Euro 2020: Player in Focus - Kylian Mbappe - The most decorated young French footballer!
How do you stop talking about this kid!!! At just twenty-two years of age, this French phenomenon is considered one of the best players in the world. And absolutely no, he is not overrated or hyped up. This is the real deal! Don’t believe so? Let’s start by running by the numbers.
In his 239 professional appearances for club sides, he has managed to score 158 goals. If you exclude his stint at Monaco II and only consider his first-team statistics, he has managed a goal per game average of 1.47. Going one step further, in his time at PSG, he has netted 106 goals in 123 matches! He is also just one of two teenagers to have scored in a World Cup Final, the other being Brazilian legend Pele. Impressed yet?
Like his idol, Cristiano Ronaldo, the young Frenchmen is an absolute beast in attack, breaking records season after season. He is the youngest French player to score at the FIFA World Cup. At such a fragile age, he is already a World Cup winner, a Ligue 1 champion and the recipient of many individual football laurels that many of the greatest have even failed to achieve at their prime.
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) January 23, 2021
The prodigy started his career at AS Monaco at the age of 16. He was already a phenomenon before his arrival and made his way into the senior team within just three weeks! He was compared to the young Thierry Henry who also made his way into the world of football through Monaco. Kylian Mbappe broke both records set by the former French international becoming the youngest player in the senior team and the youngest goal scorer for the club.
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) July 15, 2020
In the 2016-17 season, Mbappe found the net twenty-six time as Monaco marched to the Ligue 1 title. A year later, the forward was loaned out to PSG and eventually became a permanent transfer for a world-record fee for a teenager. He is also the second-most expensive transfer, only behind current teammate Neymar.
He helped PSG win three back-to-back league titles since his arrival and has been the top goal scorer in the league. He is formidable in any role across the front-line and has been deployed in various positions in the attacking unit.
His ability to play with either foot enables him to be impactful in either wing and his eye for goal helps him when he assumes a central position. When on the left-wing he uses his pace and dribbling skills to cut in-field to take on goal scoring positions. Just like his teammate Neymar, Mbappe is brilliant when it comes to close control and 1v1 situations. This enables him to manoeuvre through tight spaces to create goal-scoring opportunities.
There are a lot of things footballers can develop but the explosive pace is something that is gifted. There’s not much one can do when Mbappe steps on the gas except maybe pray that he tumbles to the ground. Like many of the greatest wingers, Mbappe’s truest gift is his speed. A lethal counter-attacking weapon that simply cannot be stopped by legal means.
The wonderkid is fast on his head just like he is with his feet. His ability to make creative passes and decisions makes him unpredictable, thus making it difficult for defenders to keep track of his movements. If you deny him space, he simply creates it! Man-mark him and he opens up space for teammates by drawing the opposition towards him. Let him wander with the ball outside the box, well, then he shoots from outside the box. Simply put, there’s not much one can do against the young man.
WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS
Mbappe has been the most prolific player in the Ligue 1 for a couple of seasons now. With the Brazilian flair of Neymar as his compatriot, the Frenchman has improved considerably. Every club in Europe has an eye on the young man but only a few have the resources to acquire him. Even less have the interest of the player itself.
Mbappe’s partnership with Neymar has been commendable. Apart from just scoring goals, the duo has been a treat to watch. Neymar has surely influenced Mbappe and has helped him develop as a player. At just 22, Mbappe has a long career ahead of him and to think that he might not have reached his prime yet is simply mind-boggling.
There’s no doubt that he would slide right into the starting lineup in any team he plays. The question is, will he leave PSG in search of greater glory or will he glorify the French capital for a few more seasons? An exciting player who has already made his mark among the greats, ready to plunge into even more greatness!