Mbappe looking to Ronaldo, not Messi, for inspiration

By Sports Desk January 22, 2020

Kylian Mbappe has suggested he cannot replicate what Lionel Messi has achieved at Barcelona and will instead look to Cristiano Ronaldo for inspiration.

Since bursting onto the scene with Monaco in 2016, a move to Paris Saint-Germain and a charge to World Cup glory with France has made the 21-year-old one of the leading lights in football.

However, when it comes to choosing between Messi and Ronaldo on who to model his career path on, Mbappe acknowledged his switch from Monaco to PSG means he cannot follow in the footsteps of Barca's six-time Ballon d'Or winner.

"It's too late for me to carve out a career like Messi's, I would have had to stay at Monaco," Mbappe told La Gazzetta dello Sport.

"Without taking anything away from Messi, now I have to draw on Cristiano's career for inspiration.

"If you're French, obviously you would have grown up with [Zinedine] Zidane as your idol. After that, it was Cristiano, who I have been fortunate enough to have faced as an opponent, at club level and with the national team.

"I also love Brazilian players like Pele, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Kaka. And to the young players who look up to me, I'd like to send them a message from someone who believed in their dream, always giving the best they had to give, trying to push their own limits to be able to make a mark in sport."

Mbappe also believes Ronaldo gives Juventus an edge in the Champions League, a competition the Portugal captain has won five times, making the Serie A giants a favourite.

"Juventus are a strong side - they've shown that in the finals they've played during the past few seasons," said Mbappe, who has scored 21 goals in all competitions for PSG this term.

"They have always lacked something to give them the edge and now they have that in Cristiano. He's a player who makes you win major trophies.

"This year Juventus are among the favourites – along with the usual suspects – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool."

Related items

  • Atalanta 4-1 Valencia: Gasperini's men put one foot in the Champions League last eight Atalanta 4-1 Valencia: Gasperini's men put one foot in the Champions League last eight

    Atalanta marked their maiden game in the Champions League knockout stages with a resounding 4-1 win over Valencia in the first leg of their last-16 tie at San Siro on Wednesday.

    Gian Piero Gasperini's side dominated from the outset against their LaLiga opponents and opened the scoring after 16 minutes, Hans Hateboer claiming his first goal in the competition with a close-range finish.  

    Josip Ilicic doubled their advantage shortly before the interval with a fine strike, before Remo Freuler curled home a third from long distance in the 57th minute.

    Hateboer then claimed a second five minutes later, and while Denis Cheryshev pulled a goal back for Valencia, the Italian side will be supremely confident of finishing off the job in Spain in three weeks' time.

    Atalanta started in blistering fashion and a clean through Mario Pasalic was superbly denied by Jaume Domenech after eight minutes.

    There was little the Valencia goalkeeper could do in the 16th minute, however, with Hateboer storming past Jose Gaya to meet Alejandro Gomez's cross and prod his side into a deserved lead from six yards.

    That advantage was nearly cancelled out on the half-hour mark when Ferran Torres crashed a powerful effort off Pierluigi Gollini's left-hand post, while Goncalo Guedes fizzed wide from a promising position soon after.

    They were punished for those misses three minutes before the interval when Ilicic thundered into the top corner from 18 yards to open his Champions League account. 

    Any hopes Valencia had of reining in the hosts were extinguished shortly before the hour mark when Freuler's whipped effort from outside the penalty area flew past the helpless Domenech.

    Maxi Gomez somehow failed to score from six yards, before Hateboer sprung the offside trap at the other end to latch onto Pasalic's pass and fire past Domenech, who should have done better.

    Cheryshev pulled one back for the visitors in the 66th minute – just two minutes after coming off the substitutes' bench – but it did little to detract from a glorious night for Gasperini's men.

     

    What does it mean? Atalanta power past accommodating visitors

    Atalanta were utterly ruthless against a Valencia outfit who scarcely knew what had hit them. A place in the last eight looks almost nailed on and they will fancy their chances against any side left in the competition in this form.

    If there is a criticism of the Italians, it is that they look vulnerable at the back, as evidenced by the host of chances carved out by Valencia in the closing stages. That will not bother their fans just now, who will be rightly basking in the glow of a truly memorable European night.

