People call him the new Pele, the next Henry and predict that this guy will play better than Neymar – a billion-dollar teammate at PSG club. But that’s the future: now Mbappe is just the teen star we can all hope for.
Young but high reputation
Kylian Mbappe finds all kinds of ways to realize his dream of playing football, especially in a place where good things are rare like the suburbs of Paris. He turned the living room into a football field, with a small goal where Mbappe’s early goals were witnessed. The French football prodigy once begged the U13 coach (cum-babysitter) not to reveal that he was playing at home because his parents would go crazy. They played together until dusk. When Mbappe’s mother returned, the boy sneaked into bed and pretended to be asleep.
Mbappe loves to play FIFA football game and because he is not a big fan of any club, he often chooses to play the players he admires.
“I will choose Neymar. Let’s see what I can do with him,” said the little Mbappe to his coach before each Playstation level. The above story took place just three years ago, when Mbappe could comfortably dribble around in the rain around where he lived without being spotted asking for a photo.
Mbappe is just 18 years old now and his old video game dream has come true: He’s become Neymar’s teammate on the Parc des Princes and one of only two players whose names are carved in gold on the road. enter. It must also be because last summer, PSG is said to have spent £ 400 million to bring in Mbappe (180 million) from AS Monaco and Neymar (222 million) from Barcelona, making them the most expensive couple in sports history. sports with a value higher than the GDP of 10 countries.
This year, Mbappe brings the expectation to help France confirm its position in the 2018 World Cup with young talents like Ousmane Dembele or MU striker Anthony Martial. “In France, there’s Zidane and then there’s Mbappe,” journalist Riccardi said.
After becoming the youngest player in the last 40 years to score 20 goals in Ligue 1 and 5 in the Champions League, Mbappe is known as the “new Pele”, the “next Henry” or a somewhat impolite term. – “Black zidane”. Rumors appeared everywhere, but Kylian no longer thinks of himself as a “sweet” boy from now on.
“I have only just started. That’s what you see when you achieve something and try to look to the future. I will still have a long way to go,” Mbappe told B/R magazine.
That humble statement did not stop both insiders and outsiders from believing that Mbappe will soon be like Ronaldo and Messi, competing for the annual Ballon d’Or. But now, the heir to the French football throne is simply enjoying life.
“It’s like living a whole new life. The only difficulty is that I have to stay at home more because every time I go out, people surround me,” Mbappe admitted. Mbappe sat down wearing shoes and underwear, with a smooth face and big black eyes that looked like Donatello – a character from the movie Ninja Turtles.
Growing up in the Paris suburb of Bondy, Mbappe dreamed of buying beautiful cars if he became a professional sports athlete. But now, even though he makes more money than LeBron James, Kobe Bryant or Cristiano Ronaldo at the same age of 18, Mbappe still has to ask his family to drive him because he simply cannot take the driver’s license! Well, the “next Henry” doesn’t have a license yet.
Mbappe is a teenage boy with the temperament of a busy man with great expectations. He wakes up at 8:30 a.m., goes to practice, comes home at noon, takes a nap, and prepares for the match. Mbappe likes to watch shows Power and Empire, compares himself to… The Rock and Jason Statham in the series “Fast and Furious” even though the press constantly compares him to famous players and even Neymar.
“I still have a lot of work to do to get to Neymar’s level,” Mbappe said, turning his attention to his dre am of winning the Champions League this season. “You’re famous all over the world, mostly because of the big titles, but not necessarily because of the performance on the pitch. When you retire, people only look at the titles you have. We only remember the winner.”
The person who clears prejudices
One day, on the way home, coach Elfilali Ahmed stopped to buy something at the store and was shocked to see many workers swinging on the apartment building where he lived despite no notice of repairs or construction in advance. there in this “Department 93”. Closer, the coach realized that people were painting murals of the boy he had coached at AS Bondy. He looked up and smiled. “Is crazy. Now when I come home I always see Kylian staring at me,” Ahmed said.
This Bondy area has been the scene of major riots related to racial tensions, where two black boys died while fleeing the police. A series of terrorist attacks in the past decade have pushed families here into a situation of social estrangement for carrying the name of “concealing Islamic terrorism” even though there is no clear evidence.
“People are afraid to talk about the Bondy region. There are a few incidents that make people “swish their chopsticks” about this land, but not everywhere, “Mbappé said.
“Our child suffers because there is no hope. When they come home, they ask, ‘No matter how hard I try, I can’t become a lawyer or a doctor, we are French, why is that?’. And now, Kylian has changed the way the children see life,” said a mother whose children play football at AS Bondy.
