20 Facts about Soccer Superstar Kylian Mbappé
Originally published by Jenna in 2019 and updated by Ruth in August 2022
The 20-year-old Paris Saint-German striker became an international sensation after his stunning performance during the 2018 World Cup. He became one of France’s most adored citizens as kids cheered “Mbappé for president,” and social media users tweeted “Liberté, Égalité, Mbappé.” Here’s what you should know about France’s new favourite soccer player.
1. He is the second teenager in history to score in a World Cup final.
At 19 years old, Mbappé was the first teenager to score in a World Cup final in decades. The last and only other teenager to do so was Brazilian legend Pelé, who scored at a World Cup final that his country went on to win 5-2 over Sweden in 1958. Mbappé, of course, scored in France’s 4-2 victory over Croatia this year. Pelé even tweeted congrats to the French star, writing “Only the second teenager to have scored a goal in a #WorldCupFinal! Welcome to the club, @KMbappe – it’s great to have some company!”
Pelé went even further, joking in another tweet: “If Kylian keeps equalling my records like this I may have to dust my boots off again..”
Of course Mbappé, still modest in interviews, wasn’t quite ready for the comparisons.
“It’s flattering to be the second one after Pele but let’s put things into context – Pele is in another category,” he said in a media interview.
2. The soccer star loves sneakers
Mbappé has described himself as a “kid with a new toy” when he gets a pair of sneakers. His first pair were the Nike Air Maxes. Although he meticulously cleaned them, they would get dirty when he went out on the field to play football. Growing up, so he says in an interview with Hypebeast in March, he would cry to his mother in an attempt to get the shoes he had his eye on. Brand sneakers were pricey, so he often had to beg his mom for the make and model he wanted.
Nike Vapors were the first football boots he wore. They were so coveted, he said, some teammates would even ask if they could borrow them to wear for the first half of the game! He declined.
Nike even has a special section on their website called, “BOUTIQUE DE MBAPPÉ.” There, it has the star’s choice in footwear. A Nike Mercurial Superfly 360 Elite FG, for instance, costs 370 euros. But, if you’re determined to look like Mbappé there’s several Nike stores to chose from in Paris. Two of the main ones are along Champs Élysées and at Forum des Halles.
If you want gear advertising his current team, Paris Saint-Germain, check out these tips on where you should go.
3. He’s from the Paris suburbs
Mbappé is from Bondy, a town roughly 11 kilometres northeast of Paris. The city has treated the player as the town’s new claim to fame, even adding a red banner to the city hall that read, “Thank you Kylian, all of the people of Bondy are with you!” His town even hosted a welcome back reception, complete with cheering crowds that the Bondy native blew kisses two as he hugged young, excited fans. Before, Bondy was among the banlieue that made less positive headlines, which made Mbappé’s success all the more exciting for the town. As a child, Mbappé trained at the AS Bondy football club. When others watched him play, they dubbed him “the next Henry,” referring to Thierry Henry, current manager of the French club Monaco and former star footballer.
If you’d like to visit Mbappé’s old stomping grounds, Bondy is easily accessible from Paris if you take the RER E.
4. The young player donated all his World Cup earnings
Mbappé reportedly said that he felt he should not be paid to represent France, so he donated the roughly 400,000 euros he made over the course of the tournament to a children’s charity called Premiers de Cordée. He earned an estimated 20,000 euros per game and a 300,000 euro bonus for winning the tournament. The place he made the donation to, Premiers de Cordée, pushes sports programs for hospitalised children, and promotes disability awareness in schools and businesses. Mbappé began this collaboration with the organisation in 2017 and has played soccer with some of the children supported by the charity.
5. Mbappé has more Instagram followers than President Macron.
He has a whopping 24.1 million followers. That’s also more than former U.S. president Barack Obama, who has 19.9 million. Although Messi and Ronaldo have upwards of 100 million followers, Mbappé still has a sizeable following considering he only recently attracted international attention. His photos average millions of likes and thousands of comments. The pictures range from him hanging out with family and other soccer players to visiting sick children at the hospital or accepting the latest football award in a tux.
6. Mbappé was the youngest player in the history of the Monaco football club
He first signed to Monaco ate the age of 14 and started playing for the team in December 2015 at 16 years old. Before, the youngest player in club history was the current manager, Henry Thierry. A year later, he became the youngest player to score for Monaco, breaking another one of Thierry’s records. This was all a precursor to his World Cup performance, and his success at such an early age has not gone unnoticed. TIME magazine put him on their list of the 25 most influential teenagers in the world for 2018.
7. Mbappé is the second most expensive player in football
He entered into a 180 million euro contract with Paris Saint-Germain after a loan deal with his old team, Monaco. PSG will pay 180 million euros plus bonuses to Mbappé, making it the second most expensive transfer in football history after fellow teammate Neymar transferred to PSG from Barcelona for 222 million euros. If you’re curious about Mbappé’s new team, here are six facts about Paris Saint-Germain.
8. He lives in the 16th arrondissement!
Mbappé moved to Paris — in a 600 square meter apartment with a view of the Eiffel Tower. It’s been described as “luxurious.” It has two stories and is said to have a large roof terrace and jacuzzi. But it looks like he chose the location for practical reasons too — Parc des Princes, the official home of his team Paris Saint Germain, is nearby. Before finding his place, he stayed at the luxury hotel Royal Monceau.
