Kylian Mbappe has been told his penalty agony is just a “bump in the road” in his bid to emulate Cristiano Ronaldo and Lionel Messi.
Mbappe has been widely tipped as the heir to the throne ageing stars Ronaldo and Messi will leave as the greatest players in the world as they reach the latter stages of their careers.
The 22-year-old has already won the FIFA World Cup with France and delivered goals at a frightening rate for Paris Saint-Germain.
But he was France’s penalty villain as his missed spot-kick saw them dumped out of Euro 2020 with a 5-4 shootout defeat against Switzerland in Bucharest.
Their agony came after a 3-3 draw in which Mbappe missed some good chances in extra time to cap-off a tough tournament.
But Gary Neville insists he will emerge from a “tough few weeks” and still chase his ambitions for stardom.
“You just knew as Mbappe was walking up, you just thought, ‘oh no’,” Neville said on ITV Sport.
“I said just before extra-time I thought he would turn up. He had a couple of moments in extra-time and you just felt, ‘this has not gone well for him at all’.
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“He has aspirations to be the greatest player in the world, like Cristiano and Lionel Messi.
“This is a little bump in the road for him, but a massive test for him in the next few weeks. He’ll come through it.
“He’s having a tough time, obviously in this tournament and it’s a tough one for him to take, and the French team.”
Neville’s colleague, Roy Keane, gave credit to goalkeeper Yann Sommer after his smart stop.
Sommer guessed the right way and got down well to his right hand side to parry Mbappe’s spot kick away and deliver a memorable win for his unfancied side.
Keane: “We’re saying it’s a miss, but it’s a great save. An absolutely brilliant save.
“We talk about the pressure, technique. He’s hit it pretty well, but he guesses the right way and we see his foot just on the line.
“We talk about the importance of scoring, but the goalkeeper, huge moment.”
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