Kylian Mbappe faces awkward reunion with Paredes in World Cup final

Emiliano Martinez previews World Cup final

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France star Kylian Mbappe could be set for an awkward reunion in the World Cup final on Sunday, as his side will look to beat Argentina and lift the trophy. The French defeated Morocco and Mbappe’s Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Achraf Hakimi in the semi-final, but could face an awkward moment with his former colleague Leandro Paredes.

Argentine Paredes joined Juventus in the summer on loan from PSG after falling down the pecking order at the Ligue 1 club following the midfield additions of Vitinha, Renato Sanches and Carlos Soler. However, another motivation behind his exit may have been the altercation he had with PSG’s star man Mbappe during training.

As tensions were high among South American and French-speaking cliques in the PSG dressing room, Paredes and Mbappe were reportedly at the heart of a moment that saw temperatures reach a boiling point when Hakimi, Mbappe’s close friend, locked horns with Paredes during training and the pair nearly got into a physical altercation.

The Moroccan allegedly pointed out the midfielder’s £40million transfer fee after he failed to control the ball during the session, then Paredes pointed out Hakimi’s lack of success before joining the club. Mbappe was a significant ally to Hakimi, who has kept his place at right-back at the Parisian club while Paredes has been cast out on loan.

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Paredes previously admitted he did not have a good relationship with Mbappe during the pair’s time together in Paris. “I am not the one to talk about him. I had a connection with the ones I had a relationship with. But the ones I didn’t have a relationship with, I can’t tell you about them,” Paredes told ESPN Argentina.

“It was a difficult decision, changing clubs before the World Cup, because of the period of adaption that you have to have. I think I made the right decision, I needed minutes to arrive in Qatar in the best way, and it was the right thing to do.”

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Lionel Messi reportedly did not take a side in the dispute between Paredes’ clique and Mbappe’s, potentially with one eye on the World Cup this winter. The midfielder has been vital for his country over the years, and has made four appearances in Qatar.

He came back into the team for the 3-0 semi-final win over Croatia, as Lionel Scaloni opted to crowd the midfield area in a bid to stop Luka Modric and co.

Whether Paredes retains his place in the starting lineup remains to be seen, as his only other start in the tournament came in the shock 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia. He will likely make an appearance during the 90 minutes and potential extra time and penalties though, and will be looking to act revenge on his former team-mate Mbappe.

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