When you’re flying high in your chosen profession, the hardest thing to do sometimes is listen to those who have walked in your shoes and know what’s ahead of you.
Kylian Mbappe, prior to his penalty miss at Euro 2020, was on top of the footballing world for all intents and purposes.
A rumoured spat with Olivier Giroud aside, the wunderkind was coming into the tournament in great form and, as with the World Cup in 2018, expected to be one of the stars of the show.
However, no goals to show for his three group stage matches and Round of 16 tie against Switzerland, as well as the penalty miss that saw one of the favourites go tumbling out of the tournament, was the outcome.
Former French star, Nicolas Anelka, has decided to give Mbappe some advice, whether he wants it or not, and it’s clear a move away should form part of the Paris Saint-Germain striker’s future if he wants to reach the very top.
“For me, France’s defending was too vulnerable.
“This is the biggest problem with penalties in the wider context of football. Three years ago at the World Cup, you were the hero. But suddenly, all of France has forgotten that and you have had to absorb insults.
“I don’t think that is normal. It’s the cruelty of football, but it is something you have to accept because it has this capacity to take you up to the pinnacle and down to the depths. It is not an easy place to find equilibrium.
“Speaking to people, to older players or retired players, can help. Without that, it’s possible to fall into distress. Listening to others with more experience can help you to react to this situation.
“If you want the biggest accolades, you will have to move from PSG at some point. Whatever you do in Paris will be good, but somebody will always say, “Well, you did great for PSG but it was only in France. The best leagues are in England and Spain, so you didn’t compete with the best players in the best league.”
“You will have to decide. If you want to win the Ballon d’Or, which is what you should be looking at to echo Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi, you will have to compete with the best. You can’t say you compete with the best all the time when you are at PSG.”
Whether Mbappe, who seems to have a strong head on his shoulders, pays any heed whatsoever to Anelka’s pitch remains to be seen.