Kylian Mbappe has admitted to calling Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Neymar a “bum” during a recent Ligue 1 clash with Montpellier, with the World Cup winner caught on camera questioning why the Brazilian was not passing the ball his way.
Inevitably, with a collection of superstars pooled together at Parc des Princes, speculation has raged regarding supposed rifts in a camp that includes some of the finest attacking talents in world football.
Mbappe insists there are no divides in Paris, but he does concede that emotions can spill over at times and that even the closest of friends can exchange unpleasantries in the heat of the moment.
Mbappe was pictured calling Neymar a “clochard”, which translates as bum or tramp, but he is adamant that the incident has been swept under the carpet and there is no bad blood between the pair.
Asked by L’Equipe whether he uttered those words, the 22-year-old said: “Yes, yes, I said it. Now, these are things which happen all the time in football. It just needs to be something that doesn’t linger.
“That’s why, right after, given how it blew up, I spoke to him about it. We already had a few exchanges like that in the past and it will continue because we want to win, but there shouldn’t be a certain resentment.
“There isn’t any here at all because I respect the player and the man, and I admire what he is. But that’s it, I wasn’t happy with a pass. One day it happened to me too, I didn’t pass it and he wasn’t happy. But there’s no issue.”
While Mbappe can butt heads with Neymar occasionally, the France international admits to loving every minute of an unexpected opportunity to play alongside six-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi following the Argentine’s stunning summer switch from Barcelona.
“I never imagined him coming here!” Mbappe said.
“He’s one of the rare players who I put in the ‘impossible-for-me-to-play-with’ category. For me, he was never going to leave Barcelona.
“I am savouring every moment alongside him. You can’t forget that it remains a privilege. He’s someone who loves football. He speaks with everyone, he’s trying to integrate in his own way, even if he is a bit shy. But he’s not shy on the pitch.”
Pressed further on whether he has ever experienced similar emotions with any other player, Mbappe added: “Neymar, a bit, when he arrived. He was really extraordinary. But Messi is something else.
“It’s amazing to think that the only other club shirt he’s worn, other than Barcelona, is PSG. We have to realise that this is something extraordinary.”