Mbappe or Neymar? PSG coach won’t name primary penalty taker
PARIS (AP) — Paris Saint-Germain coach Christophe Galtier played down questions of who is the club’s main penalty taker this season after Kylian Mbappe missed from the spot and Neymar scored with the next spot kick in a league game on Saturday night.
Mbappe saw his effort saved and Neymar coolly converted his in the league leader’s 5-2 win against Montpellier. It led to questions whether there is a No. 1 penalty taker at the club.
“For this match, the order was chosen thus,” Galtier said after the game. “Kylian shot first, so it was logical that Neymar went next. We’ll see in the future.”
While there was no animosity between the two players on the field, after the game Neymar liked a Tweet that said he should not be a No. 2 penalty taker at any club.
Mbappe was named the French league’s player of the year last season for the third time. The France star netted 39 goals overall and led the league scoring charts with 28, including four penalties from four attempts. Neymar scored three penalties out of four in his total of 13 goals during another injury-hit campaign.
The penalty talk after Saturday’s game evoked memories of a spat between Neymar and former striker Edinson Cavani during the 2017-18 season.
The two argued over who should take a penalty during a league game — an incident that came to be known in French media as “Penalty-gate.”
Later that same season, Neymar refused to let Cavani take a late penalty, even though PSG was already 7-0 up in the game and Cavani needed one goal to become PSG’s outright all-time leading scorer.
Cavani went on to become PSG’s best scorer with 200 goals before leaving the club.
Mbappe has 172 career goals for PSG and could catch Cavani this season, especially if he takes penalties.
More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports