INTERNATIONAL FOOTBALL

Kylian Mbappé to face idol Cristiano Ronaldo again

The PSG forward is expected to play for France against a Ronaldo-led Portugal on Sunday, as a young lad who collected posters of his hero grows up.

Kylian Mbappé will fulfil a dream once again today at the Stade France. The PSG striker will be facing his childhood idol Cristiano Ronaldo on the pitch for his country, just as he did in 2018 for his club.

Mbappé realises dream

The French international is known to have collected posters of the Portuguese star when he was a child, and even got to meet him on a fleeting visit to Real Madrid’s training ground several years ago.

Since his professional debut with AS Monaco, however, Mbappé has only come up against his idol, someone he considers "a source of inspiration,” once before, in the 2018 Champions League round of 16. Barring any last minute hitches, they've coincide again tonight.

Mbappé-Cristiano: trophies and goals at 21

At the age of 21 years and 283 days old, Cristiano Ronaldo remains the youngest player to have scored 15 goals for his national team. Mbappé needed just eight more days to reach that tally, doing so on Wednesday against the Ukraine. As reported by L'Equipe, the main difference between the two superstars of the game is the number of titles they had won by the age of 21.

Mbappé can point to a World Cup, two Ligue 1 titles, two French Cups and a League Cup in France, while Cristiano only had one title to his name by that point in his career, an FA Cup with Manchester United. Ronaldo's haul did improve somewhat thereafter.

Idolised by future star | Cristiano Ronaldo, captain of Portugal.

Idolised by future star | Cristiano Ronaldo, captain of Portugal.

The PSG player is also ahead in terms of a goal comparison. At 21 years and 295 days, Mbappé has scored 82 goals in 120 matches, while Cristiano had scored 71 (albeit in 108 games). It is generally accepted that the level of the Premier League is higher than that of Ligue 1, which could explain some of that comparison, but there is little doubt that the current PSG star - strongly linked with a move to LaLiga next summer - is set to break more records in what could be a glittering decade ahead.

On Sunday we get the chance to see two greats of the Beautiful Game, one that has done it all, the other with most of it still ahead.