Benzema: 'Mbappé is like Neymar'

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Real Madrid star Karim Benzema has called Kylian Mbappé a "phenomenon", praising the AS Monaco striker's "exceptional" performances for the Ligue 1 club this season and comparing his rise to that of Barcelona prodigy Neymar.

Mbappe had made just 11 Ligue 1 appearances, scoring just once, before the 2016/17 season but has enjoyed a rocket-propelled rise in the 12 months since.

The 18-year-old has shot to prominence over the course of the campaign with 14 top-flight strikes in France and six in as many starts en route to the UEFA Champions League semi-finals, and Benzema has been impressed.

"What Mbappe does now in Ligue 1 and even more so in the Champions League in Monaco's great run is exceptional. The last player who seemed as good and precocious at this level? Neymar," the former Olympique Lyonnais forward told L'Equipe.

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Benzema can relate closely to Mbappé given his own rapid progress from Lyon's youth academy to first-team cornerstone, finishing as Ligue 1's leading scorer in 2007-08, before moving to Madrid the following year, and he urged some restraint in the praise for the Monaco youngster.

"He's a phenomenon for his age, but needs to establish himself long term. At the start, the superlatives come very quickly," Benzema explained.

"I was billed the same way when I made my Lyon debut aged 17, scored my first Champions League goal and then became Ligue 1's leading scorer in 2008. You have to keep the same level when you grow up and are in difficulty.

"That's when you see if you can make the step up, even more so if you're at a very big club, or if you just remain a good player as many have after they shone when they were very young."

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