Kylian Mbappe started 2022 in sensational form with a second-half hat trick in PSG's 4-0 Coupe de France round of 32 thrashing of City Football Group-linked Vannes OC. Monday's result could be the start of a big couple of months for the French superstar and Paris Saint-Germain.
The 23-year-old is now into the final six months of his current contract at Parc des Princes with UEFA Champions League last 16 opponents Real Madrid circling Mbappe. But he did not let that distract him as he returned to action full of focus and hunger.
PSG took the lead at Stade de la Rabine through an unmarked Presnel Kimpembe from a Nuno Mendes corner after 28 minutes to lead at halftime before Mbappe took center stage on the hour mark when he was teed up by Kimpembe from inside his own half.
The former AS Monaco man's second was a majestic finish from the edge of the box from Xavi Simons' first professional assist before another youngster, Eric Junior Dina Ebimbe, assisted Mbappe's third and final goal.
"I am happy," said Mbappe, who scored goals in the 59th, 71st and 76th minutes. "We took it seriously. It was not an easy game for us. We were present. We played and did what we needed to do. We are happy to come away with qualification. For 2022, I wish for health, happiness and many titles with PSG and France."
While all the talk will focus on the possibility of a move to Santiago Bernabeu, Mbappe is concentrating on his current situation and was even the first player to return to training after the winter break when he arrived a day earlier than his teammates.
Whether or not these are the France international's final few months with Les Parisiens remains to be seen but he certainly appears to be primed to make 2022 his best year yet with three early goals ahead of this coming Sunday's trip to Olympique Lyonnais in Ligue 1.
PSG's win in Vannes means that they are into the hat for the next round, which will be drawn on Tuesday ahead of the final clash between northern rivals RC Lens and Lille OSC with the likes of Monaco and Olympique de Marseille also qualified for the final 16.
PSG's Lionel Messi missed the cup clash after testing positive for COVID-19 while Neymar continues to recover from injury and will likely miss the best part of another month of action as the showdown with Real looms large.
"Contract situations can affect your if you do not have the maturity to handle it," head coach Mauricio Pochettino said of Mbappe's situation before the win over Vannes. "Kylian has that necessary maturity. The club knows the situation. We do not think that this is a problem. We hope that he will stay for several more years and that his current performance level will continue."
On this form, he leaves little doubt as to who is the most integral attacking talent to PSG's chances of domestic and continental success.