9. Mbappé comes from an athletic family
Athleticism runs in the family, no doubt. Mbappé’s mother, Fayza Lamar, was a handball player who competed in Division 1 back in the 1990s. His father Wilfried Bondy, was a footballer who also played for AS Bondy. Mbappé’s adopted brother, Jirès Kembo-Ekoko, is a professional footballer, too. Last but not least, Mbappé’s little brother Ethan plays for Paris Saint Germain’s under 12 league.
10. Mbappé once idolized Ronaldo…but not anymore
Mbappé’s childhood bedroom was plastered with photos of his football idol: Cristiano Ronaldo. An old photo shows a young Kylian posed in a green jacket next to more or less a shrine with various pictures of Ronaldo. Mbappé made waves recently on social media with a new recreation of the photo. This time Mbappé jokingly poses in a green jacket behind a series of pictures of himself holding various trophies and a cut out of his TIME magazine photo cover.
11. Messi had his eyes on him
Mbappe stated that when Messi won the European Golden Shoe during the 2018-2019 season, he actually felt pressure due to Mbappe closing the gap on the goals. Although Messi had an impressive 36 league goals, the youngster was just 3 behind the legend’s record!
During an interview in 2019, Mbappe found out that Messi was worried about Mbappe catching him the entire way! Mbappe actually spoke with Dembele, his French international teammate, about the ‘craziness’ of Messi ‘surveilling’ him during the league.
12. Mbappe vs. Usain Bolt – the race we all want to see
Although Mbappe is one of the fastest players in the world of soccer, he is not quite as fast as the world-record holder, Usain Bolt. During a game vs. Monaco in 2019, Mbappe set an impressive speed of 23.61 miles per hour – .25 miles per hour faster than Bolt when he won the 100m race in 2009.
However, Bolt soon clocked a record-holding 27.8 miles per hour during the 100 meter race in Berlin, showing he is just a LITTLE bit faster than the agile and quick Mbappe.
13. Mbappe could have played for other countries
Although Mbappe is one of the most famous French footballers of all time, he also had the choice of playing for Algeria or the Cameroon. Mbappe’s mother is from Algeria, while his father is from Cameroon, giving him a wide range of citizenship opportunities when it came to representing a country on the international stage.
14. Mbappe is in FIFA 2021
Mbappe was chosen for the cover of the world-famous video game FIFA for the new rendition in 2021. After posting a photo of the cover on Instagram, Mbappe stated that it was a ‘dream come true’ to be on the cover of FIFA21.
15. He has made charitable donations
Mbappe has publicly stated the ‘unfairness’ when it comes to the amount of money footballers make when compared to regular jobs. He has noted the inflation of his salary over others in the world, and often times gives some of his earned money to charitable causes. After the World Cup in 2018, Mbappe gave all of his earnings – a whopping 400,000 euros – to a children’s charity in France.
16. Mbappe was famously known as “The next Thierry Henry”
After Mbappe lifted the World Cup they hosted a welcome back reception, packed with cheering crowds full of young, excited fans.
When he trained at the AS Bondy football club they called him “the next Henry,” echoed by Arsene Wenger in 2017 when he revealed he tried to bring Mbappe to Arsenal at the time.
“It’s true he has similar qualities,” Wenger told The Ligue 1 show. “He could be another Thierry Henry.”
17. Mbappe could have chosen Algeria or Cameroon
A World Cup winner with France, Mbappe could easily have chosen to play for Cameroon or Algeria. His mother’s roots are Algerian and his father is from Cameroon.
But Mbappe was born and grew up in France, he was selected to play at the prestigious Clairefontaine academy and represented France at the underage level. He won the U19 UEFA European Championships with France in 2016 and there was only one choice for Kylian. Two years later he was lifting the World Cup for Les Bleus.
18. Kylian Mbappe almost joined Chelsea
Mbappe who was The PSG number 7 was very close to joining Chelsea in 2012. He gave a trial for the club but they were not convinced enough and wanted another one.
The blues academy also gave him a number 10 shirt. His mother rejected the offer saying, “Either they sign him now, or within five years they’ll have to offer € 50 million to tie him down.”
19. Mbappe was involved in 54 Champions League goals
While he was still only 22, Mbappé could already boast a higher career tally of Champions League goals than the likes of Samuel Eto’o, Kaká, and Wayne Rooney. All legends in their own right.
Mbappé seemed determined on writing his own legacy in Europe’s premier club competition. He has now been directly involved in 54 Champions League goals since debuting in 2016-17 with 31 goals & 20 assists in 51 appearances.
20. Mbappe has been recognized widely for his achievements
Mbappé was named to the FIFA FIFPro World11 in 2018 and 2019, the UEFA Team of the Year in 2018, and the UEFA Champions League Squad of the Season in 2016–17, 2019–20, 2020–21, and 2021–22.
He was awarded the Globe Soccer Best Player of the Year in 2021. He has won the Golden Boy in 2017, Ligue 1 Player of the Year three times, and has finished as the Ligue 1 top scorer for four seasons.