Kylian Mbappé owes his first name to this famous religious and there is nothing banal about it

French football star, Kylian Mbappé doesn't have such a common first name and here's why.

Kylian Mbappé owes his first name to this famous religious and there is nothing banal about it

French football star, Kylian Mbappé doesn't have such a common first name and here's why.

Choosing a first name is never easy when you become parents, even if for some, it is sometimes obvious. In France, according to estimates from "L'Officiel des Noms 2024", a reference book on the issue, Alba could be the most distributed female first name for the year to come, supplanting the trio Louise, Ambre, Jade. Among the men, Gabriel should be the leader again ahead of Léo and Raphaël.

In 2018, after the Football World Cup and the coronation of the French team of a certain Kylian Mbappé, the first name Kylian had a significant jump in the ranking, returning to the top 100 after having fallen for several years. But since this "peak", the trend has been downward again with for example "only" 499 children bearing the first name Kylian in 2021.

But do you know why Kylian Mbappé, captain of the France team, has the first name Kylian? The attacker owes his first name to a certain Kilian of Würzburg, an Irish-born missionary bishop who preached Catholicism in Bavaria in the 7th century. He is often revered as a saint, also called "Saint Kilian" and is celebrated for his missionary work and commitment to the Christian faith. According to tradition, Kilian and his companions were martyred in 689. His feast day is celebrated on July 8 in the Catholic liturgical calendar.

And beyond the martyred missionary, the first name Kylian is not trivial for a sportsman: it is derived from the Gaelic term “ceallach” which translates as “struggle”. The site Signification-prenom.com indicates that it designates “a man who imposes his natural authority, his sober and reserved appearance, as well as the energy which emanates from him”. Doesn’t that remind you of anyone? Kylian can also mean "protest or church" if we refer to its precise etymology. Arriving in France around the mid-90s, it was initially rarely attributed before experiencing an explosion shortly before the 2010s.

But thanks to the football star, this first name has also become popular all over the world, particularly in Spain. The first baby born in 2024 bears the first name of the Parisian player as announced by the Spanish media Relevo, which observed that in total, 679 Kylians were recorded in Spain, including 292 between 2020 and 2022.

For the record, Kylian Mbappé, who calls himself a Christian, a believer, but not a practitioner, was in a private establishment in 6th and 5th grade, at the Collège de l'Assomption in Bondy, but not for religious reasons. “This college was more of a choice for calm, it gave me a framework that I needed because I was a turbulent, hyperactive child,” he explained to L’Obs in 2021.

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