Fayza, Mbappé’s mother: « I was told that he would end up good for nothing … Kylian took me to the Élysée! »


For Paris Match, Fayza, the mother of Kylian Mbappé, evokes her memories of an extraordinary child from an early age.

For a long time, Kylian cried out in the desert that he was a soccer Mozart. He always had this ability to predict what was to come, as if he had already lived his life. But even us, his parents, we sometimes doubted it and I admit having called him more than once a « little mytho ». Until I bow to his determination I bow to his determination and realize that he really was different.

Also read:The exclusive interview – Kylian Mbappé, modern-day superheroes

No one could tell what this endearing, handsome but exhausting child had in mind. He never slept, spoke like a mill, was bored with those of his age. In the field and in life. Every day, he got up at 6 a.m. sharp and didn’t stop moving until he fell asleep at 7:30 p.m. Impossible to contain his energy in an F3; with him, we were doomed to the opening of parks and zoos. Only the DVDs of « Père Castor » or « Kirikou » offered a short respite. Kylian was a bit early, blessed with a phenomenal memory. At 4 years old, he was able to locate you on the globe all the countries which took part in the World Cup and knew by heart the words of an Aznavour album. I remember this Cameroonian driver whom he made mad by singing them all along the road connecting Douala to Yaoundé.

When he stops, it is to recover: he sleeps so much that he is called « the koala »!

In kindergarten, he refused a nap. The mistresses were tearing their hair out. In primary, he was 20 everywhere, then the marks started to be irregular as his obsession with football grew. Not a day of school without me being summoned. I was told he would end up good for nothing. No one had seen that in fact he was precocious. Kylian was not arrogant, he was insolent. When you were little, you couldn’t force him to do anything he hadn’t decided to do. He therefore worked intermittently and only on useful subjects: “French, because I will need it to express myself in football; English, because I’m going to play in England; and Spanish, because I will also play in Spain! « 

In sixth grade, he decreed that he wanted to quit school to be a footballer. Two years later, he left for Clairefontaine to start a mini-pro life. When we picked him up on weekends, it was to make him catch up on math, English and French, the three subjects that we kept afloat. His father had to threaten him for him to go to the baccalaureate. Lots of kids would have cracked, he clung to his passion, sacrificing his childhood, his youth.

Today, his career occupies 95% of his time. He lives in robot mode. We do not understand how difficult it is. Kylian is a Ferrari that keeps its feet on the ground all the time. When he stops, it is to recover: he sleeps so much that he is called « the koala »! He claims to live alone, but he always needs people around him. When he was little, he planted me with the friends he invited to take refuge in his room. Tall, he does the same. He reads fewer books than before, claims it doesn’t allow him to disconnect. But, like all young people of his generation, he is stuck to his cell phone. He also adores video and board games. His thing is Monopoly: with three or four « guinea pigs », he can play it until 2 am. Whether they are 3, 8 or 40, he doesn’t give them the slightest chance to beat him.

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Not being able to go out like everyone else has weighed on him, sometimes

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Kylian is a competitor at heart. At almost 23 years old, I let him get away from it all. But he calls me very often. We laugh about it, but he knows nothing about most of the mundane things in our ordinary lives. He had, for example, never withdrawn money with a Carte Bleue before having his own, a year ago. For a long time, in order for him to grow up like an ordinary child, it was hidden from him that he was earning a lot of money. At 17, when he turned pro, he was given only 200 euros of pocket money per month when his salary was 85,000. At Christmas, which we will spend as always with family, there will be salmon, foie gras; but Kylian, you can be sure he will only eat junk food. He does not have luxury tastes. If he finds it pleasant to return to Monaco, where he grew up, it is because it is one of the rare places where he can walk in the street without being assaulted. Everywhere else, it is madness. He dreams of going to Sri Lanka because he thinks he can go unnoticed there, but I’m not sure: recently we received messages from a 12-year-old kid from deep in Peru!

Dedication at the Fnac des Ternes, in Paris, on December 2. © David Atlan

Not being able to go out like everyone else has weighed on him sometimes. During these existential crises, it happened to him to do it in secret, in disguise. It scared the hell out of me. « But nobody can imagine Kylian Mbappé in a red 207 », he said to try to reassure me the evening when, with a friend, he circled the ring road, happy as a kid to escape his security agents.

The man he has become, full of empathy and benevolence, deep down, you rarely see him, through the charitable actions he leads or when he is on vacation. He often says that at the end of his career, he will close a ski resort for a month, in order to enjoy it with his friends, and that after he will leave six months by boat, where there is no person, where he can simply walk. His future is all mapped out, but I know him: the day Kylian stops having fun, he will stop to become a coach. And finally live!

The incredible road traveled, I measured it when Kylian took me to the Élysée. Before entering the street, I told him: « My faith, if I had been told that you would have me summoned to the President of the Republic, you would not have taken any punishments or spankings! … » He laughed, and I was proud.

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