, he’s been great, he’s been the superstar.  

“And if on top of that if you can finish with a quadrupole, and especially the Champions League, wow. But his legacy is there regardless.  

“Of course there will be a bit of ‘oh but he could have been better’ but that’s true of a lot of top players, and he still gave us seven really special years.”

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