Mike Mbappe. Photo: Reuters

PSG forward told Spanish newspaper Marca about childhood idols, the goals for the 1/8 finals of the Champions League against real Madrid and unknown side of Neymar.

– I say “real” – “PSG” – this is an early Champions League final. Do you agree?

Yes. This is a meeting of two of the best clubs in the world. OK, the best club is one and that is “real” – he won two Champions League Cup in a row, and we are only gaining momentum.

I’m sure it will be an ultimate confrontation – we will arrive at the “Santiago Bernabeu” with the intention to go further.

– What do you feel before your first visit to Madrid’s main stadium?

– I’m lucky enough to play in arenas with history, but never on “Santiago Bernabeu”. This will be my debut, and I’d like to be on it the day before the match, to calmly look around, to study and prepare for the game.

– Sometimes the player can leave his mark at the stadium thanks to the excellent game. This is an extra motivation?

– Motivation is high and so is the 1/8 final, very important match. We know that Madrid have the chance to send a message to the world. In this game can be rewritten the history of our club because we meet with the current champion, so that all the players are charged only for the victory.

– You do not interfere with the knowledge of the great history of the opponent and his many titles?

– It is necessary to respect such high merits, but when we get on the field, respect will remain. Need will shows all their skills.

– What do you like best in the “Real world”?

Mainly, the integrity of the Madrid team. At each position plays a star football player, the best in his role, and all together they perform for many years.

The game against Ronaldo – another meeting with the idol?

– Yes, of course, Cristiano is my childhood hero, and I was happy to meet him when he came to Valdebebas (training base “real”. – Approx. E. B.). But now that we are rivals, and at stake is a big win. So anyway who is in front of us – all we want is win, win and win. I idolized him when I was a kid, but now it is over. I arrive at the “Santiago Bernabeu” to play and win.

But it continues to be a model for you?

– Of course, such players can learn a lot. But otherwise, after five Golden balls speak for themselves. Ronaldo is an incredible footballer, but in Paris playing with me the same. There’s Neymar, who is for me the player of the same caliber – they Cristiano almost on the same level. Have Cavani as a striker, I am also learning a lot.

Your attacking trio – MCN (Mbappe, Cavani, Neymar) is now on the horse. It is important to keep scoring the fuse?

– To be honest, we generally don’t think about it. It is important for us not to be the best attack in the world, and the strongest club of a planet. We are hungry for wins. Great that we scored so many and they call us the most vivid attack, but it does not give any guarantees. Wins, the whole team entirely. Obviously, having a good striker is important, but even more important to achieve success.

– “PSG” in recent years – an eternal contender for the European crown. How do you think the current class composition, hours of Parisians came?

– And why not? We had a great group stage of the Champions League and have a chance to show the world that they are able to knock out of the fight winning the last two editions of the tournament. We don’t have anything pressing, we play with a cool head, do their job, and to give ourselves without reserve to pass on.

– Neymar is your teacher. Enjoy his play on the field is the path to success?

The people you see on the field not the Neymar as he is actually. It seems that his football behavior and way of life – a sign that he only thinks about things that he is selfish and only focus on myself. But when you come together, become teammates and friends, it becomes immediately clear that there is no trace of what he is accused of fans. He is a wonderful person, interested in the lives of others, a great friend, he always works for the good of the team. Indeed, his style of play involves a lot of dribbling, but don’t ask him to stop doing this, because it is good. In terms of dribbling he’s sloppy and he can lead us to titles – we need to appreciate it.

– You have no strange feelings – you will fight with the team which can be this summer?

– No, it’s just part of football career. There were a lot of rumors about my transfer to real Madrid, we did discuss related issues, but now it is in the past for me and for the Madrid team. I’m playing PSG and will defend its colors at 100 percent.

– The hegemony of Barcelona and real Madrid, in your opinion, is still ongoing?

They have dominated football in recent years, but now, I think, caught up and other great teams. Manchester city is very strong, we can do many things, “Juventus”, “Bavaria”… There are lots of those who are able to go far.

– The victory in the confrontation with the “real world” will be the main proof of the ambitions of the Paris project?

– Without a doubt. Which team will be the winner of this pair will be the obvious favourites to win the Champions League. If we can knock real Madrid out of the fight, the rest of the contestants will be rocking the knees. And Vice versa. Those who survive will terrify the other team.

– Why did you decide to go to the Paris club?

Because it’s a team from my hometown. As if the Madrid boy was offered a choice: to play for the team in the neighborhood or to go abroad. No, I wanted to play PSG and happy that all turned out.

– However, you are still young and in the future can happen anywhere.

– Yes, it’s true, I’m quite a few years. I have a lot of time, but, as I said, I want to play the best team in the world, and Paris have everything to be one. If this team is going to grow with me, there will be no reason to leave her.

– Where did the crazy speed that differentiates your game? It is an innate ability or the result of long training?

I was always a fast player, but working on it. I had a long time. You need to always be in shape to every two to three days to be able to withstand high load.

– You have just turned 19 years old, but already behind a sea of broken records. For example, the youngest scorer in the history of the Champions League. Nobody has ever managed to score so much at such a young age… Your secret is in the head or in the legs? Maybe in your environment?

– First of all, it is a merit of the family. She is always there for me. When things happen so quickly, as in my case, it’s important to have a number of people that will help you not to get cocky and to stay firmly on the ground. Those who will remind you that it’s only just begun, you still no major titles, you didn’t won any Champions League or world Cup, or anywhere. I want to collect a full collection of trophies, and I work itote face.

– Does not give confidence that in your case it is much faster than with other football stars?

– Records are made to be overcome, and this adds confidence, but the title is nothing like it. And then I still have nothing to boast of.

– In the games against real Madrid you will meet on the field with Rafael Varane. Another young French player whose career quickly took off. You communicate?

– Yes, of course. He is a great player and role model. A professional who respects the opponents and won a lot of awards. Cool that he plays in the French team.

– In Spain and can’t understand how is it possible that Benzema continued to cause the team. As you look at this situation, being a compatriot striker of real Madrid?

For us, it’s in the first place, is a great player. But to be honest, I don’t know what happened, and there is little that can comment on this issue. We see the situation from a distance, it must be that, as for Karim and head coach. What we know for sure is its gaming qualities that are at the highest level.

– Did you have an idol among French players?

Of Course Zidane. But the whole of France was in love with him. Anyone who likes football, knows that it is an outstanding player. What he does in the “Real world”, as his coach, it’s amazing, because we all know that to achieve success in this club is not easy. He coped with the pressure, perhaps because he knew the club since his football career. Zidane has won universal respect, and I’m happy for him, for all he could reach.

– The 2018 world Cup – France has a chance to win?

– I can say that we are among the favourites – Spain, England, Brazil, Germany and France. We will be among those who will fight for the victory, and I want to show what you are capable of.

– Your wishes for the coming year?

– Victory in the Champions League with PSG and world Cup with the French team.

Yegor BYCHKOV, Sport-Express