Four takeaways from Europe: Real Madrid’s new superstar, Kylian Mbappe’s load management & more

Another week of European football is in the books, and what a week it was.

Real Madrid witnessed their new Brazilian superstar win another trophy, Athletic Club fans watched their team claim silverware for the first time in 40 years, and Bayer Leverkusen reached the precipice of their first Bundesliga trophy (well, shield technically) ever.

And after all of that fun, here’s all our takeaways from the weekend of European action.


Another trophy / Alexandre Schneider/GettyImages

Endrick is 17 years old, and this past weekend he won the fifth trophy of his career already.

That’s five more than a 30-year-old Harry Kane.

The youngster was pivotal in winning the Sao Paulo state championship with Palmeiras too, earning player of the match plaudits for inspiring a second leg 2-0 success over Santos – the needed margin of victory to overcome a 1-0 deficit from the first leg.

The kid is a big game player already, and looks set to develop into a genuine superstar when he joins Real Madrid in the summer.

Los Blancos fans, it’s time to get very excited.

Athletic Club players celebrate their victory at the end of...Athletic Club players celebrate their victory at the end of...

Famous win / SOPA Images/GettyImages

Despite being consistently quite good over last few decades, Athletic Club had gone a rather astonishing 40 years without winning a trophy heading into the weekend’s Copa del Rey final clash with Mallorca.

Those 40 years of hurt – made even sorer by the sting of six Copa del Rey final defeats in a row – seemed to weigh quite heavily on Athletic Club throughout the game on Saturday night, with the Basque club coming from behind to force a penalty shootout against a team they thumped 4-0 back in February in La Liga.

Thanks to successful spot kicks from Raul Garcia, Iker Muniain, Mikel Vesga and Alex Berenguer in the shootout however, the Basque club were able to hold their nerve to secure a famous victory. Nice one.

Xabi AlonsoXabi Alonso

One more win / Maja Hitij/GettyImages

One more win.

After the win over Union Berlin last weekend, Xabi Alonso’s Bayer Leverkusen need one more victory to secure their first ever Bundesliga triumph.

Yep, first ever.

Leverkusen will be expecting to secure the title with yet another commanding showing against Werder Bremen on Sunday afternoon.

Kylian MbappeKylian Mbappe

On the bench again / Xavier Laine/GettyImages

‘Load management’ is a term used quite frequently in the NBA to describe how star players are given rest days in between big games.

That’s essentially what Paris Saint-Germain have started doing with Kylian Mbappe to ensure he’s fully fit for UEFA Champions League knockout round games.

The forward failed to complete 90 minutes for the sixth time since February in the weekend’s Ligue 1 draw with Montpellier, coming off the bench for the final 20 minutes of the game.

With Ligue 1 already all-but-won, it makes sense to keep the forward fresh for the upcoming clash with Barcelona in the Champions League…even if Mbappe doesn’t seem to happy about it.


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