Project Mbappé: can a summer with France make forward smile again?

Kylian Mbappé’s career has been carefully planned but the end of his PSG stay was flat. Can the national team offer a reboot?

Cristiano Ronaldo was already 24 years old, with three Premier League titles, the Champions League and the Club World Cup on his honours list when the CR7 trademark was registered in June 2009, just under a year after it had been used for the first time to promote a line of underwear.

The Manchester United player had also scored 22 goals in 66 games for Portugal. He had taken part in three major international tournaments and reached the final of the 2004 European Championship. Everything – including a dream move to Real Madrid – was in place to monetise his on-field achievements as no other footballer had ever done before. Ronaldo was different. He had the talent, the looks and, more importantly, a near-exhibitionistic keenness to be filmed, photographed and admired.

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