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Mbappé praises ‘legend’ Ronaldo and urges France to support Griezmann in ‘tough spell’ at Euro 2024

Kylian Mbappé praised Cristiano Ronaldo as a footballing legend and a unique figure ahead of their clash in the European Championship quarterfinals between Portugal and France.

Mbappé, who has previously expressed admiration for Ronaldo and considers him an idol, spoke warmly about the 39-year-old striker during a pre-match news conference on Thursday. He highlighted Ronaldo’s significant impact on football globally and mentioned their occasional interactions and ongoing support from Ronaldo.

“It’s an honor for me, especially when we think about what he has done for the footballing world,” Mbappé said. “Regardless of what has happened before or what happens after, he will always be a footballing legend.”

Mbappé, who recently joined Real Madrid, where Ronaldo played from 2009 to 2018, now finds himself potentially ending his rival’s European Championship career.

When asked if he sees this match as a passing-of-the-baton moment, Mbappé responded, “No, I think that he is one of a kind. There is only one Cristiano Ronaldo, there will only ever be one. I am following my own path. My dream of playing at Real Madrid is becoming a reality. I hope to leave my mark on football, but I am not aiming to replicate Cristiano Ronaldo’s story. I hope to carve my own unique path at Real Madrid.”

Mbappé, who was the top scorer at the 2022 World Cup with eight goals, has scored only once in three games at Euro 2024, which came from a penalty. He acknowledged the challenges of adjusting his playing style for France due to the different players behind him.

“As a forward, you need to adapt to different situations and teammates,” Mbappé explained. “The players around me have changed over time, influencing how I approach my game. I enjoy exploiting spaces when they appear, but I also need to adjust to different playing styles and circumstances.”

Mbappé also defended his teammate Antoine Griezmann, who has faced criticism for France’s lack of attacking prowess in the tournament. He praised Griezmann’s contributions to the national team, highlighting his experience and achievements, including winning the World Cup in 2018 and reaching the final in 2022.

“It’s unfortunate that he’s receiving criticism during a tough period,” Mbappé remarked. “Antoine is one of the best players in modern French football, and he deserves recognition for his significant role in our success.”

In summary, Mbappé’s comments underscored his respect for Ronaldo, his determination to forge his own path at Real Madrid, and his adaptability in the French national team despite challenges in the current tournament.

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