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Abu Dhabi, UAEMonday 24 September 2018

Diego Maradona: Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe 'the revelation of football'

Fujairah manager said the Ronaldo-Messi stranglehold on the Ballon d'Or has become "boring".

Kylian Mbappe is set to become the second most expensive footballer in the world when his deal from Monaco to PSG is made permanent. Franck Fife / AFP
Kylian Mbappe is set to become the second most expensive footballer in the world when his deal from Monaco to PSG is made permanent. Franck Fife / AFP

Argentina great and Fujairah manager Diego Maradona has described Kylian Mbappe as "the revelation of football" after the French teenager's spectacular rise to stardom.

Mbappe, who turns 19 on December 20, finished seventh in last week's Ballon d'Or voting, ahead of the likes of Robert Lewandowski, Harry Kane and Paris Saint-Germain teammate Edinson Cavani.

"For me Mbappe is the revelation of football," Maradona, the star of Argentina's 1986 World Cup triumph, said in an interview with Spanish daily As. "He seems to me that he can be better than lots of players."

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It has been a remarkable 2017 for Mbappe. He helped Monaco to a first French league title in 17 years and reached the Uefa Champions League semi-finals, before joining PSG on loan ahead of completing a stunning deal worth €180 million (Dh780m).

Maradona named the Frenchman as part of a list of players he believes are worthy of challenging Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi's perpetual claim to the Ballon d'Or, an award both have won five times each since 2008.

"Giving it to Cristiano and giving it to Messi has become boring," Maradona said. "There needs to be others getting involved in the fight, like Cavani, Mbappe, (Zlatan) Ibrahimovic. I don't know, there just needs to be some others."

Maradona also recalled advising Real Madrid president Florentino Perez to sign Mbappe prior to him moving to PSG.

"I said that to Florentino, sign Mbappe. I told him that! It was when we saw each other at Fifa," Maradona said. "He told me, 'But you know I have Cristiano already.'"

Mbappe had reportedly been a target of Real, but the European champions were ultimately beaten to his signature by PSG.

Maradona is currently in charge of UAE First Division side Fujairah, who are joint-leaders after five games in their bid to seal promotion to the Arabian Gulf League.

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