PARIS (AP) — Kylian Mbappé has scored 300 career goals faster than Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi. Former French great Thierry Henry has nothing but admiration.
Mbappé achieved the feat this weekend in a 14-0 loss to Gibraltar at the age of 24 years and 333 days. Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, the two biggest football stars of the 21st century, were older when they reached this milestone.
“What this kid is doing is truly out of this world,” said Henry, who is now tasked with leading France’s new generation of players as coach of the under-21 team. “It’s just incredible.”
Mbappé was often compared to Henry earlier in his career. Both attended the French academy at Clairefontaine before playing as a left winger at Monaco, where each won the French championship title as teenagers. Mbappé then replicated another of Henry’s achievements when he won the 2018 World Cup in his first major tournament with France. Henry won the 1998 tournament.
Mbappé has also been compared to Brazilian great Pelé for his precociousness. But in terms of style, with his speed and devastating skills, he is closer to Henry.
“He’s a scorer, he delivers assists, he can do everything,” Henry said. “Of course there is room for improvement, but that’s not the point.”
With his 17th career hat-trick, Mbappé brings his total to 21 goals in 19 matches. It was the PSG star’s 46th goal in 74 caps. He is just five goals behind Henry on France’s all-time goalscoring list and 10 goals behind teammate Olivier Giroud’s national record.
The exact number of goals Pelé scored will always remain a subject of debate. He often said that one of the reasons why he should be considered the greatest player of all time was his feat of scoring over 1,000 goals. But many dispute his tally because Pelé includes goals scored in friendly matches or against semi-professional or even amateur teams.
When asked how many goals Mbappé could reach, Henry jokingly referred to the 1,000 mark, then replied “it’s up to him.”
“He’s a guy who breathes football, who prepares well, who doesn’t do everything and anything, his professionalism and his desire to play are always there,” Henry said. “300 goals? There are some who haven’t even managed to do it in training.
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