Mauricio Pochettino claims he and Kylian Mbappe will “100 per cent” be at Paris Saint-Germain next season.
The head coach added a caveat, however, by adding: “This is football, and we never know what might happen.”
The PSG boss and star striker Mbappe have both been rumoured to be on their way out of the French capital at the end of the campaign, with Mbappe consistently linked to a move to Real Madrid with his contract about to expire.
Speaking at a media conference ahead of PSG’s first game against Strasbourg, their first since winning the Ligue 1 title, Pochettino appeared to indicate both his and the France international’s futures remain at the club.
Mbappe has been PSG’s leading man this season, with 33 goals and 18 assists in 42 games in all competitions.
When asked what percentage he would give that himself and Mbappe would still be at PSG next year, Pochettino said: “One hundred per cent, in both cases.”
In answer to a follow-up question about whether he had held talks with the club’s hierarchy, the Argentine coach clarified: “There haven’t been any concrete talks, beyond what is normal in terms of our plans with what we have been doing so far.
“We have a natural relationship, we communicate regarding different topics. Of course, they change depending on the circumstances at the time, but the relationship and communication are good.
“We keep working hard, not just bearing in mind the present, but also with the responsibility to think about the future, so that is what we are doing.”
When asked to further explain his surety about Mbappe, Pochettino said: “That is how I feel today. That is what I can say to you today. I can’t say anything else. That is how I feel right now.
“This is football, and we never know what might happen.”
Despite clinching the title last week, recent games have seen other star players, notably Neymar and Lionel Messi, booed by the PSG fans, with neither really capturing their best form this season.
Brazilian Neymar has played just 25 games in all competitions having suffered with injury, scoring 11 goals and assisting seven more, while Messi has managed nine goals and 13 assists in 30 appearances in his first season since his sensational move from Barcelona.
Pochettino explained why it has been a tough season for Neymar, and detailed a conversation he had with Messi about fine margins dictating opinion.
“Neymar’s talent is indisputable,” Pochettino said. “He arrived here in a big transfer, because he is one of the best players in the world. This season he had a big injury, and it was a season preceded by the Copa America. It was therefore difficult to have the necessary regularity. He had ups and downs, like the whole team.
“I spoke about this with Lionel Messi. There was a period of progression, then there was the [Champions League] elimination against Real Madrid. The season would have been very different if we had gone through. The line between failure and success is sometimes very small.
“It can also give strength to write a different story in the future.”
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