France defender Raphael Varane has described Kylian Mbappe as "a young alien" after the Paris Saint-Germain forward helped to inspire Les Bleus to glory at the World Cup.
Mbappe won the FIFA Young Player award for his performances in Russia, where he scored four goals, including one in France's 4-2 victory over Croatia in the final.
When asked about the experience of playing alongside Mbappe, Real Madrid defender Varane – who faced the 19-year-old in the Champions League last season – joked that the prodigious attacker was from another world.
"I have known some aliens," Varane told L'Equipe. "I think this is the first time I have met a young alien.
"Normally I meet extraterrestrials when they are 25, 30 years old. At the World Cup, I met one under the age of 20.
"With him, everything goes faster. When I talk tactically with him before the matches, I do not have time to finish my sentences before he has already understood and assimilated what I'm saying."
Best Young Player of the WorldCup pic.twitter.com/CLOMJX3ro1— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) July 16, 2018
As well as giving him the chance to marvel at Mbappe, the World Cup allowed Varane the opportunity to make his own mark on football's most famous competition.
The 25-year-old said his performances in the finals helped him to shake off criticism that has dogged him during his hugely successful career, namely suggestions he is "too nice".
"Since I was seven years old, they say 'he's nice, he's nice'. Yes, I'm nice, but that's not all I am," said the Lille-born centre-back.
"You cannot have the career I'm having, staying at Real Madrid for seven years, without character.
"Sometimes, I was asked to play like [Sergio] Ramos, to play like any other, to be more aggressive, to be more this, more that.
"I have my style of play; it has not done too badly until now. People have wanted me to change and it annoys me.
"Do we ask Ramos to be someone else? We take him as he is; take me as I am. I'm proud that, at this World Cup, I have – in quotation marks – 'accepted myself as I am'."
|Federer dispatches Gojowczyk in Cincinnati|
|Stead succeeds Hesson as New Zealand coach|
|Duminy encouraged despite South Africa´s mixed results|
|Thiem withdraws from Cincinnati Masters|
|Edwards joins Ospreys in consultancy role|
|Former Arsenal and Barcelona player Song joins Sion|
|I´m very happy with what I have - Spalletti not desperate for Modric|
|Roethlisberger evaluated for concussion after practice|
|Brady ´absolutely´ expects to face Eagles|
|Rugby Championship 2018: Reasons for optimism and concern for Australia|
|Wentz ´gonna be close´ for Eagles opener|
|Cleveland ´victory fridges´ to unlock beer if Browns finally win|
|England´s Watson suffers injury setback|
|Mariners reinstate Cano after 80-game suspension|
|AEK Athens 2 Celtic 1 (3-2 agg): Rodgers´ men dumped out of Champions League|
|Alonso to leave F1: Paddock reacts to Spaniard´s exit|
|Roma sign midfielder N´Zonzi from Sevilla|
|Alonso to leave F1: Who will replace Fernando at McLaren?|
|Extraordinary Zidane is in Real Madrid´s past - Lopetegui|
|Alonso to leave F1: Then and now - how the grid, teams and calendar have changed since 2001|
|Wawrinka and Azarenka receive US Open wildcards|
|Parma sign Napoli pair Inglese and Grassi on loan|
|Sandakan castles Proteas before Sri Lanka squeeze home|
|Ronaldo sale won´t stop Real Madrid winning - Ramos|
|Predators sign Ryan Ellis to eight-year, $50M contract|
|Curran, Woakes, Rashid - who makes way for Stokes in England´s Test XI?|
|Griezmann well positioned for Ballon d´Or, says Simeone|
|Criscito: I was on Genoa bridge shortly before collapse|
|Alonso to leave F1: How the Spaniard´s numbers stack up to the greats|
|Rookie LB Roquan Smith finally signs Bears contract|
|De Villiers enjoying relief from ´unbearable´ Proteas pressure|
|Fernando Alonso to leave F1|
|Spalletti extends Inter contract|
|Godin, Koke, Griezmann and Juanfran named Atletico Madrid captains|
|Ronaldo out of hospital after illness|
|Fury: Beating Wilder and Joshua ´very easy´|
|Dickinson retires to take up academy coaching role|
|Cricket the ´sole focus´ for Stokes as he returns to England squad|
|Cheryshev moves to Valencia on loan|
|Mandzukic retires from Croatia duty after World Cup|
|Ben Stokes found not guilty of affray|
|Tottenham issue new stadium update and apology to fans|
|Chelsea flop Bakayoko moves to AC Milan on loan|
|Gabi urges Al Sadd team-mate Xavi to play on|
|Ronaldo leads UEFA Goal of the Season nominees|
|Federer: Djokovic could be caught up in US Open pressure|
|Ronaldo to Juventus a huge boost for Serie A – Matthaus|
|Werner would welcome Ozil Germany return|
|´Perfectionist´ Serena admits to ´unrealistic´ expectations in tennis and motherhood|
|Klopp praises Deschamps and his ´boring´ France|
|LaLiga 2018-19: Bale or Griezmann - Who will step into Ronaldo´s breach as Messi´s main rival?|
|Woods winning 15th major would be greatest comeback in sport – Faldo|
|Retiring Storm great Hoffman not giving up on Finals dream|
|Folau won´t change aerial approach in All Blacks showdown|
|Racism behind Sterling criticism, says ex-Arsenal star Wright|
|Eto´o joins Qatar SC following Ligue 1 links|
|UEFA Super Cup 2018-19: Atletico academy eclipsing Madrid, La Masia|
|UEFA Super Cup 2018-19: Should Real Madrid cash in on Modric?|
|Scintillating Serena sends warning, Azarenka survives opener|
|DeGrom strikes out 12, Mets hit 5 homers in win over Yankees|
|Djokovic needs nine MPs as Murray crashes out|
|Murray unsure of US Open readiness after Cincinnati exit|
|Van Dijk: Alisson making difference at Liverpool|
|Johnson saves eight MPs but Djokovic prevails|
|Federer anxious ahead of Cincinnati comeback|
|Tevez relishing Messi reunion|
|Ronaldo arrival has taken Juve forward in Europe – Nedved|
|Serena steamrolls Gavrilova in Cincinnati return|
|Packers QB Rodgers doesn´t regret criticising team-mates|
|Indians OF Martin recovering from life-threatening bacterial infection|