The brilliance and maturity of the 19-year-old Kylian Mbappé helped France win the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. His phenomenal performance throughout the tournament, especially in the final against Croatia, gained him the FIFA Best Young Player award of the tournament. He also became the youngest French player to score at a World Cup, and only the second teenager after Pele to score at the final of the tournament. The plethora of accolades received by Mbappé is a testament to his footballing prowess and beyond-the-years maturity. On 7th October, 2018, he displayed another scintillating performance that helped PSG win 5-0 at the Parc des Princes against rivals Lyon.
The match marked the return of Mbappé in the PSG squad after facing a three-match ban for an aggression that resulted in the youngster receiving a direct red card. He had already scored 4 goals in 4 games for the team, carrying his amazing form since the World Cup. Alongside Neymar and Edison Cavani, PSG posed a threat from the beginning of the game. The pressure was rewarded as Neymar converted a penalty in the 9th minute to give them the lead. However, Presnel Kimpembe was shown a direct red card for his tackle that provided Lyon with a glimpse of hope.
The hope was short-lived, as Lyon were also reduced to 10 men following the sending off of Lucas Tousart. As both sides were reduced to 10 players, Mbappé took the center stage and displayed a virtuoso performance. In the 61st minute, he latched on to the ball after Neymar had made a penetrating run into the box, and smashed it off both posts into the net for his first goal. With confidence soaring through the PSG side, Mbappé slotted in the ball to an empty net after a Marquinhos cross left the Lyon goalkeeper stranded. Soon, Neymar set the youngster through on goal to score his hat-trick in an incredible 8 minutes.
Mbappé, however, was not done just yet. 5 minutes later, he again latched on to a Neymar shot to drive the ball low into the net. He had scored 4 goals in the space of 13 minutes and became the youngest player to score 4 goals in a Ligue 1 game over the last 45 seasons. The scoreline prevailed till the end, as PSG managed to beat Lyon 5-0 in a historic night in Paris. In doing so, the Ligue 1 leaders broke the 82-year-old record of eight consecutive wins set by Olympique Lillois in 1936, having equaled the mark with their 3-0 victory at Nice the weekend before. In the post-match interview, PSG coach Thomas Tuchel said, “Fantastic, incredible. It was super hard in the first half, it was a crazy match.”
With a considerable lead over their competition, PSG has exerted their dominance early on the season and is on their way to an eighth league title in nine years. However, with a formidable squad of in-form players, PSG might believe this is their year for a European glory. While performances of players like Neymar and Cavani are vital to achieving that, Mbappé has proved that he is ready to perform at the top level of club football.