Kylian Mbappe is the "future of football" as Real Madrid fight to make him the next Galactico signing after Victor Sanchez compared the Paris Saint-Germain star to former team-mate Lionel Messi.
PSG lured Messi to the French capital after his contract expired at Barcelona, but the six-time Ballon d'Or winner's arrival has not changed Mbappe's stance, with the Frenchman eyeing an exit.
Long tipped to join Madrid, the LaLiga giants reportedly made a €160million offer for Mbappe – who is out of contract at the end of the season – but PSG are holding out for at least €220m.
Sanchez played alongside Messi at Barca, where he emerged from the club's youth system in 2005 and made his first-team debut in 2008 before joining and captaining rivals Espanyol.
The Spanish midfielder, now playing for Western United in Australia's A-League, compared Messi with his current PSG team-mate Mbappe, highlighting the growing need for speed in football.
"[Mbappe and Messi] are different," Sanchez told Stats Perform.
"It's true that football is changing towards a more physical concept, so much about quality. I believe that Messi, [Diego] Maradona, Ronaldinho were quality players in terms of having the ball. And Mbappe is the definition of where the football is going to; the new direction of football.
"A much more electric player, fast. So similar to what is emerging – Ansu Fati, for instance.
"Players with speed like [Erling] Haaland, who is a good player, but not as good as Messi technically.
"The future of football is more physical, more fast, quicker, where teams like France or Belgium or Bayern Munich with strong players, it is what will reign in football in a few years."
Mbappe has scored 133 goals and provided 58 assists across 174 games over four years at PSG since arriving from Monaco.
The 22-year-old's 191 goal involvements since his debut rank third among players in Europe's top five leagues in that time, behind Messi (236) and Bayern Munich superstar Robert Lewandowski (213).
Mbappe was on target as Mauricio Pochettino's PSG overcame Brest 4-2 in Ligue 1 last week.
PSG's Mbappe scored his fourth Ligue 1 headed goal, his first with for club and his first since March 2017 with Monaco at Caen.
Mbappe has been decisive in eight consecutive Ligue 1 games (eight goals, three assists), his second-best run in the top-flight, behind February-November 2020 (10).