    Gomez revelling on the big stage

    Gomez  is enjoying his first taste of Champions League football at the age of 32. He might not have scored, but he was once again at the heart of Atalanta's effervescent attacking play, regularly leading Valencia's defenders on a merry dance.

    Valencia's cause not helped by Domenech

    He made a wonderful save early on from Pasalic but it was all downhill from there for the Valencia goalkeeper. He got a weak hand to Ilicic's strike and only he can say what he was trying to do with Hateboer's second goal.

    What's next?

    Atalanta host Sassuolo in Serie A on Sunday, while Valencia visit Real Sociedad in LaLiga a day earlier.

  • Portmore FC concede late goals, lose to Cruz Azul in Kingston Portmore FC concede late goals, lose to Cruz Azul in Kingston

    Lucas Passerini and Jonathan Rodriguez each scored in second-half stoppage time to earn Cruz Azul a dramatic 2-1 victory at Portmore United in the first leg of their 2020 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League Round-of-16 tie on Tuesday night at Independence Park in Kingston, Jamaica.

  • Reggae Boyz team manager pledges support for embattled Mattocks, striker confident of exoneration Reggae Boyz team manager pledges support for embattled Mattocks, striker confident of exoneration

    Reggae Boyz team manager, Roy Simpson, has pledged support for Darren Mattocks and said no decision would be taken regarding his position with the national team until a verdict in the case has been arrived at.

    Mattocks will formally be advised of the charges against him on February 27, though reports have already circulated that he has been charged with one count of making a false, fraudulent or incomplete insurance claim, and another count of theft by deception in Carroll Township, Washington County, Pennsylvania.

    “When I spoke with him, he was quite private with it. I didn’t press him about it. I just reached out to him to let him understand that the entire nation is aware of what has happened and that if he needs our support in any way, shape or form that he thinks we are capable of executing, we will assist,” Simpson explained on Jamaican radio station Hitz 92 FM during its programme, Sports Grill, earlier this week.

    According to reports, the charges stem from a single-car accident on January 20 last year.

    The reports, alleged to have come from the Attorney General’s office, said Mattocks and a passenger were aboard a BMW X6 from New York City to Cincinnati on State Route 70, near Monongahela, Pennsylvania, when the Reggae Boy lost control of the vehicle and crashed.

    According to those same reports, the insurance on the vehicle had lapsed at the time of the accident and Mattocks is alleged to have taken out a new policy hours after the accident before making a claim.

    Still, Simpson does not want to make too many waves until the case is complete.

    “I wouldn’t want to pre-empt a verdict because you don’t want to put yourself in a position where you defend a situation and it goes the other way, so everybody is awaiting the outcome,” said Simpson.

    The team manager also indicated that Mattocks was confident he would be vindicated when all was said and done.

    “When I spoke to him he was quite confident that he would be vindicated so we await,” said Simpson.

    The court case may have a very deleterious impact on Mattocks career in the MLS where he plays for FC Cincinnati.

    Other reports had suggested that Mattocks, who has scored just three goals in 21 appearances for Cincinnati, was at odds with the coach and, in essence, the franchise.

    “He also pointed out and we were aware that the relationship between himself and FC Cincinnati had been strained prior to this situation,” said Simpson, responding to reports that former Cincinnati coach, Ron Jans had said Mattocks was not in the team’s plans this season.

    “It is a fact that he had asked to be traded and this situation has put a hurdle in his way. Hopefully, he can get through it and then start playing again,” said Simpson.

    Mattocks is being represented by David J Shrager, who has pointed to Mattocks record of being a law-abiding citizen as part proof that the situation is just a misunderstanding.

    Mattocks is a veteran of eight years in the MLS, playing in 207 league games and scoring 40 goals for Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers, and DC United, before his move to Cincinnati.

    Mattocks has also turned out for the Reggae Boyz 45 times, scoring 15 goals along the way.

    “My client respects both the laws of both his native country [Jamaica] and the United States. He has never been in any kind of criminal trouble whatsoever in his life, and this matter is merely a misunderstanding regarding insurance laws here in Pennsylvania. We look forward to clearing up this matter. We have been cooperating with the courts and continue to do so. We look forward to resolving this matter expeditiously,” read a statement from Shrager’s office.

© 2020 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.