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Departing Mbappé Chases a Last Trophy with PSG in French Cup Final Against Resurgent Lyon

PARIS (AP) — This time, it’s really the end.

After missing Paris Saint-Germain’s last two league games, Kylian Mbappé should start in the French Cup final against Lyon on Saturday for his final match in a PSG shirt.

The forward, who is widely expected to join Real Madrid, was given some free time by coach Luis Enrique last weekend and was spotted enjoying himself at the Cannes film festival while PSG wrapped up a 12th victorious league campaign in less glamorous settings.

Mbappé told PSG in February he will leave at the end of the season — Saturday night — and confirmed it this month. Over the last three months, Enrique has tried to make PSG less reliant on his star striker, arguing that he needed to start thinking about the future knowing that Mbappé would not be around next season.

Although Enrique has yet to decide on his starting XI for Saturday’s final at Lille’s Stade Pierre-Mauroy, snubbing Mbappé, or even leaving him on the bench, would equate to a slap in his face.

Mbappé is the club’s all-time top scorer with 256 and has won six Ligue 1 titles and three French Cups with PSG. Although he didn’t lead the club to a Champions League trophy in his seven seasons in Paris, he largely contributed to helping PSG reach a respected status on the continent.

Leaving him on the sidelines on the night he could cap his PSG journey with yet another title seems highly unlikely, although Enrique has warned his players he will select only those who deserve it.

“We’ll see who’s ready, who’s not ready (to play), who wants to, who doesn’t want to,” Enrique said.

Like Mbappé, Ousmane Dembélé did not play against Nice and Metz in the closing league rounds but should be back to face a resurgent Lyon side led by former Arsenal striker Alexandre Lacazette.

LYON MASTER OF COMEBACKS

Lyon has been in impressive form in recent months and Enrique can’t afford to take the five-time Cup champion lightly.

Since Pierre Sage was appointed coach last November when Lyon was at the bottom of the league, the team has been transformed into a winning machine. After sealing European soccer next season, Lyon can cap a remarkable second half of the season with its first silverware since 2012.

One of Lyon’s main assets has been its capacity to come from behind under Sage’s guidance. According to French league statistics, Lyon has secured 27 points from a losing position, with only Liverpool and Girona doing better in the top five leagues. Lyon substitutes have contributed 18 goals since Sage’s appointment.

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