PSG

Pelé: "Mbappé doesn't need to leave PSG to be the best"

Pelé: "Mbappé doesn't need to leave PSG to be the best"

FRANCK FIFE

AFP

Pelé has spoken about the talent of 20-year-old PSG star Kylian Mbappé ahead of their first-ever meeting in Paris.

Kylian Mbappé and Pelé have met for the first time in Paris this Tuesday at a corporate event for Hublot watches. And ahead of the encounter the Brazil legend gave an interview to Le Parisien, in which he made comparisons between his own career and that of the current French star.

World Cup winner Mbappé is one of the hottest properties in world football and has been heavily linked with a move to Real Madrid in recent weeks following the return of Zinedine Zidane as head coach at the Bernabéu.

Former France and Arsenal player Robert Pires was one of the latest to give his thoughts on the Madrid links on French radio this Tuesday, saying “If Mbappé doesn't join Real Madrid this year, he definitely will the following season.”

But Pelé believes that there is no need for Mbappé to leave PSG to be the best in the world.

“He doesn’t need to leave PSG. He must continue playing as he is because he will become the best in the world. If we compare him with Pelé (speaking in the third person), Pelé never left Santos to be the best player in the world,” said the Brazil great, recalling his career at Brazilian club Santos, where he played from 1956 to 1974, scoring 619 goals in 638 games, before his move to New York Cosmos.

Pelé-Mbappé comparisons

Last summer Mbappé became the first teenager to score in a World Cup final since Pelé in Sweden back in 1958, naturally leading many to make comparisons between the two.

And while his PSG coach Thomas Tuchel has warned that the premature comparisons with the three-time World Cup winner are of no help to 20-year-old Mbappé, Pelé himself has drawn on their similarities – hailing their respective talents as a “gift from God”.

"He is not as handsome as I am,” joked the 78-year-old. “But seriously, what brings us closer together is the ability to resolve matches that was one of my strengths during my career: understanding and finding a solution in a second, for example with changes of direction.”

“He has the opportunity to have the same luck I had in football,” added Pelé. “I had a gift from God, and good luck. I often tell young people: today, football is more physical than in my time. Mbappé is physically prepared to achieve his goals.”