Rivals

Kylian Mbappe vs Jean-Pierre Papin: Who's better in their prime?

Jack Gallagher
Image by Matthew Burt
Image by Matthew Burt /
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Jean-Pierre Papin is one of the greatest French forwards of all time.

Despite being about 15 years old, Kylian Mbappe is too.

But who was/is better?

Well, that's what we're here to find out as part of 90min's Rivals episode centring around Paris Saint-Germain vs Marseille.


1. Goalscoring

Papin celebrating - Staff
Papin celebrating - Staff /

Kylian Mbappe goalscoring record in recent seasons has been astonishing - he's already PSG's second highest scorer of all time.

And, judging by his clear improvements in front of goal in the last 12 months, he actually looks like he's set to get better and better at scoring goals in the coming years too.

Despite this, we have to give the nod to Papin in this category. The diminutive forward's record in France speaks for itself:

- Four consecutive 30+ goal seasons.
- Five consecutive Ligue 1 top scorer awards.
- Oh and this goal against Belgium in 1992.

A rare combination of a great goalscorer & a scorer of great goals.

Winner: Jean-Pierre Papin

2. Athleticism

Mbappe celebrating - Eurasia Sport Images / Contributor
Mbappe celebrating - Eurasia Sport Images / Contributor /

When your athleticism is being compared to pre-knee injury R9 Ronaldo's, you know that you're a pretty special athlete.

And that's exactly what Mbappe is.

The PSG man has the most terrifying turn of pace in world football. For that reason, there's only one winner here.

Winner: Kylian Mbappe

3. Clutch

Mbappe is clutch: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Stringer
Mbappe is clutch: Gonzalo Arroyo Moreno / Stringer /

Papin was the difference maker for a Marseille team that won four Ligue 1 titles and made a European Cup final...but Mbappe has scored in a World Cup final so he obviously wins this category.

The young forward has actually scored more World Cup knockout round goals than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi combined, despite playing in only one tournament thus far.

He is outrageously clutch.

Winner: Kylian Mbappe

4. Impact at club

Papin in action - Stringer
Papin in action - Stringer /

Papin is quite simply the greatest, and most beloved, player in Marseille's history.

The forward almost single-handedly sparked a golden era for the club both in France and on the continent, and that fact certainly hasn't been forgotten by Marseille fans.

Mbappe may very well be the greatest player that will ever play for PSG, but judging by his willingness to leave the club this summer it's hard to imagine that he'll ever by the most beloved.

Winner: Jean-Pierre Papin

Results

The 90min readers have spoken, and the winner of Papin vs Mbappe is...

Kylian Mbappe, who picked up 65% of votes.

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