In his childhood bedroom, surrounded by walls covered in posters of his hero Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe laid out the blueprint for his football career.
By the time she was nine, she knew what it would be like. He would remain in France in his early years. He would play for his country. He would lift the Champions League trophy.And the ultimate goal: He would win the Ballon d’Or.
French journalist Ronan Boscher, who has reported on and written extensively about Mbappé for years, calls the plans presented in this room the “great project” of not only Mbappé, but also his entire family. “He always had a very clear path and wanted to follow it,” says Boscher. “He wouldn’t be affected at all. He would not be rushed.
”He is a determined and very determined character. He always imagined this race for himself. He knew where he wanted to go. Play with his hometown club this season, play alongside Neymar in a team at the top of Ligue 1 and meet Real Madrid in the Champions League round of 16.
It’s a testament to the skill of a player considered to be the world’s most exciting young talent, but also a family’s faith in this ‘great project’.
Because both as a child and as recently as this summer, Mbappé had plenty of chances to deviate from that path, including offers that could have landed him at Chelsea or Real Madrid. He wasn’t tempted. I had a career plan from a young age.
” Mbappé recently told former France international Jerome Rothen on his RMC radio show. “I know what I want to do, where I want to go, and I don’t let anything shake me. Mbappe grew up in a close-knit and naturally athletic family in Bondy, a working-class suburb of north-east Paris, far from the town most tourists see.
His father Wilfried was a manager at his local non-league club AS Bondy. His mother Fayza was a professional handball player. And his 28-year-old adoptive brother Jires Kembo Ekoko is a professional soccer player who plays for Bursaspor in Turkey.
At the age of seven, Mbappé started playing for his father’s club and was soon playing against older boys, , when he proved to be a rare and amazing talent.
“A lot of clubs were already looking at him when he was 10 years old,” says Boscher. “It had been a long time since anyone had seen such a good young player in French football. Scouts from all over the country were very enthusiastic. He was a prodigy who had everything.”