Kylian Mbappe confirmed he is the world’s best against Real Madrid

PSG, Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images)
PSG, Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Lionel Hahn/Getty Images) /

Real Madrid vs. PSG felt more like it was a match between the world’s best goalkeeper, Thibaut Courtois, and the world’s best outfield player, Kylian Mbappe.

Coming into the first leg of the Champions League Round of 16 at the Parc des Princes, that was the consensus among Madridistas. They had the world’s best player between the sticks in Courtois, who has bailed out this team time after time over the past couple of seasons, and would soon acquire the world’s best overall player for free.

Many others doubted these assertions. After all, Edouard Mendy has been racking up trophies at Courtois’ former club, while the outfield is crowded with other world-class players, specifically forwards Robert Lewandowski and Mohamed Salah.

But on a night filled with stars, Mbappe and Courtois were the ones who truly stood out. Sure, the likes of Eder Militao and David Alaba were important to Real’s defensive efforts, and Marco Verratti and assist-provider Neymar had their own roles to play in support of Mbappe.

Real Madrid, Dani Carvajal, PSG, Kylian Mbappe
Real Madrid, Dani Carvajal, PSG, Kylian Mbappe (Photo by Catherine Steenkeste/Getty Images) /

Kylian Mbappe embarrassed Real Madrid RB Dani Carvajal

At the end of the day, though, it was about Courtois stopping an on-fire Mbappe multiple times – and Lionel Messi from the spot – only for the PSG superstar to find the breakthrough in front of his home city in stoppage time.

Mbappe was scintillating. He was untouchable. Even Carlo Ancelotti said in the post-game press conference that the young man was unstoppable.

Dani Carvajal looked like a rookie in the face of Mbappe, who outmaneuvered, outsmarted, and outpowered one of the best right backs in the history of the Champions League. Mbappe made him look like a shell of himself. And on his winning goal, not even the stalwart Eder Militao could thwart the Frenchman’s charge toward goal,

Determined to score and be the difference, Mbappe executed take-ons and took difficult shots, nearly scoring on multiple occasions before finding the breakthrough. He took on the responsibility in the attack in a way that nobody else did, and I am not just talking about PSG players.

Real Madrid, Karim Benzema, PSG, Kylian Mbappe
Real Madrid, Karim Benzema, PSG, Kylian Mbappe (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images) /

Kylian Mbappe’s brilliance juxtaposed with Real Madrid’s awful attack

Amidst this performance is the backdrop of Mbappe’s impending transfer to Real Madrid. On the other side of the coin, Madrid’s forwards were embarrassingly poor. Karim Benzema was clearly not healthy enough to play. Vinicius Jr. was pocketed by former Madrid man, Achraf Hakimi. And Marco Asensio? He made Madridistas lose their mind with his ineptitude and anonymity.

Whereas Real’s attack was hobbled, ineffective, or outright ghosting, Mbappe was forcing the issue time after time. He was a cut above the rest. Lionel Messi had four key passes and five dribbles completed against his old rivals, yet the Argentine attacker looked like a modest role player in comparison to Mbappe. Whereas he missed a penalty and a free kick, Mbappe created his own chances (remember, Mbappe earned the penalty by roasting Carvajal) and eventually buried one of them. And against Militao, Alaba, Courtois, and Co., there is no such thing as an easy chance.

Mbappe is not the only great forward in world football. But right now, he is in a class of his own. When you watch how he elevates his game on a field of other superstars, such as this Champions League night, you cannot help but come to that conclusion. There is no other player with his tactical intelligence, explosiveness, technical quality, and attacking leadership. No other forward is an elite goal-scorer, creator, and ball-carrier rolled all in one. Everyone else is great at one or two of these things. And if they can do all three, such as Karim Benzema or Salah, then they cannot do it quite at Mbappe’s level. Mbappe is different.

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For many fans around the world, they were already ahead of the curve and saw that in 2021-22, Mbappe stepped up his game to another level to become the world’s best. After this clutch performance on the big stage, just days after he rescued PSG against Rennes in Ligue 1 with a stoppage-time winner, it’s now time for everyone else on the planet to get with the program.