Certain players in world football are a nightmare to come up against by default and defender Marcelo has done the honours for football fans by making a comparison between two of such players and letting us know which of them is tougher to defend against. In his comparison, the two football stars he mentioned were Barcelona talisman Lionel Messi and Paris Saint-Germain sensation, Kylian Mbappe.
And the Olympique Lyon centre-back has revealed that he found it more difficult coming up against PSG’s Mbappe this season than Barca’s Lionel Messi. Lyon recently came from a goal down to earn a hard-fought 2-1 win over PSG in the French Ligue 1 a few weeks ago, with the former French champions then keeping Messi and co as they played out a goalless draw with Barcelona in a UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match played in midweek.
The Brazilian defender took on Messi and Barcelona in Tuesday’s Champions League last-16 clash, with the game ending in a 0-0 draw ahead of the second leg at Camp Nou on March 13. It was the hosts who came closest to securing an aggregate lead, with Marc-Andre ter Stegen having to be at full stretch to deny Martin Terrier, tipping his fizzing long-range effort onto the crossbar. The scores did remain level, however, and Marcelo insists that, with Argentine sensation Messi having had a relatively quiet game, he was given a tougher test when he faced PSG striker Mbappe.
Lyon have already played the Ligue 1 champions twice this season, becoming the only side to beat Thomas Tuchel’s men in the league on the second occasion the two faced off as they claimed that 2-1 victory. PSG were comfortable winners back in October 2018, however, with Mbappe scoring an incredible four times in a 5-0 victory for the hosts at Parc des Princes. The 2018 World Cup winner now has 20 goals in the league as he leads the scorers chart.
Discussing his duels with Mbappe and Messi, Marcelo told Goal: “The players I’ve played against in recent times are at the very top level. Playing against Mbappe this season, he gave me a lot of work. Messi didn’t play very well [on Tuesday], but Mbappe, for the speed, positioning, having direct confrontations with him, he was the most difficult. I think there is a great possibility that he will soon become the best in the world. There are some points that he needs to improve to be compared to Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, but he is evolving very fast.”
He added: “There’s been a change in visibility [in French football]. Today it’s much bigger than before the World Cup. We knew that France were doing a very important job, the same work that Germany did together with the clubs and the federation [when they won the World Cup in 2006]. When things are organised things improve. You see France blooding many new players. The national team today has young players with the potential to play in another World Cup and at a very high level. The visibility is great and there are now very big transfers in France.”