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24th May 2017

Kids need to learn from Kylian Mbappé and his attitude towards football

It's not about the money

Darragh Culhane

Go into a primary school classroom and ask them what they want to be when they grow up.

If the kid you are asking is a boy there is a very good chance he will say that he wants to be a footballer.

Ask the same kid why they want to be a footballer and you will, more than likely, get one of these two answers.

A) I love football

B) Footballer’s earn loads of money

The latter is the answer that is becoming increasingly more likely, and in some ways, there is nothing wrong with that. The idea of making a decent living for yourself is nothing that should be scoffed at.

Younger kids will say that they want to be a billionaire when they grow up, they have no idea that it would usually entail starting up your own business and work longer than long days to make it successful and even at that there is a whole lot more to it.

Yet, even at a young age, they know that football is a way to earn money and what better way to earn money than becoming a professional in your favourite pastime?

But that’s simplifying it, and it’s not exclusive to children. Professionals care increasingly about money.

Anyone who is anyone are earning a six-figure sum weekly and the controversial moves of Oscar and Carlos Tevez to China proves that everybody has their price.

In fairness to Oscar and Tevez they are now the two highest paid footballers in the world. One of which was struggling to start for Chelsea and the other had already returned to South America for his career swansong.

The worry is that kids and current professionals alike may aspire for these moves rather than strive to play for the best clubs in Europe.

And then you have Kylian Mbappé.

The 18-year-old hotshot lit up Ligue One and the Champions League with Monaco this season.

Mbappé made his French international debut in March and is the second youngest to ever play for the country (The youngest was a man by the name of Maryan Wisnieski, he made his debut in 1955).

Mbappé has attracted plenty of interest with Real Madrid seemingly top of the queue to sign him from Monaco, and from what everyone has seen of him he is probably good enough to play for Zinedine Zidane’s side.

Yet, speaking to beIN Sport earlier in the week Mbappé seems to have his priorities in order.

 “I will make a choice based on my sporting career, and my career is first and foremost, and I am at an age where I need to play, and that will be paramount,

“I’m not 35 or 36, an age where I have to manage [my body], I still have everything to learn, this year was discovery, and now comes the most important step: Confirmation. 

“And I will be the sole decision-maker, and I will not go anywhere where I will be forced to go.”

It is refreshing to hear the young Frenchman say what said for the simple reason that he is planning to focus on his player development rather than what he could earn at club X or club Y.

There’s no doubt that Mbappé is still being handsomely paid at Monaco but it is clear that he got into football for the right reasons. He’s the kid who answered A rather than B, he wants to play football.

And maybe that is the secret to making it to the top, the secret to earning the big money is to not care about the big money. To be motivated by being the best you possibly can be and if you do that the rest will sort itself out.

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