Kylian Mbappe is like Neymar as a teenager, insists Karim Benzema
Karim Benzema has likened Monaco’s striking sensation Kylian Mbappe to Neymar.
The Real Madrid forward praised his compatriot as ‘exceptional’ following his 14 goals in Ligue 1 this season, coupled with six in the Champions League.
"What Mbappe does now in Ligue 1 and even more so in the Champions League in Monaco's great run is exceptional,” Benzema told L’Euipe. “The last player who seemed as good and precocious at this level? Neymar.”
Benzema followed a similar path to the 18-year-old after rising through the Lyon ranks and finishing as Ligue 1’s top marksman in 2007-08. He moved to Madrid the following year but, with many big clubs being linked with the Monaco star, he believes expectations should be tempered.
"He's a phenomenon for his age, but needs to establish himself long term,” added Benzema.
" At the start, the superlatives come very quickly."
"I was billed the same way when I made my Lyon debut aged 17, scored my first Champions League goal and then became Ligue 1's leading scorer in 2008. You have to keep the same level when you grow up and are in difficulty.
"That's when you see if you can make the step up, even more so if you're at a very big club, or if you just remain a good player as many have after they shone when they were very young."