“We have to prove that we love France. I’m Muslim but my son’s name is Thomas – French name. I have to put it like that so people don’t alienate my baby. The color of our skin makes people doubt whether we love France or not,” she said. “We thought the kids had no chance in a place like this, but with Kylian, everything has changed.”
Bondy gives Mbappe a “character code” that defines him: Respect for others, humility and love of football. “A place like Bondy has values you still carry with you wherever you go,” Mbappe said. Within five years of Mbappe pursuing his dream of football, the city was being repaired, new constructions began to spring up.
In early September, Mbappe returned to the area of his childhood football field near his old school. At the time, the yard was filled with tar, sand, and holes. But now, with the efforts of the workers, this has become a football field named “Mbappe”. “Everybody wants a part of him,” said a young boy playing football on the camouflage-painted pitch.
“When I say I’m from Bondy, they ask about violence and drugs. But now they talk about Kylian Mbappe,” coach Ahmed said.
“What do we do, Kylia?”
The score is now 2-0. Then suddenly, 2-1. On the Stade Leo Lagrange, the AS Bondy boys began to tense up in the match against their rivals. Take a two-goal lead and to be pulled back, there’s no need to worry. But Uncle Kylian raised his hand. “Don’t worry. In two minutes, I’ll score.”
The whistle blew, Mbappe took the ball from his wing, dribbling past defenders towards goal. Kylian dribbled the ball past the keeper and then gently put the ball into the net to the cheers of his teammates. Everything seems too easy for 13-year-old Kylian.
“My teammates thought I was a god,” Kylian recalls.
Watching Mbappe dribble is like watching a great Salsa dance, every step of the way is like spinning the audience. “I play by instinct. It’s like being on the inside and I want to show it on the outside.”
It wasn’t long before AS Bondy realized that Kylian’s talent stood out from his peers. When he turned 11, Chelsea invited Mbappe to train for a week. At the age of 15, Mbappe trained with Real Madrid U15. A year later, a series of big names like Liverpool, Bayern Munich and even Arsenal, Barcelona and Real Madrid contacted but Mbappe chose Monaco because he thought it was the best place to develop talent. Even now, Mbappe still goes home to sleep after every game.
“We don’t force him to play, but he himself wants to play football for the rest of his life. Mbappe thinks of football when he wakes up. Eat soccer, sleep soccer, live soccer. At school also think about football,” said the childhood coach.
Mbappe is not an avid fan of PSG but just wants to hold this team in the FIFA game to win his friends. He hangs dozens of posters of Ronaldo on the wall and has a deep love for Zidane. There was a story that Mbappe asked the barber to cut his bald head like Zidane. The hairdresser was quite confused with this request, while Mbappe’s mother did not agree to the boy’s insistence all day.
“I didn’t know Zidane was bald, so he asked for that hairstyle. My mother said it was not going to happen and now I am grateful to her for that decision,” Mbappe said.
AS Bondy’s office doesn’t look like a place to train talent. The beige walls are riddled with flashing neon lights with trophies in the corner brought by Mbappe. On the desk are piles of files about potential football talents that the club brings.
One day, these kids will leave and pursue their dreams of playing professionally. Thanks to Mbappe, children are kept away from violence and drugs. “And now when I come here I realize that I have an influence on the kids. If you want me to be your agent, I’m always ready,” Mbappe said.
Mbappe returns to his childhood club as the representative of the Qatar football investment fund. The foundation wants to make PSG a candidate for the Champions League title for the first time in the club’s history. Neymar’s arrival brings a global image to the club, but it is Mbappe who is the future of PSG.
“Watching Mbappe play on TV is amazing. He was born in our city from the suburbs. We watch him play and want to do the same, I see myself in Kylian,” said 12-year-old Zacbayou.
AS Bondy has seen the “Mbappé effect” with a series of boys coming to enroll in the club. The effect extends beyond France: In April, on the day the Dortmund team bus was bombed, Mbappe became the youngest player to score a brace in the knockout round of the Champions League. Mbappe, the son of Cameroonian and Algerian parents, is a blow to the anti-immigrant populism of Le Pen, who lost the French presidential race.
“He represents France and he is black. His parents are immigrants and that gives us hope,” said one migrant mother.
Right here, 12 children of AS Bondy club are wearing PSG jerseys playing football on the field. According to the staff, just three months after arriving at PSG, Mbappe’s shirt became the top-selling shirt in the NIKE store on the Champs-Elysee.
At some point in the past, young Mbappe stared at the pitch and wished he could play at the highest level. He was already the prince of Bondy. And now that boy is on his way to becoming a king.