Champions League hat-trick proves that Mbappe is a future Ballon d’Or winner

    26 Feb 2021 | Champions League | Opinion
    Champions League hat-trick proves that Mbappe is a future Ballon d’Or winner
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    When PSG were drawn against Barcelona in the Champions League Round of 16, a number of intriguing matchups instantly arose.

    Neymar coming up against his former club was a tantalising prospect, although an injury to the Brazilian star prevented that situation from coming to fruition.

    Instead, it was Kylian Mbappe who stole the headlines, netting a sublime hat-trick at the expense of Ronald Koeman’s side.

    Everything appeared to be going to plan for Barcelona, with Lionel Messi converting a 27th-minute penalty to put the hosts ahead.

    But after that, it was all about Mbappe.

    The 22-year-old opened his account with a confident left-footed strike, receiving the ball via a neat flick from Marco Verratti before smashing it into the roof of the net.

    His second goal was less glamorous, yet equally effective, as he slotted home after Barcelona goalkeeper Marc-Andre Ter Stegen parried the ball into his path.

    But Mbappe certainly saved the best until last. The PSG star curled a phenomenal first-time finish past Ter Stegen to stun Barca.

    With Everton loanee Moise Keane scoring in-between Mbappe’s second and third goals, the Parisians ended up claiming an eye-catching 1-4 victory at Camp Nou.

    Not only did Paris St. Germain beat Barcelona in their own backyard, but it also felt as though a changing of the guard took place in Catalonia on Tuesday.

    Messi – who turns 34 in June – is coming towards the end of his career, while Mbappe is beginning to establish himself as the next big star.

    It is no secret that Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo have dominated the Ballon d’Or since 2008, with only one player – Luka Modric – breaking the pair’s hegemony in recent times.

    However, after humiliating Barcelona – and Messi – in their own stadium, it feels like Mbappe is now ready to get his hands of the Ballon d’Or.

    Mbappe’s record speaks for itself. The young Frenchman has already notched up 141 goals and 77 assists in 216 club games during his short career.

    Not only that, but he has also scored 16 goals in 39 matches for France, as well as clinching the World Cup title with his country in 2018.

    It is surely only a matter of time before Mbappe leaves PSG and joins and elite club in the Premier League or La Liga.

    But one thing’s for sure – if he carries on the way he’s going, he will almost certainly secure the Ballon d’Or in the not-too-distant future.