CAPE TOWN – At the tender age of 19, Kylian Mbappe is already considered among the 10 best players in the world after being nominated for The Best FIFA Award this week.
The who’s who of football made the list – last season’s winner Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, World Cup Golden Ball recipient Luka Modric, the French trio of World Cup champions Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Raphael Varane, Belgian wizards Eden Hazard and Kevin de Bruyne, England’s Golden Boot winner Harry Kane and Egyptian magician Mohamed Salah.
They were reviewed from July 3 last year until July 15 this year – the date of the World Cup final.
But who will be chosen as the king of the football world on September 24 in London? Let’s look at why Mbappe should be the man wearing the crown…
1 He’s just 19 years old and a World Cup champion
The inevitable comparisons with Pelé have already been made as Mbappe matched the Brazilian legend by becoming the second teenager to score in a World Cup final.
Yet the French star had the temerity to swat it away by saying “Pelé is in another category”. But there’s no denying Mbappe’s brilliance, and the way he took that goal against Croatia was something to behold.
2 Showed he can play in a number of roles
Mbappe is as devastating when he is flying down the right flank, dinking left, right, left, right before sprinting away from a defender.
But as he is also a cool customer when going up the middle or getting in behind the defence to score as a striker, as he showed with a cool finish against Argentina.
3 Was awarded the Fifa Young Player Award
In my book, Mbappe should’ve won a second World Cup award – the Golden Ball for the best player of the tournament.
Yes, eventual winner Luka Modric was at the heart of Croatia’s drive to the final, but Mbappe added the spark that made France the champions.
4 Made the World Cup Dream Team
What a line-up! In a 4-3-3 formation, the best of the 2018 World Cup saw Mbappe make the cut…
Dream Team: Thibaut Courtois, Raphael Varane, Diego Godin, Thiago Silva, Marcelo, Luka Modric, Philippe Coutinho, Kevin de Bruyne, Kylian Mbappe, Harry Kane, Cristiano Ronaldo.
MY LOVE 💍 pic.twitter.com/Ut72cZTLWU
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) July 15, 2018
5 Won the league and cup double with PSG
Okay, it’s not quite the Champions League – PSG lost to champions Real Madrid in the last-16 – but Mbappe did the double with Paris Saint-Germain in France.
He scored 21 goals in 44 matches in total for PSG, in the process becoming the youngest player to reach 10 strikes in the Champions League at 18 years and 11 months.
Watch the best of Kylian Mbappe at the 2018 World Cup. Video: Tamryn Christians/African News Agency/ANA