Football/Soccer

Kylian Mbappe knows Juventus are Monaco's toughest test yet

Monaco's young striker Kylian Mbappe has cut a swathe through the Champions League knock-out stages but is aware that his side will need to step up again against Juventus this evening

Monaco's free-scoring attack will face it sternest test yet as rising star Kylian Mbappe and Leonardo Jardim's young team prepare take on Juventus for a place in the Champions League final.

Jardim has so far guided his side through qualifying and a group stage campaign which also contained Tottenham and Bayer Leverkusen.

Monaco then knocked out big-spending Manchester City before overcoming Borussia Dortmund in what was a testing quarter-final tie after the first leg bomb scare in Germany.

Tonight, the Stade Louis II will play host to an Italian side who were so impressive in the way they restricted a marauding Barcelona both at home and away, securing their place in the last four without conceding a goal over 180 minutes.

To stay on course for a place at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff on June 3, Mbappe knows all of the Monaco team will have to bring out the very best of what has so far been an eye-catching European campaign by the Ligue 1 leaders.

"In this team there are plenty of quality players and we all make an effort for one another, that is why we have many different scorers," said 18-year-old Mbappe, whose displays this season earned him a call-up to the senior France squad.

"We really want to win something together and to do that, we cannot just rely on individuals, we must do it together. It is the best way when you want to win trophies.

"We are all competitors and competitors want to win."

Mbappe has five goals in four games in this season's knockout stages.

The French forward added: "Juventus are a great club. Everybody knows their history, the great players who played there, the great players who still play there.

"They are a great team, and they eliminated Barcelona who were also among the favourites.

"Juventus showed they have what it takes to win the competition, but we also have qualities and we will do everything we can to get to the final."

Monaco hope midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko will be available despite suffering a broken nose and he could well play in a protective mask.

Massimiliano Allegri's side, meanwhile, again look to be on course for another Serie A title, but also have European glory very much in their sights as the Bianconeri aim to go one better than when coming up short against Barcelona in Berlin two seasons ago.

German midfielder Sami Khedira is suspended, but otherwise it will be a near full-strength squad which heads to Monte Carlo.

Winger Juan Cuadrado, however, has warned against any complacency on the back of a tough 2-2 draw away at Atalanta last Friday night.

"We need to show our usual solidity, focus and desire all over the field because it will be a very difficult match," he said.

"The game against Atalanta was useful for Wednesday night in that Monaco operate in a similar way: both teams have very good young players who look to play quickly and put you under a lot of pressure."

Football/Soccer

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