Mbappe as good as a teenage Cristiano & Ronaldo – Luis Figo

Comments()
The former Portugal winger is optimistic that France's World Cup hero – and 2018 Goal 50 contender – can remain at the top of the game for 15-20 years

Luis Figo believes that 19-year-old sensation Kylian Mbappe is as good as Cristiano Ronaldo and Ronaldo at the same age. 

The Portuguese Ronaldo quickly became a crowd favourite at Old Trafford after joining Manchester United as an 18-year-old in 2003, while the following year he helped his country reach the final of the European Championship.

The Brazilian Ronaldo, meanwhile, was already a World Cup winner by the age of 17, having been a member of the Selecao's squad for USA '94, and, by 19, he was the most expensive player of all time, after joining Barcelona from PSV for £19.5 million ($25.5m) in 1996.

Mbappe, meanwhile, made his professional bow at Monaco at just 16 and was a Ligue 1 winner inside two years.

He has since moved to Paris Saint-Germain for €180 million – making him the second most expensive player in history – while this summer he struck four times, including once in the final, as France won the World Cup.

As a result, Figo believes that Mbappe warrants comparison with the two Ronaldos at the same age and is optimistic that he will follow in their footsteps by sustaining his current level of excellence.

"Cristiano and Ronaldo were more or less as decisive as Mbappe [at the same age]," the former Portugal winger told Goal .

"But then they managed to have a very high performance level throughout their careers, over a long period, not just for a season.

"I think [Mbappe can do the same] but it always depends on professionalism, possible injuries, many factors. 

"But with the quality he has shown, he has everything to be able to enjoy a great career for 15-20 years."

Kylian Mbappe PSG

Figo feels that achieving consistency is also the challenge facing Mohamed Salah, who broke the Premier League record for goals in a single season by netting 32 times during a sensational 2017-18 campaign for Liverpool. 

"His season was wonderful," the former Real Madrid and Barcelona star enthused. "He showed impressive qualities. 

"But, as always, you have players who make a great year and then they cannot find continuity and others that maintain a very high level for years.

"I hope he can repeat that season, for his own good, and for the good of the game.

"It depends on various factors but he has the qualities to do it. 

"But then, the team must support him, the results must arrive and he must avoid being affected by injuries."

Mohamed Salah Liverpool Premier League 2018-19

Salah, just like Mbappe, is in contention to win the 2018 Goal 50, which will be announced at noon (GMT) on Tuesday, November 13. 

The pair will be competing with the likes of Ronaldo, Messi, Luka Modric and Raphael Varane for the title of the world's best player over the past 12 months. 

However, Paris Saint-Germain forward Neymar is not considered a potential winner this year, with his club season having been prematurely ended by injury, and his World Cup campaign overshadowed by allegations of diving. 

Figo is a huge admirer of the Brazilian attacker's talent but is no longer sure what the future holds for the 26-year-old, amid reports that he is no longer happy in Paris and is being targeted by Real Madrid.

"Under normal circumstances, I would say [he will become the best player in the world]," Figo explained. "For me, he is impressive. 

"But it also depends on what he’ll win in terms of team trophies, what he will do in the Champions League.

"If we're talking just about his quality, he's a very impressive player.

"But I don't know [if he will stay at PSG]. If a player doesn’t want to stay in a team, I don’t think the club will hold him. 

"But I don't know what will happen. PSG is obviously financially very strong, like a state.

"But anything is possible in football. Could he go to Madrid? Well, it all depends on the parties involved and on what the market will allow."

The Goal 50 is an annual award that both recognises and ranks the world's 50 best footballers of the preceding 12 months. Chief editors and correspondents from Goal's 42 editions around the world all cast their votes, with candidates judged on their level of consistency over the previous year of action, their big-game performances, footballing legacy and the success of their teams at both club and international level.

Next article:
FC Cincy's Koch: We still have interest in USMNT's Johnson
Next article:
'The transfer market will be exciting' - Bayern's Salihamidzic coy on De Jong and De Ligt rumours
Next article:
Ronaldo ready for 'the beautiful part' of Champions League after defeat to Young Boys
Next article:
'We have a lot more potential' – Lewandowski expected better from Bayern in thrilling Ajax draw
Next article:
Lyon star Fekir shares plaudits after scoring 'genius goal' to secure progression
Close