Pedro Miguel Pauleta is convinced Kylian Mbappé is a future Ballon d'Or. The meeting of the two Paris Saint-Germain legends makes for fascinating reading…
Two generations of goal scorers, two international stars, two Paris Saint-Germain idols. Pedro Miguel Pauleta and Kylian Mbappé met up to speak to the "This is Paris" about their respective careers.
Pedro Miguel Pauleta: "For me, it's a real pleasure to be here, face to face with such a great player, a player who is sure to leave his mark on the world football in the future, and what's more, a player that plays for Paris Saint-Germain, a club that I love…"
Kylian Mbappé: "Thank you, that means a lot to me coming from a legend like pedro, who wrote the history of the club. It's a pleasure for me to meet you as well."
Pedro Miguel Pauleta: "What I really admire about you is the respect you show to the club all the time, to the supporters, the youngsters that love the club. It's important as well. A football club needs to be up here, the players need to respect the club and I told myself I have to give everything to repay that confidence to all the supporters and all the people that have believed in me.
"When I joined Paris, I was already 30 years old. I arrived late, almost at the end of my career. Each time I walked out onto the pitch, heard the fans chanting my name. I felt an obligation to score every match at the Parc. I was warming up and I felt a duty to score. All those people chanting your name before the game even starts, imagine what it will be like if you score, that's a little bit of the power that I felt from this club."
Mbappé: "I am able to create my own bubble"
Kylian Mbappé: "I think maybe we are bit different on that point. Pedro was in a position to be able to analyse the situation, to understand it. I am really in my own bubble. I can play in front of 80,000 people or 20,000. It doesn't change anything for me and the way I prepare, the way I approach a match and what I'm going to do. But it's good to have two completely different opinions. Pedro knows that the fans in the stadium can inspire him. I'm not necessarily that way, even if it's definitely a bonus. I'm not going to lie and say I don't hear the fans on a big night of Champions League football or Ligue1, obviously we hear them, they're the 12th man, but perhaps also coming through the academy at Monaco, that helps you create your own little bubble. You don't play in the same atmosphere there, it's a different concept. I am able to create my own bubble, telling myself that have to be able to play in any setting, help my team and score goals."
Pedro Miguel Pauleta: "Everyone is always talking about the Champions League, everyone wants to win it. I'm sure one day the club will win it. The club deserves to win this trophy. It's the trophy all the biggest clubs want to win. But it's not easy, not everyone can win it."
Kylian Mbappé: "No, it's not easy. We have to keep fighting, never give up. I think our time will come, but we have to make it happen, without trying to go too fast. I think to win things, and you won a lot as a player, and you know there's an order to things that you need to respect. If we keep going the way we are, our time will come."
Pedro Miguel Pauleta: "Back in my day, it was always said that it was a great club, but not a great team. When I played here, we didn't have a great team. We were a great club, but the team didn't match that. Today that's changed, it's different, today you have a great team, with fantastic players that can make the difference at any given moment in any match. In football, sometimes you need a bit of luck, it's important in football, but all the hard work will pay off sooner or later, for sure."
Kylian Mbappé: "You have to win the Champions league on the pitch, so it's up to us on the field to do what we have to do. We are creating a really solid squad, and I think its shows more and more. Now we have to keep going because that's not enough to win the Champions League. We are improving, getting better and better, working hard every day and we have to keep going."
Pedro Miguel Pauleta: "I was lucky enough to start on the streets. I lived on an island, a tiny place. I was always in the street playing football. It's different. When you were six or seven years old, you already had an incredible passion for the sport. Honestly, me at seven, eight, nine, 10 years of age, I never thought about turning pro. I lived in a different world, an island, where there wasn't any professional football. I loved football but I never ever thought I'd make it as a pro, that all came later."
Mbappé: "We play football with a smile"
Kylian Mbappé: "I come from a sporting family, focused on football. It was easy for me, even if no-one ever forced me into it. I was the one that asked to go and play football with my dad. It was the obvious thing, but it was me that decided. I had my first football boots, went to training, that's how it all started. I wanted to go and then go again and again and again, and I went every day!
"We grew up in different contexts. He grew up on an island and I grew up in the suburbs of Paris where football is everywhere. For me, it's still just a game. We are all just kids playing a football pitch with our mates and wanting the same things. Now there are certain rules and obligations that have to be respected: a position, lots of things, instructions, but it's still a game, a pleasure to step out onto the pitch. We play football with a smile and we're happy to play."
Pedro Miguel Pauleta: "When it's a pleasure to play, it's different. If you love this sport, if you love football, i think it's easier to become a professional. Like you said, it remains a game, from the start to the end of your career and it has to remain like that. It's a game, I enjoy it, I love it. For me, my obsession, was to score goals. For me, football without goals is not football. If I didn't score I wasn't happy, but i do love it, i love playing football and I always loved it. That's important – that you have fun when you play."
Kylian Mbappé: "I think so too. It's easier when like what you're doing to make the sacrifices needed. It's without feeling like it's a chore. I'm not a machine. When I don't like doing something it's not easy to make sacrifices, but I love football so it's not a problem, it's a pleasure."
Pedro Miguel Pauleta: "With pleasure, that the most important thing. When it's a pleasure, it comes naturally. Honestly, I hope he wins the Ballon d'Or as quickly as possible, with Paris Saint-Germain. I hope you do it! I'm sure you can do it. You have all the necessary qualities, the right mentality. Sometimes you also need a bit of luck, but I hope you manage to win it, and as soon as possible."
Kylian Mbappé: "Thank you very much!"