Brazil veteran Dani Alves has accused Kylian Mbappe of selfishness and failing to realise that his Paris Saint-Germain teammates are “bigger phenomena than him”.
Reports of disharmony at the Parc des Princes have been rife this season, with Mbappe understood to have fallen out with Neymar over the penalty-taking pecking order. The two forwards share the attack with Lionel Messi, adding another superstar into the mix to complicate matters further.
Alves has been international teammates with Neymar since the latter made his Selecao debut in 2010, while he won countless honours alongside Messi in a Barcelona shirt. Therefore, it is unsurprising the 39-year-old, who is in the Brazil squad for the World Cup, has sided against Mbappe amid the feud at PSG.
“Mbappe is a phenomenon who has not yet understood that those who play with him in attack are bigger phenomena than him,” Alves told La Gazzetta dello Sport. “A great player must always know and understand who he plays with, your teammates enrich your qualities.”
After describing Neymar and Messi as “geniuses”, Alves suggested their young French teammate is missing out on a glut of goals because he does not pass to them enough. The Club Universidad Nacional defender added: “If Mbappe gave the ball to Messi and Neymar, he would score 150 goals.”
Mbappe grabbed a goal and an assist as France came from behind to thump Australia 4-1 in their opening game of the World Cup. Messi, meanwhile, converted a penalty but was helpless to prevent Argentina succumbing to an embarrassing 2-1 defeat by Saudi Arabia.
Neymar was in action on Thursday night and played a vital role in creating Brazil’s opener in their comfortable 2-0 victory over Serbia. He was not directly involved in either of the goals but is sure to play a key role in the tournament if Tite’s side are to live up to their billing as favourites and lift the trophy. There was concern about the fan-favourite forward, who needed to be substituted with an apparent ankle injury.
At club level this season, Mbappe leads his two older teammates in terms of goalscoring with 19 compared to Neymar’s tally of 13 and Messi’s of 11. However, as Alves pointed to, the experienced duo are far more creative.
Messi, 35, has registered an astonishing 14 assists across all competitions this season while Neymar, 30, has 11 compared to Mbappe’s tally of just five. Regardless of the friction going on behind the scenes, PSG are in rampant form in Ligue 1 and sit top of the table with an undefeated record of 13 wins from 15 games.
They were also unbeaten in the Champions League group stage but lost out on top spot against Benfica, so they face the gruelling last-16 clash against Bayern Munich in a repeat of the 2020 final.