Paris Saint-Germain’s Kylian Mbappe has laughed off the possibility that Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo is past his prime.
The France international and his teammates will face the Ronaldo next week in the first leg of the teams’ Champions League round-of-16 clash.
Speaking after a 4-1 win away at Ligue 2 side Sochaux in the Coupe de France round of 16, the 19-year-old rejected the idea.
“If Ronaldo is on the wane, then so are many others,” Mbappe said. “He is a top player.
“We must pay attention to all of Real’s strengths and he is one of them. We are always in a hurry to get back into Champions League action.”
Mbappe’s starting role at the Santiago Bernabeu next week has been put into some doubt by Angel Di Maria’s recent performances.
As Mbappe continues to struggle for form after colliding with Lyon goalkeeper Anthony Lopes last month, it could be that the two switch roles in Madrid.
Mbappe set up the first of Di Maria’s three goals on Tuesday and it took less than a minute to arrive.
The former Monaco man, who is still on loan with PSG, admitted that if he was Unai Emery, Di Maria would be an undisputed starter.
“Angel put in a very good performance and when he is like that, it is very good for us,” Mbappe said. “It helps us to string together wins like we are doing at the moment.
“Yes, [Di Maria deserves to start]. I am not the coach, but he is doing great things right now and everybody is very happy about that.”
Mbappe also said he was present for teammate Neymar’s glitzy 26th birthday party on Sunday and had a good time at the event.
“It was a birthday,” Mbappe said. “Neymar turned 26 and he invited a lot of people. He enjoyed himself. That was the most important thing. Yes, it was good.”
Jonathan Johnson covers PSG and the French national team for ESPN FC. Twitter: @Jon_LeGossip.