Kylian Mbappe is eagerly anticipating another meeting with his childhood idol Cristiano Ronaldo, whose posters adorned his bedroom walls, as France faces Portugal in the European Championship quarterfinal on Friday. Mbappe first encountered the Portuguese star when he was just 10 years old, boldly requesting his boots after sneaking into the press area following the 2009 Champions League match between Olympique de Marseille and Real Madrid. He continues to view the 39-year-old as a role model.

"It's a privilege to compete against him, everyone is aware of my admiration for him. We keep in touch. He inquires about my life and offers me advice, which is a great honor, especially considering his impact on football," Mbappe shared at a press conference.

"He's unique... there will never be another Cristiano Ronaldo. He has defined football. He inspires and has inspired generations. He has scored goals, won cups, and his resume speaks volumes." Mbappe expressed his respect but hopes Ronaldo won't be as pleased on Friday, as he aims for France to advance to the semifinals.

Mbappe anticipates a close match, emphasizing that "small details" will be crucial at the Volksparkstadion. "The Euros are always a close contest, it's a very challenging competition for us. Now only top teams remain, and you must be meticulous in every aspect, whether attacking or defending," he noted.

During training, improvements were made, focusing on finishing and intensity. "We did our best with the time we had. But we're prepared and eager to compete tomorrow," Mbappe said. France had four days to recover since their close 1-0 victory over Belgium on Monday, which also allowed Mbappe more time to adjust to the face mask he has worn since fracturing his nose in their tournament opener.

He previously described the mask as horrible but on Thursday softened his criticism. "To be honest, I'm fortunate because without the mask, I wouldn't be here, playing. I should be grateful for the mask. I shared my feelings, and that won't change until the end of the competition," he stated.