The French starlet took European football by storm in 2016/17, scoring 26 goals for Monaco as they lifted the Ligue 1 title and reached the Champions League semi-finals.
And Paris Saint-Germain swiftly snapped up the world’s hottest teenage talent, who was initially signed on loan. The Qatar-owned cash-splashers will pay €180 million for Mbappe’s services, making him the second-most expensive player on the planet behind Neymar.
Yet the 19-year-old’s rapid rise to prominence could have come while wearing a Chelsea shirt instead. A trialist with the west Londoners when he was 10, Mbappe eventually settled on Monaco as the best academy to continue his development.
However, the fresh-faced forward still has fond memories of his trip to the English capital, and views his brief spell with the Blues as valuable experience of playing on foreign shores.
Speaking exclusively in the April 2018 issue of FourFourTwo, Mbappe says: “I was still young back then, maybe 10 or 11. I went to London and spent just under a week over there. I trained at Chelsea and we played a friendly match against Charlton Athletic.
“We won 6-0 or 7-0. I played upfront, but I don’t think I scored. It was great – it was my first experience abroad and a chance for me to see what the game was like in England.”
Mbappe has had no trouble adjusting to life at PSG, scoring 16 goals in his opening 31 games. He believes it was the right moment to make the step up to France’s most high-profile outfit, and insists he has no preference about where manager Unai Emery specifically slots him into the ‘MCN’ forward line with Edinson Cavani and Neymar.
“For me, it felt like the right moment, and the right choice,” he explains. “PSG are a huge club and they want to win every trophy. I want to win every trophy as well, so it felt like we both had a common goal and an opportunity to develop together.
“I play on the right at PSG at the moment but I see myself as an attacker that can basically fit in anywhere. At Monaco, for example, Radamel Falcao and I played as a two upfront and I liked that, too. I don’t really have a preference.
“As a youngster, I played in all three attacking positions across the pitch, so I’m used to performing in different roles. The manager looks for us to switch roles during games in order to confuse the opposition. He's very precise."
Read the full cover interview with Kylian Mbappe in the April 2018 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. A best young players special, we also speak exclusively to Ryan Sessegnon, Richarlison, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Justin Kluivert, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Harry Winks and Timo Werner, and meet the people who shaped Marcus Rashford’s career. Plus, we go One-on-One with Rafael van der Vaart and experience the ‘Israel-Palestine Derby’ between Beitar Jerusalem and Bnei Sakhnin, after Donald Trump poured oil on the flames of an already-heated affair. Order a copy today, then become a subscriber!
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