Mbappe, 21, has become one of the most recognisable faces in world football over the last few years. Already a World Cup winner with France and in possession of every domestic trophy going, the Paris Saint-Germain forward’s achievements are comparable with many of the great French footballers and he’s barely even out of his teens.
Born in 1998 and raised in Bondy, a disadvantaged suburb to the north-east of Paris, Mbappe grew up at a time when Zidane was a global superstar at the summit of the game.
At the launch party for his new foundation Inspired by KM – through which he will look to support 98 children aged from nine to 16 years through to adult life, in reference to his birth year – Mbappe was asked about the footballers he most admired when he was growing up.
“Well, I’ve had phases,” he said. “To start, as a child, it was Zidane. If you’re a boy and you’re French, your idol is Zidane.
“After that, it was Cristiano [Ronaldo] and I’ve been lucky enough to face him. Then it was the Brazilian Ronaldo for the way he played.
“I want to leave that sort of a mark with my values, to leave a message in the history of football.”
Asked about his hopes for the future, Mbappe laid out a grand plan for the rest of the year as he eyes a treble of the Champions League, Euro 2020 and the Olympics.
Mbappe has scored 21 goals in 22 appearances for PSG this season and is well on his way to his fourth Ligue 1 title. The Parisians are currently eight points clear of second-placed Marseille and are currently unbeaten in 15 games across all competitions.
The Champions League has remained elusive for Mbappe thus far, however, with PSG earning a reputation for collapses in the Round of 16. To get past that stage this term, they will have to overcome a hugely talented but inconsistent Borussia Dortmund team.