FC Barcelona forward Antoine Griezmann hailed Kylian Mbappe after the French striker single-handedly destroyed the Catalans at their backyard of Camp Nou in the UEFA Champions League Tuesday.
Mbappe netted a hattrick as he helped his side Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) defeat Barcelona 4-1 in Round of 16 clashes in the European tournament. The 22-year-old, who is tipped to be the next (Lionel) Messi or (Cristiano) Ronaldo, became only the third player to score a Champions League hat-trick against Barcelona, after Faustino Asprilla for Newcastle and Andriy Shevchenko for Dynamo Kyiv (both in 1997), according to Opta Joe.
Griezmann and Mbappe played a vital role in France’s World Cup triumph in Russia in 2018 as the two had netted four goals each in the campaign.
In a post-match interview after Barcelona’s nightmare European night Tuesday, Griezmann expressed delight for his national teammate, saying PSG have their future star in Mbappe.
“I am happy for him. He has been criticized a lot, but that is what happens when you are someone for a little while. As soon as he plays less well, we criticize him. It is quite easy. But I believe that PSG have a future star, one who will be on the level of Leo (Messi) and Cristiano (Ronaldo). He had a truly great match,” Griezmann told RMC Sport about his France national teammate.
Reacting to Barcelona’s thumping loss at home, Griezmann said his side needed to have a perfect match but instead PSG had one.
“We needed to have a perfect match. We didn’t and they did. It’s a big defeat. We were ready, we wanted to play a big game but they were better than us, there is nothing to say. Kylian was having a great night. After this, there is a return match. We’ll have to go there to win and turn the situation around. We’re not going to go there as tourists,” added Griezmann in the same interview.
Barcelona skipper Lionel Messi (2005-2021) opened the scoring in Tuesday’s game and in the process, he equaled former Real Madrid superstar Raul Gonzalez’s record (1995-2011) of scoring in 17 consecutive years in the Champions League.