Kylian Mbappe has not been mishandled by Paris Saint-Germain since the World Cup and injuries are “part of the job”, coach Christophe Galtier said on Friday.
Mbappe is expected to miss PSG’s Champions League opener against Bayern Munich on February 14 after picking up a hamstring injury in Wednesday’s win at Montpellier.
Mbappe, who will face three weeks on the sidelines, is also expected to feature in the Ligue 1 games against Toulouse, Monaco and Lille, as well as the Coupe de France clash with Marseille.
With Mbappe scoring 25 goals in 26 games for PSG this season, it’s a big blow at an important stage of the campaign, with Neymar also on the injury list.
The game in Toulouse comes on Saturday as PSG look to extend their five-point lead over second-placed Marseille, with Lionel Messi heading into the game without his fellow star forwards.
Galtier considered whether he had played Mbappe too much since the France striker returned from Qatar 2022. His verdict is that PSG have protected Mbappe as much as possible.
“We are in a unique season with the World Cup in the middle,” said Galtier, “and I realize that at many other clubs with many internationals there was fatigue that was automatically generated and injuries.
“As a philosophy, I tend to say that injuries are part of the job.
“We feel sorry for Kylian in particular. He is a competitor and always wants to be involved, but we can’t have a season where we don’t have physical problems, that’s part of the season and the competition.”
“It’s even more so for a club with internationals who are constantly in demand, both for club and country.”
Galtier said PSG had “made many arrangements for Kylian’s return”.
The forward reported for duty with the giants in midweek following December’s World Cup penalty shoot-out final with Argentina, demonstrating his desire to return to club action.
In January, he was then granted a leave of absence for which Mbappe traveled to the United States.
“I don’t think Kylian has played too much,” Galtier said, “and from the moment you play there is always an element of risk.”
Defender Sergio Ramos, who picked up a thigh problem in Montpellier, is the next to miss the game in Toulouse. The onus fell on Messi to fire PSG to victory on Saturday and the Argentine great scored in a 3-1 success at Montpellier.
“Leo Messi was able to take matters into his own hands against Montpellier once Kylian Mbappe and Sergio Ramos left,” Galtier said.
“He was a natural leader and the players put themselves at his service. I congratulate everyone for putting in the work necessary to get this hard-fought victory.”
“The absence of Neymar and Kylian Mbappe is inevitably damaging because there were many links between these three players. Now I have to organize the team and take these combined absences into account.”
“Leo Messi will continue in his usual role. It will be up to the players around him to seize the opportunity and everyone to raise their level of play.”