If you hadn’t heard of Kylian Mbappe prior to the 2018 World Cup, odds are, you have now. Mbappe’s stellar World Cup performance displayed that he has the makings to be a world class player (if you don’t already consider him one). Although Mbappe is only a teenager, his composure on and off the pitch, coupled with his obvious talent, should give fans hope that he can carry the torch in the inevitable post-Messi/Ronaldo era.
The nineteen year-old phenom burst onto scene in Russia during the first knockout game against Argentina, outdueling Lionel Messi en route to an entertaining 4-3 victory for France. Mbappe notched a pair of second half goals and drew a foul inside the box that led to a penalty kick goal by Antoine Griezmann. In the World Cup Final, Mbappe dazzled once again, scoring a goal in the 65’ minute which gave France an insurmountable 4-1 lead. In just his first World Cup appearance, Mbappe has already accomplished what Messi, Ronaldo, Neymar, and other world class players have failed to do: lead his country to a World Cup title.
At the club level, Mbappe has experienced success as well. At age 16, Mbappe made his debut for AS Monaco and by the spring of 2016, Mbappe had earned himself a three-year contract with Monaco. In the 2016-17 season, Mbappe finished with 15 goals across 29 Ligue 1 appearances and helped lead Monaco to the Ligue 1 title over Paris Saint-Germain. In the summer of 2017, Mbappe was signed on a loan by PSG. Mbappe’s deal is worth 180 million euros, which is equivalent to nearly $210 million. Mbappe’s deal is the second most expensive transfer in history. Neymar, also currently of PSG, holds the title of most expensive transfer, with a deal worth roughly 222 million euros. Mbappe’s 2017-18 PSG campaign was strong, as he finished third on the team in Ligue 1 goals (13) and second in assists (8) as PSG earned the Ligue 1 title. With Edinson Cavani’s future with PSG in question, Mbappe may have an even greater opportunity to flourish next season.
Off the pitch, Kylian Mbappe is as exceptional as he is as a player. Following France’s World Cup victory, it was revealed that Mbappe planned to donate his whole World Cup salary plus the bonuses, which add up to about $500,000, to charity. The earnings are to be donated to Premiers de Cordee, a charity that provides free sports instruction to hospitalized and disabled children. A gesture of this magnitude is almost unheard of for athletes of Mbappe’s caliber, and given his age, it is an incredibly impressive one.
Kylian Mbappe’s career is certainly off to a fantastic start. At just age nineteen, he has earned himself a record-setting contract, won a World Cup title, and has set an impressive standard for how to handle himself off the pitch. Mbappe is also polarizing to watch, due to his quick footwork and explosive playmaking ability. This is only the beginning for Kylian Mbappe. Perhaps he may even win a Ballon d’Or or two in his career.