X

Zlatan Ibrahimovic Hails 'Difference-Maker' Kylian Mbappe as Favourite Player

Matt JonesFeatured ColumnistDecember 13, 2019

Sweden's biggest football star, Los Angeles Galaxy's forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic,  attends a press conference ahead of the unveiling of a 2,7 m bronze statue of him on October 8, 2019 near the stadium where he made his professional debut in his hometown of Malmo in southern Sweden. (Photo by Johan NILSSON / TT News Agency / AFP) / Sweden OUT (Photo by JOHAN NILSSON/TT News Agency/AFP via Getty Images)
JOHAN NILSSON/Getty Images

Zlatan Ibrahimovic has hailed Paris Saint-Germain sensation Kylian Mbappe as his favourite player to watch in world football.

Mbappe has enjoyed an extraordinary beginning to his career, winning the FIFA World Cup with France as well as three Ligue 1 titles—two with PSG and one with Monaco.

Ibrahimovic also enjoyed success during his time with the Paris giants and is one of the most decorated centre-forwards of his generation. When asked about who his current favourite player is, the veteran Swede outlined his admiration for Mbappe, per Matt Maltby of the Daily Mirror:

"He is the difference-maker. He is still young and we hope that he continues to work hard. Despite his age, he is already a star.

"I hope he keeps his hunger and that he doesn't fall out of love with football so that he can keep improving and achieving things. To do so, he has to keep a cool head, which isn't always easy."

Ibrahimovic also spoke of his admiration for former Brazil international striker Ronaldo, noting the forward was an idol for him when growing up. 

"When he was playing, we all tried to copy him," he said of the former Selecao star. "He had such an elegant style of play. I used to watch his games but I don't so much any more. Right now my favourite is perhaps Mbappe, who stands out above all the rest."

Despite still being just 20 years old, Mbappe is already among the best players on the planet. ESPN FC summed up what he's already been able to accomplish:

ESPN FC @ESPNFC

Kylian Mbappe has already: Scored 100 club goals ⚽️ Won three league titles 🏆 Got a World Cup winners medal 🏅 Scored against Juventus, Bayern Munich, Liverpool, Man United and Real Madrid 🔥 Kylian Mbappe is 20 years old. https://t.co/Z3y8cU68E3

The man himself shared the following advert from Nike, which documents his rise from a child into the world-class operator he is today:

Kylian Mbappé @KMbappe

Wherever it starts, never stop dreaming 💪🙂 @nikefootball https://t.co/BvRQHAogrT

Mbappe netted for PSG in the UEFA Champions League in midweek as they romped to a 5-0 win over Galatasaray.

Per OptaJean, the Frenchman has found it relatively easy to adapt to European football's premier club competition:

OptaJean @OptaJean

30 - Players involved in the most goals after their first 30 games in the Champions League since Opta collects its data (2003/04): 🇫🇷 Kylian Mbappé - 30 (19 goals, 11 assists) . Luis Suarez - 29 . . . Roberto Firmino - 25 Neymar - 24 Harry Kane - 23 Prince.🤴 https://t.co/hRo1YF92wh

The PSG man possesses speed that terrifies opposition defenders, as he's able to move through the gears and pull away from markers. Mbappe also has remarkable coolness in front of goal, which is not something frequently found in players of such a tender age.

While they are stylistically different as players, it's no shock Ibrahimovic is an admirer of Mbappe. Like the France star, Ibrahimovic operates with a swagger and assuredness in the final third, which makes him difficult to contain.

Ibrahimovic left Los Angeles Galaxy at the end of the previous Major League Soccer season and is now a free agent. The 38-year-old has been linked with a move to AC Milan, per The Telegraph's Mike McGrath.