Kylian Mbappe believes that his teammate Neymar is on the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo.
Both Neymar and Mbappe joined Paris Saint-Germain in the summer for incredible fees – even if the latter’s only technically gets paid next summer – and the exciting duo are both tipped as future Ballon d’Or winners.
Neymar finished 3rd in 2017, behind Ronaldo and former teammate Lionel Messi, and looking to become the player to break the decade-long duopoly.
While the Brazilian is in pole position to be the player who does just that, Mbappe is firmly expected to get his name in the mix over the coming years.
The two of them are the crown jewels in an extravagantly expensive PSG side – and a PSG side who will face Real Madrid in the Champions League last 16.
It’s the undoubted tie of the round – the legendary Real Madrid, consecutive winners of a European Cup that they’ve won far more than any other team, vs PSG, the oil-rich newcomers looking to establish themselves among the truly great.
But while the two teams battle for their standing in the game, a very similar fight will happen individually.
Cristiano Ronaldo lifted his fifth Ballon d’Or this month but at 32-years-old is clearly a player who will begin to fade. In PSG, he comes up against arguably the two players most likely to take his place at the very top.
Mbappe, however, believes his teammate is already there.Speaking to Marca, the teenager was asked whether he looked up to Ronaldo, “Yes, of course,” he said.
“He is a hero from my childhood and it was amazing to meet him when I visited Valdebebas.
“But I am a competitor and a person who is very competitive and all I want to do is win, win, win. So it doesn’t really matter who is in front of us, we want to win.
“I admired him when I was younger, but that ended. Now I go to the Bernabeu to play and to win.”
Asked whether he still looked up to him, Mbappe gave an honest reply.
“You learn from them, of course,” he continued. “From someone who has won five Ballon d’Ors you can learn a lot.
“He’s a great player, but I have those here too. Neymar is here and I think he is very similar and is at practically the same level as Cristiano Ronaldo. I learn from [Edinson] Cavani as a goalscorer too.”
Just a couple more months before we get to see if he’s right.