The French newspaper L’Équipe reported (relayed by Mundo Deportivo) that Ronald Koeman hung up a picture of Kylian Mbappé in Barcelona’s dressing room ahead of the round of 16 of the Champions League against the Parisians.
Barça’s coach reportedly wanted to emphasize how dangerous the attacker was by putting a picture of him in front of all his squad. Koeman was sure that all the possible damage by PSG would come from him.
The PSG superstar ended up being the key to beat Barcelona in the first leg of that knockout round. With a hat trick in the first game, the French player showed that he was more than ready for the big stage and could potentially be one of the biggest names in the football world.
This method proved to be inefficient and PSG got a great result in the first leg, providing the French team a comfortable lead for the rest of the knockout round. The final result for that game was 1-4, demolishing almost any hope of a Barça’s qualification for the quarter-finals.
However, this Koeman strategy might not be as ridiculous as it might seem, as the Blaugranas did a way better job in the second leg, played in Paris. Although Mbappé scored a goal, it was a penalty and the Catalans held down the superstar, as his presence was not felt during the match.
The second leg game was dominated by the Catalans during most of the 90 minutes. They had plenty of chances to score and obligated Keylor Navas to perform one of the best games in his career. In fact, after scoring a magnificent goal, Messi had the chance to score the second goal of the night with a penalty, which he ended up missing.
The scoreboard did not move and the final result was 1-1, 5-2 on aggregate. By and large, Barcelona came out reinforced in that game and the best stretch of the season for the Catalans has come since then. Who says that Koeman’s strategy was not helpful?