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14th Dec 2022

‘Kylian Mbappe doesn’t lace boots’ of peak Lionel Messi – Damien Duff

Patrick McCarry

Damien Duff

“You said Mbappe wouldn’t lace his boots?!”

Joanne Cantwell was about to move to her next point when Damien Duff managed to flabbergast her.

Following Argentina’s World Cup semi-final win over Croatia, in which he scored once and assisted Julian Alvarez with a sublime piece of footballing skill, the RTE panel were allowing themselves to look ahead to a possible final against France.

France still had to get past Morocco, which they duly did, but the temptation to talk Lionel Messi vs. Kylian Mbappe was too good to pass up.

During a discussion on the legacy of Messi, who is playing in his fifth World Cup and set for a second final tilt, Damien Duff casually dropped that the Argentine, at his best, is streets ahead of peak Mbappe.

“The best version of Messi, when he was, what, 23, 24, 25, maybe – Mbappe doesn’t lace his boots.

“The best version of Messi, Mbappe still doesn’t touch Messi. That’s how good Messi was. That is what I am saying.”

“Messi is the best ever… by some distance, yeah,” Duff added.

Siding just up the RTE couch, Shay Given – his former Ireland teammate – joked, “That’s the most sense Damien has spoken all night!”

“Mbappé is present and future”

Much of the World Cup final talk will now revolve around the great master, Messi playing against a lad many consider to be the best current player on the globe – Mbappé.

Back in 2021, when he was still his manager at PSG, Mauricio Pochettino told Radio Marca:

“I have no doubts that Mbappé is at that level, that of Messi or Cristiano and that it is a fortune to have him here with Neymar and with Messi.

“It is a satisfaction to see him in each training session. It is clear that he is one of the great talents, he is present and future.”

On Sunday, Argentina vs. France may seem, at times, to be a sub-plot as Messi seeks to go out on a high and Mbappé chases his second World Cup triumph.

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