Lisbon, Portugal: Kylian Mbappe is determined to make footballing history for France by leading Paris Saint-Germain to victory over Bayern Munich in Sunday’s Champions League final in Lisbon.
“This is exactly why I came here. I always said that I wanted to go down in my country’s history. Tomorrow is another chance to do that,” Mbappe said on the eve of the game which is PSG’s first ever Champions League final appearance.
Mbappe, now 21, emerged as a global superstar by helping France win the World Cup in Russia in 2018, becoming the youngest player since a teenage Pele to score in the final of that competition.
He had signed for PSG a year earlier from Monaco in a transfer that cost a reported 180 million euros ($212m), the second biggest fee in history after the 222 million euros paid by Paris to sign Neymar from Barcelona just a few weeks previously.
“When I arrived in 2017, we had had several disappointments but now we are in the final and that shows that we didn’t give up, I didn’t give up, and it would be a fantastic reward to win with a French club,” added Mbappe.
“That was my mission when I signed here. To win tomorrow (Sunday) would be incredible, it would be a great achievement.”
PSG are the first French representatives to reach the Champions League final since 2004, when Monaco were beaten 3-0 by Porto.
Only once before has a French team won Europe’s elite club competition, when Marseille defeated AC Milan in the inaugural final of the modern Champions League, back in 1993
For PSG, it is also an opportunity to confirm their status as one of Europe’s biggest names after being transformed in the last nine years since being taken over by Qatar Sports Investments in 2011.
They have won seven of the last eight French titles, only missing out in that time in 2017 to Mbappe’s Monaco. Thomas Tuchel’s team have won every trophy this season in France.
“Are PSG a big club in Europe? I think tomorrow is a good opportunity for us to enter into that circle by winning the Champions League,” Mbappe said.
“But we will leave other people to do the talking. We know our qualities and how important this club is in the eyes of the world, how much it has grown.
“We are focused on tomorrow, but if we win then we can debate that afterwards.”
Mbappe also said he was feeling “better every day” having shaken off an ankle injury to start in PSG’s 3-0 win over RB Leipzig in the semi-final last Tuesday.