Lille OSC star Jonathan Ikone rose to Kylian Mbappe’s defence after being “assassinated on social media” for his transfer bombshell.
Mbappe left Paris Saint-Germain sweating over his future on Sunday night by claiming he could leave for a “new project” after being named Ligue 1’s Player of the Year.
The 20-year-old striker’s comments have reportedly alerted Real Madrid over his potential availability in the summer. It’s understood the Spanish giants are awaiting a final answer from Mbappe and PSG team-mate Neymar.
And Parisians boss Tuchel confessed on Thursday that the duo’s futures are not guaranteed.
Therefore, Mbappe has received his fair share of backlash for his controversial comments. He’s since remained silent ever since last weekend despite the mounting fears over a possible summer exit at PSG.
But Ikone, who played alongside Mbappe in the Paris suburbs at AS Bondy in their youth, has defended the World Cup winner’s actions.
“Kylian is respectful. Some people have a tendency to forget that at the moment. He’s been criticised too much since, sometimes he’s been ‘assassinated’ on social media,” said Ikone on the Ligue 1 website.
“I know him well, his values, his family too, and I’m very proud to be his friend.”
As an attacking midfielder, Ikone has managed three goals and nine assists for Lille in all competitions this season.
Now the 21-year-old’s focus will be on winning the U-21 European championship for France in the summer in Italy and San Marino.
Despite being eligible himself, however, Mbappe won’t be featuring in the competition as he’s already a fully-fledged member of the senior team.
“I’m here to help the team and give everything, but I don’t have a specific role,” said Ikone.
“I will have one, but I’ll only know it in the first few matches. In any case, I intend to contribute the same thing as at Lille.”