Kylian Mbappe reached 200 goals for Paris Saint-Germain to become the club’s joint all-time top scorer as the France superstar netted twice in his side’s 3-0 win over Ligue 1 title rivals Marseille on Sunday.
It was a result and a performance that will erase many of the doubts about a team that had been in stuttering form in recent weeks as they outclassed their most credible domestic challengers.
Mbappe’s brace took him to a double century of goals for PSG in just short of 250 appearances since signing from Monaco in 2017.
The 24-year-old therefore equals his former teammate Edinson Cavani as the club’s record marksman.
“He is obviously fast but it’s not just about his legs — the speed at which he does things is out of the ordinary,” PSG coach Christophe Galtier told broadcaster Amazon Prime.
“Players like him are clearly motivated by stats and records. Tonight he has equalled Edinson Cavani’s magnificent record and he will obviously go on to beat it.”
Mbappe is now out on his own as Ligue 1’s leading scorer this season with 17 goals and has 29 in 29 games in all competitions since the campaign began.
Messi, meanwhile, now has 12 league goals this season and has set up 12 more, and PSG did not miss the absent Neymar.
The Brazilian was sidelined after being stretchered off with an ankle injury in last week’s 4-3 defeat of Lille.
The Qatar-owned club saw their injury problems continue as centre-back Presnel Kimpembe — whose season has been plagued by fitness issues — was carried off early on after crumpling to the turf in agony.
“Unfortunately he seriously injured himself and will obviously be out until the end of the season,” said Galtier, who added that it looked like an Achilles tendon injury.”
PSG overcame that setback to take the lead in the 25th minute.
Mbappe darted infield from the left and broke away from the unaware Eric Bailly to latch onto a Messi pass before running through to score.
Four minutes later it was 2-0 as Mbappe combined with Nuno Mendes down the left before playing a glorious ball through the legs of Bailly for Messi to finish from close in.
Messi should have scored again from a Mendes assist soon after while both Mbappe and Marquinhos came close to making it 3-0 before the interval.
In the end the third goal arrived 10 minutes into the second half as Messi’s flighted assist was met first-time on the volley by Mbappe and his shot found the far corner of the net.
Monaco lose derby
Gianluigi Donnarumma then produced a superb save from an Alexis Sanchez header and also denied Vitinha as Marseille slumped to a second successive home defeat in the league.
“I am not disappointed with what my team did. Today it was the better team who won,” said Marseille coach Igor Tudor, who admitted Mbappe was too hot to handle.
“They have this number seven who is very difficult to mark. When they come and play in this way there is nothing you can do.”
Monaco remain two points behind Marseille in third after going down to a 3-0 defeat at home to a resurgent Nice in the Cote d’Azur derby earlier.
Nigerian striker Terem Moffi scored twice for Nice before setting up Khephren Thuram for the third.
Monaco’s defeat comes just three days after they were knocked out of the Europa League on penalties by Bayer Leverkusen and leaves them still third in the table but above Lens only on goal difference.
Elsewhere, Jeremy Doku’s goal gave Rennes a 1-0 win away to near neighbours Nantes to move back above Lille into fifth.