Kylian Mbappé doesn’t get a breather despite losing the World Cup final.
On December 21, Kylian Mbappé checked back in at his club PSG’s training ground just outside Paris. The superstar got out of the car in a gray jogging suit, his facial expression still a little wrinkled.
Just three days earlier, the 24-year-old had lost the World Cup final in Qatar in a dramatic way with France. Normally, after such a long tournament, the Nati stars would have been granted a few days of vacation before they had to trot back to the clubs for the summer preparations.
PSG must let pursuers catch up
Because of the extraordinary scheduling of the 2022 World Cup in the run-up to Christmas, beach holidays and relaxation are out of the question.
The schedule in the major European leagues is tight: on December 28th, Mbappé, Neymar and Co. were back on the pitch for Paris Saint-Germain for the first duel in Ligue 1. Only world champion Lionel Messi is allowed to relax a little, the Argentine will only return to training this week.
The league Croesus received the receipt in the top fight against Lens, where PSG dived 1: 3 on New Year’s Day and thus surprisingly caused some tension in the title race again.
Merciless game plan in England
The Parisians aren’t the only ones who haven’t delivered the desired results since the World Cup. The schedule with the English teams is even more merciless. The traditional competitive matches on Boxing Day were already on the agenda there again on Boxing Day. Defending champion Manchester City was able to win the first match after Qatar, but then the hangover followed.
The Citizens drew 1-1 against Everton on December 31 with eight World Cup drivers on the starting line-up. The gap to leaders Arsenal grew to seven points. The top clubs Chelsea, Newcastle and Tottenham have also stumbled in recent days.
Xhaka already in 33 missions
And the World Cup blues don’t seem to have completely passed Spain either. Leaders Barcelona had to settle for a draw in the derby against Espanyol, allowing rivals Real Madrid to catch up.
Mentally, the challenge for the players is great. Tottenham star and England captain Harry Kane admitted after the World Cup it will take him some time to digest the tournament. So far he hasn’t really had the time to do it. And it’s also physically demanding. Arsenal mercenary Granit Xhaka, for example, has made 33 appearances since the summer break alone.
In the foreseeable future there will be no more World Cup tournaments in the European winter. However, the demands on the players should not decrease in the future. Uefa and Fifa have long had plans for new competition formats and even larger tournaments. (cat)