Messi, Mbappe and other PSG stars draw thousands at Tokyo training | Inquirer Sports

Messi, Mbappe and other PSG stars draw thousands at Tokyo training

/ 10:37 PM July 18, 2022
Messi PSG

France’s Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi (L) dribbles the ball during their training session at a stadium in Tokyo on July 18, 2022. (Photo by AFP)

Lionel Messi, Neymar and Kylian Mbappe drew gasps from a crowd of thousands in Tokyo on Monday as Paris Saint-Germain held the first training session of their Japanese tour.

About 13,000 fans turned up at Tokyo’s Chichibunomiya rugby ground to watch an open session and were treated to an hour and a half of tricks and flicks from PSG’s star attacking trio.

ADVERTISEMENT

The crowd erupted in cheers as the team trotted out to jog around the pitch and the players’ every touch was greeted with loud squeals.

Security guards were even called into action when several fans invaded the pitch once the session was over.

FEATURED STORIES

Masayuki Yoshizawa, a 38-year-old office worker who arrived at the stadium wearing a 1990s-era PSG shirt, told AFP he was looking forward to watching star striker Mbappe.

“Ligue 1 teams don’t usually come to Japan — they usually go to China,” he said, adding that he had been a fan of PSG since Brazilian Leonardo joined them from Japanese club Kashima Antlers in 1996.

“It’s great that they have come here after the pandemic — I think it might be the first and last time,” he said.

Nine-year-old Aoma Oura said he could not decide whether Messi or Mbappe was his favorite player.

“My son plays football and we’ve been fans for a while,” said his 36-year-old father Kazuya.

PSG will play three local teams during their 10-day visit to Japan, starting with Wednesday’s game against J-League champions Kawasaki Frontale at Tokyo’s National Stadium.

They will also play Urawa Reds in Saitama on July 23 and Gamba Osaka in Osaka on July 25.

ADVERTISEMENT

PSG held a football clinic for children in Tokyo on Monday morning, with Sergio Ramos and Marquinhos joining Mbappe, Neymar and Messi on the pitch.

Some of the children asked the players questions after the session had finished, with one asking Messi what skills it was important to learn as a child.

“First of all, the most important thing at that age is to enjoy yourself,” said the Argentine.

“Of course, it’s good to practice and work hard to improve your skills, but it’s important to have fun.”

RELATED STORIES

PSG names Christophe Galtier as new coach after sacking Mauricio Pochettino

Read Next
Don't miss out on the latest news and information.

Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.

TAGS: Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Paris Saint-Germain
For feedback, complaints, or inquiries, contact us.


© Copyright 1997-2022 INQUIRER.net | All Rights Reserved

We use cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. By continuing, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. To find out more, please click this link.