‘Mbappe is the new Pele’

Kylian Mbappe’s dream of lifting the World Cup, just two days before he turns 24, was smashed by Argentina in what has been widely described as an electrifying final.

But the French footballer has justified to the world why he is the ‘new’ Pele.

In fact, Mbappe is the new face of football – and with age on his side, he is set to become an icon of the sport, as the likes of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo head into the twilight of their careers.

Pele, the legendary Brazilian footballer, has been widely described as the best player of all time. Pele made an impression, in a big way, at the 1958 World Cup after he scored a goal against Wales in a quarterfinals match – at the age of 17 years and 239 days old. This made him the youngest goal scorer at the World Cup – a record that still stands today.

He also scored twice in the 1958 final match, and Brazil defeated Sweden 5-2 to take home the Jules Rimet Trophy.

Pele and his teammates went on to win the 1962 and 1970 World Cups. He scored 12 goals in four editions of the prestigious competition, and has scored 77 goals in 92 international appearances.

FIFA data states that Pele has scored 757 goals in all competitions, but the Brazilian, in 2015, said that he had 1,283 goals under his belt.

The world today, sees the magic of Pele in the form of Kylian Mbappe.

Critics argue it is unfair to compare the two players. They both hail from different generations, and football has evolved tremendously since Pele hung his boots for good in 1977.

Nevertheless, former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger, earlier this year, told BEIN Sports: “When I first saw him (Mbappe), I said on French television: ‘There’s Pele in him’.”

“Everyone thought I was a bit crazy … He (Mbappe) has intelligence, good technical quality, good timing in his runs, quick analysis of the game. He is also a free spirit, he is exceptional,” said Wenger.

Mbappe scored eight goals in Qatar to win the Golden Boot. Having made his debut at the 2018 World Cup in Russia and lifting the trophy there, the Paris native has now scored 12 goals at the World Cup – equalling Pele’s record.

The Paris Saint-Germain star is capable of collecting more goals and breaking more hearts in the 2026 World Cup – where he would be in his prime.

Pele, right after the final, paid tribute to Argentina winning the World Cup – which was Lionel Messi’s first.

But he also saved a few words for Mbappe.

“My dear friend, Mbappe, scoring four goals in a final. What a gift it was to watch this spectacle to the future of our sport.”

Mbappe has a long, bright future ahead of him. He has many more trophies to capture, including the Ballan d’Or.

This is the beginning of a new era for the French national team and world football. For some, to compare Mbappe with Pele, even before the player hits his prime, is perhaps an overstatement.

For those who watched the match live at the Lusail Stadium in Qatar, they believe that Mbappe is the new Pele.

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