Kylian Mbappe and Neymar had two very different experiences at the 2018 World Cup.
The 19-year-old Frenchman was among the brightest stars in Russia, netting a remarkable four goals – the last of which made him only the second teenager after Pele to score in the competition final – on route to becoming a world champion.
On the other hand, his Paris Saint-Germain colleague, Neymar, struggled to hit the heights expected of him and his Brazil side before they crashed out at the last-eight stage.
Although he completed more key passes and ranked in the top three most successful dribblers prior to being eliminated, the 26-year-old arguably damaged more so than enhanced his reputation during this tournament.
Neymar’s tendency to play up even the slightest contact from opposition players irritated fans of all allegiances, not least because they adore what he can do when he is upright.
The PSG superstar was calculated to have spent 14 of his 450 World Cup minutes on the floor in what became a frustratingly common sight in every Brazil match.
However, despite Neymar and Mbappe’s contrasting fortunes in Russia, speculation over their respective futures at the Parc des Princes has been equally rife.
Both men were heavily linked with a big-money switch to Real Madrid this summer – so much so that a club official has taken the step of publicly addressing the speculation.
The Ligue 1 giants would surely refuse to put them up for sale unless one of two scenarios comes to pass; they ask to leave or the club needs an influx of cash to meet Financial Fair Play rules.
Money has been no object to PSG since Qatar Sports Investments purchased the club in 2011, but surely even they would struggle to balance the books after spending £325 million on the pair.
Well, it seems not, according to club director Luis Hernandez.
"Neymar has decided to stay at Paris Saint-Germain," he told Radio Marca on Monday evening.
"He wants to succeed, after not achieving much at the World Cup. I think he wants to win titles with PSG."
On the subject of Mbappe, Fernandez was just as definite in his choice of words.
"He will also stay," added the Frenchman.
"He has said it, one hundred per cent. He wants to win the Champions League with PSG.
"[FFP] does not worry me. The important thing is that both Neymar and Mbappe want to stay at PSG."
While it is difficult to imagine how PSG couldn’t be in the red following their lavish spending in recent years, the club couldn’t possibly be so ambitious without knowing what they’re doing, right?
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