“the ideal older brother”, because Mbappé is the darling of the children

On fire since the start of the World Cup, and expected against the English in the quarter-finals on Saturday (20:00), Kylian Mbappé will once again see his popularity rating rise, especially with a young and captivating crowd.

He may be the only one to resist Kylian Mbappé’s tornado. From the height of his 23 years, the insatiable striker of Blues and PSG has taken to throwing everything in his path. Panicking the desks, piling up the trophies, displaying his entire class before our amazed eyes, that’s what his daily life is like. And yet, one man still outperforms him for three years. In 2020, 2021 and 2022, Bondy’s little boy was beaten every time by… Soprano in the annual ranking of favorite characters aged 7 to 14 drawn up by the famous Journal de Mickey. This year he even had to settle for third place, ahead of the Marseille singer Soprano and Miguel Mattioli, better known as Michou, a young video operator with eight million subscribers on Youtube. But reassure him, Mbappé has a good chance of finding the throne he ascended to in 2019. And it’s a shame for Soprano.

“If the Blues go far in the World Cup, they risk breaking everything in the next poll. It’s off to a good start,” says RMC Sport Edith Rieubon, editor-in-chief of the 9-to-12-year-olds magazine. Obviously, it is above all for his exploits on the field that Mbappé arouses so much admiration. The young generation fantasizes about the same dreamed fate of the Parisian, goal machine and nightmare for defenses at the World Cup with already five goals scored before facing England this Saturday (20:00) in the quarter-finals. Just go to a place in the Paris region to measure the aura of the phenomenon. Opinions are unanimous and here no one talks to you about Lionel Messi, Cristiano Ronaldo or Erling Haaland. “He’s the best because he runs fast and he’s the one who always creates dangers. He dribbles and he’s very strong. We like him a lot. We would like to be like him. He’s the one who leads the game and makes some good passes. He runs fast, he looks like a cheetah”, say Gabriel and Ethan, 8- and 9-year-old young residents of Levallois Sporting Club Football.

“It’s inspiring”

Their fiancée Fatimatou has stars in her eyes when she talks about her idol, speeding at 35km/h and above all the author of a dazzling brace against Poland in the round of 16 (3-1): “He scores many goals. I know he’s the fastest player, I’d like to be like him when I grow up, I also wish I was a great striker.” “I watch almost every PSG game and he scores half of the goals,” sums up their team-mate Paul quite well. “His alien performance doesn’t explain everything. When you’re 10 or 11, knowing how many assists Mbappé has offered this season or why he’s more comfortable when paired with a striker capable of adjusting defenses isn’t what you remember before.” In addition to being incredibly talented, he is an inspiration. If Soprano seems like the ideal father, Mbappé is the ideal older brother, the one that all children would like to have. There is a strong identification. We know that he is very close to his family, which has passed on important values ​​to him. This counts for a lot, “underlines Edith Rieubon, who underlines” the very strong associative commitment “of the 2018 world champion.

A generosity that takes many forms. In March 2020, since the first days of confinement, Mbappé had supported the most fragile people and people in very precarious situations by making a donation to the Abbé Pierre Foundation. This has made it possible to finance emergency actions: access to water and food, sheltering the homeless, financing raids… One example among many others. He who regularly redistributes the amount of his prizes received in selection to noble causes has also set up his own association. With “Inspired by KM”, his goal is to promote the success of young people from different social backgrounds until they enter working life. “Yes, that’s the idea. It’s to connect with them, to have a first step into working life. I know how difficult it is to have this help and I think it’s my duty now that I’ve gone to the other side to achieve. After that I don’t necessarily want them to become footballers and I don’t think there are people who really play football. Let them have their dream. We don’t want to impose anything on them but support them. This is the watchword of this association,” he said. explained last summer on BFMTV.

sincere generosity

Furthermore, sponsor of the “Premiers de cordée” association, which seeks to improve the daily life of hospitalized children through various initiatives, Mbappé is multiplying projects to reach a generation that also welcomes his positions, both on police violence and about racism. “His commitments command respect. He is irreproachable, hyper involved with associations and has no weed, no provocative image. It is a bit the same for Antoine Griezmann (eighth in the latest official Mickey Mouse ranking). This year, Mbappé too he joined the Enfoirés show, a very popular event among children. He also gives the impression of being accessible, close to his audience, “says Edith Rieubon. In the four corners of the country, Mbappé appears as an example to (try to) follow, one who assumes this status of “generational leader” with a fascinating trajectory. “He appears as a model of success for these young people. He seems likeable, happy to be in the France team, to practice his profession as a footballer. He crosses the different tendencies that run in French society. Is it that young people from the suburbs are good people? Are footballers good people? He is all of this. Yes, they are good, “stressed the sociologist of sport Patrick Mignon, in 2018, with the Parisian.

Between his XXL performances every weekend, his careful communication and his sincere involvement in the associative environment, Mbappé denotes, amazes children. This contrasts with the gaze that his detractors may have on him, convinced that the tricolor number 10 sometimes blurs the line between self-confidence and arrogance. “I’ve never had the habit of hiding,” Mbappé said on the BFMTV microphone in June. I don’t want to settle for just playing football and going home. I’m a man of this club like everyone else. Everyone, everyone expresses their opinion , it’s just that my voice has a little more. But I really try to act according to my values ​​and my principles. (…) And this allows me to leave a different mark from football, leave a mark as a man, because my life as a footballer is about to end.” Fortunately, this is not planned right away. And before thinking about retiring, there is already a second World Cup to be held in Qatar. And for “Kyk’s”, a first place to recover in the hearts of the boys.

Rodolphe Ryo with Maria Azé

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