Kylian Mbappe takes over from Messi and Ronaldo | Kwesé

Kylian Mbappe takes over from Messi and Ronaldo

Kylian Mbappe takes over from Messi and Ronaldo

11:30 SAST | 06 Jul 2018

Watch all FIFA World Cup games LIVE with Kwesé TV and Kwesé iflix

There has been much talk about Lionel Messi (Argentina) and Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal) vying for the mantle of greatest player. However great they are they were not good enough to send their respective teams through to the quarterfinals of the FIFA World Cup.

Instead someone else stole the show. France’s Kylian Mbappe, who plays his club football for Paris Saint-Germain, took the game away from Argentina in their last-16 clash with decisive, counter-attacking runs. He has speed, control and the ability to finish. Some even hail him as the next Pele. PSG certainly believe he’s up there with the best, paying £128m (second highest transfer fee) to buy him from Monaco.

Mbappe (full name Kylian Mbappe Lottin) was born in Paris to a Cameroonian father and Algerian mother, making him African by heritage. He was prodigiously talented as a youngster and when he made his debut for Monaco it was as a 16-year-old, breaking Thierry Henry’s record for youngest player.

The comparisons with Henry are inevitable, given that they have similar backgrounds. But in football terms experts compare him to Ronaldo (the Brazilian, not Cristiano Ronaldo).

Against Argentina he was simply devastating, but Uruguay are better organised on defence and will be ready for his long, raking runs. But if Kante and Pogba can dominate the midfield, then Griezmann and Mbappe will have plenty opportunity to work their magic in front of goal.

Another commanding performance by Mbappe and he’ll cement his position as bookmakers’ favourite to win the Golden Ball: for the tournament’s best player.

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal: France vs Uruguay (Kwesé Free Sports and Kwesé FIFA Channel, 6 July at 15:45 CAT)

With Ronaldo and Messi out the tournament, Neymar will consider himself front-runner for the Golden Ball. But, his play-acting antics have not won him admirers. Some have labelled him a cry-baby for trying to milk free-kicks from referees. While Neymar frustrates the world, Brazilians are happy with his performance. His supporters can point to some impressive statistics at the World Cup: most shots (23) and most shots on target (12); created most clear goal-scoring chances (16); attempted most dribbles (40) and been fouled the most (23).

In football and politics the truth is rather slippery. Belgium lie in wait for Brazil and will need to have a plan to contain the prodigious talents of the mesmerising Neymar.

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal: Brazil vs Belgium (Kwesé FIFA Channel, Ch 300, 6 July at 15:45 CAT)

You can watch France vs Uruguay and England vs Sweden on Kwesé Free Sports, and all four quarterfinals on the Kwesé FIFA Channel, available on Kwesé TV and Kwesé iflix. Tune in an hour before the game with analysis and reviews by the Kwesé Sports team, which includes the outspoken Nigerian star Daniel Amokachi – who is as pugnaciously entertaining off the field as on it.

FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal: England vs Sweden (Kwesé Free Sports and Kwesé FIFA Channel, 7 July at 15:45 CAT) 
FIFA World Cup Quarterfinal: Croatis vs Russia (Kwesé FIFA Channel, CH 300, 7 July at 19:45 CAT)

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