Kylian Mbappe: A Once in a Lifetime Talent

Ross Kennerley
Jul 30, 2020, 4:56 PM GMT+1

Every now and then a player comes along who gets everybody's toes tingling, eyes widening, hearts racing. Y'know, the kind of emerging talent who warrants a few 'in form' cards on FIFA. Someone whose name only appears in a headline accompanied by 'Real Madrid, Barcelona & Manchester United'. Someone really, really good.

Got that image in your head? Grand.

Now forget it.

Because all of the names, entities, phantoms or whatever it was you conjured up in your noggin', they're not Kylian Mbappe.

View this post on Instagram

????... #2ans

A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe) on

This Frenchman is the player in 20-30 years time when you've got children on the go that you'll turn to them and boast how you were there when it all began. You saw him rip Borussia Dortmund to shreds in the Champions League. You saw him wipe the floor with the globe en route to the World Cup. You saw him lift the Ballon d'Or - probably more than once.

In the same vein that football folk now gratefully assume the tag of being fortunate enough to have watched Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo sit atop a perch all of their own, we're going to get that all again with Mbappe.

It's actually farcical, nonsensical, just how talented he is. Seven domestic titles and a World Cup is the résumé of an individual looking back on an almighty career. Not one who is 21 years old.

Ask the populous who the one player in the world they could sign for their club is. Any answer other than Mbappe should be met with an expression of disdain and bafflement, in equal measures.

Mbappe demonstrating how he gracefully landed onto this planet of ours
Mbappe demonstrating how he gracefully landed onto this planet of ours | VALERY HACHE/Getty Images

He was just 18 years old when first announced himself to the footballing world.

26 goals and 14 assists send shock waves across the football world, but none more so than in Ligue 1, where Les Monégasques secured their first league title for 16 years in the 2016/17 season. Was he integral? Ohhh yes. Granted, that was a superb side, but Mbappe shone brightest in the glittering backdrop of this small sovereign state.

Money talks in this world of ours, therefore the scramble over who would acquire such a gifted young man came down to who had the deepest pockets. Paris Saint-Germain won that particular race.

Will it be his final pit-stop? Unlikely. Such glorious ability can't be cooped up in one division for all its career. Well, it can, but as good as Ligue 1 is, I speak on behalf of myself and plenty of others - presumably - when I say that he needs to try his hand in another league. I think football fans deserve that. The French can't have everything.

His three seasons in the capital have continued to rain goals, all manner of goals. He just keeps getting better. How?

We all know that pace is a valuable commodity for any position in football, none more so than centre forwards, so naturally he possesses that in abundance. Roadrunner would need a head-start.

Left footed, right footed? No idea. He'll rifle the ball into either corner with either foot whenever he wants. It's so natural the way he strikes the ball you'd think you're watching a video game.

But for all the plethora of individual talents he has, for all of the beguiling skills in his heavily-stocked répertoire, there is still a ne sais quoi.

Stop being so good Kylian, you're making everyone else look bad
Stop being so good Kylian, you're making everyone else look bad | Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images

Something doesn't sit right. You can't be that good. There must be something to pop his precocity.

He has no obvious faults, though. Maybe, it's the lack of a Ballon d'Or? Likewise the absence of a Champions League trophy? Him holding either gong aloft doesn't yet exist in our image banks. But that's key. Yet.

Kylian Mbappe will be crowned the best player in the world at some point. Scooping the medal in elite European competition should follow too.

A new era of superstar footballers is on the horizon. Mbappe is leading the charge.

For more from Ross Kennerley, follow him on Twitter!