Ballon d’Or winner Jean-Pierre Papin and Thierry Henry in awe of record-breaking Kylian Mbappé

At the age of just 24 years and 10 months, Kylian Mbappé (24) became the youngest player to reach the landmark of 300 goals in Europe’s top five leagues. French Ballon d’Or winner Jean-Pierre Papin believes that “the best is yet to come.” 

It was a historic night at the Allianz Riviera in so many ways. Not only was Les Bleus’ 14-0 victory over Gibraltar their largest-ever victory, but it was also a night that saw Mbappé break many individual records. He became the first player to captain Les Bleus eight times before the age of 25 and the first captain to win his first eight games with the armband. 

Henry on Mbappé – ‘Let’s be happy that he is French.’ 

Mbappé, thanks to his hat-trick, reached the landmark of 300 career goals during the historic victory, becoming the youngest player to do so in France’s top five leagues and beating the previous record, set by Lionel Messi. Mbappé is now closing in on Thierry Henry’s total for France. 

Henry, who scored 51 goals in Bleu, joked that Mbappé could reach the 1000-goal landmark during his career. “What this little one does is not nothing. It’s just incredible […] the problem is when you are so good, people often see when you miss or when you’re not good. We expect a lot of him, but he should just not have been so good! Joking aside, let’s be happy that he is French. He has 300 goals and he is only 16 (laughs) there are some people who don’t do that in their entire career. How high can he go? 1000. I’m overdoing it, but honestly, it is Kylian that decides,” said the France U21 manager. 

Papin – ‘Mbappé should not set himself limits.’

Papin, a Ballon d’Or winner back in 1991 who scored 30 goals for Les Bleus, believes that Mbappé shouldn’t set himself any targets. “When you’re not even 25 and you already have 300 goals, the best is yet to come. Coming onto the scene early and being so consistent is rare, almost unique,” Papin told L’Équipe

He added, “The bar is really high and he raises it each time. The question is, can he do more?  I think he can. I think without injuries, he can score between 45 and 55 goals per season for many years. He really shouldn’t set himself objectives or limits.”

Mbappé is a person who likes to chase records. Cristiano Ronaldo has thus far scored 865 goals in his career, Messi 821 – these figures, which are still evolving, will surely be in the corner of his mind. 

GFFN | Luke Entwistle

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