Maybe, he was just the difference between France winning and losing a tournament. France were in the final of the Euro 2016 but somehow managed to lose it to Portugal, despite the fact that their best player was on the sidelines after being injured in the game.
In this World Cup, they were up against Croatia – who were a much better side than Portugal were in 2016 – and saw themselves come under a barrage of attacks from the Croat players.
However, in the end, they ran out winners after scoring from almost every chance that they got. Maybe, Mbappe was the difference. Maybe, he will always make this difference.
As France won the final of the World Cup 4-2 to crush Modric and his men’s dream, Kylian Mbappe became the youngest player to score in a World Cup final after Pele. This is a kid who tormented defences with raw pace and talent and is on the radar of Real Madrid as a potential replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.
Another player who the Blancos are targeting is Neymar. However, the Frenchman seems to be a better option for the Galacticos than the Brazil superstar – and here are 5 reasons why…
#1 Elite mentality
When a 19-year-old has the audacity to do the things that Mbappe did in this World Cup, it just goes to show the power that he has in his mind. After beating Belgium in the final, he revealed that he is going to do everything to win the World Cup and ensure that he sleeps with it.
“I want the World Cup. I want to sleep with it,” Mbappe said. “I am going to give everything in this final. We will kill ourselves on the pitch to finish the job.”
His words are always calm and collected – just like his presence – and he has the on-pitch arrogance that is necessary to win trophies. Mbappe may have been luckier than Neymar when it comes to injuries, but the confidence he exudes at 19 shows the strength his mind has.
He became the most expensive teenager of all time and the second most expensive player ever when PSG bought him for €180 million. And yet, the huge price-tag on his head hasn’t fazed him one bit as he has carried on performing and improving since making his move to PSG.
It is not that Neymar is weak mentally, quite far from it. This is a man that comes back from injuries to perform at a world-class level but his younger PSG team-mate seems slightly stronger in that regard after his showing at this World Cup.
#2 World Cup winner
He is only 19 and Mbappe is already a World Cup winner before Neymar. It is true that France have a better bunch of players than every other national team in the world but it is also true that Brazil are a strong team themselves.
But when it mattered the most, Mbappe forced his way to the quarter-final with that performance against Argentina while Neymar couldn’t inspire something similar against a wrathful Belgian team.
To give Neymar the benefit of the doubt, the Brazilian did come off the back of an injury, so it was only natural for him to be a bit rusty. But then there was Ronaldo in 2002, who came off the back of severe knee issues to win the World Cup for Brazil and become the Golden Boot and Silver Ball winner in that tournament.
Injuries are a part of the sport and it will always be so. How one comes back from it is what matters. It shows the mental ability of a player and Mbappe has an…
#3 Cheaper and less controversial
Despite the fact that Mbappe has gained more marketability after this World Cup, Neymar is the bigger star in this regard. As a result, the former Barcelona man will cost much more – both in terms of wages and transfer fee – than the teenage sensation.
On top of that, Neymar has already played for Madrid’s archrivals Barcelona and a move to the Santiago Bernabeu will be embroiled in controversy because of Neymar’s past allegiance.
While it might not be of the magnitude of Figo’s move to Madrid, it will still incur the wrath of the Catalans and further deteriorate the relationship between the two clubs. Furthermore, Neymar’s antics on a pitch – play-acting – and superstar ego could bring in more storm at the club.
And that is something they could avoid with Mbappe.
#4 Only 19
The France star is only 19 and did two things in this tournament that only one other player could: scoring twice in a knock-out game at the World Cup when he ripped apart Argentina in the round of 16 and score a goal in the final of the World Cup.
The last time a teenager achieved the aforementioned feat was in 1958 and it was the great Pele who was at the end of it. At such a young age, Kylian Mbappe is already flying and we are yet to see him in his peak.
As a result, should Madrid sign him over Neymar, they will then have a player who could serve them for a long period of time than the Brazilian. At 26, the former Santos star might be at his peak right now but he could only provide only 5-7 years of service to the Galacticos when compared to Mbappe’s 11-13 years.
#5 Extra pace
When it comes to ability, Neymar might be more refined than his teenager Paris Saint-Germain team-mate. However, where Mbappe beats the Brazilian outright is raw pace.
Make no mistake here, Neymar is quick. The Brazilian has a burst of pace himself but Mbappe’s acceleration is spell-binding. His use of pace is also highly intelligent as he ensures not to sprint all the time and instead save himself to make 3-4 killer runs in a game.
The way he inflicted fear in the hearts of the opponent with his pace was a sight to behold. This is exactly what Gareth Bale was famous for during his peak years at Tottenham.
Mbappe, however, is more talented than the Welshman and when it comes to pace and its use, he beats his PSG team-mate outright.