He just turned nineteen but he already finished in the seventh place of the “Golden ball” race…precocious, super talented, sure of his talent, you name it. Kylian MBappé Lottin is still a teenager, but he’s got already a past, a present and hopefully a future.
So, let’s meet the Phantom of the Past, for he’s got lots to say … The MBappé family are far from being unknown in their Parisian suburb of Bondy(Seine-st-Denis) and that before their son’s outbreak at the highest level. The father Wilfried, 46(former footballer of regional level) and the mother Fayza, 42,( former handball player of Division 1)are well known for being very active sports addicts.
Wilfried, was working with the youngsters of Bondy and was determined to help them be first of all good citizens and then good players; that was his philosophy, the same education and the values of respect and honesty that gave to his son, Kylian. Faysa, was one of Bondy’s best handball players and many still remember how passionate and determinate was on the pitch.
The little one showed very early his plans for the future; at four he was standing in front of the telly, hand on his heart singing “La Marseillaise” with the french team and bragging that one day, he’ll play with them and compete for the World Cup! Of course his family laughed at him, just as when aged 10 asked his parents to take him at the “Bernabeu” Real’s Madrid famous home and got instead a mini-replica of it; never mind, one day “I will take you there, myself” he told them. Four years later the young one and his parents were invited for a visit and were greeted by Zinedine Zidane himself!
Such talent in such a little one…good or bad ? He’d had problems of concentration at school, too nervous to stay still and focus; his attitude became a real problem for his parents. They soon understood that their son needed a special place to continue his studies but also his training and that, despite the offers from PSG, Real Madrid, FC Rennes and Chelsea FC, the best solution in France, was the Clairefontaine training centre (60K from Paris) .
Clairefontaine was just a transition, for the parents were always looking for a club whose manager could understand their son’s needs. Lens were on top of the list but unfortunately they were relegated to Division 2. Finally it was Monaco’s reassuring promises that won the prized youngster.
A fairytale signing ? Monaco was France champion but for Kylian there wasn’t any red carpet; at only fourteen he started to train with the U-17 but his manager Bruno Irles, left him systematically out of the pitch; after a rather heated discussion between the club, the manager and the player’s parents, it was decided that MBappé would train alone until the end of the season; Irles left the club at the end of the season too and signed to Arles-Avignon(was it some kind of punishment…?)
Next season Kylian started training and playing with the U-19 and despite being only sixteen, he showed his great quality; even so, lots of pundits were crying out loud for him to (at least) train with the first teamers, but Leonardo Jardim was unmoved , ignoring MBappé’s impatience and assurance that he was able to play against anybody.
With only eight months in his contract, his frustration gave hope to PSG who contacted once more the teenager’s parents; was PSG’s threat who decided Jardim to call Kylian in the first team ? After the first training, Jardim announced that the youngster was too good to return back to U-19 and that he will stay to train and play with the first teamers.
Curiously at Monaco, there was no talk about a new contract; PSG, Liverpool and Arsenal were cycling around the player and his parents ; Arséne Wenger went to Bondy and met them hoping to conclude, but the boy was too young to play in another country and Mr and Mrs MBappé weren’t sure that PSG’s gaffer Laurent Blanc would let much playing time to their son.
Here’s how De Campos, the club’s go-between convinced the player to sign with Monaco;” you should stay here for a while and leave when you will be someone important; someone who could walk in any dressing room and be recognised and appreciated from the other players.” he told him.
That’s how he signed his first professional contract with the Monegasques (until 2019) and received a 3 Million Euros bonus, a big achievement for a seventeen year old. He also took some time during the summer holidays to win the European U-19 Championship scoring 5 and showing his great talent…again .
Unfortunately, his come back to the “Rocher” wasn’t the dreamed one; injured he didn’t play until November and burst in tears when he learnt that he wouldn’t play the CL game vs Tottenham. Kylian was unhappy and his father was very bitter about his son’s well-being during an interview at the french sports newspaper L’Equipe.” The club has promised to let him play, they should keep their word”.
So, he played…and scored…and scored again and again; his talent, his youth, his sunny smile made him France’s darling boy, being applauded in the stadium, by both sets of fans .
Same with his first call at Clairefontaine to join France’s first team; he came with a big smile on his juvenile face, but waited that everyone was seated at the dining-room, before to chose his place; respect to his elders, not like Nasri who sat at the place of Thierry Henry and refused to give it back!
And scores… at Champions League vs Manchester City, with les Bleus vs Netherlands with Monaco and he’s only eighteen ! Kylian is ambitious and it shows .
Monaco wasn’t big enough for the player, but he wanted to stay one more year; that wasn’t Monaco’s wish. They wanted to sell him and sell him fast; without even consult the player or his parents they accepted Real Madrid ‘s offer of 180 M euros! Not being informed by the club wasn’t the best idea, for the player decided to refuse that offer behind his back and did the same with Barcelona, Liverpool, Manchester City and Arsenal. He accepted PSG’s offer though, but he demanded the same price that Real was willing to pay, a last gesture to his soon to be his former club .
Waiting for the Parisian club to find the money( don’t forget that they had to pay 220M euros for Neymar) MBappé was put out of the Monegasque team and criticised hard by Jardim; there was no coming back !
So when the last day of the Summer Window sale came, nothing was done; Real Madrid were still on the move, Barça idem. Some rumors about an agreement between Monaco and Barcelona put the Catalans in front.
Nevertheless the young prodigy not only signed with the Parisians just hours before the end of the window, but in the same day he also scored his first goal with les Bleus, just like when he was scotched in front of the telly fifteen years ago!
After that, has the Phantom of the Future something to say ? The future is on the player’s hands(or should it be feet?) The lad just turned nineteen, the future will be what he’ll decide to be; hard work, respect , love, Golden Ball, the World Cup …touch a star in the sky, be happy, stay humble, passion, joy, good health, …Master of his fate ? Brave last words !