News Kylian Mbappe seeks to rearrange football’s hierarchy in World Cup final
Kylian Mbappe could on Sunday become the youngest player to win two World Cups since Pele achieved the feat at 21. Mbappe, who turns 24 two days after the final, is the face of a new generation for this World Cup and football. Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo’s final World Cup match in Qatar will undoubtedly mark the passing of the baton between the two players who have dominated the sport for nearly two decades. While Messi has one last chance to claim the elusive World Cup title, Mbappe and France hope to usher in an era of dominance for a country that reached the final for the fourth time in seven attempts.
With the team struggling with injuries and struggles in the build-up, there are real fears that France will suffer the same fate as the defending champions in 2002 and be eliminated in the group stage.
France may not have mesmerized the world on their way to the final, but they have been masters of the crunch – showing ruthlessness and killer instinct when it matters most.
Much of that stemmed from Mbappe, the most feared player on the planet, whose goals helped France become the first side to defend the World Cup since Brazil in 1962, just one win away.
“There is a good connection between the teams. We work together, but, when you start to get close to the title in this game, you need your main players to be at their best,” said goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris.
In 2018, Mbappe declared himself on the global stage with a brace against Argentina in the Russia round of 16 and won the best young player award.
At 19, he became the youngest player to score in a World Cup final since Pele at 17 in 1958, while Mbappe already has more World Cup goals than Portugal’s Ronaldo or Diego Maradona.
He scored a total of four goals in 2018 – his first major tournament – and scored a fourth in France’s 4-2 win over Croatia in the final.
Only Just Fontaine, who scored an incredible 13 goals in Sweden in 1958, has scored more World Cup goals for France.
“It’s hard to see the limit”
Mbappe scored 250 goals in 362 appearances for club and national team, far surpassing Messi and Ronaldo of the same age.
“It’s hard to see the limits of Killian. He has the ability to break all the records. It’s fantastic to have a teammate like him,” Lloris said.
But personal accolades were not the motivation behind Mbappe’s move to Les Bleus.
“For me, the only goal is to win the World Cup,” he said.
“This is my dream. I’m not here to win the Ballon d’Or. That’s not why I’m here. I’m here to win and help the French national team.”
“This World Cup is an obsession for me, it’s my dream game.”
France has no shortage of talent, but Mbappe is just on another level.
So much so that France coach Didier Deschamps has given Mbappe permission to roam, and he has often made the most of that freedom, rarely returning to help defend at this World Cup.
That’s why, as Real Madrid prepared to poach Mbappe from the Parc des Princes, PSG went to great lengths to keep Mbappe at the club.
Mbappe has signed a new three-year contract to stay in his home country, with President Emmanuel Macron – who flew to the semi-final against Morocco – admitting he advised the striker to make a move. This decision.
With Macron scheduled to play again in Sunday’s final at the Lusail Stadium, Mbappe will have the chance to take the stage vacated by Messi and Ronaldo – and prepare for his first Ballon d’Or win.
(This story was not edited by NDTV staff and was automatically generated from syndicated feeds.)
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