Messi Should Respect No. 1 Mbappe at PSG, Says Ex-Arsenal Star Anelka

© REUTERS / PASCAL ROSSIGNOLSoccer Football - Paris St Germain Training - Ooredoo Training Centre, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France - August 13, 2021
Soccer Football - Paris St Germain Training - Ooredoo Training Centre, Saint-Germain-en-Laye, France - August 13, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 28.09.2021
Six-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi was Barcelona's number one player for over 15 years but the Argentine has so far struggled to make his mark for Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). His performances for the Ligue 1 club have now been questioned by a former France international who believes Messi isn't the best player in the French capital.
Retired Arsenal and Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka has claimed that ex-Barcelona talisman Messi isn't the best footballer at PSG – instead, he argues that 2018 FIFA World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe is top dog.

According to Anelka, Messi should therefore treat Mbappe with respect.

While club manager Mauricio Pochettino says the Argentine striker is the "best player in the world," Anelka isn't backing the 34-year-old to become the team's centrepiece. On the contrary, he says Messi is destined for a supporting role.

"Mbappe has to lead the attack because he's number one," Anelka told French media outlet Le Parisien."Messi was at Barcelona, but now he has to serve Mbappe. He's been at the club for five years and Messi has to respect him."

Mbappe, whose contract with PSG expires next year, refused to sign a new deal earlier this summer. He's the team's leading goal scorer with four goals so far this season.

The club's other two big names, Neymar and Messi, have struggled to live up to expectations this term. The Brazilian has only scored one goal, while the Argentine hasn't hit the net in three appearances.

Anelka also weighed in on Pochettino's handling of Messi, notably when he was substituted against Lyon earlier this month: "A forward needs his coach to show him confidence and that right there won't do it."

"I'm getting ahead of myself but Messi will not forget what Pochettino has done. It will stay with him. He's the star of the team and it was his first game at the Parc des Princes. It's going to be very difficult to recover from that as a situation," he added. "Messi didn't play against Metz, and for me that's already a response. You can't manage Messi like that. The coach wanted to send out a strong message, which is good, but this is Messi."

The Argentine skipper, who missed PSG's last two matches against Metz and Montpellier due to a knee injury, is likely to be back in action on Tuesday as Pochettino's men face Manchester City in the Champions League at the Parc des Princes.
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