Paris St Germain forward Kylian Mbappe turns 20 on Thursday, leaving behind the teenage years that have seen him climb rapidly towards the top of his profession.
Mbappe has wasted little time in becoming unquestionably one of the brightest talents on the global stage, and here, Press Association Sport charts the Frenchman’s rise.
Making waves at Monaco
Born in the French capital on December 20, 1998, Mbappe’s speed and control with the ball at his feet from an early age led to several European suitors expressing interest and he even had a trial at Chelsea. He eventually settled at Monaco, where in the 2015-16 season he became the club’s youngest ever first-team player and goalscorer – beating benchmarks set by Thierry Henry. Mbappe gradually established himself in the first-team and was pivotal in the following season and scored 26 times in 44 appearances in all competitions, helping Monaco to their first Ligue 1 crown in 17 years.
PSG splash the cash
Monaco reluctantly parted with their prized asset in August last year as PSG brought in Mbappe on a season-long loan with an option to sign the attacker permanently for 180million euros (£165.7m) – which they did this year. The delay in a permanent deal was reportedly due to PSG seeking to comply with UEFA’s financial fair play rules. Nevertheless, the announcement of the astronomical fee sent the footballing world into overdrive, instantly making Mbappe a household name as he became the world’s most expensive teenager and the second most expensive player ever – eclipsed only by the 222m euros (£200m) the French giants paid for Neymar.
Towering presence in Paris
Mbappe linked up with Neymar and Edinson Cavani at PSG to form one of the most envied forward lines in world football. It was unsurprising they swept to the Ligue 1 title – making it back-to-back league crowns for Mbappe. The trio bagged 89 goals in all competitions, with Mbappe finding the net 21 times in 44 appearances, as PSG completed a domestic treble. Mbappe collected the Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year award for the second season in a row, yet success on the continent proved more elusive as PSG disappointingly exited the Champions League at the last 16 stage.
France were among the favourites for the 2018 World Cup in Russia and Mbappe was a leading light as Les Bleus went all the way for just the second time in their history. Alongside the likes of Paul Pogba and Antoine Griezmann, Mbappe proved irresistible and was particularly influential in the 4-3 win over Argentina in the last 16, scoring twice and earning a penalty. A glorious effort from distance in the final against Croatia ushered France to a 4-2 victory and put the seal on a sensational tournament for Mbappe, who collected the Best Young Player award.
Mbappe’s permanent transfer to PSG was made official before the start of the ongoing season and the teenager was handed the number seven shirt vacated by Lucas Moura. If anything, Mbappe is showing signs of further improvement with 17 goals in 15 matches so far, while he is among the most popular footballers on the planet with more than 24million followers on Instagram and a further 2.2million on Twitter.