Kylian Mbappe’s rise is no surprise..
Following Ligue 1 of France since 2012, the amount of young talent that the league has churned out is endless. Just this year the likes of Olympic Lyon midfielder Houssem Aouar, Girondin Bordeaux winger Malcom, Toulouse FC goalkeeper Albont Lafont, Olympic Marseille center-back Boubacar Kamara, along with Paris Saint-Germain’s midfielder Christopher Nkunku and striker Timothy Weah have all made their mark.
A league often seen as weak or considered a “farmers league” is a misconception. Kylian Mbappe’s rise to stardom is evidence of the leagues abundant talent. Mbappe’s rise is no surprise for Ligue 1, breaking record after record since his debut at age 16, in December 2, 2015 against SM Caen with former club AS Monaco.
Fast forward to Russia 2018 World Cup, Mbappe hasn’t stopped breaking records. In France’s second match-day of their group he scored the only goal of the game, securing 3 important points and a Round of 16 spot. The Parisien striker became Les Bleus youngest player to score in the WC.
He wasn’t done there.
The football world witnessed an overpowered and extremely talented French side beat a vulnerable Argentinian side 4–3, where none other than “Donatello” himself earned France a penalty and bagged a brace to help France go through to the quarter finals. He tallied 3 goals and became only the second youngest player (19 years of age) in a WC to score 2 or more goals since the legendary Pele (17 years of age) back in 1958. The forward burst through Argentina’s midfield constantly, dribbling and dazzling along the way. He was on fire!
France went on to win their semi-final against a tough Belgium side 1-0, by a Samuel Umtiti header. On they went into the final against Croatia.
Croatia scored first via a Mandzukic header in the 18th minute, on the wrong side of the net, giving France a 1-0 lead. Twenty minutes later, France were up 2-1 after Video Assistance Review gifted the French side a penalty. As the game opened up in the second half, Croatia with tired legs, France added two more on the score sheet.
It was none other than Mbappe himself, adding the 4th goal for France. In the 65th minute, Mbappe moved the ball twice before slotting in a goal from outside the box, via a swift pass from the left side by Lucas Hernandez. Mbappe’s goal resembled Portugal’s goal, which broke French hearts in the UEFA Euro 2016 final. France came out victorious, this time, giving it’s people joy and France redemption.
Kylian’s debut in Monaco rose comparisons to Arsenal legend Thierry Henry, who later shredded competition with Arsenal and FC Barcelona. In an article from Canal Plus Henry’s advice is for Mbappe to be himself.
“I don’t like comparing players – Mbappe has to become Mbappe and that is all. But my word, he is good. Ooh la la. l really like watching him play.”
Henry is wrong to say Mbappe is only good. He’s the full package, this generations phenom and icon for years to come.
Albeit, many reacted in shock to see such a player turn up, in a competition that comes only once every 4 years. Twitter exploded in shock, pundits alike couldn’t believe what they had seen.
“All the top players are at the World Cup,” said Mbappe to FIFA. “There is no better place to prove yourself.”
It is no surprise for those who’ve followed Mbappe’s progress from the beginning; he’ll constantly look to improve his game.
The PSG forward, in and out of the field, is humble and mature. According to L’Equipe Mbappe has agreed to give all his earnings from the World Cup to charity.
With a market that see’s many (disloyal) players follow the money, the 19 year old has made it clear, he’s committed to PSG!
“I will stay with PSG, continuing on my path with them,” Mbappe told reporters. “I am at the beginning of my career.”
Watch Mbappe’s growth (in French): Here