Paris Saint-Germain goalkeeper Gianluigi Buffon has heaped praise on new teammate Kylian Mbappe after his incredible World Cup triumph with France in Russia this summer.
The 19-year-old scored four goals and was voted the best young player as Les Bleus beat Croatia 4-2 in the Moscow final to complete their triumph and Buffon is in little doubt that the former Monaco man is a legend in the making.
“Kylian has something more than the others,” the legendary Italian shot stopper told PSG’s official club magazine. “I hope that he will remain humble and maintain his desire to progress and make sacrifices.
“If Kylian does that, then he will leave his mark on football history and write some incredible pages in sporting history.”
Buffon also revealed that Juventus defender Andrea Barzagli had been run ragged by Mbappe during the 2017 Champions League semi-final against Monaco and he knew about the France international’s searing pace from that moment.
“When I spoke with Andrea, one of my great friends, at the end of the match, he told me: ‘Gigi, in my 20 years as a professional football player, I have rarely seen somebody so fast and so quick even with the ball — I had trouble marking him,'” said Buffon. “These words are not trivial. Andrea, when he is focused and on song, is a great defender.”
Buffon is not the only one to have lavished praise upon Mbappe, PSG chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi has told BeIn Sports that he is “sure” that the French prodigy will win the Ballon d’Or in the future.
“The greatest talent in the world, not only France, is Kylian,” the Qatari chief said. “He is an exemplary boy and he works very hard — I am sure that he will win the Ballon d’Or one day.
“Kylian has everything that he needs in order to achieve this. It is really important for us, particularly as he comes from the Paris region. We want Parisian players to play in Paris, not for other clubs.”
PSG get their Ligue 1 season underway against Caen at Parc des Princes on Sunday and Mbappe, who has only just returned to training, could be involved in the match if he proves his fitness to coach Thomas Tuchel.