• @SamuelTahir_

The day Paul Pogba stood up and Kylian Mbappe became a superstar

So, France have won the World Cup. After all the criticism Didier Deschamps and his men silenced them all in Russia's rain. I myself have admittedly been one of Deschamps biggest critics but today he absolutely proved me and many others wrong. The gutsy call to take Kante off was inspired and it firmly put France in control. Didier Deschamps has now won the World Cup as both a player and a manager. No matter what you make of his style, Deschamps now has to be regarded as one of the best managers on the international scene.

On to Paul Pogba then, ever since Manchester United brought the Frenchman back to Old Trafford for a then world-record fee of £89M he has been subjected to a ridiculous level of criticism. It would be wise for these critics to remember that Manchester United's title challenge this past season largely disappeared during Pogba's enforced absence from the team either through injury or suspension. Manchester United are without any shadow of a doubt a better team with Paul Pogba than they are without him. It would be naive to suggest he hasn't faced adversity however. After coming back from his various injuries and suspensions he found his Manchester United team struggling and sinking without a trace in the title race. He himself struggled to regain his form from earlier in the season, defensive discipline was one of the key problem areas highlighted in his performances. However, after a strong end to the season which included the undoing of eventual Premier League champions Manchester City, Paul Pogba has without doubt had a World Cup to remember.

Paul Pogba has become the first Manchester United player to win the World Cup since 1966. He also becomes only the second player who has scored in a World Cup final whilst playing for a Premier League side. This was the tournament where Paul Pogba came of age. We have all long been aware of his extraordinary range of passing, his quick feet, his vision, his intelligence and his physical prowess. However, his defensive discipline and maturity as a whole has constantly been questioned. Chelsea legend Frank Lampard went on to say when talking about Pogba that "he tries too many unnecessary things in pointless areas." Expanding on this argument that Pogba perhaps has been neglecting the fundamentals in a central midfielder's game. The criticism was more than fair, Pogba has had a tendency to try the extravagant far too often where playing it simply perhaps would have been the superior option. However, at the biggest stage in world football Paul Pogba has answered those criticisms emphatically. Paul Pogba had the most touches of the ball in the World Cup final (55), he completed more passes, duels, interceptions than any other French player whilst also re-gaining possession more than any French player (stats taken via @ShamoonHafez.)

The site of Pogba ushering the ball out of play in the closing stages was perhaps just as impressive as his surreal pass to Mbappe which lead to him scoring himself. Paul Pogba seems to have come of age at this World Cup. After being named the best young player at the last World Cup he has now led his side to winning the competition itself. There has never been any doubting his talent but now Pogba has demonstrated that he really can do it all and what better place to demonstrate that than the World Cup final. Despite criticising Pogba being a popular choice for many 'pundits' Pogba has cemented himself as one of the best midfielders in the world at this tournament. However, the challenge now remains for him to be able to consistently show that in a Manchester United shirt. The argument that Kante was the sole reason for his performances was made redundant in the second half today as Pogba's performance improved if anything after Kante went off. Whether it's down to Mourinho or whether it's down to Pogba himself, it's an absolute must that Pogba now builds on this tournament and takes this momentum in to the Premier League. A talent so bright is surely far too bright to waste....

Pogba aside, it would simply be incompetent for us to ignore Kylian Mbappe. Unlike my Deschamps prediction which failed miserably, I tipped Mbappe to come out of this World Cup a star and a star he has become....

Mbappe had a fairly quite start to the World Cup, he was substituted by his manager in the group stages too. However, fast-forward to the Argentina game and the name Kylian Mbappe became a part of football history. Before we even assess his performances, it must to be pointed out that the French forward is 19 years of age! In his brief career he has already been making quite a lot of noise with starring performances for Monaco both in the league and the Champions League securing a big move to PSG for the young man. At a World Cup where his 'mentor' Neymar rolled and rolled his way out of the World Cup in the quarter-finals, Kylian Mbappe stood up and made the world take notice. He became only second teenager to score at a World Cup final. The other was Pele and I'm told the career he ended up having wasn't bad....

Personally, I don't think we will ever see a player that can match either one of Ronaldo or Messi ever again. Or at least not in the immediate future, however in a time where the two greats seem to be approaching the back-ends of their illustrious careers one PSG forward has stood up as a worthy successor and it wasn't Neymar.

Throughout this tournament, Mbappe has played without an ounce of fear. His electrifying pace has tormented defenders throughout the tournament. The technique and awareness he demonstrated with his goal today was far beyond his years. He has been heavily linked with Real Madrid this summer and the teenage sensation has shown us why at this World Cup. I both predict and hope this is just the first of many tournaments for Kylian Mbappe. At 19 years of age there remains the frightening reality for all his advisories that there is plenty more to come from the lightning quick forward. The 2018 World Cup is sadly over, France are World Champions and it marks the birth of a new superstar in the football word and he goes by the name Kylian Mbappe.

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