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Sport

FootballKylian Mbappe’s Rise and Rise

Words by Rob Chilton

Kylian Mbappe’s rise to superstardom is astonishing. A World Cup, the inaugural Kopa Trophy and a deal with Hublot: and this kid is just warming up.

As Messi and Ronaldo come to the end of their careers, all eyes turn to French wonderkid and the future of football, Kylian Mbappe. The 19-year-old World Cup winner just won the inaugural Kopa Trophy, which is awarded to the best male footballer in the world under 21. And having been recently announced as an ambassador for Hublot, we delve into the life of this extraordinary talent.

  • Where’s he from?

Mbappe was born in 1998 in Bondy, a poor suburb in north-east Paris with a population of about 50,000, which stands on a motorway that connects Paris to Charles de Gaulle airport. He played for local club AS Bondy and a giant mural of Mbappe adorns one of Bondy’s apartment blocks today.

  • What’s his family story?

Mbappe’s father Wilfried has Cameroonian roots and was a coach at his son’s club AS Bondy. Mbappe’s mother, Fayza is of Algerian origin and was a professional handball player.

  • What was he like as a kid?

Even before he was five years old, Mbappe would sing the French national anthem and dreamt of playing for France. On his bedroom wall were numerous posters Cristiano Ronaldo. “He is a hero from my childhood and I admired him when I was younger,” said Mbappe.

  • How much does he earn?

In the summer on 2017 Mbappe became the most expensive teenager in football history when he left AS Monaco after winning the league title and signed for Paris Saint-Germain in a deal worth almost AED 800m. Mbappe said of his record-breaking switch, “I had the impression of crossing the river and completely changing worlds.” Mbappe is paid AED 6m a month, the third-highest salary in the French league after his PSG teammates Neymar and Edinson Cavani.

  • How fast is he?

In France’s 4-3 victory over Argentina in the first knockout stage of the 2018 World Cup – during which Mbappe scored two goals – he recorded a running speed of 37kmh, prompting teammates to nickname him ‘37’.

  • What do the experts say?

Arsene Wenger believes Mbappe could “become the next Pele” adding, “He has no limits and will only get stronger. He has a balanced game for a striker – he scores goals and he gives chances which is the quality of great players.”

Diego Maradona calls Mbappe, “the revelation of soccer.”

French coach Didier Deschamps says, “A player like him only appears occasionally, he’s doing amazing things. He can play all positions in attack and does everything very quickly. What he is capable of doing is incredible. To be so crucial and effective at just 19 is extraordinary.”

Italian manager Marcello Lippi said, “New gods are being born, like Mbappé. He runs at extraordinary speed with the ball at his feet. He has incredible quality.”

Brazil striker Neymar says, “I have the impression that he’s already 30, that’s how mature and complete he is.”

— Not a bad appraisal, you could say…

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