Lassana Diarra and Gianluigi Buffon from Paris Saint-Germain had a big influence on superstar forward Kylian Mbappe. And their leaving PSG affected him too.
Mbappe appreciated the guidance from Diarra and also the involvement of World Cup champion Buffon, who played for PSG during the 2018-19 season before moving back to Juventus on a free transfer.
“He was Uncle Lass, a big brother you could count on,” Mbappe told. “He often told me about his career, his clubs. He made mistakes, so he advised me.
“He helped me during complicated times. The high level – 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 elders. Buffon was also very important to me.
Diarra lasted just a year at the Parc des Princes, confirming his retirement in February 2019 when his PSG deal was terminated by mutual consent.
The graduate from Le Havre academy played for Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth before leaving for Real Madrid in 2009.
Diarra went to Marseille for 18 months after spending some time in Russia with Anzhi Makhachkala and Lokomotiv Moscow and joined Al Jazira in the United Arab Emirates following his release before joining PSG.
Mbappe went on, “But Lass wasn’t just talking to me. He also spent a lot of time with Presnel Kimpembe. And he always played this role even when he was not playing. That is very important.
“Lassana was highly respected in the dressing room. It did something to me to see him go. It also did something to me to see Buffon go.”
Kylian Mbappe thus revealed that the departures from Paris Saint-Germain of Lassana Diarra and Gianluigi Buffon had a major influence on him.
As the season was curtailed in April in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, PSG were proclaimed Ligue 1 champions. They’ll return to play in the quarter-finals of the Champions League in August.