Teenage World Cup winner Kylian Mbappe is giving his bonus to an association that puts sports in the lives of hospitalised children.
The head of Premiers de Cordee (First in Line), Sebastien Ruffin, says two weeks before France clinched the World Cup he was informed that Mbappe would give the group his bonus if the team qualified for the quarterfinals.
French Football Federation chief Noel Le Graet confirmed in Sunday’s Journal du Dimanche that other associations also would benefit from the France forward’s largesse, “about 300,000 euros ($350,000).”
Mbappe mentors the kids, and Ruffin said the player has “very good contact” with them: “I sometimes feel he gets more pleasure playing with kids than they do.”
‘This is Bondy, this is Mbappe’
The Greater Paris area, particularly its diverse, sprawling suburbs, is arguably the most fertile breeding ground in the world for top-class footballing talent.
Mbappe, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante, Blaise Matuidi, Anthony Martial, Kingsley Coman and Algerian Riyad Mahrez were all either born, raised or had their footballing educations in the Ile-de-France.
One such area is the commune of Bondy.
The town hall, a dreary, gray building, is adorned with a big red banner, which reads: “Thank you Kylian, all of the people of Bondy are with you!”
The reputation of the banlieues — suburbs on the outskirts of Paris — suffered in the aftermath of riots and terrorist attacks, with some being labeled “no-go zones.”
Nabil Larbi is a municipal councilor at Bondy’s town hall, but he was also neighbors with Mbappe when the pair were growing up in the commune.
He believes Mbappe’s success — and the achievement of such a diverse national team — serves as a reminder of the talent that lies within the banlieues.
“Mbappe is a pure product of Bondy,” Larbi tells CNN. “Mbappe is from a mixed family; his father is from Cameroon, his mother is from Algeria and he is a mix of that. This is the image of Bondy and the image of the French team.
“Now we have to see diversity as a positive thing. When we usually hear about the suburbs, when we hear about Bondy, we hear only negative things.
“But when you come into Bondy, you realize it’s ‘fake news’ because you are welcome, everybody is welcome. It is pleasant to live in Bondy. I have been in Bondy for 35 years and here I can say that diversity is a strength for the town.