Paris Saint-Germain’s Neymar described star team-mate Kylian Mbappe as a “phenomenon” and “special” after the teenager’s remarkable four-goal haul against Lyon.
Mbappe put Ligue 1 rivals Lyon to the sword with four goals in PSG’s 5-0 demolition at Parc des Princes on Sunday.
After earning the penalty for Neymar’s opener, the 19-year-old forward scored four goals in 13 second-half minutes to maintain PSG’s perfect start to the league season.
Neymar had nothing but praise for fellow attacker Mbappe post-match, telling reporters: “Kylian is a special guy, for whom I have a lot of affection.
“We have a very strong friendship so I am very happy when he scores, when he plays a match like this and I hope to help him to make more matches like this.”
Neymar added: “Share the leadership with Kylian? Of course, I know my value, I know the pressure that exists, I know my responsibilities but we have many quality players who also have their responsibilities.
“Kylian is one of them, he is a technical leader and the group respects him. As soon as he opens his mouth to say something we listen to him and understand him, no matter how old he is.
“This is a group where everyone knows the importance of each and I want to congratulate him. He could have scored even more [laughs]. For me he’s a phenomenon. I hope it will continue like that for several years because football will thank him.”
Mbappe’s dazzling display and Neymar’s goal saw record-breaking PSG become the first side to win all nine of their opening league matches in the history of France’s top flight.
“I think we have a great team, we have high quality players, but it’s still early,” Neymar said. “We improve day after day, match after match, not only in the Champions League, in Ligue 1 too. We are writing the story, we are happy. You have to congratulate the whole group for today’s match.
“I am happy to help the team in this way. I am happy to have also played a great match, more in the half half. In the first half we suffered a bit but we managed to take control of the match and enjoy our quality on the field.”
What a way to head into the international break! #PSGOL
— Paris Saint-Germain (@PSG_English) October 7, 2018
Neymar also lauded veteran goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon, who returned to the starting XI at the expense of Alphonse Areola and kept a clean sheet.
“Gigi is a natural leader, he’s a legend for me,” Neymar said. “He is a character who has changed Paris a little by his way of living, the way he comes to training with a smile, laughing, and talking.
“When he speaks I always try to be attentive because he has a very great experience, he is very respected around the world and we are very happy to have him with us. I do not even need to talk about his level but for the person he is, his character is fantastic to be part of his career.”
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