The legendary defender has lauded the France international over his cultural impact on the next generation of footballers
Rio Ferdinand says Kylian Mbappe is the number one role model for his two sons, Tate and Lorenz, as they track the Paris Saint-Germain star’s career while nursing the ambition to become footballers themselves.
The 20-year-old is considered one of the best players in the world already having won the World Cup with France and a host of honours at club level.
Without a pause, Ferdinand says that Mbappe is the one inspiring the next generation of footballer that includes his own sons.
He thinks that it is more than Mbappe’s pace, ability to score goals and exciting style of play that attracts the eye and adds that his off-field persona is also appealing.
“Mbappe is number one for them because he has scored so many goals, big goals and he has played in World Cups,” Ferdinand told Goal. “They see that as success and something that they want to be able to do. Yes, he is a superstar but he is a nice and humble guy.
“They love his vibe. I like him being a role model for them because he says all the right things. His endorsements even are with the right companies. More importantly, when he signs a new deal, he has his family all around him. As a superstar, he is one I like my kids to follow.
“They also like [Virgil] Van Dijk and my older one is a goalkeeper. His favourites are David de Gea, Ederson and Marc-Andre ter Stegen.”
Ferdinand was widely regarded as one of the best defenders in the world, winning a host of major honours while at Manchester United.
It was at Man United where he saw Cristiano Ronaldo innovate to get to the top of the sport and he has advised youngsters like Mbappe to emulate him and LeBron James by building a support staff around them.
“With the amount of money in the game, these guys need to take a page out of either LeBron James or Cristiano Ronaldo’s book,” Ferdinand added. “17 seasons in the NBA at the top, that’s absolutely ridiculous.
“For Ronaldo, [he is] 34 now and he is still at the top and he has been in the top two players in the world for more than a decade. He was the first person I saw invest in a team. I went around his house and I saw about 10 people in his front room. I said, who are these people? What’s going on?
“He said, that’s my chef, that’s my physio, that’s the doctor and that’s my personal trainer. He left Man United as the best player in the world. He was on the right track. They have both invested huge money in having the right team around them for their body and mind to perform at the highest level consistently.
“I think if you give young players advice, then I would say if you have the resources then invest in yourself like that.”
Ferdinand proceeded to pick a best eleven of the next generation of footballers that are exciting him as he looks at possible role models for people to follow.
“Jadon Sancho is the standout as we wait for Vinicius to blow but Sancho is a different level to the others,” he added. “Him and Hudson-Odoi are way up there and will be England’s wingers for a while. Sancho is ahead of Hudson-Odoi who has been injured for a while and he has played more games but both will get to the top.
“De Jong is awesome. What he did at Ajax last season was a joke. He played like a veteran player. He has poise, tactical nouse, composure. All the attributes you need to be in a top team. He can take games by control or the scruff of the neck. He is the best young midfielder around.
“Maddison is doing really well this season and I think he should get to make his England debut. If Mason Mount is deserving, then he is equally deserving. Trent Alexander-Arnold is like a winger at full back with his creativity.
“Ben Chilwell is great at left-back. I love him and I think someone will buy him. He is top. He can go forward or defend. His final third distribution and crossing is great. I like both Fikayo Tomori and Ben Godfrey.
“From a mental perspective, if I look at a strong player to follow, I think of Matthijs De Ligt. He looks like a strong leader. He was a captain at 18-19 at Ajax. He made a big move to Juventus to compete with Leonardo Bonucci and Giorgio Chiellini who are mainstays and stalwarts of defenders.
“He could have gone anywhere in the world and he has gone somewhere where he has a good chance of winning the Champions League but he also has a hard task of getting into a back-two pairing that has been successful. Mentally, he is the one I look to and go he is amazing.”
“AC Milan’s goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma, they talk about him like Gianluigi Buffon. He has had years at the top.”
Ferdinand’s picks come as he looks to help aspiring young footballers improve their game by launching a new app in his latest venture. The entrepreneurial ex-professional is hoping to help with the development of an app that gives unsigned players access to advice from UEFA licenced coaches and current players. The project struck a chord for the former England international after conversations with his children.
“I have kids now and my two boys love football, I spoke to them and asked them where do you get your training stuff from apart from me? They don’t listen to me much anyway. They said YouTube. I said, where do you go, how do you know it is the right thing? They just said if it looks good we use it.
“That triggered me to think this is what my kids need. They can use this without me there. This spoke to me in that way. It is a tool and an app that’s beneficial to kids to inspire them to be elite footballers.”
Rio Ferdinand was speaking at the launch of Train Effective, a new app to help any aspiring footballer improve their physical, technical, mental and tactical training skills. Head to: www.traineffective.com
Click Here: IQOS White