Kylian Mbappe probably didn’t imagine his rise to stardom would see him dropped from AS Monaco’s squad.
The Frenchman, who is in high demand after scoring 26 goals in all competitions last season, was left out of the team that beat Metz 1-0 last Friday.
Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim said his decision to exclude Mbappe stemmed from a desire to “protect him from the storm” amid rumours that the 18-year-old could leave the Stade Louis II.
Mbappe has told Monaco that he wants to sign for PSG this summer, according to ESPN, and he’s also been linked with Real Madrid and Manchester City.
But Jardim doesn’t believe he’s hurting the striker by leaving him out.
"We've never been in the habit of punishing our players," the Portuguese coach said, per ESPN.
"It's not the right word. It's rather to protect him. With all these things around an 18-year-old kid, it's our responsibility to protect him from the storm. It's a decision of the club.
"I'm always for protecting players who need it. My philosophy is to play with the available players who are at 100 percent.
“Kylian is not 100 percent, he's not in form right now. It's normal. If another paper offers you 15 times your salary, you'll type less well on your computer..."
Mbappe was involved in training altercation
Jardim’s decision may also have been motivated by an incident involving Mbappe in training last Tuesday.
According to L’Equipe, and brought to our attention by ESPN, the France international was sent home from training after clashing with teammate Andrea Raggi.
The pair apparently traded insults, with Mbappe then being told he wasn’t required for the session.
But the teenager refused to leave, forcing Monaco’s players to move to another pitch in order to continue training.
If L’Equipe’s report is true then it’s hardly a surprise that Mbappe was dropped for the win over Metz.
He’s among Monaco’s most important players but Jardim won’t want any distractions in the dressing room.
It remains to be seen whether PSG will be able to secure Mbappe’s signing before the transfer window shuts on August 31 but Jardim, who has already seen Bernardo Silva, Benjamin Mendy and Tiemoue Bakayoko leave his title-winning side this summer, has vowed to carry on even if Mbappe departs.
"Play well with those who are left, that's the working attitude,” he added.
“I’ve been here a long time. I've never cried because a player was injured or left."