Many of the Champions League nights at the Nou Camp were about the irrepressible Lionel Messi, but against PSG, Kylian Mbappe’s stunning success was well and truly uplifted.
As early as the second minute, France’s forward gave the Barcelona defense a scare with his speed, and from then on, any time he got the ball, Ronald Koeman’s side problems emerged.
It was a success that drew particular attention from forwarding Barca and international colleague Antoine Griezmann. “Kylian Mbappe had a great night,” he said. “PSG has a great star for the future, who will be at the level of Leo Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo.”
And it’s hard to argue why.
In the absence of Neymar and Angel Di Maria, who were absent due to injury to PSG, Mbappe made three fine finishes to become just the third player in the competition against Barcelona, after Faustino Asprilla for Newcastle and Andriy Shevchenko for Dynamo Kyiv (both in 1997) and the first player to score a hat trick against the Spanish team in the knockout phase.
But on what was a very special night for PSG, he should have had more goals, but he should have spared Marc-Andre Ter Stegen a little.
With 110 goals already in his name, the 22-year-old is now the third-highest goal scorer for PSG in all competitions, surpassing Pauleta (109). Today, only Edinson Cavani (200) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (156) have played more for PSG, but if he remains at the club, the records won’t be unchanged for a long time.
Zinedine Zidane has scored eight goals in the list of leading goal scorers in the Champions League knockout rounds, with only Thierry Henry (12) and Karim Benzema (18) ahead of him.
The sky is the limit for Mbappe, who has established himself as the greatest young football player with an outstanding show that Messi himself must have been proud of.