Who has the brighter future - Kylian Mbappe or Ousmane Dembele?
Kylian Mbappe has become a household name after the FIFA World Cup 2018, where he won hearts and took away the Best Young Player award. But on the same French bench sat a boy with similar hopes and aspirations, and that is none other than Ousmane Dembele.
Dembele has been a phenomenon for Barcelona, often carrying them through games single-handedly in the absence of Leo Messi. But which of the two French prodigies has the brighter future?
Mbappe is a player who has proven his pedigree at the biggest event in football. His exploits at the World Cup even started drawing comparisons with Messi and Ronaldo (although it is probably a little too early for that).
The main factor in Mbappe's success is his speed. His lightning quick footwork helped him tear apart defenses (like Argentina and Croatia), and made him a constant threat on the pitch.
That said, even in the World Cup, Mbappe couldn't do anything significant against tight and well-organized defenses. And playing in a league like Ligue 1 isn't exactly helping him improve as a footballer. He might be second in the Golden Boot race right now, but he probably wouldn't have been as high if he had been played in a more competitive environment.
Mbappe's finishing is certainly top notch, but he is untested against teams of different strengths and patterns. Maybe the knockout stages of the Champions League will give us a better idea.
He has a lot of unique skills and abilities, but I believe he is not in the right place to unlock his complete potential.
Dembele, on the other hand, is an insanely talented dribbler with great pace (maybe not as much as Mbappe, but still very effective). He ability to drive through the tight and organized defenses of LaLiga has already been seen umpteen times.
Dembele has also made his mark in the Champions League, notching up defense-shredding goals against PSV Eindhoven amd Tottenham (both completely solo runs).
The fact that Dembele is ambipedal gives him is a rare but amazing quality, which makes it almost impossible for defenses to differentiate his dummy shot from his actual shot.
The added advantage for Dembele is that he has Lionel Messi's experience, skill and greatness to feed off. And he is slowly developing into a player of a similar position.
The main problem is that he has sometimes lacked focus. But of late, he has seemingly overcome that, and hopefully will be able to sustain his concentration for the long run.
Who will go on to be the better player?
Both Mbappe and Dembele have great heights to be scaled, but the question of who will be more influential completely depends on their attitude towards the game. The one who stays focused on the game and avoids external distractions will end up having the better and more successful career.
My personal opinion is that if Dembele can retain his focus on the game, he will eventually surpass Mbappe. But of course, only time can tell for sure.