Barely 17, Kylian Mbappe Lottin is a new kid on the block in the football world, already touted to be the next big thing in French football. Mbappe, who has just had one senior season for Ligue 1 club AS Monaco, has been on the radar of many top European clubs for some time now. Real Madrid, Liverpool, and Arsenal are some of the big clubs rumored to be monitoring the young forward. Though, Monaco has tied him down to a three-year contract which expires in June 2019.
Kylian Mbappe was born on 20 December 1998 in French town Bondy. Mbappe started off his footballing journey at AS Bondy, where his father Wilfried was a coach. Mbappe joined the youth academy of AS Monaco in 2013 at the age of 15. He made it through to the senior team of Monaco after spending two years around the youth teams.
Mbappe came off the bench to make his league debut on 2 December 2015 against Caen in the 2015-16 Ligue 1 season. At the age of 17 years and 62 days, the teenager scored his first goal for Monaco in a 3-1 win over Troyes. Thus, he became the youngest goalscorer in Monaco’s history, overtaking the legendary Thierry Henry's 21 years old record in the process, his only claim to fame so far. Mbappe's idol is none other than Cristiano Ronaldo.
Mbappe has often been called as the next Anthony Martial by a lot of people in France which does not really count for much as the latter is still not yet a finished article. But,it does give a good indication of the youngster's flamboyant style of play. Mbappe thrives on pace and his acceleration with the ball, a style quite similar to another french youngster Kingsley Coman.
The 17-year-old forward is an explosive attacking player who likes to play as a wide forward and also as a left winger, he likes to cut inside and get his powerful right-footed shots away. His ability to playing both out wide and through the middle is probably what a lot of clubs are looking at.
Dribbling and close control are areas where the Monaco prodigy is immensely strong. His low center of gravity helps him shield the ball under aggressive tackling, he just got dispossessed seven times in the 2015-16 Ligue 1 season in his 11 appearances. His dribbling in the 2016 UEFA European Under-19 Championship qualifying elite round made a number of people sit up and take notice.
These qualities make him an important player in a possession-based setup. Mbappe's pace and acceleration make him just as lethal from counter attacks too. His balance on the ball is terrific and his sudden changes of pace put defenders off guard quite often and due to his excellent close control, he gets fouled quite often, winning free kicks in dangerous areas.
Mbappe is an able finisher with both feet, which is a big advantage to have, the Frenchman also uses his creativity to set up scoring chances for his teammates. He always seems to play with a lot of energy which is something Monaco head coach Leonardo Jardim has utilized this season, using him as a substitute in short bursts.
Mbappe has not yet started a game for Monaco yet,which is understandable given his lack of experience. But, he has shown enough promise to scoutred by many clubs in Europe and also recently signed his first professional contract with Monaco.
Mbappe is one of the stars in a very strong France Under-19 team. He was the top scorer for France in the 2016 UEFA European Under-19 Championship elite round by scoring 2 goals in 3 games. He helped them qualify for the Under-19 European Championship which will be held later this year, needless to say,this has been a good year in the youngster's life.
Still very young to football, Mbappe has no apparent weakness in his game other than his over eagerness and decision making which is natural for a boy of his age. Often he tries to do too many tricks and tries to take on too many defenders on his own, an area in which he is already working on with his coaches. Though he is not great physically ,he more than makes up for it with his technical attributes. With experience and maturity, these small chinks in his armor will most definitely go away.
"What he's showing for his age is interesting. But the path is long. I've seen others before who didn't come through. He has to be attentive and make the right choices." - Former AS Monaco skipper Jeremy Toulalan
The coming season is going to be a critical one for Mbappe, with him just having signed a new contract and manager Jardim's faith growing on his abilities. He will be looking to get a lot more starts for the Les Monegasques and a great showing for the national team in the Under-19 Euros will pave the way for that.
The sky is the limit for Kylian.Published 12 Jul 2016, 12:42 IST