Kylian Mbappe has revealed that a brief visit to Chelsea’s Cobham training ground as an 11-year-old helped to convince him that he wanted to become a professional footballer.
The wonderkid striker recently completed a sensational season-long loan switch from Monaco to French rivals Paris Saint-Germain, with the option to move permanently to Parc de Princes for a fee worth £166m next summer.
Mbappe puts his meteoric rise over the past 12 months, however, down to visiting the reigning Premier League champions six years ago and, speaking to the Daily Telegraph, explained how that stint in west London helped make him the player he is today.
He said: “It was a wonderful experience. Chelsea was the first great club, the first big club, that I went to visit. So it was a real discovery for me.
“I was coming from my grassroots, amateur club. It was a whole new world. Of course I had an idea what a great football club was like but I was really impressed by the working culture and the mentality of wanting to be better day-in, day-out.
“And visiting this infrastructure helped me, actually, with my development. I saw things differently because up until then I had just a French mentality and after that I could pick what was positive in other mentalities and build my own.”
Mbappe went on to play alongside the likes of Tammy Abraham and Jeremie Boga for Chelsea’s under-12s, and even met club legends such as Didier Drogba before he moved back to his homeland to continue his football development.
The 18-year-old added that seeing how things were done at Chelsea only stoked the fires of determination within him and, six seasons on, he is still amazed at how far he has come in a short space of time.
Mbappe does interview saying Chelsea passed on him as a kid, just shows how when comes to youth the club hasn’t got a clue!
— 50 Shades Of Blue (@browney2584) September 7, 2017
Mbappe said: “An idea has been reinforced since I was a kid – not just because I went to Chelsea.
“I always thought: ‘I want to be there, I want to be one of those big players who is trying to give people fun out of the game’, and I have given everything to reach that objective.
“Now I am on the other side of the camera, on the other side of the TV. That’s the only difference.”