Kylian Mbappe: Top things you didn't know about France's football megastar

The prolific striker confirmed that his latest contract extension with Ligue 1 champions Paris Saint Germain will allow him to compete at the Paris 2024 Olympic Games.

By Chloe Merrell
Picture by all rights reserved info: manureino@gmail.com

French football superiority and Kylian Mbappé - two things, in recent years that have become inextricably linked.

The connection, which was first drawn back in 2018 when the then 18-year-old stunned the watching word as he helped lift France to the FIFA World Cup title, looks set to remain that way, at least until 2024 when the French capital Paris hosts the next Olympic Games.

In his quest to keep the two synonymous, the Paris Saint Germain striker recently doubled down on his desire to represent his country at his home Olympics by including the Games in his latest contract extension with the Ligue 1 champions.

“We talked about that [the Olympics] in the contract discussions,” Mbappé told TF1, in an interview. “This is a real opportunity; it will be 100 years after Paris 1924 and it is one of sport’s biggest events.

“Sport is about feelings and emotions. The opportunity to play in a competition like this at home in front of family, friends and the entire world watching you is something you can’t ignore,” he continued. “It’s a child’s dream and I have always said I want to participate in it. I hope I’ll have the chance to.”

Mbappé, who was born a stone’s throw away from the Stade de France - the Paris 2024 Olympic stadium - could well have his wish granted if selected.

In order to compete, the French league’s top goal-scorer will need to be chosen as one of the three players over the age of 23 allowed in each Olympic team, given that he will be 25 when the competition begins on 24 July 2024.

While a country eagerly awaits to see if its current footballing star can help repeat the gold won at Los Angeles 1984, here are just some things you may not know about Kylian Mbappé.

Cristiano Ronaldo was Mbappe's childhood hero

While Mbappé might now be regularly mentioned in the same breath as legendary footballer Cristiano Ronaldo when it comes to discussions of star power, there was a time the Frenchman looked up to the Manchester United striker.

A now infamous photo shows Mbappé in his bedroom with posters of the Portuguese national icon adorning his wall, revealing the extent of his admiration.

When asked about the best goal he has ever seen, the PSG star cited Ronaldo's bicycle kick in Real Madrid's 3-0 victory over Juventus in 2018:

"I had a chance to play with Gigi [Gianluigi Buffon] and he talked to me about it and the feeling he had when it happened. This is a legendary goal, [so] I would say this one."

And it seems the respect for each other's craft cuts both ways.

"Mbappé is the future and the present," Ronaldo said via Omnisport and Fox Sport Asia. "He's a fantastic player, very fast, and he will be the future."

Mbappe donated his entire 2018 World Cup winnings to charity

The 2018 FIFA World Cup was a seminal moment in the career of Mbappé.

His stunning tournament debut reached its crescendo when he contributed a goal to France's 4-2 romp over Croatia becoming the first teenager since Pelé in 1958 to score in a World Cup final.

It was an achievement that earned him the praise of the Brazilian legend.

His reputation on the field was soon found to be matched by his demeanour off it when he revealed in an interview with TIME magazine that he had donated his World Cup match fees and winning bonus to charity.

"I did not need to be paid," explained Mbappé detailing his reasons for giving away his prize money. "I was there to defend the colours of my country. Also, I earn enough money - a lot of money. So I think it is important to help those who are in need.

"For people like us, giving a helping hand to people is not a big thing. It doesn't change my life, but it changes theirs. And if it can change theirs, it is a great pleasure."

Kylian Mbappé poses with 2018 FIFA World Cup trophy
Picture by 2018 Getty Images

His younger brother Ethan Mbappé is also very talented

Football might just run through the Mbappé veins.

Though in the shadows for now, Ethan Mbappé, eight years Kylian's junior, looks set to follow in his brother's footsteps.

At the same time PSG signed Kylian on loan from Monaco, the Parisian club also spotted his promising younger brother and moved him into their youth set-up.

Playing primarily as a central midfielder, though known to also play in defence, such has been the rise of the younger Mbappé, that just last year, at 14 years old, he was elevated to train with the under-17s.

And the French national team are paying an interest too.

They invited Ethan to an under-16 training camp late last year.

Ethan Mbappé with his older brother Kylian and their father Wilfried
Picture by 2017 Getty Images

Mbappe has no match day rituals

When it comes to elite, high-stakes football match-day rituals are far from uncommon.

England's top goal-scorer Wayne Rooney would always eat the chocolate cereal Coco Pops before every game.

Rio 2016 gold medallist Neymar is known for calling his father for a pep talk and a prayer.

Mbappé, however, undertakes no such rituals.

"I am never doing the same things," the Frenchman told beIN Sports USA. "I live day by day, so I am never doing the same thing.

"Maybe I see the physio but that's a normal thing, so you can't call that a ritual. I can play with the ball in the corridor before a match or chat with players, make jokes, play games - it depends on the match and the mood that I am in. There is no particular ritual."

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