Mbappé: three match ban for the wunder to blunderkind
Issued on: Modified:
The former Manchester United wonderboy George Best was berated for squandering his prodigious talent in a blaze of booze and glamorous women during the late 1960s. But the striker loved to tell the yarn of how, after winning thousands of pounds in a casino, he was entertaining an ex- Miss World in his hotel room in 1974.
After they decided champagne should be brought to further the merriment, the waiter arrived with the bottle to survey a scene of cash and young lady adorning the bed.
The waiter inquired: "George, where did it all go wrong?"
The same question could now be put to Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappé after he was slapped with a three match ban for an ugly hack at the knee of the Rennes player Damien da Silva during the Coupe de France final on 27 April.
Mbappé was given a straight red card for the tackle. At the time of his dismissal in extra time, the sides were level at 2-2.
The game eventually went to penalties and Rennes claimed the shoot-out 6-5.
Mbappé, who was one of the stars of France's surge to the 2018 World Cup crown in 2018, has already missed PSG's game against Montpellier and will sit out the fixtures against Nice and Angers.
The 180 million euro signing from Monaco will return to action on 18 May when PSG entertain Dijon at the Parc des Princes and collect the Ligue 1 title - their sixth in seven years.
What should be a moment of celebration will be overshadowed with a sense of deflation.
Last season under Unai Emery, PSG won the Ligue 1 title as well as the Coupe de France and the League Cup. They also reached the last 16 of the Uefa Champions League.
PSG's Qatari owners deemed Emery's achievements insufficient and declined to renew his contract.
Thomas Tuchel was drafted in to eclipse his Spanish predecessor. But there will be an inquisition. The German's first season at the helm has been, by comparison, a failure.
PSG were again eliminated in the last 16 of the Champions League and only have the French title to show for their massive outlay.
Tuchel says there were extenuating circumstances for Mbappé's latest flare-up. "He had some muscular problems before the match and had to go for some tests at the hospital," said Tuchel. "Maybe that was in his head. A red card really isn't him."
However, it is the third of his PSG career. Earlier in the season, Mbappé took retribution on a Nimes player whom he considered a tad too savage. There was also a red card in 2018 during a League Cup match against Rennes.
The latest expulsion highlights a lack of gumption among the players. Neymar, the world's most expensive footballer at 222 million euros, faces a ban after he lashed out at a Rennes fan following the final.
More than 400 million euros of prime attacking talent could sit out a series of games - albeit with the title already won.
With Mbappé linked with Zinedine Zidane's Real Madrid and other heavyweight European outfits, the PSG hierarchy is under pressure to provide the structure for his talents to be translated into silverware far more glittery than domestic baubles.
Best maintained it hadn't gone wrong at all. Mbappé, if he stays in the PSG orbit, might not be able to make the same boast.
Daily newsletterReceive essential international news every morningSubscribe