Have you heard the name Kylian Mbappé? If not, it’s certainly a name that you will be hearing a lot more of in the future. Why? Because he’s an incredibly talented soccer player, who just scored big for his team. Not only is he talented, but he’s fast. Sure, you’re probably thinking – all soccer players are fast. But some are more impressive than others. If you’ve ever watched him play, you might think that your TV is on fast forward. It almost seems surreal that he’s moving as quickly as he is. I should backtrack a bit. Kylian Mbappé is a 19-year-old French soccer forward and he scored two goals in the France-Argentina game, which gave France the win.
Approximately 11 minutes into today’s game, Mbappé came up with a loose ball near the edge of the French area, which was about 80 yards from the Argentina goal line. From there, he moved forward. And for about half a second, many thought it was going to be a good run. But then, another half second later, you began to realize that he missed almost the entire Argentinian defense line. How exactly? I mean, I did just say how fast he was, didn’t I? But just when you thought that he couldn’t get any faster, you realized that he was already bearing down on the Argentina team. The New Yorker described it as “teleporting slowly” rather than running quickly.
Here’s what might be even more surprising. Argentian player, Marcos Rojo pulled him down for a penalty. If you saw it, you’re probably wondering how Rojo’s was able to get into the same orbit as Mbappé, but he did. That said, Mbappé isn’t the only incredible player to be able to achieve these kinds of feats. Think of the way Lionel Messi touches the ball and it feels like time has slowed down. Or when Cristiano Ronaldo touches it, your heart skips a beat. Today, Mbappé joins Pelé as one of the only four teenaged players to ever score at the World Cup. Not only that, he’s the second youngest player in the tournament. What is incredible about these statistics is that the tournament is barely half over. Which means it’s only going to get better.
Even if Mbappé doesn’t continue these incredible feats, all eyes are going to be on him to see what he can do. And, well, he’s easy on the eyes, so that’s something as well. But if the way Mbappé plays wasn’t enough for you, you’ll be happy to know that he is donating his entire 2018 FIFA World Cup salary to charity. Is this going to be the defining moment of the 2018 FIFA World Cup? Every series has one, and while this doesn’t necessarily mean future wins for France, it does put Mbappé on the map in a big way.
Regardless of what’s to come, I often wonder what defines a series like this. Think back to the recent NBA Championship Series. What comes to mind? Maybe the JR Smith ball debacle. Or maybe Lebron’s self-inflicted injured hand? Certainly not the Golden State Warriors winning the championship again. My point is that there are always defining moments in any series, and I am anxious to know if this is it for the World Cup? Like I said, we’ve still got two more weeks of play, but if this is how the game is being played in this round, I can only imagine what’s coming.