PSG boss Galtier 'surprised' by timing of reports Mbappe wants to leave club

Reports that the French striker would leave the club in January emerged hours before Tuesday's Champions League draw with Benfica

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Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier has downplayed reports that rumours over the future of star striker Kylian Mbappe caused disruption to the team's preparations ahead of Tuesday's Champions League match with Benfica.

A 1-1 draw at the Parc des Princes - in which Mbappe scored from the penalty spot - was the third successive match PSG have shared the points with their opponents and keeps them top of Group H on eight points, ahead of their Portuguese rivals.

It came after various media reports in Spain and France earlier in the day suggested Mbappe would seek to leave PSG in January, despite penning a new three-year contract in the summer.

"I know nothing," Galtier said when asked about the reports following Tuesday's game.

"All I know is that a rumour became a story and then that almost became a declaration."

He added: "I didn't see anything unusual in Kylian's preparation for the game, and he played with a lot of rhythm and intensity and gave a response to the rumours.

"We remained focused on the match and I don't think the rumour disrupted our preparations."

Mbappe's goal was his 12th of the season but he is reportedly unhappy at his positioning in the PSG team amid relentless speculation of a rift between the French striker and Brazilian teammate Neymar.

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Mbappe, 23, had been expected to move to Real Madrid at the end of the last campaign before opting to stay in Paris with the club he first joined from Monaco in 2017.

Galtier questioned the motivation behind the reports coming out when they did, with PSG – minus the injured Lionel Messi – missing the chance to secure qualification for the Champions League last 16 with two group games to spare following the draw.

"That this rumour should emerge just four or five hours before this game, I am entitled to be surprised," he said.

"Who does this rumour help? Who is it useful to? Not us."

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Updated: October 12, 2022, 6:52 AM