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Five times Kylian Mbappe has lit up the Champions League

Kylian Mbappe reemphasised his status as one of the world’s finest footballers again this week, stepping up in a crucial moment to hand Paris Saint-Germain a Champions League advantage over Real Madrid.

Mbappe’s match-winning performance was the latest in a long line of stunning displays on club football’s biggest stage, with the France international having now registered 51 goal involvements in just 53 Champions League appearances.

It is a frightening return for a footballer who is still just 23-years-old, with Mbappe’s ascent to a status as the world’s best player showing no signs of slowing.

 

Following his latest superb showing, we look back at five times Kylian Mbappe has lit up the Champions League.

Borussia Dortmund (2017)

Mbappe burst onto the scene as part of a vibrant Monaco side during the 2016/17 season, with the Ligue 1 outfit upsetting the odds to win their domestic division and reach the Champions League semi-finals.

The teenager had scored in both legs as Monaco dumped out Manchester City in the last 16, a thrilling two-legged encounter seeing the underdogs progress on away goals after a 6-6 draw on aggregate.

Monaco then met Borussia Dortmund in the last eight, with Mbappe the architect of a crucial first leg win with two goals at the Westfalenstadion.

Mbappe’s speed troubled Dortmund throughout and he won an early penalty after bursting into the box, but Fabinho’s wayward effort ensured the game remained goalless.

Just minutes later, however, the forward opened the scoring after bundling in Thomas Lemar’s cross, before intercepting a loose ball to race away and slam home a second to make it 3-1 to the visitors.

He netted again in the return, as Monaco set up a semi-final showdown with Juventus.

Club Brugge (2019)

Paris Saint-Germain spent big to sign Mbappe from their divisional rivals and the forward made an instant impact in the capital, continuing his rapid rise towards the upper echelons of the sport.

Mbappe became the youngest player to score 15 goals in the Champions League at 20 years and 306 days, after netting his first hat-trick in the competition against Club Brugge in 2019.

The Frenchman’s feat was all the more impressive given he arrived into the contest as a 52nd minute substitute, scoring within nine minutes of his introduction and ending the game with the match ball.

He followed his headed first with an assist for Mauro Icardi, before collecting Angel Di Maria’s pass to round Simon Mignolet and score a second.

His hat-trick – coming inside the space of just 22 minutes – was completed late on, a perfect hat-trick of head, right foot and left foot on a perfect evening for the PSG superstar.

Barcelona (2021)

Arguably the defining performance of Mbappe’s Champions League career so far, the forward scored a devastating hat-trick as Paris Saint-Germain thrashed Barcelona in 2020/21.

Mbappe was sensational as the away side secured an emphatic 4-1 win, becoming just the second visiting player – after Andriy Shevchenko more than two decades earlier – to score three goals in a Champions League fixture at the Camp Nou.

It was a ruthless performance as Mbappe upstaged Lionel Messi in a clash between the world’s finest and apparent heir, his scintillating showing evoking memories of Ronaldo Nazario’s brilliant best at Barcelona.

Mbappe showed fine footwork inside the area before slamming home his first, before arriving late to score a second and put PSG in control in Catalonia.

He saved the best for left with a bending finish from outside the area to claim his hat-trick, a punishing performance from the Parisians with Mbappe’s magic sealing a famous win.

Bayern Munich (2021)

If the win over Barcelona had issued a statement of intent, the true test of PSG’s credentials came with a quarter-final clash against Bayern Munich.

Barcelona had been on the decline as the Spaniards struggled to contain PSG, but Bayern were the reigning champions of Europe, tournament favourites, and had beaten PSG in the previous season’s final.

Even given the absence of Robert Lewandowski through injury the German giants posed a formidable threat, but Mbappe’s latest star showing blew apart the Bundesliga side and handed PSG a precious first leg advantage.

He scored twice, including an early opener on the break after firing through Manuel Neuer, before adding a second – and the winner – after Bayern had come from two goals down to level.

His winner came as the back-peddling Bayern defenders showed hesitancy in making a challenge, jinking inside the area to fire inside Neuer’s near post and secure a vital away win for PSG.

Real Madrid (2022)

It was impossible to ignore the talk surrounding Mbappe heading into PSG’s clash with Real Madrid, a meeting between his current club and his Spanish suitors.

Real Madrid had seen several offers for the forward rejected in the summer transfer window, the last believed to be in the region of £135m.

Mbappe is out of contract at the end of the season and the expectation is he will move to the Bernabeu as a free agent, but not before handing his suitors a damaging blow to their hopes of regaining the Champions League.

PSG had dominated the first leg meeting between the sides without finding a breakthrough, with Lionel Messi missing from the penalty spot as a frustrating evening headed towards full time.

Mbappe had been his side’s leading threat throughout and in the closing stages delivered, a big moment from a big player on the big occasion.

Having tormented Dani Carvajal all evening, the forward sensed one last chance to run at the Real Madrid backline in the final seconds.

Darting between the challenges of Lucas Vasquez and Eder Militao, he burst into the box to fire home a stoppage-time winner.

Who knows how crucial a goal that could be in the context of PSG’s season?

Read – Iconic Performances: Neymar inspires ‘La Remontada’

Read Also – Ranking the 8 managers to record 50 wins in the Champions League

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