Fresh from his stunning hat-trick against Barcelona in the UEFA Champions League, Kylian Mbappé next faces his old club AS Monaco in a blockbuster Round 26 showdown. Ahead of that clash, Ligue1.com looks back at the milestones of Mbappé’s Monaco career.
The day Kylian signed
It was in July 2013, at the age of 14, that Mbappé signed for the principality club. Unsurprisingly the news went under the radar at the time, with Monaco having just won promotion back to Ligue 1 under Claudio Ranieri. They celebrated their return to the elite by splashing big money to sign the likes of Radamel Falcao and James Rodriguez. Little attention was paid to Mbappé penning his three-year contract, but those in the know were aware that a star in the making had arrived at the Stade Louis II.
Real Madrid had already shown real interest in taking the teenager from Bondy to the Bernabéu, inviting him over with his parents to take in a game and having Zinédine Zidane meet him at the club’s training ground. Before Mbappé went to the French national training academy at Clairefontaine, south of Paris, he could have signed for RC Lens. He was close to joining SM Caen as well, but the Normandy club’s relegation from the top flight in 2012 opened the door for Monaco.
His arrival in the principality was picked up by Le Parisien, who dedicated an article to the young prodigy alongside a photograph of Kylian holding up a Monaco shirt with his name and the number seven on the back. The article pointed out that Mbappé had also just signed a three-year deal with Nike and quoted him laying out his plan to “one day win the Ballon d’Or”.
His Ligue 1 debut
Mbappé was already getting impatient for his top-flight debut well before he was finally handed his big chance by then-Monaco coach Leonardo Jardim on December 2, 2015, with Caen ironically the opponents. Just a few weeks before his 17th birthday, he came on as a late substitute, replacing Fabio Coentrão. In so doing he became Monaco’s youngest ever player, beating the previous record that had been held by Thierry Henry since 1994.
Fast forward to February 20, 2016, and Mbappé beat another Henry record as he scored in a 3-1 win at Troyes, becoming Monaco’s youngest ever goal-scorer at the age of 17 years and 62 days. All this before Kylian had even signed professional terms at the Stade Louis II.
Manchester City and the first Champions League coming of age
Mbappé played little part for Monaco in the group stage of the 2016-17 UEFA Champions League, but by the time the knockout rounds arrived he was becoming a key part of their team. In that season’s last 16 first leg away to Manchester City, Mbappé started up front alongside captain Falcao, and scored Monaco’s second goal in a remarkable 5-3 defeat to Pep Guardiola’s side.
He had his first Champions League goal, and he went on to score six times in six games in the knockout rounds that season as Monaco reached the semi-finals, including a brace in the 3-2 win away to Borussia Dortmund in the first leg of the quarter-finals.
In contrast, even after his hat-trick in Barcelona, he has scored just four times in 10 appearances in the knockout rounds with PSG. With 10 goals in total, he is already the third most prolific Frenchman in the knockout rounds of the Champions League, behind only Henry (12) and Karim Benzema (18).
Despite a slow start to the 2016-17 season, Mbappé ended up as one of the most important players in Jardim’s thrilling team that won the title, the only club to break PSG’s stranglehold on Ligue 1 since Montpellier Hérault SC in 2012. He ended with 15 league goals, and 26 in 44 appearances in all competitions.
In truth his explosion occurred in the final four months of that campaign. By early February, he had scored three times in 15 Ligue 1 appearances, often only being used from the bench. He then scored 12 times in his next 14 outings, together with his stunning form in the Champions League. Monaco finished the season with 12 straight league wins and Mbappé was a Ligue 1 champion at the age of just 18. Mbappé was named in the Ligue 1 team of the season and was voted the league’s best young player by his peers.
Kylian’s rise has happened at the same terrifying pace he displays when running at defenders on the field. He was still just 18, already a Ligue 1 champion and a Champions League sensation, when he departed Monaco. Rather than stick around to try to win another Ligue 1 title in the principality, he joined his hometown team in a sensational transfer in August 2017.
The deal has gone down as the biggest ever between two French clubs, and the second-biggest in football history, with Monaco understood to have pocketed €180 million in total from selling their teenage sensation. He left the Stade Louis II having scored 27 goals in 60 appearances.>> KYLIAN MBAPPE PROFILE