Kylian Mbappe Named World Cup Best Young Player: How Have the Previous Winners Fared?

It was meant to be the World Cup where either Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo, or maybe even Neymar, finally made soccer's most prestigious tournament his own. Instead, it ended with Kylian Mbappe crashing the top table of soccer superstardom in spectacular fashion.

Already considered arguably the most exciting prospect in the sport ahead of the tournament, the Paris Saint-Germain forward's performances showed he is not just soccer's future—but very much the present.

Two goals in France's 4-3 win against Argentina in the round of 16, along with his team's fourth goal in the final, only tell half of Mbappe's World Cup story, which has seen him torment defenders with impressive regularity.

The 19-year-old became the first teenager since Pelé in 1958 to score in a World Cup final. He also scooped up the Best Young Player award for the tournament, following in some illustrious footsteps.

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Kylian Mbappe celebrates with the World Cup Trophy following his sides victory in the 2018 FIFA World Cup Final on July 15, in Moscow, Russia. Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Pelé himself won the inaugural award in 1958 when, at only 17, he inspired Brazil to its first World Cup, scoring twice as the Selecao thrashed Sweden in the final 5-2.

O Rey secured a second World Cup title four years later, but Florian Albert was crowned as the best youngster at the games. The Emperor was the joint top scorer of the World Cup with four goals, despite Hungary crashing out at the quarterfinal stage.

Mbappe is the third-youngest ever recipient of the award after Pelé and Michael Owen, who claimed it in 1998 after writing himself in World Cup folklore with a stunning goal against Argentina in the round of 16.

The former Liverpool striker would go one better four years later, as England reached the quarterfinals only to be eliminated by Brazil. Unfortunately for Owen, that was as good as it got as injuries began to take their toll. He never managed to secure the trophies his goal-scoring record deserved.

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Michael Owen (R) celebrates with David Beckham after scoring the equalizer against Romania at the 1998 World Cup. England would end up losing the game 2-1. Jacques Demarthon/AFP/Getty Images

Lukas Podolski and Thomas Muller won the award in 2006 and in 2010 respectively, even though Germany fell in the semifinals on both occasions, becoming the second and third German player to claim the accolade after Franz Beckenbauer.

Der Kaiser won it in 1966, when he established himself as a linchpin of West Germany's defense despite being just 20. The tournament would ultimately end in disappointment for Beckenbauer as Germany controversially lost 4-2 to England in the final, but he would eventually lift the World Cup eight years later, guiding Die Mannschaft to triumph on home soil.

Along with Poland's Wladyslaw Zmuda and Italy's Antonio Cabrini—winners in 1974 and 1978 respectively—Beckenbauer is the only defender to have won the award to date.

Thanks to Mbappe, France also has three winners now, with the PSG star following in the footsteps of Paul Pogba, who claimed the award four years ago, and 1982 winner Manuel Amoros.

Peru's Teofilo Cubillas was named best young player of the 1970 World Cup, while Enzo Scifo won it in 1986, when he inspired Belgian soccer's first golden generation to a fourth-place finish.

One of the picks of the crops from Yugoslavia's wonderful youth sector in the late 1980s, Robert Prosinecki claimed the accolade in 1990, while Marc Overmars won it four years later as Holland dazzled their way to the quarterfinals.

The USA also sports a winner, as Landon Donovan secured the award in 2002, when the team reached the quarterfinals for the only time in recent history. Ironically, however, Donovan did not even make it into the team of the tournament that year.

Kylian Mbappe Named World Cup Best Young Player: How Have the Previous Winners Fared? | Sports