France fell short, but magical Kylian Mbappe has stepped out of Lionel Messi's shadow

The stars of the show
The stars of the show / Alex Pantling/GettyImages

It's common knowledge that Kylian Mbappe hasn't been the happiest of campers at PSG since deciding to stay put and sign a new contract in the summer.

With Lionel Messi and Neymar lighting up Ligue 1, the forward hasn't been the club's main superstar in the way he wanted to be and hasn't been pleased with the role he's been forced to play to facilitate the South American duo.

Things have been different with France though. Didier Deschamps has given him the status he wants on and off the pitch, and that had brought the best out of him in Qatar - prior to the final, he'd looked happier and better than ever.

Going up against Messi in football's biggest game, Mbappe had the chance to firmly step out of his teammate's shadow and cement his status as the world's best, and while he may have ended up on the losing side, boy did he take it.

As has been the case at their club, Messi hogged the spotlight that Mbappe so craves heading into the final, with the fact that it was the Argentine's last chance to win a World Cup overshadowing the fact that the Frenchman could win his second at the age of 23.

That remained the case when the ball get rolling with him having just five touches before the 35-year-old gave his team the lead from the penalty spot.

He then got on the ball just four more times before former teammate Angel Di Maria made it 2-0, giving the South American team a comfortable lead that they fully deserved.

Along with being in the shadow of Messi and Neymar, another thing that has upset Mbappe at PSG has been the fact that he's been used as a lone striker rather than being given a role allowing him more creative freedom.

Given that, things went from bad to worse for him when Didier Deschamps made him Les Blues' centre forward before the first half was over, taking off Olivier Giroud. The match that every player dreams of playing in was fast becoming a nightmare.

It looked more and more like that would be the story of his second World Cup final as the second half went on. And then he decided to write a new one.

He gave his country a glimmer of hope when he made it 2-1 from the spot with 10 minutes remaining and turned that glimmer into so much more with a moment of magic a minute later.

What says just as much about how obscenely good he is as his stunning finish is the fact that you could see it coming as soon as the ball fell to him on the edge of the box. There are precious few players that wouldn't surprise you by scoring such a goal, and he's already one of them.

Unfortunately for him, another plays for Argentina, and Messi looked to have broken French hearts when he got his second of the game, scoring what looked set to be arguably the most significant goal of all time.

Once again though, Mbappe had other ideas, staying remarkably cool when handed another penalty.

He then made it three from three when he stepped up to take the first in the shootout that followed. His job was done, and he now had to rely on his team-mates.

They couldn't come through, with the two that followed him failing to score, but that didn't take anything away from his own heroics.

On the biggest of stages, he went toe to toe with the greatest player of all time and was every bit as good, at the ripe old age of 23.

Messi is magnifcent, but so too is Mbappe, and he's only getting started.