World Cup star Kylian Mbappe 'the best player in the world' says fellow Frenchman Tiemoue Bakoyoko

Aditya Devavrat 20:37 21/07/2018
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Mbappe's star continues to rise.

Chelsea‘s French midfielder Tiemoue Bakayoko believes his compatriot Kylian Mbappe is “the best player in the world”.

Mbappe was the star of France’s World Cup triumph this summer, winning the tournament’s best young player award after scoring four goals, including one in the final – becoming only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final, after Pele in 1958.

He and Bakayoko were teammates at Monaco until a year ago, when both shot to fame while leading their side to a surprise Ligue 1 title and Champions League semi-final berth.

It was in Europe’s premier club competition that Mbappe first served notice of his talent, becoming the first player ever to score in his first four knockout games in the Champions League as he helped Monaco stun Manchester City and then knock out traditional European powerhouses Borussia Dortmund.

They ultimately fell to Juventus – though Mbappe became the youngest Champions League semi-final scorer during the tie against the Italians.

Their performances for Monaco earned both Bakayoko and Mbappe moves away, with Mbappe going to PSG in a transfer that has now smashed the record fee for a teenager.

The Chelsea man, who missed out on selection for France’s squad for the summer, says his former colleague’s rise to stardom should not have come as a surprise to anyone.

“I’m not surprised [at his success], he’s very young but he’s very mature,” Bakayoko told Goal.

Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have widely been considered the world’s two best players for a decade, but in Bakoyoko’s estimation his 19-year-old compatriot has surpassed the duo.

“He’s a very intelligent player and I think with his characteristics he’s the best player in the world,” Bakayoko said.

“Don’t forget he’s very young and it’s not easy to play against the older players and to be so quick on the pitch.”

Mbappe won a personal duel with Barcelona talisman Messi during the World Cup, scoring two goals and setting up another by winning a penalty as France beat Argentina 4-3 in a Round of 16 clash.

That game, where he ran Argentina’s defence ragged and tore them apart with his pace and trickery while Messi was kept quiet, fed the narrative that the young Frenchman was truly establishing himself among the world’s elite.

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