Kylian Mbappe hit the winning goal for Paris Saint-Germain against Real Madrid on Tuesday with his post-match interview in Spanish inspired by his former hero Cristiano Ronaldo
Kylian Mbappe stole the headlines on and off the pitch as Paris Saint-Germain edged out Real Madrid in the first leg of their Champions League Round of 16 encounter.
The French superstar scored in the final minute of added time to break the deadlock and ensure Mauricio Pochettino’s side held the advantage in the tie.
Mbappe was not only the match-winner but he was the best player on the pitch – calling Madrid shot-stopper Thibaut Courtois into several smart stops and also winning a penalty, which Lionel Messi missed.
Yet the 23-year-old was also the main talking point after the final whistle, due to the manner in which he gave his post-match interview to media.
Mbappe responded to the questions in fluent Spanish, rather than his native French, despite having never previously lived or worked in Spain.
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The striker’s comfort in speaking the language is because he has been practicing speaking Spanish for eight years, having begun learning it aged just 15.
That was when Mbappe was in Monaco’s youth system and years before he made his first-team debut with the club.
At the time, the striker was a self-confessed fan of Real Madrid and his bedroom walls were full of posters of the club and of their star player at the time, Cristiano Ronaldo.
Indeed, Diario AS highlight how Mbappe’s fascination with that Madrid team and with Portuguese superstar Ronaldo in particular led to his enthusiasm for learning Spanish.
Mbappe has continued practicing the language since, including in a video call with 14-year-old fan from New York suffering from cancer and his social life, hanging out with Spanish music star J Balvin.
His former PSG teammate and Spain international Pablo Sarabia has previously remarked: “Kylian speaks Spanish well, he sometimes answers me in Spanish!”
Mbappe told reporters after the game against Madrid, when asked about the context of the game and his own future: “How can you ignore the context?
“It’s easy, you have to play football. We ask too many questions, we say too many things to each other.
“We talk about PSG and Real, two great clubs. I’m a PSG player, I’m always very happy.
On the game he added: “We wanted to be ready for these big games. We dream of these kinds of nights. We wanted to win, we were pushed by our supporters. There’s a return match, there’s the Championship first against Nantes on Saturday, and then we’ll attack the match on March 9.
“I said I would give it my all. I had to show it with actions. I did it the first time, we’ll have to show it a second time at the Bernabeu.
“How do we approach the return? We have to win! First of all for us to be competitors. Going there to say that we have a result is not worthy of a club like PSG. We’ll have to analyse the match, it will be a different context.”
On the goal, he added: “In the box the striker is always in control. The defender steps back, I decide where I want to go, and then I manage to put it between Courtois’ legs.”
Mbappe is out of contract at PSG at the end of the current campaign and has been linked with a free transfer to Real Madrid this summer.