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PSG, French football prepare for challenges of post-Mbappe era

Paris Saint-Germain finished the season with a domestic double after beating Lyon in Saturday’s French Cup final but will now start building for another assault on the Champions League next year, this time without Kylian Mbappe.

The France captain brought the curtain down on his seven-year spell at PSG in the 2-1 win over Lyon, in which he failed to add to his club-record tally of 256 goals as Ousmane Dembele and Fabian Ruiz netted on the night, reports AFP.

It was a deserved victory against a Lyon team who had been the best side in France in the second half of the season, after sitting bottom of the table in December.

But PSG’s ongoing dominance of the French game simply reflects their crushing financial power compared to every other club.

Going by the most recent detailed accounts published by the DNCG, the watchdog that oversees the finances of France’s professional clubs, PSG’s income in 2022/23 was roughly equivalent to that of the next five richest sides — Marseille, Lyon, Monaco, Rennes and Lille — put together.

Their focus has long been on winning the Champions League, a trophy they have never managed to get their hands on over the years with Mbappe, Lionel Messi, Neymar, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and other superstars in their ranks.

And coach Luis Enrique knows how big a task lies ahead as they look to build a team that can enjoy the Champions League success they never managed to achieve with Mbappe.

“He is obviously a different player and we can’t replace him with one single player. Forget it. There is no substitute for Kylian Mbappe,” PSG’s Spanish coach said after Saturday’s final.

“We will need to replace him with the team as a whole, and with maybe four, five or six new signings.”