Kylian Mbappe was unsurprisingly the name on everybody’s lips on Tuesday night, following his devastating display against Barcelona in the Champions League.
The French international has been one of Europe’s brightest talents since making his debut for Monaco back in 2015, although his display at the Nou Camp was a marker of a man who is destined to go on to even greater heights.
A World Cup winner at just 19, as well as the first teenager since Pele to score in a World Cup final, the now 22-year-old’s career thus far has been littered with stellar moments, yet few can have been better than his performance on Tuesday evening.
The Ligue 1 side had gone a goal down to a Lionel Messi penalty, before their explosive forward got them back into the game, Mbappe firing home excellently after demonstrating some delightful footwork inside the box.
The Frenchman then added two further goals either side of a Moise Kean header to all but put the tie to bed, his second of the night a close-range poacher’s strike, while the third was a beautiful curling effort that wrapped up his hat-trick in devastating fashion.
On a night in which Barcelona captain, Messi, was the main attraction prior to kick-off, it was the Paris Saint-Germain man whom everyone was talking about after the game, with former Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand insisting that it was a ‘statement’ display from the young man.
“Mbappe is on his own, out of young players he’s on his own,” Ferdinand told BT Sport.
“People forget he’s 22-years-old Mbappe, given he’s won the World Cup, what he’s done in the French league, in the Champions League he’s been immense.
“I just feel that he’s the guy now that’s going to take the throne, take the crown, he’s standing alone at the moment. It’s for everybody to catch up to him now. This guy is going to take over the throne from Messi and Ronaldo when they’re done with it.
“He’s given a statement, this is me now, I’m the man for this big stage.”
Ferdinand’s former teammate, Owen Hargreaves, was equally as complimentary, the 40-year-old stating that PSG simply have to tie him down to a new deal, with his current contract set to expire in 2022.
“Kylian Mbappe, his contract runs out in a year – PSG are going to have to lock him down real quick. Everybody is going to find enough money for Kylian Mbappe, that was a performance like the old Brazilian Ronaldo – absolutely amazing.
“You’re not signing anyone other than Kylian Mbappe right now. He’s only got a year left on his deal, that’s unheard of for a player this good.
“To go to the Nou Camp and get a hat-trick, he ripped the life out of every single Barcelona player in every phase. Mbappe, in that form, at 22 with a year left, he is an absolute diamond.”
Former Chelsea midfielder Joe Cole also hailed Mbappe as the ‘best player in the world’ and suggested he can get even better.
“He’s the best player in the world at the moment,” Cole told BT Sport after the game. “The influence he has on his team, the way he can just run away from players.
‘His link-up play, his work-rate off the ball, he is the alpha dog in football right now. He’s the top player. As young players go, if you want to build a team you go and get Kylian Mbappe. He’s the most influential player on the planet.
“He’s not the future, he is now – but how good could he become? He’s got 10 or 15 years ahead of him, he could be anything.”
“He’s done it in World Cups and he’s doing it in the Champions League now. I think if he drags Paris or Paris go on to win the tournament I think he’s in with a shout for the Ballon d’Or this year.”