Monday, May 20, 2024

Thierry Henry claims that, despite loss, Kylian Mbappe is PSG’s best ever: ‘It is not even a discussion’

Wednesday is already here! Jonathan Johnson here ahead of Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich in the second leg of their UEFA Champions League semifinal after Tuesday’s heroic Borussia Dortmund success against Paris Saint-Germain booked BVB’s place in the final. 

📺 Footy fix

All times U.S./Eastern

Wednesday, May 8
🇪🇺 UECL: Club Brugge vs. Fiorentina, 12:45 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🇪🇺 UCL: Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich, 3 p.m. ➡️ CBS/Paramount+

Thursday, May 9
🇪🇺 UEL: Atalanta vs. Olympique de Marseille, 3 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🇪🇺 UEL: Bayer Leverkusen vs. AS Roma, 3 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+
🇪🇺 UECL: Olympiacos vs. Aston Villa, 3 p.m. ➡️ Paramount+

⚽ The Forward Line

💔 UCL pain threatens Mbappe’s 2024


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Paris Saint-Germain and Kylian Mbappe’s dream of UEFA Champions League success is over after a 1-0 home loss to Borussia Dortmund completed a gutting 2-0 aggregate defeat in the semifinals on Tuesday. The French superstar was powerless to prevent the Ligue 1 giants from falling to their Bundesliga adversaries despite an expected goals total of 3.22 at a boiling Parc des Princes — a record high without scoring since 2019 — and an overall xG over the two legs of 4.92. That Luis Enrique’s Parisiens did not even score once is incredible and this setback will take some time to get over, but it is likely the end of the road between Mbappe and PSG who will not win the UCL together despite some massive moments in the competition over the last seven years. For  Thierry Henry, this setback does not take away from the 25-year-old’s achievements in the French capital and the France under-21 and under-23 boss — who could coach Mbappe at this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris — rates him as Paris’ best ever.

  • Henry: “I still think that the position he has been playing as a nine is awkward. I do think that Kylian is more comfortable on the left and at times he was a bit too much in the middle. If we go back into the history of PSG, to not just talk about Mbappe, (David) Ginola, (George) Weah, Rai, we can talk about Leonardo, we can talk about Zlatan (Ibrahimovic), we can talk about a lot of players — they never won it too. It is not so much of an individual thing, it has to be a team effort.

    Kylian Mbappe, we all know he is leaving, he was magnificent for PSG. You can leave this club with your head held high. It is not everyone who can win everywhere and especially in the Champions League. The big man played really well for all of his career with PSG, so, personally, I am not going to judge him on not winning the Champions League with Paris. It is not even a discussion, for me, he is number one — the greatest player ever to play for PSG.”

Regardless of the legacy that Mbappe leaves behind him at PSG, though, it will not change the fact that the France national team captain was largely missing over the two semifinals and even for the most part of both quarterfinals against Barcelona. L’Equipe awarded the former AS Monaco man and his club and international teammate Ousmane Dembele two out of 10 apiece for their showings this midweek as Luis Enrique’s players failed to find the net when they most needed to despite working the woodwork multiple times in Germany and then again in France, while also being denied by an inspired Gregor Kobel in the Dortmund goal. And so it ends for Mbappe and Paris’ time together with huge continental disappointment, albeit without the same trauma of previous exits which can arguably be used positively in the future, and despite three semifinal losses for just one final appearance, Champions League success continues to elude the Frenchman who will hope to bounce back with UEFA Euro 2024 and the Olympics before likely joining Real Madrid.

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🔗 Midfield Link Play

🇪🇸🇩🇪 Real Madrid vs. Bayern Munich part two


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There will be no matchup between Kylian Mbappe and probable future employers Real Madrid in this season’s Champions League final, but that does not mean that Carlo Ancelotti’s side will not be at Wembley with the second leg of their semifinal with Bayern Munich coming up on Wednesday. With that narrative out of the way, Los Blancos can focus on what they do best, which is winning UCL titles with a record 14 to their name and very favorable shot at a 15th if they can overcome Thomas Tuchel’s German giants at Santiago Bernabeu. 

This one is poised at 2-2 after last Tuesday’s semifinal first leg at Allianz Arena in Bavaria which saw Vini Jr. score twice — once in each half — either side of Leroy Sane and Harry Kane’s goals within four minutes of each other. The return leg in Madrid promises to be another enthralling encounter between these two giants of European soccer and Toni Kroos’ majestic showing in Germany last week could be the key to Ancelotti’s side unpicking Tuchel’s visiting defense and winning the tie overall. 

A Wembley berth is almost a given for Los Blancos, given their dominance in the Champions League, but Bayern are the third most success club in competition history and will still have designs on pulling one clear Liverpool with both locked together behind Milan on seven. As the Bundesliga has shown in claiming an extra Champions League spot via the UEFA coefficient, Germany is a force to be reckoned with at club level, despite a few lean years on the international scene. Should it come to pass, it would be a huge chance for England international Kane to get his hands of some major silverware after years of frustration with Tottenham Hotspur.

