Mbappe vs Platini – Why France’s finest can surpass Euro 84 legend

Yesterday, we looked back at Michel Platini's vintage Euro 1984 performance, as he bagged nine goals in just five matches as Les Bleus won their maiden major honours on home turf.

Today, we will be exploring why, and how, Kylian Mbappe might emulate the French legend's exploits 40 years on.

Mbappe vs Platini – our call

The Golden boot favourite Kylian Mbappe has already shown on numerous occasions during his international career that he is capable of shining on the very biggest of stages. Across his three major tournaments to date, Mbappe has scored eight in nine knockout stage appearances.

That includes four World Cup final goals in what has already been an astonishing career, and some more forensic examination backs up those who believe he can emulate Platini.

Numbers currently favour PSG man

Despite still being only 25, Mbappe has already won five more international caps than Platini finished his career with. He has also scored five more goals, giving him a slightly superior average of 0.60 goals per game for his country, compared to Platini’s 0.57.

There's also the glaring fact that Mbappe potentially has two more games to match Platini's Euro '84 haul.

His domestic form, if successfully carried over to the upcoming Euros, will also boost his chances. He exceeded 40 goals for his club this season in all competitions, and there was little sign that the uncertainty surrounding his future in 2023/24 had any adverse impact on his game.

Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring in the 2022 World Cup final – Photo by Icon Sport

Testing group the first obstacle for Mbappe

Further to his incredible club-level numbers, Mbappe averaged a goal every 80 minutes in Ligue 1 this term, finishing eight clear of his nearest rival as the division’s top scorer.

Yet, it's worth remembering that players who dominate golden boot races at major international tournaments often do much of the damage in the group stage, especially in fixtures against the weaker opponents.

But there are no rank outsiders in Group D, with every participant currently being ranked inside FIFA's top-30 and every team except Austria making it to the 2022 World Cup knockout stage just 18 months ago.

Mbappe celebrates success in Barcelona with his soon-to-be ex-teammates (Photo by Bagu Blanco / Pressinphoto / Icon Sport) – Photo by Icon Sport

Mbappe's big-game experience will be crucial

France will most likely need to reach at least the semi-final stage for Mbappe to have a chance of breaking Platini’s record for goals in an individual Euros. The French fell short three years ago, when Mbappe ended a goalless Euros by missing a penalty against Switzerland.

However, there was a sharp redemption arc over the following 17 months, even if silverware wasn't forthcoming. He netted a hat-trick in the 2022 World Cup final, ending up as the king of the desert on an individual level with eight goals.

Overcoming such personal hardship is a trait that separates good players from immortals who do as Platini did back in 1984, so we anticipate a close-run battle for Mbappe to emulate the French legend.

Mark is a freelance football writer based in Madrid. He regularly attends and covers La Liga matches around Spain, whilst also following football across Europe.