Very few footballers can say they have the same resume as Kylian Mbappe, and even less can say they have it before turning 20. Andrew gives praise to one of the great young talents in world football.
To honor one of football’s biggest and brightest youth talents, we look back at what has been a historic year for the newly turned 20 year old, Kylian Mbappe. The AS Monaco product left for the riches of Paris Saint Germain in August of 2017 on a loan to avoid Financial Fair Play restrictions. His loan was made permanent by his contract at the time as he surpassed Manchester United’s Anthony Martial to become the most expensive teenager of all time moving for a fee of over $140 million.
Mbappe’s arrival immediately drew up a fearsome attacking trident, usually featuring on the right of a 4-3-3 alongside Edinson Cavani and Neymar. Mbappe went on to continue playing a key role for the Paris side as it easily cruised to claim back the Ligue 1 title back from his former club Monaco. In his first season with PSG, his goal in a 1-3 loss to Bayern Munich saw him record the only goal and become the youngest player ever to reach the 10 goal mark in the UEFA Champions League. A kick-started 2017 that saw him become the most expensive teenager of all time and earn 10 caps with the French National Team (scoring a goal on his debut), Mbappe was in store for a historic 2018, and boy did he deliver.
Starting with the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Mbappe showed exactly why his comparisons to football legend Pele have persisted. After a scare from the United States in the build up to the World Cup that saw the Americans scrap out a 1-1 draw, a few fans became worried how the French team would respond against some of the top teams in the world during the competition. Mbappe, who scored the only goal for Les Blues in the game, showed his reliability in tough games even at the age of just 19. In France’s Group C match against Peru, Mbappe scored the only goal in a 1-0 victory and became the French National Team’s youngest ever goalscorer in World Cup history. In the thrilling 4-3 victory over Argentina in the knockout rounds, Mbappe‘s 2 goal MOTM performance saw him become the youngest to score 2 goals in the competitions history. As if he did not already impress enough, his 25 yard strike in the World Cup final against Croatia once again drew comparisons to Pele after becoming the second youngest to score in a World Cup Final, coming in just a bit older than the legendary Brazilian.
The start of the 2018-19 Ligue 1 season with PSG has seen him become even more prolific, already scoring more goals than appearances, scoring 13 in just 12 games. He currently holds top scoring honors above the likes of Edinson Cavani and Neymar as his PSG side have racked up an impressive undefeated run to start the season.
Mbappe, the quick, double-footed prolific finisher has earned comparisons to some of the games greatest names. Arsene Wenger described the 20 year old as a reincarnated Thierry Henry while Nicolas Anelka saw similarities between him and Juventus superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. As if those were not enough, perhaps the most exciting comparison of them all is the legendary Pele comparing the young French star to himself, who posted to social media saying “Welcome to the club” following Mbappe’s FIFA 2018 World Cup Young Player Award.
It has been one hell of a way to head into your 20s and now we can only sit back and watch what such a talent like this can provide next year and perhaps the next 15+.
By: Andrew Diefenderfer