Kylian Mbappé, the successor chosen by Pelé

Kylian Mbappé, the successor chosen by Pelé

“The king of football has left us, but his legacy will never be forgotten. RIP KING. » It is with this sentence that Kylian Mbappé was one of the first – if not the first – players to pay tribute to Pelé, who died at 82. However, the Paris Saint-Germain striker has never seen the Brazilian play. His father, Wilfrid, was not even born when Pelé won his third World Cup in 1970. This does not prevent Mbappé from knowing that the former Santos is a legend in the sport. Especially since Kyks, if he did not have the chance to see him live at work on the ground, was able to meet Pelé during an event organized in April 2019 by a brand of watches of which they were partners. And as is customary in this kind of meetings, the two men had exchanged compliments. Whether it’s Mbappé – “I learned that the biggest stars and the best players are the most humble and the most respectful, those who know how to keep their feet on the ground. Respect, humility and lucidity, values ​​that my parents transmitted to me, values ​​that I am proud to share today with my dear family, and King Pelé, who perfectly embodies what my parents have always taught me » – or Pelé: “I am honored to have the opportunity to meet Kylian personally. It symbolizes the embodiment of the new generation of footballers, and it carries the values ​​of a sport that inspires and unites the world. I am happy to see that it symbolizes hope, that of all possibilities, dreams in which we must believe and for which we must fight, regardless of our origins, our social status. » An exchange that could have ended there, but which gave birth to a real bromance which was manifested by strong tributes on social networks or during the rare interviews given by the Brazilian.

In the footsteps of the King

Pelé did not wait to see a watch brand force the meeting to send praise to Kylian Mbappé. It must be said that the former AS Monaco striker is the only one to have followed in the footsteps of the Brazilian in the World Cup. And especially in 2018 when Kyks became the second youngest player to score at least two goals in a World Cup knockout match behind… Pelé who jumped on his phone to congratulate his padawan: “Congratulations Kylian Mbappé, two goals in a World Cup so young puts you in good company. » A few days later, the kid from Bondy had planted a pawn against Croatia to become the second youngest scorer in the final of a World Cup behind … Pelé who had again rushed on his smartphone: “If Kylian continues to equal my records like this, I may have to dust off my cleats. » A few weeks later, Pelé spoke at the microphone of Canal + about this filiation which unites him to Mbappé: “He won the World Cup at 19, I was only 17. I chastised him, telling him that he almost matched me. I think he can become the new Pelé! Many think I say that for fun, but no it’s not a joke. To make me happier, you have to win another World Cup now. » A wish that has not yet been granted, even though Mbappé was one penalty shootout away from becoming the second player under 24 to win two CDMs after Pelé. But in Qatar, the Blues striker still took the opportunity to surpass his eldest in the number of goals scored by a player under 24 in the World Cup (12 against 7) ​​and the number of pawns planted in the final. a World (4 against 3). This time, Pelé didn’t have the strength to pick up his phone to congratulate him.

A designated successor

Little known for his modesty, Pelé never really thought he could have an heir: “Records are made to be broken, but it will be difficult to beat mine. People ask me all the time when the new Pelé will be born. Never ! My father and my mother closed the factory. » Yet there have been thousands of players labeled “New Pelé” since Oh Rei put away the crampons. But none have obviously lived up to this nickname after Pelé, who has still often been complimentary towards Neymar, who equaled his number of goals with Brazil during the World Cup in Qatar. Except that Kylian Mbappé arrived and very quickly caught the eye of Pelé who was ecstatic for the Gazzetta dello Sport : “He can be my successor, it’s not a joke. I see myself in his ability to play fast. He is a striker who thinks quickly. When the ball comes to him, he already knows where to go and how to direct the game.. It is true that the resemblance between the two men is obvious, whether from a physical, technical or precocious point of view. But, Mbappé will have to whip to lift two new World Cups and equal the record of his eldest who had launched a mission when he met in 2019: to score, like him, more than 1000 career goals. Except that Kyks will not count his goals in training.

“Pele was a rotten name”