London (AFP) – Former France striker Nicolas Anelka believes Kylian Mbappe will need to follow his example in leaving Paris Saint-Germain to play abroad if he is to be regarded as the best player in the world.
Mbappe, who joined PSG in 2017, is about to enter the final season of his contract in the French capital with speculation linking him with a move to Real Madrid.
Despite spending four seasons alongside Neymar at the Parc des Princes, the superstar duo have failed to deliver PSG’s first ever Champions League title and even lost Ligue 1 last season to Lille.
Anelka had a brief stint in Madrid himself after joining Arsenal from PSG as a teenager in 1997.
“If you want the biggest accolades, you will have to move from PSG at some point,” Anelka wrote in an open letter published in The Athletic.
“Whatever you do in Paris will be good, but somebody will always say, “Well, you did great for PSG but it was only in France. The best leagues are in England and Spain, so you didn’t compete with the best players in the best league.”
Mbappe proved himself as a global star at the 2018 World Cup where his four goals helped France become champions for the second time.
However, he was far from his best as Didier Deschamps’ men crashed out of Euro 2020 at the last 16 to Switzerland on penalties last week.
Mbappe was the only player to miss in the shootout, rounding off a miserable tournament in which he failed to score.
Anelka missed the penalty that saw Chelsea lose the Champions League final to Manchester United in 2008 and said Mbappe will bear the “scar” of the Switzerland defeat forever.
“It is a scar that marks you, that fades but doesn’t ever really go away,” he added.
“You feel all alone. You have to live with it and you have to work, work, work on the pitch, play matches, score goals, to be able to start to forget.
“But you will never completely forget. I never forgot. I will never forget.”