In Monaco's treasure trove of talent, Mbappe is the crown jewel

Monday February 13th, 2017

Kylian Mbappé, tipped by some (yours truly included!) as one rising star to watch before the season began, scored the first hat trick of his career in Monaco’s 5-0 win over Metz. With Nice dropping points in a 2-2 draw at Rennes, it’s now shaping up to be a two-horse race for Ligue 1's title, with high-scoring Monaco three points ahead of reigning champion PSG.

With Manchester City showing signs of clicking into gear under Pep Guardiola, the Champions League clash between City and Monaco could be a cracker. Enormous credit is due for Monaco boss Leonardo Jardim, who continues to use Mbappé sparingly, despite his undoubted talent. Whereas Thierry Henry was a left winger who converted to a center forward, the 18-year-old Mbappé is already at ease playing through the middle. He has pace, trickery and a fantastic eye for goal. He's also grounded.

“I’m not a phenomenon,” he said to the media after the rout. “That’s what Ronaldo, Messi and Neymar are, and I’m a long way off.”

In France, however, they are asking if Mbappé will be better than Henry. It’s not relevant and not possible to measure. Instead, the question should be how long will Monaco be able to hold onto this prodigy. Bernardo Silva, Thomas Lemar and Tiemoue Bakayoko have all been linked with moves this summer. Monaco, a team known to sell its talent for top dollar, will not sanction the total break-up of this team. But it would increasingly seem that for all the talent in the squad, Mbappé is the jewel in the crown. 

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