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2018 FIFA World Cup
In one swift move off the field, the 19-year-old proves that being a football star is about more than goals, gold, or glory.
Best Young Player at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Kylian Mbappé, continues to make news after a stunning run that saw his team, France, lift the Cup for the second time in history.
The 19-year-old is donating his entire World Cup wage to Premiers de Cordée, a charity organisation that opens up sporting opportunities to hospitalised or disabled children.
Sebastien Ruffin, the organisation’s general manager, spoke warmly of the footballer. “He’s a great person. When his schedule allows it, he intervenes for us with pleasure. I sometimes even feel that he takes more pleasure to play with the kids than the kids themselves.”
According to Sports Illustrated, the forward was paid approximately £17,000 ($22,520) for every World Cup match. On top of that, he received a £265,000 ($351,032) champion’s bonus. This brings Mbappé’s 2018 FIFA pay cheque well over $500,000. He won’t be taking any for himself.
It’s no secret that football players make big bucks. To understand Mbappé’s donation, though, one would benefit from a look at his childhood.
This rising French prodigy, who also plays for Paris Saint-Germain F.C., grew up in the Bondy banlieues of Paris. Not unlike a ghetto, banlieues are largely inhabited by working-class communities of colour. They have a reputation of hardship, linked to social strife and high crime rates.
Kylian Mbappé showed interest and skill at as early as six years old, practising daily and adorning his room with posters of Cristiano Ronaldo. “In football, everything is possible through hard work and I think that has been important. I’ve always believed in myself and I knew I was capable of doing great things. It isn’t just about desire and wanting to succeed, you must work hard,” he told beIN Sports.
Besides him, seven other French players on the national team hail from banlieues. They have become symbols of hope for kids back home who dream of such success.
Antonio Riccardi, one of Mbappé early coaches with AS Bondy, says the teenager is “probably the best I will ever coach.” He is known for his diligence, discipline, and humility that belies a football star in the making.
Though he’s still a self-professed kid-at-heart, Kylian Mbappé can now add ‘selfless’ to his growing list of glowing attributes. Kudos to top-class sportsmanship!