Inspiring Youth, Empowering the Globe – Kylian Mbappé

In this series of articles, we’ll be casting the spotlight upon a number of people around the world who truly are inspiring youth.

These individuals are famous for a number of different reasons, but one consistency is that, despite their relative lack of years, they have stamped their mark upon issues that matter the most to them; turning them into global icons.

We can all learn a great deal from these individuals but as young people, we should look up to them not only in admiration for their work, but to feel empowered to say, “I can be like them”.

In this, the fifth piece of the series, we shine the empowering spotlight on… Kylian Mbappé.

Name – Kylian Mbappé
Ages – 20
Nationality – France
Cause for Inspiration – overcoming adversity to reach the peak of world football

Kylian Mbappé was born in the winter of 1998 in Paris; almost 6 months after his native France’s first ever triumph in the FIFA World Cup.

A son of African immigrants, his father being from Cameroon and his mother from Algeria, Kylian grew up in a context common to many families living in the legacy of French colonialism; often marginalised to the hard-hit banlieues of the Parisian city limits.

Like many young boys the world over though, he was hooked on football from an early age, with Bondy’s decaying streets forming the backdrop in which he began to master his trade.

From an early age, his talent was clear for all to see. Wilfried, Kylian’s father, was a coach at Bondy’s municipal sports club and would often taken him and his adopted brother, Jirès Kembo Ekoko, a Congolese immigrant, along to training where they would both excel beyond the talents of their fellow players.

Life was not all fun and games though; during his formative years, Bondy was in the throes of uncertainty. Unemployment raged to over 22% and times were hard.

In 2005, rioting swept across the French capital, with the banlieues taking the brunt of the trouble. Driven by rising tensions about youth unemployment, anti-immigrant sentiments and police harassment, there followed three weeks of rioting throughout France culminating in a state of emergency being declared on 8 November by the President.

The riots, involving predominantly young people of African, North African and French descent, resulted in more than 8,000 vehicles being burned and more than 2,760 individuals arrested.

Yet nothing, not the unrest  of the time, nor impractical matters like schooling, could prevent Kylian from pursuing his dreams.

He progressed from Bondy sports club to Clairefontaine Academy, overseen by the French Football Federation (FFF) and previous stomping ground of French greats such as Thierry Henry, Nicolas Anelka and William Gallas.

From here, he continued his upward trajectory, drawing the attention of clubs across Europe resulting in a trial at Chelsea, before he finally settled on Monaco.

All this time, he was committed to plying his trade at the top but was not ignorant to the sacrifices he made in his youth, all in the name of achieving his dream. He missed parties, lost touch with friends and struggled to just be a normal teenager, yet all this was necessary for his ultimate success.

In 2016, his rags to riches story was complete as he made his professional debut for Monaco, in the process becoming their youngest-ever first-team player aged 16 years and 347 days.

This was just the start, the 16/17 season saw him burst onto the global scene, with his performances leading to Monaco’s first league title since 99/00 as well as reaching the semi final stages of Europe’s premier competition, the Champions League.

Naturally, this drew the attention of Europe’s giants and a move home, to Paris St Germain, was completed for an eye-watering 180m euros, the highest fee ever paid for a teenage footballer; Mbappé had become a sensation.

International accolades were soon to follow, he became the second youngest player to ever feature for France at 18 years, three months and five days and cemented his legacy with his vital role in France’s victory at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. His 4 goals marking him as the first teenager to score in a final since Pelé being recognised by his winning of Best Young Player at the tournament.

Still, he has not stopped and on 3 December 18, Mbappé was the inaugural winner of the Kopa Trophy helping PSG finished the season as Champions with Mbappé winning the Player of the Year award and finishing as top goalscorer.

Aged 20, he was won 3 x French Ligue 1, 1 x Coupe de France, 1 x Coupe de la Ligue and the FIFA World Cup; he most certainly warrants the title of Inspiring Youth.

His actions off the pitch are equally impressive though, and testament to his morality despite his astronomical rise to the top of his game.

Immediately after his World Cup win, Mbappé donated his earnings of $500,000 to a charity teaching sports to sick and disabled children. He has also met with French President Emmanuel Macron and FIFA president Gianni Infantino to discuss a sports development project in Africa, a cause close to his heart owing to his African heritage; his mission being to enable others to tread the path to the top, in spite of adversity, much like he has.

Inspiration In Your World…

As well as sharing the stories of these inspiring youth, this series also intends to challenge you, the reader, to think how can we take, in this case, Kylian’s example into our own lives?

  • Overcome adversity to achieve our dreams
  • Use our successes to influence the betterment of others
  • Ask what am I prepared to sacrifice to hit my goal?
  • Inspire those around you, here in Nepal, to mirror positive impacts of your actions 

To find out more about Kylian, his story and flourishing career, take a look at the following:

Kylian Mbappé – official website

Mbappé – biography of Kylian’s successes thus far, written by Luca Caioli

Also in this series:

Jacob Goodwin, UK

Currently volunteering here at Youth Legend as part of a career break, back home I used to work in Software Sales.My passion lies not only in sport, especially football and my beloved Doncaster Rovers, but also in hiking, music and craft beer