The blistering club career of Kylian Mbappe hasn’t always been matched by his international exploits. His performances in the Nations League Finals, however, have given us a glittering glimpse of the legacy the 22-year-old is so capable of leaving as a Les Bleus player.
Kylian Mbappe Gives a Glimpse of Potential Legacy for France With Nations League Performances
Mbappe’s electrifying rise to prominence has been no secret since embarking on his first full season as a professional for Monaco as a 17-year-old. Between the beginning of 2016/17 and the conclusion of the 2020/21 season, the now Paris Saint-Germain star scored 106 and assisted 41 in just 136 Ligue 1 appearances.
The Frenchman has enjoyed a meteoric rise to global stardom and has deservedly assumed the mantle of one of the heirs to the ‘big two’ – Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo. However, his achievements at club level have not always been reflected in his form for his nation.
Of course, Mbappe has been one of the first names on the team sheet for the French national side for some time now and will inevitably continue to be for at least the next decade. At just 22 years of age, the forward recently became the youngest ever Frenchman to reach 50 caps for his country – a very impressive statistic.
— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) October 7, 2021
And, now sitting on 51, a tally of 19 strikes is by no means calamitous. He still has his critics, though.
The PSG man has too often been on the periphery of matches. Capable of injecting one or two moments of spark into proceedings, but never really assuming responsibility like other warriors have wearing Le Tricolore.
Poor decision making, unsatisfactory work rate and an infuriating lack of influence given his untameable quality and unspeakable potential have all angered French fans. But Les Bleus’ October international break brought with it a different version of Mbappe.
Kylian Mbappe: The Match-Winner
The Nations League Finals represented two tough tests for Didier Deschamps’ side. A semi-final against Belgium would produce the epitome of a game of two halves for France. An utterly breathtakingly talismanic performance from Mbappe would prove the beacon of light in a blinding second half showing.
It was his ferociously silky, expeditious and frightening dribbling that created the first and his unbreakable sprit to banish old demons and score the second from 12 yards that brought his side back into the game. As well as his tireless running, elusive movement and incessant knocking at the door, those decisive moments capped off one of Mbappe’s best games in a France shirt.
Following Theo Hernandez’s magical strike to win that semi-final, Les Bleus would go on to face Spain in Sunday night’s final. Despite having a quieter outing, Mbappe was still integral to his nation’s eventual victory.
Demonstrating the same scary attributes, Kylian Mbappe was a viciously rapid thorn in the side throughout a difficult second half for Spain’s back line.
Following Mikel Oyarzabal’s opener, Benzema’s stunning curled strike immediately levelled the score to tee up a tense final 25 minutes. In the end, it would be Mbappe’s show of composure and class – to create a yard and neatly slot under the body of Unai Simon – that won the Nations League for Les Bleus. A heavily contentious goal but one that stood, nonetheless.
🔥 GOAL STANDS 🔥
Could that be the winner? Kylian Mbappe finds the back of the net for France with less than ten minutes to play – and it still stands after a VAR review!
🇪🇸 Spain 1-2 France 🇫🇷
— Sky Sports Football (@SkyFootball) October 10, 2021
An Inevitably Bright Future for France
It’s often difficult to remember that Mbappe is still only 22. The forward has been around for so long that he’s already become a central figure in the France side and, despite rarely matching his staggering performances at club level, his talismanic Nations League Finals performances have given a firm glimpse of what he can achieve on the international stage.
He’s already well on course to better both Lillian Thuram’s record of 142 caps and Thierry Henry’s goal tally of 51 for Les Bleus. Should he continue to perform as brilliantly as he did during October’s internationals, who would be surprised if we saw Mbappe leave an unmatchable legacy for his country by the end of his career.
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