Kylian Mbappe has more than met the hype at his first World Cup, helping lead France to the final.
It is not a fairytale that has sky-rocketed to prominence over a period of one or two seasons. It is rather an inspirational story which began 13 years ago.
French star Kylian Mbappe is the most expensive teenager in footballing history and with every game that he plays, he continues to prove every penny that was spent on him was worth it.
At 19, he sits on a cusp of glory that not even Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have accomplished - that is to win a World Cup. His performance in Tuesday night's semifinal against Belgium was scintillating, and he'll be key to Les Bleus' hopes of winning Sunday's final, too.
The Paris-born footballer was a phenomenon from a young age. Till the age of six, he was trained by his father and later when he joined AS Bondy in 2004, he came under the tutelage of Antonio Riccardi.
By looking at the talent that a young Mbappe had in his feet, Riccardi pointed out: “Kylian could do much more than the other children.
"His dribbling was already fantastic and he was much faster than the others. He was the best player I’ve ever seen in 15 years coaching here. He was what we call a ‘craque’ (the best).”
After breaking out with the first team of Monaco in 2015, there was no looking back for the wonderkid. His stellar rise continued and proved to be a talent of the highest calibre when he led Monaco to their first Ligue 1 title in 17 years and dragged them to a Champions League semi-final in the 2016/17 season.
However, it took a whopping 180mn euros for Paris Saint Germain to lure Mbappe away from the south of France to play alongside superstars like Neymar and Edinson Cavani.
It was no surprise to see Mbappe included into France’s final 23-man squad for the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
So far, the French winger has scored three goals in the tournament and played a key role in helping Les Blues eliminate Argentina, Uruguay, and now the Belgians in the knockout stage.
If he can guide France to victory on Sunday, Mbappe may able to match the legacy accomplished by Brazilian great Pele in achieving the holy grail.