Sunday 19 August 2018

'I say to my friends: Mbappe is the new Pele’ - Arsene Wenger praises Mbappe after scoring on debut for PSG

Kylian Mbappe of PSG celebrates his goal with Neymar Jr during the French Ligue 1 match between FC Metz and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) at Stade Saint-Symphorien on September 9, 2017 in Metz, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)
Kylian Mbappe of PSG celebrates his goal with Neymar Jr during the French Ligue 1 match between FC Metz and Paris Saint Germain (PSG) at Stade Saint-Symphorien on September 9, 2017 in Metz, France. (Photo by Jean Catuffe/Getty Images)

Independent.ie Sportsdesk

Arsene Wenger has hailed French forward Kylian Mbappe as 'the new Pele' after the 18-year-old scored on his Paris Saint-Germian debut during the Parisians 5-1 demolition of Metz on Friday.

Mbappe, who had been linked with a move to Wenger's Arsenal before opting to join his native Paris last month, scored 26 goals in all competitions last season for Leonardo Jardim's Monaco and Wenger believes he has the capability to enjoy a similar career to that of three-time Brazilian World Cup winner Pele.

“I think he is exceptionally intelligent, he has an exceptional character, and exceptional belief,” Wenger told beIN Sports. “I say to my friends: ’Mbappe is the new Pele’.

“He can become the best player in the world, because he as well has the charisma, the character, the belief.  You never think you’re speaking to an 18-year-old when you speak to him.

“He always gives you the impression when he gets the ball that something special can happen.”

Mbappe made the move to PSG last month on an initial loan deal with a binding option to buy the former Monaco player next year for €180 million.

The deal has made him the second most expensive player in history following Neymar's €222 million move to PSG earlier last month.

Both acquisitions have raised questions regarding the effectiveness of UEFA's Financial Fair Play rules and Wenger, who was previously an advocate of the laws, has now questioned whether the rules should be completely abolished.

"Financial Fair Play raises new questions," he said.

"Today I am not very convinced that we can maintain it. We have to maintain the control of financial management of the clubs. Football is maybe only at the start of a huge financial investment. It has become the most powerful sport in the world.

"That means, do we have to open the door completely? To investments? That is a question we have to raise, because at the moment it looks like we have created rules that cannot be respected.

"Nothing works when you create rules that cannot be respected. Maybe we are at the crossroads and have to think, do we open it completely?

"Freedom to investment for people like the Chinese or Americans who want to invest here? Why not? If you want to remain the best league in the world, that is certainly the way we have to go."

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