PSG stars Mbappé, Neymar fired up as French league resumes

PARIS (AP) Paris Saint-Germain stars Kylian Mbappe and Neymar will likely clear up their World Cup frustrations in struggling Strasbourg when the French league resumes Wednesday.

Both players are ready for league leaders Paris Saint-Germain’s clash at the Parc des Princes, head coach Christophe Galtier said on Tuesday, despite France’s loss to Argentina in the World Cup final in Qatar on Dec. 18. , Mbappe has almost no rest time.

Mbappe became just the second player to score a hat-trick in the final, but he was saddened after Les Bleus lost 3-3 on penalties to Lionel Messi’s Argentina.

Still, Mbappe was back in training with Paris Saint-Germain just three days later.

“Kylian had some good games and he was the tournament’s top scorer (eight goals),” Galtier said. “His wish is to join us soon. That doesn’t mean he won’t get some time to recover further.”

Galtier said Ashraf Hakimi – who plays for surprise semi-finalists Morocco – and Mbappe were ready for the crucial games in Strasbourg and second-placed Lens on New Year’s Day. The coaches didn’t see the physical risk of playing them in back-to-back games so shortly after the game.

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”I do not think so. Hakimi and Mbappe want to come back for these two games,” Galtier said. “As long as they are in good shape physically and mentally, there is no reason for us to miss the opportunity to play against them. “

Neymar returned to training on December 22 and is highly motivated.

”From a mental standpoint, he really wanted to play. It’s a good sign,” said Galtier, who assured Neymar would not feel any lingering effects from the right ankle injury he suffered against Serbia early in the World Cup.

Neymar broke down and couldn’t stop crying after Brazil’s quarter-final loss to Croatia. He equaled Pele’s national team record of 77 goals with a superb solo goal, but Croatia equalized in extra time before progressing on penalties. Brazil struggled in the penalty shoot-out and Neymar didn’t even have a chance to kick his team’s fifth kick.

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Messi scored twice in the final and calmly scored his side’s first penalty in a tense shootout with France to cap off a remarkable campaign that cemented him as football’s greatest Great player status and saw him become a World Cup winner alongside his idol Diego Maradona.

Galtier said Messi, 35, was given extra time off to celebrate success in his hometown of Argentina and was expected to return to training on Jan. 3.

Even without a record seven Ballon d’Or winner to contend with, Strasbourg still face the league’s two top scorers. Mbappe has 12 goals, Neymar is 11th, and Strasbourg, who are 19th with a defensive hole, could have a tough night.

Lens are five points behind second-placed PSG and travel to mid-table Nice on Thursday.

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Third-placed Rennes, five points behind Lens, travel to Reims, while fourth-placed Marseille host Toulouse, also on Thursday.

ramsay absent

Good coach Lucien Favre doesn’t know when midfielder Aaron Ramsey will join the team.

Favre was asked about Ramsey in his pre-match press conference and said the Welsh midfielder was still out.

“No, he’s not back yet. I think the World Cup is going to be hard for him, so we’ll see,” Favre said, adding that he hadn’t tried to contact the player. ”Do not. I can, but you go.

Ramsey has featured in all three of the national team’s World Cup games in Qatar, with Wales finishing bottom of the group.

“He was very disappointed in the World Cup,” Favre said. “He’s taking his time to really recover.”

Ramsey, who previously played for Arsenal and Juventus, scored 1 goal in 16 games after joining Nice this season.

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