Mbappé: When I heard Zidane wanted to see me, I was over the moon
Kylian Mbappé's short memoir published with The Players' Tribune will have many Real Madrid fans hoping his reunion with Zinedine Zidane is inevitable.
In his insightful memoir, titled ‘A letter to the young Kylians’, the French striker looks back on the early days of his footballing career when his father received a phone call from Real Madrid, who wanted to invite then-14-year-old Kylian for a week-long training session in Spain during the school holidays.
“It was a shock, because they actually told my father, ‘Zidane would like to see your son.’ At the time, Zizou was the sporting director. Of course, I was over the moon. I was desperate to go,” writes the 21-year-old World Cup winner.
Having decided not to tell anybody about the trip, including his closest friends, the nervous teenager travelled to Madrid. He took the short journey directly from the airport to Real’s training base in Valdebebas in the north of the city. And it was on his arrival at Real Madrid City that he encountered his hero Zidane – a moment, he says, he will never forget.
Mbappé on meeting Zidane: “I just froze”
“Zidane met us in the parking lot by his car, and it was a really nice car, of course. We said hello, and then he offered to drive me over to the field for training. He was pointing at the front seat, like, ‘Go on, get in’,” he recalls.
“But I just froze and I asked, 'Should I take off my shoes?' Hahaha! I don’t know why I said that. But it was Zizou’s car! He thought that was really funny. He said, ‘Of course not, come on, get in.’
“He drove me to the training pitch, and I was just thinking to myself, I am in Zizou’s car. I am Kylian from Bondy. This is not real. I must still be sleeping on the airplane. Sometimes, even when you are really living something, it feels like a dream. It was the same feeling at the World Cup in Russia.”
Real Madrid fans will hope for Zidane-Mbappé reunion
Seven years on since that first Zidane meeting and Mbappé has cemented his status as one of the greatest footballers on the planet. During that time, his admiration for Zidane has never waned, while the French coach himself has watched the 21-year-old’s career soar from height to height, going as far as to say that he was “in love with” Mbappé a few months ago.
Madridistas the world over will no doubt be hoping the pair will be reunited at Madrid’s Valdebebas training base someday in the not-so-distant future. Standing in the way, of course, is his current club PSG, who are reportedly set to make him a dizzying offer in a bid to entice to him to stay in Paris.
However, if his letter is anything to go by, the chance to play for his idol Zidane may be more be worth more to him than any figure that PSG’s Qatari owners can put on the table. Only time will tell.