From the moment Atmane Airouche, president of French soccer club AS Bondy, saw Kylian Mbappe, he knew this 5-year-old kid would have a big future ahead of him.
“He’s got eyes in the back of his head. He knows how to anticipate where the ball will go,” Airouche said.
When Mbappe scored for France in the final of this year’s World Cup, that future had definitely arrived.
Earlier this month, he made the cover of Time magazine, which even named him the “the future of football”.
At age 19, Mbappe has put his heart and soul into soccer for most of his life. “I didn’t have the moments of so-called normal people during adolescence, like going out with friends, enjoying good times,” he told Time.
His hard work isn’t the only reason for his success, however. If you look at his background, you’ll see that sport is in his blood. His father is a soccer coach and his mother used to be a handball player.
Mbappe began his professional career for a lesser-known club in Monaco in 2015, but within two years, Paris St Germain paid €180 million (1.4 billion yuan) for Mbappe’s transfer, making him the second most expensive player in the world. He quickly proved he was worth the money by playing a big part last season, in which the club won the biggest competitions in the French league.
All players, great, good and average, have heroes. They see a star player and try to be like that player. As a child, Mbappe looked up to Cristiano Ronaldo. But if the Portuguese striker was an inspiration to him, Mbappe says he wants to be a greater star one day. Speaking to Marca newspaper, Mbappe said that he loves Ronaldo, but believes he can be better than him. “I am a competitor and a person who is very competitive and all I want to do is win, win, win,” he said.
Only the years ahead will tell whether he can succeed, but whatever Mbappe does on the pitch, it will likely be remarkable.