Kylian Mbappe or Gigi Donnarumma?
Kylian Mbappe has played for Monaco, won the Ligue 1 title and will probably win it again this season, turning out for PSG. He had a terrific breakout season last term, scoring an unbelievable 26 goals in 44 games, pretty impressive for an 18 year old. He was single handedly responsible for dragging Monaco into the semifinals of the UEFA Champions League and was indispensable in Ligue 1, playing alongside Radamel Falcao and scoring 15 goals in 29 appearances.
Meanwhile, Gianluigi Donnarumma has been a phenomenon for AC Milan. He made his first team debut at the age of 16, and instantly became the first choice goalkeeper for them. In the 2016-17 Serie A season, Donnarumma did not miss even a single Serie A game, playing 41 times in total. Donnarumma has so far kept 34 clean sheets, 31 of which were in the Serie A. Donnarumma removed club legend Christian Abbiatti and former Real Madrid shot stopper Diego Lopez to become the first choice goalkeeper.
Painting a statistical story:
Let us first take a look at Gianluigi Donnarumma. He has played behind a leaky defence, consisting of players way past their best in the likes of Luca Antonelli, Philippe Mexes, a young Alessio Romagnoli, Alex, Gustavo Gomez and Cristian Zapata. It is only recently Leonardo Bonucci and Alessio Romagnoli have found a strong partnership at the back, as Milan have conceded just 3 goals since the winter break this season, defeating AS Roma with authority in the recently concluded match.
Donnarumma has made an average of 2.76 saves per game, supporting the fact that he has been playing behind mediocre defenders and making a lot of saves. His average of 2.63 saves per goal also means that Donnarumma saves every three shot on target on an average. This is particularly good, given the fact that Milan have finished seventh, sixth and currently occupying 7th position in the Serie A. Donnarumma has also made his full Italian debut and has been tipped as the long term successor of Gigi Buffon.
Kylian Mbappe, on the other hand, has scored a total of 36 goals in French League and Europe combined, averaging 2.8 shots per game with a shooting accuracy of an impressive61%. This means that more often than not, Mbappe’s shot hits the target. Mbappe has also been creating a lot of chances, showing his creativity by making 1.24 chances per game.
Mbappe has been privileged to play alongside some of the best young talents in the world at Monaco, with Thomas Lemar, Bakayoko, Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy, meshing with experienced players like Radamel Falcao and Joao Moutinho. After making a big money move to PSG, initially on loan, Mbappe has really upped his game, scoring two-thirds of the total goals he had scored at Monaco already, creating a lot more chances with 11 assists and 41 key passes. Already surpassing his assists and key passes tally recorded with Monaco.
While playing alongside Neymar, Edinson Cavani, Julian Draxler and Angel di Maria helps, the astronomical improvement and involvement in the game shown by Mbappe has meant that he has not been forgotten behind the big star names, with his contributions leading to 27 goals in total.
Looking at the story portrayed by the statistics, there really seems very little to choose between the two, but one thing immediately pops out. While it can be argued that Leonardo Jardim masterminded Monaco’s title charge, Mbappe mostly played alongside quality players. While Mbappe ran alongside Falcao and Thomas Lemar, Donnarumma had to rescue his team more often than not because of the poor quality in front of him in the middle of a big dip in supremacy of AC Milan.
Thus, Gianluigi Donnarumma just edges out Kylian Mbappe as the best teenager playing in Europe’s top 5 leagues.