Nicolas Anelka has told Kylian Mbappé he must consider leaving Paris Saint-Germain if he wants to have the same impact on the game as Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
The 22-year-old has spent the past four seasons in the French capital but is out of contract in 2022 and has been strongly linked with Real Madrid, while Liverpool are also rumoured to be interested.
Former Monaco forward Mbappé raised further questions over his future when revealing last month he is unsure whether the Parc des Princes is the best place for him.
Those comments were made on the back of a disappointing 2020-21 campaign for PSG in which they failed to defend their Ligue 1 title and exited the Champions League in the semi-finals, though they did win the Coupe de France and Trophee des Champions.
On an individual level, Mbappé was as prolific as ever with 42 goals in 47 appearances in all competitions last time out, averaging one every 86 minutes for the French giants.
In Europe’s top five leagues, only Bayern Munich’s Robert Lewandowski (48) scored more goals in all competitions than Mbappé in 2020-21.
Anelka tells Mbappé: “If you want the biggest accolades, you will have to move from PSG”
But former France international Anelka, who started his career with PSG before joining Arsenal in 1997, believes it is time for his compatriot to seek a new challenge elsewhere if he is to fulfil his career ambitions.
Writing a letter to Mbappé on The Athletic, Anelka said: “You have done so well since coming through at Monaco and taking it to a new level at Paris Saint-Germain.
“You play at a team that has evolved into a big club capable of winning the Champions League. It seems you will stay for another year, then there is a big choice to make.
“It is a bit more complicated for you than it was for me. You have at least two choices – stay in Paris or move to Real Madrid. Both of them can win the Champions League these days. When I was at PSG, that wasn’t the case.
“That choice depends on what you want to achieve in football. If you want the biggest accolades, you will have to move from PSG at some point.
“Whatever you do in Paris will be good, but somebody will always say, ‘Well, you did great for PSG but it was only in France. The best leagues are in England and Spain, so you didn’t compete with the best players in the best league.
“You will have to decide. If you want to win the Ballon d’Or, which is what you should be looking at to echo Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, you will have to compete with the best.
“You can’t say you compete with the best all the time when you are at PSG. The French league is not easy, don’t get me wrong, but I think the toughest league is in England.
“So, if you want to be one of the best, then do what you do in Paris but with Chelsea or United or Arsenal or Manchester City or Liverpool. Or go to Spain to Madrid or Barcelona. Or maybe Italy. Then we can speak about a more global impact.”
Mbappé endured an underwhelming Euro 2020 campaign in which he failed to find the net in France’s four matches before their shock last-16 exit at the hands of Switzerland, a game in which he missed the decisive penalty in the shoot-out.
He failed to score in the tournament despite taking 14 shots. At the point of France’s tournament exit, only Cristiano Ronaldo (five goals from 15 shots) and Álvaro Morata (two goals from 15 shots) had taken more goal attempts.
“If you want to win the Ballon d’Or, which is what you should be looking at to echo Ronaldo & Messi, you’ll have to compete with the best.
“You can’t say you compete with the best all the time when you are at PSG.”
— The Athletic UK (@TheAthleticUK) July 5, 2021
“Something was missing in the collective” as France disappointed at Euro 2020, Anelka says
It is the first time France failed to make it to at least the quarter-finals of a major competition since 2010 but Anelka, who won the European Championship with Les Bleus in 2000, does not think the blame should lie with the attacking players.
“Football is a magnificent sport that remains unpredictable,” he said. “Even if France had the best team on paper with a team capable of winning again, something was missing in the collective.
“They had difficulties in defence. This France team was able to score goals at any time but was also able to concede at any time so that’s what stopped them from going further in this tournament.
“The World Cup in Qatar is next year so there will be matches for France to try to make the tactical and collective repairs to compete, to win again.
“France won the World Cup three years ago but the page has turned. This European Championship is another page that has to turn. Some new players might be integrated and this is a new chapter.
“Many teams want to be world champions but there are not many examples of a country winning the World Cup twice in a row. It is easy to say, not easy to do.”