Between Extravagance and Ambition, Kylian Mbappé is at a fork in the road.
Real Madrid, a beleaguered team in need of a savior, is the ideal fit for Mbappé at this point in his career.
Kylian Mbappé has accomplished everything so far in his career at breakneck speed, which is apt given how fast he appears to run.
Mbappé is so quick that you wouldn’t be surprised to see vapor trails fly away from his boots and up into the night sky as he starts sprinting.
His rise to prominence was almost as quick as Pelé’s, and he and Pelé are the only teenagers to score in a World Cup final.
Mbappé is only 22 years old and already has more than a dozen medals under his belt.
In Ligue 1, he scores nearly a goal every game for Paris Saint-Germain, and more than a goal every three games for France.
Nonetheless, his drive is so great that even PSG’s recruitment of Lionel Messi will not be enough to jumpstart his career.
Instead, he wants to join Real Madrid; PSG turned down Madrid’s $188 million offer for Mbappé, who is apparently set on joining the Spanish club, where he intends to go faster than light.
Perhaps his desire for a transfer stems in part from the lofty goals he has set for himself.
It’s easy to be harsh on Mbappé when he shows symptoms of slowing down since he’s accomplished so much.
During PSG’s run to the 2020 UEFA Champions League final, his finishing was less ruthless than normal, and it cost him in the final.
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Some people were concerned that this was the start of a trend.
The next season, he exacted glorious and exhilarating vengeance on Bayern Munich in the same tournament’s quarterfinals.
Manuel Neuer has rarely looked so perplexed when confronted by an opposing attacker.
Many of us have doubted Mbappé again after his failure to score during the Euro 2020 competition, particularly his missed penalty in France’s loss to Switzerland.
Fortunately for someone under so much stress, it’s questionable whether he even notices.
He could easily wish to stay in France, but he knows one thing: with Messi, possibly the greatest footballer
of all time, among his teammates, most domestic matches are going to be even less entertaining.
Furthermore, his current colleague Neymar serves as an example of what not to do when playing on Europe’s greatest stages.
When PSG acquired Neymar from Barcelona, he was dubbed “Messi” by many.
si’s replacement as the best in the world.
His ascension, though, has slowed since then.
This is partly owing to injuries at inopportune periods, but it’s also because Neymar’s victory in France has come far too easily.
Watching him play in Ligue 1 in his early seasons, before the league got much more competitive,
reminded me of some of his best moments at Santos when he was so far ahead of the opposition that he
lingered too long on the ball and overindulged himself.
Mbappé will be aware of this, as well as other similar aspects infiltrating his game.
Another point he may have made is that with so many stars in the PSG galaxy currently, spectators may
find it difficult to perceive how brightly he shines.
And if Mbappé wants to reach the pinnacle of glory, he knows he’ll have to lead his own squad.
Messi’s arrival was preceded by the additions of Sergio Ramos, Gianluigi Donnarumma, Georginio
Wijnaldum, and Achraf Hakimi, but his club’s summer of frenzied transfer activity has made that
leadership role less likely than ever.
As a result, Real Madrid is the ideal destination for him.
It’s a great club with lagging sporting fortunes and troubled finances: a resurgent empire.
He can rejuvenate an aged squad and himself in Madrid.
He may be able to eventually take over the attack from Karim Benzema.
Most importantly, he will have a life-changing adventure at his new club, which he has never had before.
It may seem unusual that Mbappé is in this situation but consider his particular situation.
It’s nearly unthinkable that someone could transfer teams for $210 million and compete for attention
with a teammate, but that’s exactly what happened to Mbappé when he joined PSG in 2017.
There, he teamed up with Neymar, and their dominance of the league was so certain that it didn’t need to be epic.
And excellence necessitates the epic.
At the club level, Neymar’s victory in the Libertadores Cup for Santos, their first in nearly 50 years, is epic.
Sergio Ramos’ move to Real Madrid from Sevilla is epic, and he has gone on to become one of the best leaders the club has ever had.
Messi’s move to Barcelona with nothing except his family, that divine first touch, and a dream is epic.
Mbappé is well-known for his heroics for his country, but he has yet to earn epic status at the club level.
He’s almost there.
It may have been won by a team from his hometown in the Champions League, but it was not to be.
Kylian Mbappé Is at a Crossroads Between Extravagance and Ambition