Barely 17 and so obsessed with football that he can watch "four or five matches in a row", Monaco forward Kylian Mbappé has drawn comparisons with Thierry Henry.
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Name: Kylian Mbappé
Debut: 2 December 2015 v Caen (Ligue 1)
Date of birth: 20 December 1998
Preferred foot: right
They say …
"Kylian has great potential but he still has a lot of work to do before reaching the top."
Leonardo Jardim, Monaco coach
"He's more than passionate [about football] – he's crazy. I work in football and he almost puts me off it because he's always into it 24/7. He watches everything; he can watch four or five matches in a row."
Wilfried Mbappé, Kylian’s father
Born into a sporting family – his father was a coach at his first club, Bondy, his brother played for Rennes and his mother was a top handball player – Mbappé always seemed destined to join them. After Bondy, he went to Paris to join the revered Clairefontaine academy, and moved to Monaco in 2013, but is yet to sign professional terms with the club.
Playing style …
His former coach at Clairefontaine, Jean-Claude Lafargue, described him thus: "He's a wide forward, he can dribble well and cause panic in the final third. He is an explosive player. He doesn't have the same touch as other players – he can pass the ball very well with both feet. He can pick passes that others won't necessarily see." Though not physically impressive, his speed and low centre of gravity make him a real threat with the ball at his feet.
Shades of …
It is impossible not to think of Thierry Henry, another Monaco product who also came through Clairefontaine. Mbappé made his debut for Monaco aged just 16 years and 347 days, beating the record set by Henry, who was 17 years and 14 days when he first turned out for the club more than 20 years ago.
Eureka moment ...
Just a week after his first senior appearance, against Caen, Mbappé came on early in the second half of Monaco's UEFA Europa League group stage game against Tottenham. Though his team were beaten 4-1, the then 16-year-old did provide the assist for Monaco's only goal of the game. He was rewarded with subsequent starting berths in both domestic cup competitions.
Best-case scenario …
Real Madrid were rumoured to be interested in the player back in 2012, Zinédine Zidane even personally inviting him to the club's training camp. Monaco stood firm, however, and look to have a prized asset on their hands. Mbappé is expected to stay for another season at least before Europe's biggest clubs come calling once more.
He says …
"I'm the type of player who likes dribbling, but I think I can still develop my game. My main quality is my speed. I still have problems with defending and I need to be more consistent even though I have improved a bit since the beginning of the season."