Man of the moment Mbappe squares up to old club Monaco

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Kylian Mbappe (Getty Images)
Kylian Mbappe (Getty Images)

Kylian Mbappe underlined why he is seen as a future Ballon d'Or winner with his midweek Champions League hat-trick for Paris Saint-Germain against Barcelona, but Sunday's opponents Monaco hardly needed any warning about the threat posed by the electrifying striker.

Monaco head to the Parc des Princes not as lambs to the slaughter but as rivals to PSG in the Ligue 1 title race, with five points currently separating the principality club in fourth place from the Parisians, who are second, one point behind leaders Lille.

Under Niko Kovac, Monaco are a force in France once again, four years after Mbappe's sudden, stunning explosion onto the scene helped fuel their last title triumph.

Mbappe was stating his aim of one day winning the Ballon d'Or when he first signed for Monaco as a 14-year-old in 2013.

After turning 18, he scored six goals in six Champions League knockout games for the principality side in 2016/17 while also starring as they pipped PSG to the title.

Then he was off, with Monaco unable to turn down a 180 million-euro ($215m at the time) offer from Paris.

Three and a half years on, and his hat-trick against Barcelona took Mbappe onto 111 goals for PSG, making him already the club's third-highest goal-scorer of all time, behind only Zlatan Ibrahimovic and his erstwhile teammate Edinson Cavani.

PSG signed Mbappe, and Neymar, to conquer Europe, but in the wake of the Barcelona game the 22-year-old France World Cup-winner was eager to point out that his team could not afford to take their eye off the ball domestically.

"We are focused on our objectives and we have a very important match on Sunday in the league because we are not top and we have no margin for error," Mbappe told broadcaster RMC Sport.

"We need to turn our attention back to the league immediately because as magnificent as this game was, we have won nothing."

The mere presence of Mbappe is not always a guarantee of success though -- PSG lost 3-2 in Monaco when the teams last met in November, despite the forward scoring twice.

On Sunday, like in Barcelona, coach Mauricio Pochettino will be without the injured Neymar, while Angel Di Maria has been on the sidelines too.

Monaco have crept up into contention at the top of the table on a 10-game unbeaten league run. 

They had won seven on the bounce before a 2-2 draw with Lorient last time out. 

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