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Magical Kylian Mbappé aiming to rewrite history with record-breaking Champions League and World Cup double
The Paris Saint-Germain and France striker could become the youngest player ever to play for winning sides in both the World Cup final and Champions League final – but Bayern Munich will be anything but a pushover on Sunday evening.
It’s easy to forget just how young Kylian Mbappé is.
An established superstar at 21, the Frenchman is already building a legacy that makes him one of the game’s most lethal marksmen.
Mbappé shot to notoriety as a 16-year-old playing for AS Monaco, breaking the club’s record as the youngest ever player before becoming their youngest ever goalscorer weeks later.
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It was his 15 goals and 11 assists during the 2016/17 Ligue 1 season that propelled Monaco to a stunning championship victory, their first in 17 years, as he continued to defy expectation.
An eye-watering £160m move to PSG promptly followed and Mbappé, then just 18, was thrown into the starting line-up alongside Neymar and Edinson Cavani.
Netting 21 goals in his debut season for the French giants as they secured the domestic treble ensured Mbappe went into the 2018 World Cup as a fixture in the French national team’s starting XI.
With the weight of an expectant nation on his shoulders, Mbappé delivered yet again, becoming the youngest French player to score at a World Cup while joining the great Pele as the only other teenager ever to score in a World Cup final.
Since then, the trophies have continued to flow both personally and for Paris Saint-Germain – but one seductive prize has eluded the French giants despite all their domestic dominance: the Champions League.
He's the nearest thing we've seen to Ronaldo
- Rio Ferdinand
Perennial contenders among the European elite, a combination of bad luck and inconsistency has repeatedly foiled Les Parisiens’ attempts in the competition – most agonisingly characterised by their 6-5 aggregate defeat to Barcelona in 2017.
However this season, Thomas Tuchel’s men are certain of coming closer than ever before by reaching the Champions League final for the first time in their history.
It presents Mbappé with an opportunity to create history for the umpteenth time in his glittering fledgling career, breaking the record for the youngest player ever to play for winning sides in both the World Cup final and Champions League final.
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The current record was set by Sergio Busquets who was 21 years and 360 days old when he played in and won the World Cup final in 2010 with Spain, having already played in a winning Barcelona side in the 2009 Champions League final.
If victorious, Mbappé would smash that record by 113 days, while he could also become the youngest ever player to score in both finals.
Speaking on BT Sport earlier this week, former England and Manchester United defender Rio Ferdinand – who won the Champions League in 2008 – hailed Mbappé as the next legend of the sport.
“He's the nearest thing we've seen to [Brazil’s] Ronaldo,” Ferdinand explained.
“In terms of impact on the world scene as a teenager, Michael Owen is on a level.
“He makes you feel like a kid again watching football. He makes you get goosebumps before he's even kicked a ball.”
But if Mbappé is to achieve his dream of securing the top prize in club football, he will arguably have to confront one of his toughest match-ups in an opposition defence yet: Bayern Munich’s Alphonso Davies.
It remains to be seen whether the pair will share the same wing – but Bayern’s Canadian full-back has the pace and tenacity to nullify his prolific rival and he played a starring role in the Bavarian giants’ 8-2 humbling of Barcelona.
In doing so, Davies, 19, has become one of the breakout stories of this year’s competition and will be relishing the chance to test himself once again against the best around.
“Playing in the Champions League and getting to the final is everything you could ask for," he told BT Sport after Bayern cruised to a 3-0 semi-final win over Lyon this week.
"It will be a good game - there will be goals in that game. This is what you dream about as a footballer: playing with the best and against the best in Europe.
"It is a dream come true. Even though they [the older players in the squad] have won many, many titles before they are still hungry to win this one."
Will Mbappé etch his name in the history books – or can Davies dash his hopes at the final hurdle?
Watch Paris Saint-Germain v Bayern Munich live on BT Sport 1 HD, BT Sport Ultimate and online from 7pm on Sunday evening.