Interview by: Wala Amara
Luca Caioli most recently released his intriguing and much-anticipated brand new book charting the meteoric rise of 19-year-old France and Paris Saint-Germain superstar and FIFA World Cup winner, Kylian Mbappé.
The internationally renowned SKY Italia and Corriere della Serra sports journalist and popular author wrote “Mbappé” with acclaimed French writer, Cyril Collot. Caioli has previously co-authored a variety of popular international football books, such as international favorites “Messi: More Than A Superstar”, “Ronaldo: The Obsession for Perfection”, “Neymar” and “Greizmann: The Making of France’s Mini Maestro” to name a few of the Italian’s popular releases.
Caioli has written for the critically acclaimed leading national Italian newspaper La Gazzetta dello Sport, coupled alongside L’Unita, Il Manifesto, La Repubblica, as well as contributing to esteemed Italian TV network Rai 3, United Kingdom’s ITV and Euronews TV in France.
Wala Amara briefly caught up with “Mbappé” author and SKY Italia and Corriere della Serra Analyst, Luca Caioli, to insightfully discuss the Italian’s latest book about the most dominant teenage football sensation in the entire world today, Kylian Mbappé.
Wala Amara: Mr. Caioli, congratulations on your most recent book “Mbappe”. Now, what should a soccer fanatic expect from the Mbappé book?
Luca Caioli: Well, me and my team, we try to tell the story to the people. A story of a gamin [young boy] as we like to say it in France, at 19 years old, who happens to be incredible. He (Mbappé) is similar to Ronaldo (Nazario De Lima) or Pelé who scored a goal in the World Cup Finals. The only one who did that before (Kylian) Mbappé at that age was Pelé. We try to tell a story that is more simple. A story that can be read by a boy who is eight-years-old and a man who is 80 years old.
Wala Amara: What would you say was different about this book when you were preparing it?
Luca Caioli: To see a young boy that climbed the ladder so quickly. All the achievements that he has are enormous. From the number of goals scored to the titles that he has, at 19 years old. This was the biggest surprise for me when I was writing this book (“Mbappe”). Also, he is from the 93rd district in Paris. A bad neighborhood and that did not help him at the beginning. But his dad (Wilfried), who is of Cameroonian descent, and who happens to be a former coach himself helped him and his mom did as well. He was getting big contracts such as the one from PSG at this age.
Wala Amara: Is Mbappé the youngest footballer that you’ve wrote a book about?
Luca Caioli: I started writing about (Lionel) Messi when he was twenty years old, the book of Messi was the youngest before Mbappé, so I guess yes, he is the youngest.
Wala Amara: What is the purpose or the message that you try to convey through a book about football?
Luca Caioli: There is a lot of supporters, boys and girls that love to read. The biggest satisfaction that I’ve got in my career as a football writer is always those kids that write to me to say ‘I read your book. I don’t like reading, but I read your book’. (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Messi, I get letters from the United States, Canada. Teachers have given my books to the kids in their class to make the kids read because they usually don’t like reading. There was one that liked (Cristiano) Ronaldo, Messi and Mbappé. They read the books and they got to know the player’s vision through them. My biggest satisfaction is when people read the books even when they don’t necessarily like reading and the stories are like any other stories, some are more complicated than others but it’s important to tell them, and you help us with your journalistic contribution. I try and be as authentic as possible.
Wala Amara: What’s the biggest difference between the current footballers and the old ones?
Luca Caioli: I don’t think that there is a big difference between Messi and Mbappé because they are somehow in the same generation. But if we were to compare Mbappé and (Diego) Maradona, then we would notice a difference. There was no cable TV before to know who Maradona was outside of Argentina. You wouldn’t watch the Napoli games and Argentina games. Now supporters are all over the world. There are Liverpool fans in Kuala Lumpur (Malaysia) that cheer for Mohamed Salah. Globalization changed football. Now being a footballer is a brand. It’s a brand that starts with an athlete at age 17, 18 and this changes everything I think.
Wala Amara: Are you going to publish an updated version of the Mbappé book in the upcoming years?
Luca Caioli: If he continues like this, he scored four goals in a game. He holds a World Cup Championship title with two UEFA awards and he will possibly be a Ballon d’Or holder soon. So there will certainly be an updated version in the upcoming years.
“Mbappé” by Luca Caioli and Cyril Collot is now available in the US on Amazon https://www.amazon.com/Mbapp%C3%A9-Luca-Caioli/dp/1785784188/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1540814834&sr=8-1&keywords=mbappe+book