Kylian Mbappe has admitted Ligue 1 is not the ‘best’ but that he has always felt a responsibility to help it grow in stature as reports continue to link the Paris-Saint-Germain star with a move away.
The 22-year-old has stood out as one of the major names of the French top-flight, bursting on to the scene as a teenager with Monaco before continuing to grow his stock with domestic dominance at the Parc des Princes.
The France international has his sights set on greatness and has reportedly turned down a new deal at PSG with just one year left to run on his current deal.
Speaking to Esquire magazine, he admitted: “France is not the best championship in the world, but I have always felt the responsibility, as an emblematic player, to help the league grow.”
Asked what his career ambitions are, he simply added with a smile: “Win it all.”
Mbappe is already a World Cup winner and is rightly regarded as one of the leading football talents on the planet.
He explains that he goes on to the pitch for every match telling himself he is ‘the best,’ but concedes the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi remain the greatest of the modern era.
“I’m not the only one who knows,” he said. “Everybody knows. If you tell yourself that you will do better than them, it goes beyond ego or determination: it is lack of awareness. Those players are incomparable. They have broken all the laws of statistics. They have had ten, fifteen extraordinary years.”
Mbappe also admitted that he has looked up to Ronaldo and his new PSG teammate, Messi as examples of the standards required to reach the ultimate heights of the game and uses an interesting analogy to explain his view. He said:
You always compare yourself to the best in your sport, just as the baker compares himself to the best bakers around him. Who makes the best croissant, the best pain au chocolat? I watch the games of other great players to see what they do. I know how to do this, but can the other do it too? I think other players are watching me too. I think that pushes footballers to elevate their game.”
With Messi (34) and Ronaldo (36) nearing the twilight of their careers, Mbappe represents the NextGen of superstars with Borussia Dortmund’s Erling Haaland another youngster being courted by Europe’s heavyweight clubs. However, the French ace seems to feel he is at a more advanced stage in his career than the Norwegian, who could well become his major rival for the top individual awards in years to come.
He said: “It is his second year, we are getting to know him. It is the beginning for him. I’m happy for him, for what he’s doing ”.
Mbappe may have endured a tough Euro 2020 campaign but has made some exciting strides at club level winning four league titles and five domestic cups, but he has yet to lift the Champions League trophy despite some magical moments on that stage.
He points to a last 16 encounter at the Nou Camp last season when he scored a hat-trick as PSG thumped Messi’s Barcelona 4-1 as proof of the levels he can achieve.
“It was the best game of my career because it was complete,” he said. “I helped my team both in attack and defence, and I was right in the creation and completion of my plays, in one on one. I won 90 per cent of my duels, if the stat is correct. In the whole game, I didn’t have a moment in which I felt off.
He added: “There are quite a few anti-Kylian plans. It means that they have recognized me as a great player. It requires you to have several strings in the bow. And I like that, because I adore challenges.”