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‘I really want to win’: Kylian Mbappé ready to write the latest chapter in his and France’s history with glory at Euro 2024


By Aleks Klosok, Amanda Davies and Martin Bourke, CNN

(CNN) — Sardinia, Italy (CNN) – Take one look inside Kylian Mbappé’s trophy cabinet and you’ll already find little room for maneuver.

World Cup winner. Check. Golden Ball winner. Check. Multiple domestic league winner. Check. These to name just some of the few glowing accolades on his glistening CV.

And yet the global soccer superstar of our time admits that there remains so much more to do and win.

At the club level, a maiden Champions League title is the glaring, haunting omission. On an individual level, the crown jewel that is the Ballon d’Or has so far eluded him.

So what about at the international level?

As he prepares for his fourth major tournament with France, the answer is definitive.

“I want to win the Euros. I have to be honest,” Mbappé told CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies after being crowned Best Men’s Player at the inaugural Globe Soccer Awards Europe Edition in Sardinia, Italy.

“I won the World Cup. I won the Nations League. That’s the only one that missed me with the national team after I did everything with the national team.

“I really want to win this. My first competition as captain, so it’s really important for me and it’s always important for the country and we want them to be proud of us.

“[It’s] another opportunity to write the history of my country.”

‘France’s biggest enemy is France’

Les Bleus go into this summer’s European Championship as one of the favorites to win the title on German soil.

The favorites tag is based not only on recent success on the global stage but also down to a squad boasting an almost immeasurable level of talent and depth throughout.

“We have three squads, three teams. We can put in any player and the team will still look strong,” France’s Euro 2016 runner-up Patrice Evra told CNN Sport’s Davies at the recent Laureus World Sports Awards in Madrid, Spain.

“The biggest enemy for France is France. That’s the truth because, sometimes, we get carried away. We can be too arrogant and don’t respect the opponent.”

On paper and world rankings alone, France’s group in this year’s edition of the tournament – featuring Netherlands, Austria and Poland – appears navigable, albeit one with the potential for slip ups.

The prolific marksman is under no illusions of the task that lies ahead, insisting France will be going about its business one game at a time.

“Everybody knows how tough it is to win the Euros because all the teams are very strong,” he said.

“We can see the group that we have … It’s like something crazy!

“We have to go step-by-step because it’s going to be really difficult, but we are ready for that.”

World Cup hangover

Mbappé’s side begins its latest campaign against Austria in Düsseldorf on June 17.

Les Bleus’ track record, though, in the tournament since victory in 2000 has been far from flattering.

Since assuming the role of head coach in 2012, Deschamps has yet to taste Euros glory, with the country’s best result under his tenure being a runner-up spot in 2016 on home soil.

Four years ago, France was unceremoniously dumped out of the competition in the last-16 by Switzerland on penalties with Mbappé missing the decisive spot-kick.

The ante, therefore, for Germany 2024 has been upped.

But as soccer fans from around the world have come to find out in recent years, France often saves its best for the biggest stage.

Six years ago, the squad steamrolled to World Cup success in Russia and reached the final in Qatar less than two years ago.

Despite a sensational hat-trick, Mbappé and France tasted defeat in an instant classic final to Argentina, putting an end to hopes of becoming the first team to win back-to-back World Cup titles in 60 years, since Brazil did so in 1958 and 1962.

Did the 25-year-old think a World Cup hangover could derail future title ambitions?

“I think we have to move forward,” stated the recently-signed Real Madrid forward.

“Of course, we were hurt, to see that you’re close to something … Close to the back-to-back. Something amazing. Something historic.

“Everybody loved the game except for us. We didn’t like that, but it’s part of the game.

“Now, when I watch the video of the game, I watch with a smile because it’s part of the history and we know what we have to do if we go again in the final. We have to play all the game and no have reaction.”

Olympic ambitions

As it stands, Mbappé’s sole focus this summer is on chasing European glory.

The prospect, though, of representing his country at the Olympics in his home city of Paris remains a tantalizing possibility – this despite the Parisian being left out of coach Thierry Henry’s provisional 25-man preliminary squad for the Games.

“I am not closing the door on hope; we don’t know what will happen. But I must present a realistic list. The list is open to everyone,” the legendary French forward and 1998 World Cup winner recently told reporters at a press conference, adding that he had up until July 3 to change the squad.

France captured gold at Los Angeles 1984 and is hoping for a repeat success four decades later.

As the Olympic soccer tournament is not on FIFA’s international calendar, clubs are not obliged to release their players.

The son of the Parisian suburb of Bondy, though, is open to all eventualities and the lure of playing at a home Games may prove too alluring.

“Of course, I think about the Olympics. It’s normal. Every player wants to play in the Olympics. It’s not dependent on me […] I don’t want to be in the mood like I force everybody to do my thing,” he said.

“I understand every position. When you take a decision, you have to think about the position of everybody and understand the position of everybody.

“I accept everything. I want to be happy. If I go, I’m going to be happy. If I stay, I’m going to be happy anyway.”

His bigger hope, though, is for Paris to put on a show like no other and demonstrate its uniqueness, diversity, and sporting and cultural excellence to the watching world.

“I hope everybody is going to see that Paris is the city of sport and we can do all the things good to receive all the world and share something amazing,” he said with a smile.

“If I’m here or not that’s not important. The most important thing is to show the best image of our country. That we are ready to accept everybody to Paris, to enjoy it and to fight for the gold medals in every sport.”

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