I won’t hide in crunch Barcelona clash – PSG star Mbappé

Kylian Mbappé has said he will not hide as Paris Saint-Germain prepare to welcome Barcelona in the first leg of their Champions League quarterfinal this week.

Mbappé, 25, has won 13 trophies with PSG, including Ligue 1 on five occasions, but Champions League success has so far eluded the forward.

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ESPN have previously reported that he is expected to join Barça’s rivals Real Madrid in the summer when his PSG contract expires, meaning this may be his last shot at winning the competition with the French club.

“It is the time [of the season] for great players,” Mbappé told Telefoot ahead of Wednesday’s game at the Parc des Princes. “I am ready and, as always, I am not going to hide.

“Every year, this period is a turning point in the season. By the end of April, we will have an indication of the type of campaign we are likely to have.

“Seeing the dynamic the team is in, I am sure that we will give everything. From there, it’s in God’s hands.”

Mbappé scored four times, including a hat trick at Spotify Camp Nou, when PSG last played Barça in the Champions League in 2021, winning 5-2 on aggregate.

That victory served as revenge for defeat to Barça in 2017 when the Catalan side, managed by current PSG coach Luis Enrique at the time, famously won the second leg 6-1 after losing 4-0 in Paris.

Those meetings have served to increase a burgeoning rivalry between the two European heavyweights, with Neymar‘s €222 million ($240.3m) world record transfer to the French capital and Messi’s move to the Ligue 1 side further increasing the ill feeling going into this week’s tie.

It is to that backdrop that PSG’s ultras have called on supporters to create an intimidating atmosphere for Barcelona on Wednesday.

“We must create a hostile environment for the despicable Barça, who have so often been favoured by referees,” the Collectif Ultras Paris said in a statement released on Sunday.

“It is our duty to make [the Parc des Princes] a terrifying fortress. Let’s make them tremble.”

Police sources have also told ESPN that a special security plan has been drawn up for the second leg in Barcelona next Tuesday, with a large presence of PSG supporters expected in the city for a game which has been classed as high risk.

Barça’s move to the Olympic Stadium while Camp Nou is renovated has made it more difficult to control large groups of supporters, with 16 police officers injured around the Blaugrana’s win over Napoli in the last round.

Meanwhile, Barça continue to wait on the fitness of several key players ahead of Wednesday’s game. Andreas Christensen, Frenkie de Jong and Pedri will all be assessed ahead of the game, although Gavi and Alejandro Balde remain absent.

PSG will be without Achraf Hakimi for the first leg. The Moroccan full-back must serve a one-game suspension for an accumulation of yellow cards.

Barça, who are eight points behind LaLiga leaders Real Madrid domestically, are chasing a sixth Champions League trophy, while PSG, 10 points clear in Ligue 1, are yet to win their first.

The winners of the tie will meet either Atlético Madrid or Borussia Dortmund in the semifinal.