Passion, mentality and drive make 'champion' Mbappe special, says Henry

By Sports Desk May 15, 2024

Kylian Mbappe's passion, mentality and drive are the fundamental factors that make him so special, according to France legend Thierry Henry. 

Les Bleus' skipper is heavily linked with a blockbuster move to Real Madrid after it was officially announced last week that he will depart Paris Saint-Germain at the end of this campaign.

Mbappe leaves Parc des Princes as the club's all-time leading scorer, while he has just been named Ligue 1's Player of the Year for a fifth successive season, and is set to top the goalscoring charts for a sixth year running.

Still only 25 years old, he has already played in two World Cup finals - lifting the trophy in 2018 and scoring a hat-trick in the 2022 showpiece as France lost out to Argentina on penalties - and won six domestic titles. 

Mbappe has also scored 46 goals in 77 caps for Les Bleus, trailing only Henry (51) and Olivier Giroud (57) on their all-time list, and will look to add the European Championship to his list of honours when he leads his country into the 2024 tournament next month.

Saluting the forward in a new BBC documentary entitled 'Mbappe', Henry said: "The great champions have something in them that I cannot describe.

"When you're a champion, you have to bring something to the table, something extra that is not normal, and that he has. The higher you go, the less normal you are.

"When it comes to this mentality and will, champions do have something that is a bit different to others.

"What I can see in this guy is passion, the will and the love of the game. If you do what needs to be done with those tools, then you're unstoppable.

"What he has achieved already, some people didn't do that in their careers, and they were outstanding players."

There are many similarities between Henry and Mbappe, most notably their styles of play with explosive attacking flair and electric speed. Both grew up in the Paris suburbs, started their senior careers at Monaco and went on to win the World Cup with France.

And the 46-year-old offered a closer insight into what makes the PSG forward on another level to his contemporaries.

"What I see is the same will of wanting to succeed," he analysed. "I don't care about anything else if you don't have that will, that drive - and Kylian has that in abundance. What makes him so special for me is easy; he thinks.

"People always talk about his speed. I know a lot of players that are fast, but can they play football at that level? No. Can they score? Can they run as fast as he does with the ball?

"Can you still see the game when you're running at full speed? You need to have a lot of tools in order to do that, and he's also clever.

"Of course, he has to work on stuff, he's still young and people forget that. He's not yet a finished article. Are you ever a finished article, whether it's in life or football?"

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