The future of French football may lay in the hands of 19-year-old Kylian Mbappe Lottin after his impressive start to life at AS Monaco. Mbappe started his career at AS Bondy, the place where his father was a coach. Following this, he spent time at the famous Clairefontaine academy (who trained the likes of Nicolas Anelka, Louis Saha and Olivier Giroud) where he impressed coaches. Before joining Monaco, offers were received from European giants Real Madrid but ultimately he decided to join the French side.
Since setting base on the south coast, Mbappe has already broken records, becoming Monaco’s youngest-ever senior debutant aged 16 years 347 days, breaking Thierry Henry’s record set 21 years ago. On 20 February 2016, Mbappe scored his first senior goal for the club, a stoppage-time goal in a home 3–1 win over Troyes; and at the age of 17 years and 62 days, he became the youngest goalscorer in Monaco’s history, replacing Thierry Henry in the process. On 6 March 2016, Mbappe signed his first professional contract, a three-year deal, tying him to Monaco until June 2019.
He then scored his first hat-trick of his senior career on 14 December 2016 in a 7-0 thrashing of Stade Rennais in the Coupe de la Ligue round of 16 at the Stade Louis II, the first hat-trick scored by any Monaco player in the competition since Sonny Anderson back in 1997. On 11 February 2017, Mbappe scored the first Ligue 1 hat-trick of his career in a 5-0 home win over FC Metz; and at 18 years and two months, he became the youngest player to score a Ligue 1 hat-trick since Jérémy Ménez for FC Sochaux-Montbéliard back in 2005. On 21 February, he scored Monaco’s second goal in the UEFA Champions League round of 16 first leg match against Manchester City, which Monaco lost 5-3. With this, he became the second youngest French footballer to score in the UEFA Champions League, with only Real Madrid superstar Karim Benzema doing it at a younger age.
On 5 March, Mbappe scored two first-half goals in a 4-0 Ligue 1 home win over FC Nantes to bring his league career record to ten goals, becoming the youngest player in the last 30 years to hit the Ligue 1/Division 1 ten-career-goals mark in the process. His brace against Nantes on 5 March brought up his 2016-2017 season tally to nine Ligue 1 goals and five Ligue 1 assists in just 822 minutes of league football.
Feature image credit: V&A; Dudush