Since bursting onto the scene with Monaco in 2016, a move to Paris Saint-Germain and a charge to World Cup glory with France has made the 21-year-old one of the leading lights in football.
However, when it comes to choosing between Messi and Ronaldo on who to model his career path on, Mbappe acknowledged his switch from Monaco to PSG means he cannot follow in the footsteps of Barca's six-time Ballon d'Or winner.
"It's too late for me to carve out a career like Messi's, I would have had to stay at Monaco," Mbappe told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
"Without taking anything away from Messi, now I have to draw on Cristiano's career for inspiration.
"If you're French, obviously you would have grown up with [Zinedine] Zidane as your idol. After that, it was Cristiano, who I have been fortunate enough to have faced as an opponent, at club level and with the national team.
"I also love Brazilian players like Pele, Ronaldinho, Ronaldo and Kaka. And to the young players who look up to me, I'd like to send them a message from someone who believed in their dream, always giving the best they had to give, trying to push their own limits to be able to make a mark in sport."
Mbappe also believes Ronaldo gives Juventus an edge in the Champions League, a competition the Portugal captain has won five times, making the Serie A giants a favourite.
"Juventus are a strong side - they've shown that in the finals they've played during the past few seasons," said Mbappe, who has scored 21 goals in all competitions for PSG this term.
"They have always lacked something to give them the edge and now they have that in Cristiano. He's a player who makes you win major trophies.
"This year Juventus are among the favourites – along with the usual suspects – Real Madrid, Barcelona and Liverpool."