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World Cup 2018: Top five contenders for the Golden Ball

Elvis Ume O
ANALYST
Top 5 / Top 10
14 Jul 2018, 00:57 IST

#3 KYLIAN MBAPPE

Belgium v France: Semi Final - 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia
Kylian Mbappe

The current Golden Boy was tipped to be one of the breakout stars of the World Cup and he has lived up to that billing in the same way as he has done with everything else in his relatively short career to date.

Such is the maturity in Mbappe's game that it is hard to believe he is just 19 years old and has less than two full seasons of top level professional football under his belt.

In his first appearance on the biggest stage in club football, the teenager made an entrance many a veteran could only dream of; setting so many records in his first four matches for Monaco in the Champions League.

He has continued where he left off in the World Cup, with performances that beguile his age. Mbappe has been unfazed by the grandness of the stage and has set this World Cup alight , embarrassing many a defender with his abundance of trickery and pace.

Mbappe has scored 3 goals in 6 matches at his debut World Cup and is the runaway favourite for the Young Player award,. However, such has been his impressive performances that he could also be in with a shot at the Golden Ball.

His best performance so far came in France's 4-3 Round of 16 victory over Argentina, where his endless running and change of pace proved to be a handful for the Argentine back line, in addition to his brace in the match. It made him the first teenager since the legendary Pele in 1958 to score at least two goals in a single World Cup game.

There was something symbolic about Mbappe announcing himself on the World stage on the same day that Messi and Ronaldo departed, as it was almost an unspoken baton handover; the undisputed stars of the last generation being outshone by the shining light of the next.

At just 19 years, Mbappe is yet to unlock his full potential, and on virtue of his performances so far, we are in for a long and successful career from 'Donatello'.

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