It the not-so-distant past, Zlatan Ibrahimovic was the biggest thing at Paris Saint-Germain. He was the first global superstar to come to the French capital under Qatar Sports Investments’ ownership in 2012 and scored 156 goals in 180 appearances. Today though, there’s a new star in town.
At 24 years old, Kylian Mbappé replaced Ibrahimovic as the most recognizable player to ever wear the famous colors of PSG. Compare Swedish casinos all you like, but even they would agree that PSG is Mbappé’s club.
Just look at the stats. Mbappé is on track to surpass Edinson Cavani and become PSG’s all-time leading scorer this season. The Frenchman also has more assists and you could argue he’s scored more crucial goals for PSG than the big Swede ever did.
While neither player has led PSG to a UEFA Champions League title, Mbappé has come the closest. In 2020, Les Parisiens faced off against FC Bayern Munich in the final only to lose 1-0 via a Kingsley Coman goal. The following year, Mbappé was able to get PSG to the semi-finals but was upended by Manchester City.
Those accolades alone should earn Mbappé the title of the best player to ever suit up for PSG, but it’s his love for the city that shouldn’t be overlooked. During the summer of 2022, Mbappé was a free agent as his contract had expired and he could have left for any club in the world. Real Madrid had been courting him for years and seemed destined to finally land the player they coveted. At the last minute, Mbappé announced he was signing a new deal with PSG and cited how France was his home and that he could continue to grow at PSG. Ibrahimovic may have been at a different stage in his career, but he ended up leaving at the end of his contract to sign for Manchester United in 2016.
Following his heroics at the FIFA World Cup in Qatar, where he came up just short in the final against teammate Lionel Messi and Argentina, Mbappé is a name known around the world. Off the pitch, Mbappé is on the cover of magazines as well as the cover of the FIFA video game. Even people who don’t follow football at all know the name “Mbappé.”
There’s still work to be done at PSG, but if Mbappé can lead PSG to a Champions League title just months after winning the Golden Boot at the World Cup, he should be the favorite to win the Ballon d’Or, an accomplishment not even the great Ibrahimovic can claim.