Under our Talent Radar banner, we have constantly strived to document and highlight the progress of the younger stars of the beautiful game, before they progress into household names.
The third edition of the Young Stars of the Year champions the combination of youth & diversity, as we look to reward seven of the best young individuals across seven primary categories.
Eligibility: 21 years old and below on January 1st, 2017
Kylian Mbappé’s 2017
At first, only a few French & youth football enthusiasts had heard of him; then Ligue 1 supporters watched him week in and week out as he rose to French football prominence – most dismissed him as just another young talent from France’s domestic game. But in 2017, the world had taken notice of Kylian Mbappé.
The teenagers’ hat-trick against Rennes in 2016’s penultimate game was only a sign of things to come in the next calendar year. He would go on to get another hat-trick, this time in the league, against Metz and four days later would be his first ever Champions League start, in Manchester.
While this website has followed Mbappé’s rise to Europe’s boy-wonder closely from 2016, we weren’t alone after the two-legged tie between AS Monaco and Manchester City as the French club turned heads in the continent. He followed up his two goals against Manchester City with three against Borussia Dortmund, and a solitary goal in the semi-finals against Juventus. He also went on to score a commendable twelve goals in Ligue 1 for Monaco in 2017, taking his tally to an incredible twenty goals in the calendar year for his previous club.
His exploits in the latter half of the previous campaign excelled his stock to new heights, with half of Europe and some more, chasing his signature. Paris Saint-Germain’s eventual signing of him shook most of Europe, and looked to restructure the domestic hierarchy in France.
2017 also saw the youngster make his debut for the French national team, scoring his first senior goal against the Netherlands. Mbappé has featured in each one of France’s World Cup qualifiers in 2017, either off the bench or from the start, as Les Blues booked their place in the finals, despite a few scares.
Whilst his rise to super stardom has been quick, it’s easy to forget that Kylian Mbappé is still only 18-years-old. The world is truly his cliched oyster. (written by Sami Faizullah)
In alphabetical order:
- Andre Silva (Portugal & AC Milan / Porto)
- Dele Alli (England & Tottenham Hotspur)
- Gianluigi Donnarumma (Italy & AC Milan)
- Kylian Mbappe (France & Paris Saint-Germain / AS Monaco)
- Timo Werner (Germany & RB Leipzig)
What do the Experts say?
“Kylian Mbappé’s 2017 is now the go-to definition for what one might consider a “breakthrough year”. He dazzled both Ligue 1 and European spectators alike with his phenomenal speed, audacious dribbling, impressive physicality and lethal finishing, all before turning 19. His magical talent and exemplary behavior on and off the pitch will cement his place as an inspiration for French kids for generations to come.”
Nick Spear, commentator with PSGTV told Outside of the Boot this about Mbappe:
“Kylian Mbappé still has another year to enjoy in his teens, but he has already established himself as one of the world’s best forwards. Mbappé’s progress in 2017 has been astronomical. Starting out the year adapting to regular first team football at title-winning Monaco, he now has a cemented place in one of the world’s most revered front lines. In last season’s UEFA Champions League, he scored more goals per minute (1 every 89 minutes) than Cristiano Ronaldo, Edinson Cavani or Robert Lewandowski. All Mbappé’s goals were scored in the knockout stage too. Since joining Paris Saint-Germain, he has quickly bonded to form a formidable partnership with Neymar. Mbappé’s hunger to learn from the Brazilian is obvious, and the world’s most expensive footballer is a good place to continue an apprenticeship. Mbappé’s mix of raw pace, precision control, footballing intelligence, and an acute eye for goal (more than 20 goals in the calendar year) make him comfortably the most complete teenager on the European stage. He will continue to make significant strides in the years to come which is a mouth-watering prospect for any PSG supporter.”
Talent Radar Accolades
- 2017 European Player of the Year
- 2016-17 Talent Radar Forward of the Season
- 2016-17 Talent Radar Team of the Season
- 2016-17 Ligue 1 Team of the Season
- Ligue 1 Young Player of the Season 2016-17 [Runner-Up]
- 100 Best Young Players to Watch in 2017
From the Scout Report
“Mbappé is very much a player who relishes the challenge when taking defenders on – unafraid to use skills and equally agile, he can often be deceiving. The low centre of gravity he possesses is utilised to good effect alongside his rapid acceleration both on and off-the-ball.
Explosive pace, quick feet and excellent dribbling are all key attributes that make him a nuisance to defend against, especially as he’s capable of shooting with both feet and likes to cut inside before creating a chance.”
European Young Player of the Year History
|Year||Player||Age||Nationality||Club (at the time)||Current Club|
|2017||Kylian Mbappe||18||France||Paris Saint-Germain & AS Monaco||Paris Saint-Germain|
|2016||Julian Weigl||21||Germany||Borussia Dortmund||Borussia Dortmund|
|2015||Harry Kane||22||England||Tottenham Hotspur||Tottenham Hotspur|
- African Young Player of the Year 2017
- Asian Young Player of the Year 2017
- North American Young Player of the Year 2017
- Oceanian Young Player of the Year 2017
- South American Young Player of the Year 2017
- Womens’ Young Player of the Year 2017