France captain Kylian Mbappé was more proud of his team’s achievement than his own personal milestone as Didier Deschamps’ side ran riot to a record 14-0 victory over Gibraltar on Saturday.
Mbappé’s hat-trick in Nice made him the youngest player to reach 300 goals in Europe’s top five leagues and internationals combined, at the age of 24 years, 10 months and 29 days.
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On a night in which he captained his team to a historic victory, the biggest win ever in a European qualifier and France’s biggest win, Mbappé was eager to focus on the team’s achievements.
“We need to highlight the collective victory,” Mbappé said.
“There have been many talented teams in France, breaking this record for the biggest win is something special. A team’s best record is much more valuable than a personal best.
“The 300 goals scored in my career are a new milestone for me, but they take a backseat because the team put in an extraordinary performance today.”
Lionel Messi reached his 300th goal at the age of 25 years, four months and three days, but his former teammate at Paris Saint-Germain knows that he still has a long way to go to reach the numbers of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
“Some players scored 800, others 850, 300 next, it’s ridiculous! It’s a step forward for me and I want to continue being decisive for my team and my club,” said Mbappé.
Goal number 300 was worthy of the milestone. Mbappé received a pass from Youssouf Fofana, saw the Gibraltarian goalkeeper off his line and fired a splendid lob from 40 meters. He said the goalkeeper’s position was something he had been watching during the match.
“I was looking at the opposing goalkeeper for 20 or 25 minutes, I saw him very advanced, I didn’t understand why. After that, it’s instinct.
“When Youssouf receives the ball, I know immediately that I’m going to do it. Today it went well for me, maybe another time it won’t.”
It was a ruthless performance from France, scoring seven goals in each half, against a Gibraltar team who were 3-0 down and down to 10 men after 18 minutes.
“We wanted to go down in history and we did it collectively,” Mbappé said.
“We had the goal of breaking the record for the biggest victory, the coach told us that there was something to fight for, that’s why we had this seriousness throughout the game.”
Mbappé not only scored three goals but also provided three assists on a night in which he seemed happy to provide the goals for his teammates to ensure they achieved the record-breaking victory.
“The armband forces you to change, if you don’t want to change, you are not cut out to be captain,” said Mbappé.
“When I wasn’t captain I had a slightly more individualistic view of my game, of my scoring. Now I’m captain and I have to think about others first.”
Mbappe also overtook Antoine Griezmann to move into third place on France’s all-time goalscoring list with 46 goals and is now just five behind Thierry Henry in second place.