Kylian Mbappe ripped Barcelona apart on Tuesday by scoring a stunning hat-trick in a 4-1 rout to put Paris Saint-Germain on the brink of the Champions League quarter-finals.
Mbappe underlined his status as the rising superstar of world football with a ruthless display of finishing at Camp Nou that will go down as one of this competition’s most devastating individual performances.
The 22-year-old eclipsed Barca’s Lionel Messi, whose opening goal from the penalty spot had been reduced to nothing more than a footnote by the final whistle.
Moise Kean also headed in midway through the second half, carelessly left unmarked from a free-kick as PSG pulled away to win this first leg, and perhaps the tie.
Barcelona will no doubt draw upon the spirit of their astonishing ‘Remontada’ in 2017, when they won the second leg 6-1 to overturn a 4-0 deficit from the opening game in Paris.
It will certainly serve as a warning for PSG but without fans, and with Mbappe, any hopes of a repeat for Ronald Koeman’s side from look faint at best.
“The great footballers write their stories in the biggest matches,” said Mauricio Pochettino.
“We had no doubts before the game and even less now that we are seeing a top, top player.”