  • James Benge: “Much like Mbappe, the England captain is going to need silverware to establish himself as the best player on the planet in 2023-24. The memes are already locked and loaded for Harry Kane if his first season at the trophy factory on Saberner Strasse ends as dispiritingly as all those years with Tottenham did. It won’t really matter that he has 10 more top flight goals than anyone in Europe’s top five leagues while providing as many assists as Martin Odegaard, Kevin De Bruyne or Ousmane Dembele.

    “The fact that Bayern Munich have come on leaps and bounds as an attacking force, that Leroy Sane and Jamal Musiala are among those to have developed at a frightening pace under a do it all number nine just won’t be a factor in deciding the best player in the world. Nor will the decade or so of yeoman’s work in the shadow of the Ballon d’Or duopoly, willing Spurs to contention, invariably delivering without reward. It will have to come down to silverware where Kane is concerned. Equally, the Kane candidacy becomes all the more compelling with just one of the big trophies left on the table for him. Bayern might have won the Champions League in recent memory without their England international, but they did not look remotely close to getting it before he arrived and he would certainly be viewed as the X-factor if they get across the line.”

Whatever happens next, the expected final between Real and Mbappe’s PSG cannot happen and a Dortmund matchup with Bayern would certainly go down as the most unexpected of outcomes. England star Jude Bellingham will be expected to step up in his battle for influence over this tie with Kane. Should he and his Real teammates come out on top, then and only then can they start to prepare to welcome Mbappe this summer in what will be the completion of one of the most tiring transfer sagas in recent memory.

🔗  Top Stories

😲 The most unlikely UCL finalists: Borussia Dortmund join Chelsea and Ajax on the list.

😔 PSG’s UCL heartache: Dortmund defeat will hurt but not as much as these other traumatic losses.

🧤 Heroic Gregor Kobel: Dortmund’s goalkeeper has been a major factor in BVB’s unexpected UCL final run.

❤️‍🩹 What next for PSG? Kylian Mbappe signs off in Paris with disappointment as French UCL dream will have to wait.

😤 Don Garber on U.S. Open Cup: MLS commissioner blasts domestic cup as ‘not driving value.’

🔨 West Ham boss: David Moyes is leaving the Hammers and is expected to be replaced by former Wolverhampton Wanderers man Julen Lopetegui.

🤬 NWSL flight delays: K.C. Current’s Vlatko Andonovski: ‘We don’t have flights for tomorrow‘ after four-hour rain delay.

🆙 NWSL power rankings: Sophia Smith’s purple patch of form carries Portland Thorns as Kansas City Current take top spot.

✅ UCL 24-25: Who has qualified, who risks missing out and what to know ahead of the new format changes from next season.

↕️ Titles, UEFA, relegation and promotion: Which teams have done what so far across Europe’s top five leagues with just weeks to go?

💰 The Back Line

💵 Best bet

  • UECL: Olympiacos vs. Aston Villa, Thursday, 3 p.m.
  • 💰 THE PICK: Aston Villa to win the tie (+333) — Down 4-2 from an unexpected first leg loss at Villa Park, Unai Emery’s depleted Aston Villa are up against it as they head to Greece needing two goals just to pull level in the tie. As the only remaining Premier League side in the competition and UEFA Champions League hopefuls in the EPL, the Villans are still fancied to win the competition if they can overturn the two-goal deficit in Piraeus. Consider that Olympiacos themselves were 4-1 down at home going into their round of 16 second leg against Maccabi Tel Aviv which they ended up winning 7-5 on aggregate thanks to a 6-1 thrashing on the road, a Villa comeback is not impossible. Given how tight most of the other ties are, backing the Birmingham outfit to go through is a risk but one which could pay off handsomely — as long as they do not lose any other players to injuries. Emi Martinez coming back into the starting XI after his quarterfinal penalty shootout heroics away at Lille OSC could be vital in this one coming to fruition.

📺 What’s on CBS Sports Golazo Network


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☀️ Morning Footy (Weekdays 8-10 a.m.): Hosts Susannah Collins, Charlie Davies, Nico Cantor and Alexis Guerreros help fans get their day started on the network’s flagship morning show with highlights, interviews and the biggest soccer storylines. Morning Footy is also available in podcast form, so you’ll never have to miss an episode.

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3️⃣ Attacking Third (Monday, Thursday): The leading women’s soccer podcast and social brand is now a live studio show. The NWSL season is back and our coverage of the women’s game is stronger than ever. Our analysts will be breaking down the USWNT, NWSL and European domestic season all year long.  

👟 Kickin’ It (Tuesdays): CBS Sports Golazo Network’s new unfiltered interview show returns Tuesday Hosted by Kate Abdo, Clint Dempsey, Mo Edu and Charlie Davies, the group chat candidly with the biggest names from the Beautiful Game and share their stories from on and off the pitch. 

⚽ Call it What You Want (Monday night): A weekly podcast where Jimmy Conrad, Jesse Marsch and Charlie Davies cover all things USMNT and the state of the beautiful game in the United States.

🥅 Scoreline (Daily): Scoreline is the newest place for fans to catch up on all the biggest news and results impacting global football, match highlights from the top soccer competitions and all the can’t-miss goals from the day’s action, starting Thursday and airing seven days a week.

📺 How to watch: CBS Sports Golazo Network is a free 24/7 channel exclusively dedicated to offering unparalleled coverage of all the top soccer competitions worldwide. You can stream for free on the CBS Sports appPluto TV and Paramount+.

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