After hitting a brace in Brazil’s 5-2 win against Sweden in the 1958 World Cup final- aged just 17- football great, Pele, has met with the only other teenager to score in a Mondial final after him, Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe struck from outside the box in France’s 4-2 win over Croatia last July, and became only the second teenager to score in a World Cup final – a record which had been held by Pele for 60 years.
The pair met at an event organized by a Swiss watchmaker at a Parisian hotel; and Pele, after greeting the PSG star joked that: ‘I think he is envying me, that’s why he is trying to emulate me.’
‘His style, the way he is playing, is Latino. Even Brazilian I would say. It’s a shame he did not play for Santos (in Brazil). But it’s not too late.’
Mbappe, who received his first call-up with France in 2017, and won the World Cup less than 12 months later, disclosed that he knew he would ‘enter history’ alongside Pele with a goal in the World Cup final- a huge motivating factor for him heading into the final.
Pele, after scoring against Sweden as a youngster, went on to win two more World Cups- a feat which the pacey French forward believes is ‘statistically possible.’
He said: ‘It would be unreal; of course, as long as I will be able to win World Cups, my goal will be to win them because France is a great nation of football. We will be back in 2022 to try and win again.’
Asked about Mbappe’s main qualities, Pele, who scored more than 1,000 goals during his career, said he was awestruck by his pace and cleverness.
‘And he is unpredictable. He is changing his game all the time. It’s his main advantage,’
And warned that ‘Mbappe said France will prepare to win the next World Cup, but he should know that we (Brazil) are also going to get ready,’ Pele said.
Like Pele in 1958, Mbappe was also was named the World Cup’s best young player in Russia.