Mbappe is on a date with history.. Pele crowds out Ronaldo and Messi
On Sunday, Frenchman Kylian Mbappe will go down in history when he leads his country to defend its title against Argentina's Lionel Messi in the Qatar World Cup final.
Mbappe, who celebrates his twenty-fourth birthday just two days after the final match, will become the youngest player to win the world title twice since Brazilian legend Pele, who crowned him in 1962 at the age of 21.
Sunday’s match at Lusail Stadium, which will be a repeat of the final price round four years ago when France beat Argentina 4-3, marks the beginning of Mbappe’s era as the most prominent big star on the world stage, since his colleague in Saint-Germain Messi is participating in his last World Cup, similar to the Portuguese Cristiano Ronaldo Who exited the finals from the quarter-finals.
And in light of the curse of injuries that haunted coach Didier Deschamps’ team and stripped him of Karim Benzema, the best player in the world, midfielders Ngolo Kante, Paul Pogba, fullback Luca Hernandez, striker Christopher Nkunko, defender Prisnel Kimpembe and goalkeeper Mike Mignan, it seemed that the French were threatened with a repeat of the 2002 scenario when they relinquished the title with an exit from First round.
But they defended their title intelligently and settled in their favor at key moments, showing their killer instinct when there was so much at stake.
And that owes more than anything else to Mbappe, the most feared player on the planet whose goals helped put France one win away from becoming the first country to win the World Cup since Brazil in 1962.
France captain and goalkeeper Hugo Lloris said, "There is a wonderful relationship between (members of) the team. We work together, but when you start to get close to the title in this competition, you need your most important players to be at their best."
Mbappe announced himself on the world stage in 2018 with two goals against Argentina in the price of the Russian World Cup final, in which he was crowned Best Young Player.
At the age of 19, he became the youngest player to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958 at the age of 17, and has now surpassed Ronaldo and Argentine legend Diego Maradona in terms of the number of goals in the finals.
He scored four goals in the 2018 edition, which was his first major tournament, including the fourth goal for his country in the 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final.
Only Just Fontaine, who scored 13 goals in the Sweden 1958 edition, beats Mbappe on the list of the most scored French players in the finals.
- 'It's hard to see the limits of Kylian' - Mbappe has scored 250 goals in 362 matches in his club and national team career so far, far more than Messi and Ronaldo scored when they were the same age.
For captain Lloris: "It's hard to see Kylian's limits. He can break all the records. It's great to have a teammate like him at your side."
But personal prizes are not Mbappe's motive with the French national team. Rather, "My only goal is to win the World Cup. This is what I dream about. I did not come here to win the Ballon d'Or. That is not the reason I am here. I am here to win and help the French team.. This World Cup is an obsession." For me, it's my dream competition."
And the Paris Saint-Germain star, who at the age of 23 years and 349 days became the youngest player to score five goals in the knockout rounds of the World Cup since Brazilian legend Pele in 1958 (17 years and 249 days), added, “I built my season around this tournament and to be ready for it physically and psychologically.”
"My only goal is to win the World Cup... This is what I dream of," added Mbappe, who is the only top scorer in the tournament with Messi (5), raising his tally to 9 goals in 11 matches in the global event.
In order to focus on achieving his dream, Mbappe evaded media interviews at the start of the finals, exposing his country's federation to a fine by the International Federation (FIFA), before appearing in front of the media after the final price round.
France certainly have no shortage of talent, but Mbappe is simply of another level that manager Didier Deschamps has given him the freedom to position himself on the pitch and often makes full use of that freedom, rarely returning to help defend during this Finals.
This is also why Saint-Germain did everything he could to stick to his services when Spanish Real Madrid tried to sign him.
Mbappe signed a new contract with the capital club for three years, in a decision in which Emmanuel Macron intervened in order to persuade him to stay, according to what was approved by the French president, who was present to encourage his country in the semi-finals of the World Cup Qatar against Morocco (2-0).
Macron will be present again on Sunday at Lusail Stadium, where Mbappe will try to guide France to the second title in succession and the third in its history, and to start the stage of filling the void that Messi and Ronaldo will leave on the world stage, and thus enhance his chances of winning the Golden Ball award for the first time.
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