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 By Ian Holyman

Kylian Mbappe: I rejected Real Madrid and Zinedine Zidane for Monaco move

Monaco youngster Kylian Mbappe has revealed he rejected overtures from his idol Zinedine Zidane and Real Madrid to move to the Ligue 1 club.

Mbappe, who turns 18 on Tuesday, is one of European football's most sought-after prospects, coming through France's vaunted academy at Clairefontaine that schools the country's brightest talents.

After helping to convince Raphael Varane to move from Lens to Madrid in 2011, Zidane met Mbappe in 2013 in a bid to to persuade him to make the switch to the Spanish capital, only for the AS Bondy striker to opt for Monaco instead. 

"I experienced that like a child who sees the greatest French player in history talk to him," Mbappe, who signed a three-year contract with Monaco in March, told Telefoot.

Kylian Mbappe joined Monaco from AS Bondy in 2013.

"He was touching, honest with me. It was a great moment. In the end, I didn't join Real Madrid because I wanted to stay in my country, I didn't want to leave so early. It wouldn't have worked. I chose to come to Monaco and I made the right choice."

Mbappe made his Ligue 1 debut in December last year, becoming Monaco's youngest ever top-flight debutant in place of Thierry Henry.

The former Arsenal striker's name was also wiped out of the club's history books when Mbappe netted his first Ligue 1 goal in February to become their youngest ever scorer.

The youngster's pace and finishing ability, as well as his club, have drawn inevitable parallels with Henry, but Mbappe is intent on making a name for himself.

"It's always flattering to be compared to great players, but I think each player wants to write their own history," he said. "Titi [Henry] wrote his, I hope to write my own. I hope it'll be better or as good as his, but I hope it'll be different. Each has his own."

Ian is ESPN's French football correspondent. Twitter: @ian_holyman


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