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Kylian Mbappé: “I will do everything I can to help Neymar win the Ballon D’Or.”

Following his official presentation, Kylian Mbappé gave an interview to Le Parisien where he spoke about his new life, his ambitions and his desire to do the impossible with the new Brazilian star.

After a busy night which followed a welcome meal on behalf of PSG, Kylian Mbappé was presented yesterday morning in the Parc des Princes, with plenty of his family by his sides. His parents and younger brother Ethan were there for his official presentation, as were his uncle Pierre, grandfather and his lawyers.

The latter were very much present during these last few weeks and most notably, during the final night of the negotiations last Wednesday and Thursday. In one corner of the room, Antero Henrique, the new PSG sporting director, and Maxwell look in awe at their new protégé. Very much impressed, the former stated, “he really is very mature”. 

Last December in our newspaper, you spoke about your dream to one day play for PSG. Did you ever imagine if would happen this quickly?

No. At the time, I was only concentrated on earning my spot at Monaco. I only saw myself with ASM, and I wanted to finish my season as best as possible. I also did not know that my summer would be this hectic.

Did you hesitate to join PSG over Real Madrid?

PSG was the project with suited me best. I want to learn, but I also want to win. I have the smallest trophy cabinet in the dressing room, but I am hungry for titles. There are great players here. We have everything here to grow and make people happy.

Is the €180m transfer fee a lot difficult to cope with? 

I do not deal with any of that. This will not change my lifestyle or mentality. This does not worry me. The money does not go into or come out of my pocket. It does not affect me.

Did you think about the pressure put on PSG players before signing?

Football is not a form of pressure, but a form of enjoyment. It is a form of pressure when you think of it as a job. If you are worried about being fired from your job, then yes, you can be pressured. But I see it as a game, and when you see things like that, you are happy regardless of what happens.

Do you not worry about feeling scattered like other Parisians who return to the hometown?

My objectives with PSG are so ambitious that I do not have time to feel scattered. And I have friends who can help me concentrate if I get distracted.

What did your new coach Unai Emery say to you to convince you to sign?

He convinced me with more than one phrase. It is his football philosophy especially, as he is clear in what he wants to do. The coach eats, sleeps and lives for football like I do. We can do great things together. 

Which philosophy is that?

To keep possession and maintain a high press to penetrate into the opposition’s half. I really like this philosophy.

How do you cope with the hype around you?

Simply put, because I feed off this passion for football, which allows me to overcome it. And when I am not allowed to play, I am not happy. Football is the only activity which allows me to feel fulfilled and get rid of all forms of pressure. When I am on the pitch, I forget everything and play as if I were a kid.

What position do you prefer to play in?

It is a bit difficult to answer. My youth coaches never put me in the same position for more than two years. I finished centrally while playing in Monaco, but I have played multiple positions. I would say centrally, but I might have a different answer a year from now.

What are your personal objectives?

PSG is an ambitious club that wants to be the best in the world. So we have to win everything and be sure to leave no doubt whatsoever. We have to immediately impose ourselves as a strong team that can dominate as a group with its style of play. That is the key to success. 

Individually, in the long term, are you aiming for the Ballon d’Or? 

No. I already have a teammate who wants to win it. So individually, my objective is to score a lot of goals and help Neymar. He can help us lift many titles, so we need to take care of him. I will do everything I can to help him win the Ballon d’Or. It would make me happy if I could help him like that.  

You chose number 29 in reference to the date of birth of your younger brother Ethan. Is he better than you were at the same age?

No. We do play in the same position. I am more of a goal-scorer, and he is more of a provider. I hope he will manage to do more than me. I only wish the best for him. He is already at PSG and scored a goal earlier this week. It would be good for him to have his own life and not be in his older brother’s shadow, or in mine. He should follow his own path, and he should be left alone. 

What goes you on in your life off the pitch? Last year, you received your high school baccalaureate…

Yes, I did get it. Now, I have to take classes to get my driver’s license. Apart from that, there is not time for much else. When you want to succeed in this line of work, there are sacrifices you need to make, and these sacrifices take up most of your day. So you really do not have much time for anything else.

What made you decide to quote Albert Camus in your letter to the Monaco fans?

It is something I worked on in school. My father brought me up with those quotes, and I even had some in my room. This was part of my upbringing. It is a moment of amusement that we share together as a family. We tell tales, cite quotations. There were a lot of false rumours about my transfer situation, so it was important that I show my feelings towards them. 

What is your favorite quote?

“Aim for the moon to land among the stars” – Oscar Wilde

*full quote – “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars”

As it happens, are you far from the moon?

Oh, yes! Considering my objectives, I am very far. I have not even gone for liftoff yet.

What is your first memory from the Parc des Princes?

It was a PSG – Rennes game, from when my brother Jirès Kembo played for them (note: in 2009, when he was 10 years old). I was so happy that I came back to watch more games. I really like the stadium and atmosphere. Plus, the return of the PSG Ultras will be magnificent!

What Parisian player did you particularly like?

When I was younger, it was Ronaldinho.

How do you imagine your life in Paris?

Simple. I spend my days at the training ground and then I go home to eat, sleep and mess around a bit with friends and family. My days are not that extraordinary. 

Will you return to Bondy to live there?

No, not in Bondy. (laughing) Do you want me to get stuck in traffic before coming to the Camp des Loges everyday? Currently, I am still in the hotel. Afterwards, we will see.

 

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