Kylian Mbappe: Kalidou Koulibaly once sacrificed a teammate to stop PSG star

Kylian Mbappe: Kalidou Koulibaly once sacrificed a teammate to stop PSG star

Still only 23 years old, Paris Saint Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe seemingly has the world at his feet.

The French speedster already has World Cup and Nations League triumphs under his belt, as well as a trio of Ligue 1 titles with his club side.

Mbappe rounded out 2021 by collecting the prize for Best Men’s Player of the Year at the Globe Soccer Awards – and more individual honours look set to follow.

Despite only finishing ninth in the most recent vote, Mbappe has been widely tipped as a future Ballon d’Or winner.

Expected to fill the huge void that will inevitably be left when Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo hang up their boots, many believe the forward has what it takes to raise the coveted award on multiple occasions throughout his career.

Realistically yet to hit his prime, Mbappe’s unique combination of skill, power and pace has been giving headaches to opposition defenders for years already. Few have managed to come up with a way of keeping him quiet for too long.

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One man who came up with a novel approach to trying to stop the PSG star during a Champions League encounter in November 2018 was Napoli centre-back Kalidou Koulibaly.

The experienced Senegalese captain realised that his side’s best chance of containing the youngster was to try and stay tight to him at all times.

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Of course, when you’re dealing with a player as electric as Mbappe, this is easier said than done.

However, when Koulibaly was dragged out of position by the Frenchman in the latter stages of the game, he found an inventive solution.

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Keen to prevent Mbappe from making his way into the Napoli penalty area, Koulibaly resorted to using teammate Mario Rui as a human battering ram.

From the moment he saw the attacker quickly switch the ball on to his left foot, Koulibaly literally shoved the unfortunate Rui directly into Mbappe’s path.

As you can see below, though, the bizarre tactic worked. The 2017 Golden Boy award winner lost possession soon afterwards.

Watch: Kalidou Koulibaly uses teammate as human battering ram to stop Kylian Mbappe

Although he passed the buck in an unorthodox fashion, Koulibaly was ultimately successful in his mission to keep Mbappe goalless on the night.

The Italian side left the Parc des Princes with a point after a 2-2 draw – and defenders across the globe had some bizarre new inspiration on how to potentially keep tabs on one of the best players in the game. 

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