Mbappe: Diarra and Buffon departures affected me most

    The 21-year-old says he relied on the retired midfielder for advice and that both stars made a big impression on him

    Kylian Mbappe says seeing Lassana Diarra and Gianluigi Buffon leave Paris Saint-Germain had a big effect on him. 

    The 21-year-old striker joined the French giants from Monaco in 2017 and spent a year with each of Diarra and Buffon.

    French midfielder Diarra joined PSG the following January and retired from the game just over a year later having made just 19 appearances, while legendary goalkeeper Buffon spent a season with the Ligue 1 champions before returning to Juventus in July 2019.

    Mbappe has seen many players come and go at PSG since he arrived, but he misses Diarra and Buffon more than anyone else.

    “He was Uncle Lass, a big brother you could count on,” Mbappe told L’Equipe  of his relationship with the ex-Chelsea, Arsenal and Real Madrid player. 

    He has often told me about his career, his clubs. He made mistakes, so he gave me advice. He helped me during complicated times.

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    “The highest level, he knows. He knows what he is talking about. He went to a lot of clubs all over the place. He left home very early, and alone.

    “I always liked listening to the senior players. Buffon was also very important to me.

    “But Lass didn’t just speak to me. He confided in those who were coming through. He also spent a lot of time, notably with Presnel Kimpembe and he always played this role even when he was not playing. And that is very important.

    “He was not the one we have sometimes heard people talk about. Lassana was highly respected in the locker room.

    “It did something to me to see him go. It also affected me to see Buffon go.

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    “Lass had told me about his plans, I knew what he wanted to do but I didn’t think he was going to work that hard. Because he works very hard. I am still in contact with him.”

    Mbappe won another Ligue 1 title this season as PSG were declared champions after the campaign was cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    The France star was top of the top-flight’s goal charts for the second time in a row, having netted 18 times in 20 league matches.

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