Kylian Mbappe is performing at a standard that only Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have matched, says William Gallas, with a World Cup winner at Paris Saint-Germain considered to be taking modern football into an exciting new era.
At 23 years of age, a France international that has already been a senior star across seven seasons in Ligue 1 and on prominent European and global stages, has hit 165 goals through 212 appearances at PSG while also plundering 26 efforts in 54 outings for his country.
Ballon d’Or recognition is considered to be a matter of time for Mbappe, with fellow countryman Gallas admitting that – with Messi and Ronaldo not getting any younger – a title of best player on the planet is ready to be passed from one generation to the next.
Are we heading into the era of Mbappe?
When that question was put to Gallas by GOAL, the former France international defender – who was speaking in association with Genting Casino – said: “Yes, definitely. What he is doing at the moment, it is unbelievable. Only two players have done the same thing, especially at this age.
“He is still young. Only Messi and Ronaldo have done it at this age. He is 23 and there are only Messi and Ronaldo who did the same thing. You have got players like [Robert] Lewandowski, like [Karim] Benzema, but they are older – they are 33/34. They have had great seasons and everyone is talking about the Ballon d’Or and who is going to get the award. I think it will be between those three players.
“Sometimes you have to win the big competitions, like the World Cup or the Champions League. It will be a problem if France win the World Cup – who is going to get the Ballon d’Or between Mbappe and Benzema? That will be a problem because Benzema has scored a lot of goals with Real Madrid to make them champions, it is the same with Kylian scoring goals and ready to be a champion with PSG. They are both French and if they win the World Cup, who will get the Ballon d’Or?”
Is it time for Mbappe to leave PSG?
By the time the 2022 World Cup in Qatar rolls around, there is every chance that Mbappe will be turning out for a different team at club level.
He is yet to agree an extension to an expiring contract at PSG, leading to intense speculation regarding a possible switch to Real Madrid as a free agent, however, the French club have stepped up talks over a renewal.
Gallas has no doubt that a world-class performer will continue to star wherever he ends up, with natural ability being perfectly complemented by Ronaldo-esque work ethic that sees him strive for continuous improvement.
“With Kylian, if he moves to any club then he will definitely play straight away,” added Gallas.
“Even if he doesn’t score in the first few games, his confidence will still be high because he is a boy who is ready to strike.
“He is a top, world-class player because he has the quality but he is also working hard. Some players have the quality but they don’t work hard. If he has to leave PSG and go maybe to Madrid, I am not worried for him because I know he is going to have success straight away.”
What does the future hold for Pogba?Getty Images
While Mbappe is set to become the most high-profile free agent in 2022, a number of other proven performers are ready to drop into the same pool.
Among those is Manchester United midfielder Paul Pogba, with the enigmatic 29-year-old running his own deal down at Old Trafford.
An £89 million ($115m) return to England in 2016 has not played out as planned for a mercurial talent, leading to criticism being aimed in his direction on a regular basis, and the time appears to have arrived for him to take on a new challenge and seek out a spark away from the Premier League.
Gallas hopes that another fellow Frenchman can recapture his best form in different surroundings, but admits that Pogba’s mindset needs to change in order for him to truly thrive and deliver on expectations.
“He needs to get back his confidence, because it is very low at the moment,” Gallas, who earned 84 caps for France in his playing days, said.
“I don’t know where he is going to move. Some people are talking about PSG. If he goes there, he is going to start the season and the fans will love him. I am sure his confidence will be back, and that will be good for him because they have to go to work in November [at the World Cup in Qatar].
“At the same time, with a player like him that didn’t perform at Man United, it is very difficult to understand. With his quality, he should do better. He was not a consistent player, so that is why people are angry with him. With his performances and quality, he should do better in a season.
“If he is not consistent, then he is not strong enough in his mind. Some players, they need to feel the love. They might play one or two games and because their performance is not so good they go on the bench, their confidence goes down. I don’t understand it. You have to fight, you can’t quit then.
“If you are a top player, a world-class player, then you have to fight, not just wait for the manager to give you his love. You have to fight to get that love. Some players, they can’t do it. That is why a lot of young players fail because they are not strong enough.”