Football prodigy Kylian Mbappe disclosed on Thursday that no Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo remain the
game’s greatest players but he believes his outstanding performance at Russia 2018 World Cup could help him with this year’s Ballon d’ Or.
The France forward was voted the ‘Young Player’ of the tournament and is Ligue 1’s leading goal scorer.
Mbappe, 19, inspired France to World Cup victory in Russia with four goals.
One of those came in the 4-2 final victory over Croatia as he became just the second teenager after Pele in 1958 to
score in the championship match.
Messi and Ronaldo have won the last 10 Ballon d’Or awards and Mbappe believes that they are still the sport’s top A-listers.
“Nobody is doing better at the moment and we can’t say it’s the end of their era because it will only end when
somebody else does better than them,” Mbappe said.
However, the young striker added: “I don’t think one of them will win the Ballon d’Or this year because it was a
World Cup year, and the World Cup takes precedence.”
While Mbappe flourished at the 2018 World Cup, the duo of Ronaldo and Messi and their teams exited in the second round.
“But if you take the player in the purest form, there’s nobody better yet. This year they were again the best two,” added Mbappe.
“Messi finished the best goal scorer in Europe; Ronaldo was the top scorer in the Champions League.”
Mbappe was speaking to AFP on Thursday at an event organized by watchmakers Hublot, one of his leading sponsors.
The last French player to win the coveted Ballon d’Or was Zinedine Zidane after the national team’s 1998 World Cup victory.
“Frankly, I hope so (win the Ballon d’Or). We achieved something big. It would not be unjust because that is a strong
word, but it would be a shame if a Frenchman does not win it.
“We made history and it would be nice to be rewarded.”
Croatia’s Luka Modric who won the ‘Best Player Award’ at the World Cup is a strong contender for the Ballon d’Or.
‘Play to win’
Mbappe, who will turn 20 just before Christmas, signed for PSG from Monaco for 180 million euros in 2017 in the
second most expensive transfer of all time – behind PSG teammate Neymar who cost the French champions 222 million euros.
Off the field, he seems destined to match Ronaldo in the commercial stakes.
“I don’t know because CR7 is something big, he has managed to build his brand and become international,” said Mbappe.
“Mine is not at this stage yet, I’m changing little by little.”
That development into the public consciousness saw him dominate the front page of Time magazine in October with
the American publisher breathlessly showcasing the teenage as “the future of football”.
“I play to win; if I play four World Cups then I want to win four. We go step by step. I have already won one. You
have to prepare and win with your club and with the national team also.
“There are short-term goals before thinking about the 2022 World Cup. But the aim always is to win.”
“There is not just the pitch but everything around it must also be managed. It’s not easy but I’m learning, I’m still
learning. I have people around me who help me overcome the challenges one after the other.”