Kazan: France players and the world’s press hailed Kylian Mbappe as an emerging superstar after the 19-year-old eclipsed Lionel Messi in a match that felt like the passing of a torch to a new generation.
Mbappe’s speed and power ruthlessly exposed Argentina’s defence here in a thrilling 4-3 victory Saturday that re-established France among the World Cup favourites.
As one No.10 trudged off – the player wearing an Argentina shirt with Messi’s name on – another in the blue of France took the plaudits.
“Move over, Messi, a new global superstar is born at the World Cup,” was the headline in the Sunday Times in Britain.
“In this game, the Messi was him,” French sports daily L’Equipe said above a photograph of Mbappe celebrating. “He showed his talent to the world and overshadowed Lionel Messi,” it mentioned.
When you have players having a day like Mbappe had today (Saturday), it’s very difficult to stop them
The double strike made the boy from the Paris suburbs the first teenager since a 17-year-old Pele to score twice in a World Cup game.
The Brazilian legend tweeted, “Congratulations Mbappe. 2 goals in a World Cup so young puts you in great company!”
Even Mbappe’s teammate Paul Pogba lauded the teenager, saying, “He’s got a lot more talent than me.” “And he’s not going to stop there. He’s got so much talent,” he added.
Mbappe will be unleashed next on Uruguay, whose steely defence should provide a far sterner test than the shambolic Argentine rearguard, in the quarterfinals.