By Santiago Aparicio
Madrid, Jun 8 (EFE).- Kylian Mbappé exudes freshness and nostalgia alike, combining improvised bursts of his unique speed and imagination with moves that could only be contemplated by legendary players of old.
The 22-years-old Parisian continues to grow, with seemingly no end to his progress in sight despite already being unquestionably one of the best in the world, one of the few stars in line to inherit the kingdom of Leo Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the sport’s undisputed heavyweights for more than a decade.
Six years after his debut with Monaco’s first team at 16, he is now embracing his popularity and the expectations it carries with it ahead of the Uefa Euro 2020, a parade for talent he is yet to feature in and where he intends to stand out.
It will certainly not be his first date with the highest international stage, after he decisively stamped his footprint all over France’s victory at the 2018 Fifa World Cup in Russia.
The third youngest ever to play for France, behind Eduardo Camavinga and Maryan Wisniewski, he scored four goals in Moscow: one in the final, as well as two in an impressive show of raw speed, skill and power against Argentina in the group stage.
Mbappé displayed his menace when he picked up the ball after an Argentina attack had broken down. Starting from his own box, the 18-year-old drove and zig-zagged his way up the field. No one could stop him, at least legally. An Albiceleste defender eventually arrived to bundle him over and put an end to Mbappé’s surge.
Antoine Griezmann stepped up to convert the ensuing penalty kick to open the scoring on the route to France’s victory against Messi and his colleagues.
Nostalgia followed Kylian Mbappé closely for a while, his plays evoking the authority of Ronaldo Nazário, his unthinkable sprints and sudden changes of pace with a number nine plastered across his back, over a Brazil, Barça, Real Madrid or Inter Milan T-shirt.
A show of talent and force, virtue and subtlety, but also of muscle and strength.