In Professional Soccer, it truly is hard to break into a well-known squad’s first team and make a name for yourself, especially as a teenager.
Don’t tell that to AS Monaco‘s 18-year-old striker Kylian Mbappe-Lottin. The French forward has taken the world by storm in his first full season with the municipality club.
Mbappe made his debut for Monaco back in December 2015, becoming the club’s youngest-ever senior debutant aged 16 years and 347 days. The debut broke Thierry Henry‘s record set 21 years ago.
In February 2016, Mbappe broke a second record set by Henry, netting his first senior goal for Monaco in a 3-1 league win over Troyes.
In the 2016-17 campaign, Mbappe has shocked the footballing world, helping Monaco lead the Ligue 1 table for most of the season, while also helping his side in Europe. Paired with the experience Radamel Falcao, the two have formed a deadly striker partnership which is currently one of Europe’s best. Monaco will face Juventus in the UEFA Champions League semifinals, set to kick off on May 3rd.
Between both Ligue 1 and the UCL, Mbappe has tallied 17 goals and five assists. He has netted hat-tricks not only in Ligue 1 play, but also in the French Coupe de la Ligue competition, where he added five goals as well.
Against Manchester City in the UCL Round of 16, Mbappe netted two goals, helping Monaco advance on the away goals rule. In the recent UCL quarterfinals, Mbappe added three more goals in two legs against Borussia Dortmund, to help Monaco advance on a 6-3 aggregate.
During this year, Mbappe has also received a call-up to the French National Team, making a substitute appearance in a World Cup Qualifying win against Luxembourg. In doing so, Mbappe became the second-youngest player to feature for the National Team, at 18 years, three months, and five days old.
Resembling another French star in Thierry Henry, Mbappe shows a lot of the same qualities as the former Monaco, Arsenal, and Barcelona star. Even Henry, the now European football pundit, praised the youngster’s ability in an interview with Canal Plus. “I don’t like comparing players – Mbappe has to become Mbappe and that is all,” Henry said. “But my word, he is good. Ooh la la. l really like watching him play.”
Mbappe shows great skill with the ball at his feet, while willing to rip a shot from anywhere on the pitch. He has had success picking up rebounds in front of goal, while also being clinical on the break.
With his ceiling growing even higher than before, Mbappe has been wanted by European giants Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, and Real Madrid. However, the French forward has one more year on his contract, which Monaco chief Ludovic Guily says the forward will honor next season.
“He has a contract with Monaco and he is going to be here for another year, there has to be complete calmness with him, he has a lot of talent and we are happy with him,” said Guily. “There is no limit to Mbappe’s ability, he can go as far as he wants and I don’t know how high he will go.”
With Monaco close to winning their first league title since 1999, and their first-ever Champions League crown, I expect this young star’s reputation to continue to grow in the coming months as the world continues to enjoy his performances.
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