May 9, 2021

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Neymar and Mbappe? I’m optimistic about the future – Leonardo after PSG’s Champions League exit


Paris Saint-Germain’s sporting director Leonardo said that although it is not now time to decide what is next for Neymar and Kylian Mbappe, he is “optimistic about the future”.

Neymar was unable to make a comeback on Tuesday when Mbappe looked from the sidelines – PSG were beaten 2-0 by Manchester City, who together went on to the Champions League final 4-1.

Last season’s second place PSG failed to land a single shot on goal against City – the first time the French team has not done so in a Champions League match since 2003-04.

After failing the Istanbul showcase, attention immediately turned to the futures of star duo Neymar and Mbappe, both of whom are out of contract in 2022 amid ongoing speculation.

Neymar has previously said “everything is almost decided” in terms of a PSG contract renewal, although he remains linked with the Barcelona return, while Mbappe has been tipped to Real Madrid.

“Honestly, it’s not the time to decide or announce anything,” Leonardo told RMC Sport. “We must be proud of what we have done.

“Our goal is to win. We played better in two out of four halves, we scored weird goals. There are many positive things.

“We came out of very difficult situations during the competition. I am optimistic about the future. ”

Riyad Mahrez scored twice for hosts City in Manchester, with PSG star Angel Di Maria sent off for kicking out at Fernandinho with 21 minutes left.

PSG – who will now focus on defending their Ligue 1 crown – were hoping to reach back-to-back finals, but Leonardo added: “We can not forget what we have done in the last two years. We reached the final and lost 1-0 against a team that won everything. This year we eliminated Barca and Bayern.

“The goal is always to win. Our form has made us a real candidate to win the Champions League. We must continue. It has been a very complicated year. We must be satisfied. ”

PSG pair Marco Verratti and Ander Herrera both accused referee Bjorn Kuipers of insulting them on Tuesday.

Verratti and Herrera reacted angrily to the decision to send Di Maria out, as PSG just became the third team to receive a red card in both legs in a Champions League semi-final after Deportivo La Coruna-Porto (2003-04) and Lyon- Bayern Munich (2009-10).

“The referee told me ‘f *** you’ twice,” Verratti told RMC Sport after the match. “If I do, I’ll get a 10-man ban. ** you. “

Herrera added: “We are talking about respect with the judges. The judge said tonight to *** [PSG midfielder] Leandro Paredes. If we say that, we will be banned for three or four matches. ”

About the incident, Leonardo said: “We talked about it. It’s so clear I’m not even commenting. It’s a shame. I think there were many situations that were not possible – not being well managed. ”