With every goal that Kylian Mbappé has scored for Monaco this season, the attention and intrigue surrounding the 18-year-old French forward has continued to soar.
Labelled a transfer target for Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and every other club that has ever laid eyes on him, one problem they are going to encounter is the interest from Real Madrid, and the teenager’s love affair with the Spanish giants.
As a 14-year-old boy, dreaming of accomplishing anything close to what the last 18-months at Monaco has brought, Mbappé has a kid with Cristiano Ronaldo posters on his wall and aspirations of one day pulling on the famous Los Blancos jersey.
“He almost signed for Real Madrid but then he went to Monaco,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane admitted earlier in the year.
“I can’t speak about this. We know he’s a good player, what he’s doing at his age is fantastic, but that’s it. What I’m interested in is what we are going to do tomorrow. But he was about to sign here, yes.”
It was the French World Cup winner that arranged for the youngster to meet with his hero and soon pictures of their rendezvous began to appear on social media.
Even when he scored his first league goal for the Monegasque club last season, no one expected the type of rapid rise being witnessed this term.
In 1851 minutes of football, the youngster has scored an amazing 21 goals and racked up 11 assists. Another two strikes against Borussia Dortmund convinced more and more people that this kid is the real deal and not a French flash in the pan.
“A duo of Benzema and Mbappé?” Florentino Perez quipped when asked by Radio Montecarlo about the possibility of combining the two French talents. “Everything is possible, but at this time of the season, I don’t want to talk about that.”
“Karim is a mix of Zidane and Ronaldo. He is the best No.9 in the world,” he continued.“I am convinced that he will stay and while now we do not talk about renewals, if it was up to me, I would keep him here during his whole sporting life.”
Real want him, and the player welcomes the move, but an £85million transfer fee and the youngsters determination to play one more season in France, all but rules out an imminent move. However, it only helps build a situation that would see him arrive at the Santiago Bernabeu in 2018.
Even Marca reported after the Dortmund victory that Real are moving to have first option on the 18-year-old. It’s hard to see Mbappé turning down such an approach.
What would Mbappé add to Real Madrid?
From watching him play, you would instantly place Mbappé on the left of the Madrid front-three and some may wonder what happens to Cristiano Ronaldo, yet, the Portuguese forward has slowly transitioned himself away from the speedy winger, to an all-round No.9 threat. Watch his goals lately and only rarely does he blast down the channels.
His game is built around back post movement, drifting in between the full-back and centre-back and hanging off the shoulder of the last defender.
Kylian Mbappé: "Real is for players at the peak of their careers, I am not there yet. I've been brought up to keep my feet on the ground." pic.twitter.com/urLoabp6V4
— Scouted Football (@ScoutedFtbl) March 29, 2017
The similarities of Mbappé at his best and Ronaldo now are quite striking, no surprise with the kid idolising the former Manchester United forward since he began his career.
However, the Monaco teenager still has the blistering pace, trickery on the ball and expert movement to destroy teams out wide.
Playing off the left, he knows exactly when to make his well-timed runs. Bernardo Silva is bombing down the right-flank and Mbappé continues his normal run, hanging back off the defender’s blind spot.
Then, as soon as the Portuguese midfielder cuts inside, the 18-year-old flashes across the centre-back, he can’t react, the pass over the top is perfect and the Frenchman converts the chance.
Very simple, expertly executed and a delight to watch.
Is he good enough for Real Madrid?
Although it is still very early in his career, it’s hard to argue that he isn’t showing the type of attributes that would make him the perfect Galactico at Real Madrid.
In all competitions, Mbappé has been involved in a goal ever 57.8 minutes this term. That’s a phenomenal return. Put into context, Lionel Messi with 43 goals and 16 assists stands at 62.1 minutes with Ronaldo’s 28 goals and 12 assists seeing him involved in a goal every 82.3 minutes.
Mbappé has still to enjoy the longevity that both this superstars have managed, but it goes to show just how well the young Monaco player is performing.
Also, it’s not just the level of goals he’s involved in, you have to admire just how calm and composed he has been in goal scoring situations.
Wednesday’s delayed game against Dortmund came just days after he was part of a Monaco team that were humbled 4-1 by Paris Saint-Germain in the Coupe de la Ligue final in Lyon.
“It is hard. We will learn, we need to quickly move on to something else,” the mature teenager admitted after the game. “This Paris team put us in difficult situations. We have to congratulate them because they were better. I was not at the level that the event required, I was not able to help the team enough. I will learn…”
And learn he did. 12 minutes to go with his team 2-1 up at Signal Iduna Park, Mbappe’s speed helped him press the defence and win the ball, putting him clear through.
Then, with the goalkeeper rushing out and defenders scrambling to recover, it was Mbappe that remained cool, calm, composed and slotted the ball into the top corner.
The level of finish only shown by Europe’s best.
It may take another 12 months for Real to finally land their man, but you know for sure that they are top of his list. Mbappé will add to their attack, help Cristiano Ronaldo play through the middle and allow the Madrid side to say goodbye to both Benzema and Morata.
Better start counting that £85million now.