Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi have dominated the global game for more than a decade – but France forward Kylian Mbappe well and truly staked his claim to be the next king of football at the World Cup in Russia.
Already commanding a transfer fee greater than any single figure paid to prise Ronaldo away from Sporting Lisbon, Manchester United or Real Madrid, the world’s most expensive teenager has firmly cemented his early status as a French football superstar.
Born in Paris 161 days after Didier Deschamps lifted the World Cup trophy aloft at the Stade de France in 1998, Mbappe helped him lift it again as a manager.
He tore Argentina to shreds in the last 16, bamboozled Belgium in the semi-finals and fired home the goal which killed off Croatia in a 4-2 final win for France, making him the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pele in 1958.
The 19-year-old, who as a boy had posters of a certain Ronaldo adorning his bedroom wall, joined hometown club Paris St Germain from Monaco after spending last season on loan at the capital club - lifting a domestic treble in the process.
Mbappe started out from simple roots and found his way into the game with local side AS Bondy, eventually moving south to join Monaco.
He took his time to settle into the World Cup, but scored the only goal of the game as France beat Peru 1-0 in the group stages.
As World Cup tournaments progress, so the cream eventually rises to the top and Mbappe’s blistering brace against Argentina to secure a place in the quarter-finals saw the potential crowning of a new superstar. He did not let up as the competition went on, the rewards grew greater and the pressure increased.
The flicks and tricks and impudence of youth have all been a joy to behold. Mbappe is still developing, learning and improving, but the teenager born into humble beginnings in a Paris suburb is already the toast of the nation.