This was supposed to be Neymar’s World Cup, not Kylian Mbappe’s

The PSG training camp is going to be interesting.

Listen, I’m not one for being overdramatic. BUT, I will say that as Kylian Mbappe’s World Cup Final goal was smashed into the net yesterday, one of the first thoughts in my mind was Neymar.

Obviously I was amazed by the goal, and by Mbappe’s World Cup as a whole, but what I really thought of was how none of the three players we expected to “own” the World Cup didn’t. Cristiano Ronaldo, Lionel Messi, and Neymar are often considered to the be the three best players in the world, and all of their teams had disappointing World Cups.

Neymar was especially a player most expected to shine. He certainly had moments, but not moments the equivalent of Mbappe’s.

It’s not as if Mbappe playing this well was a surprise. Anyone who follows European football has seen Mbappe flourish over the last couple years. What was a surprise was France’s somewhat unrivaled trek to the World Cup Final and how Mbappe was enabled to succeed at such a scale by their amazing midfield.

It would be super hot takey to speculate that there will be problems inside the PSG locker room leading into the season because of this. There won’t be problems at all between Neymar and Mbappe. I just find it fascinating that Neymar and Mbappe are on the same club given they’re the two players I’ll remember as connected from this World Cup for better or worse. Although Real Madrid might have something to say about them both being on the same team.

It’s not as if Neymar will have problems being popular or building a legacy in his career. But having a defining World Cup performance under his belt at 19 puts Mbappe in the drivers seat when it comes to climbing the best footballers of all time pyramid.

Having a defining World Cup performance is what has hindered Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in their GOAT argument for years. It’ll certainly hinder Neymar in another 10 years unless Brazil wins the World Cup, and any other player that plans on putting their names into the bucket for one of the best ever.

The fact that at 19, Mbappe has already shed that difficult aspect of any great player’s legacy is wild. Now, all he has to do is continue greatness at the club level for another 10 years and the resume will have built itself.

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