The France international has shocked the footballing world by opting against joining Real Madrid despite the fact the switch seemed as good as done after last summer’s saga
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Kylian Mbappe has confirmed he has penned a new three-year contract at Paris Saint-Germain and will remain in the French capital for the foreseeable despite Real Madrid’s intense interest.
In what was the transfer saga of last summer, Los Blancos applied huge pressure in their pursuit for his signature and submitted mega-money bids worth up to £200million to try and force the Parisian’s hands. Remarkably, with a year left to run on his deal at that time, PSG stood firm and rejected Real Madrid’s offers.
What followed has been an entire season’s worth of speculation as to where Mbappe would play his football beyond this summer. Given the context of the forward’s original contract expiring this summer, the consensus in Spain appeared to be that it was a foregone conclusion Mbappe would sign for the club as a free agent.
Speaking before the winter window at the turn of the calendar year, Real Madrid president Florentino Perez told Spanish outlet El Debate: “In January we will have news on Mbappe. Hopefully, everything can be sorted on January 1.”
Obviously, things were not sorted and thus the void created ensured more speculation and rumours would follow. As the summer edged closer, just about everyone associated with the player, PSG and indeed Real Madrid was pressed for comment on Mbappe’s future.
Mbappe himself stoked the rumour mill further with an interview on the eve of the January transfer window, as he explained how “life experience” is more important to him than money.
HAVE YOUR SAY! Has Mbappe made the right decision to remain at PSG? Comment below
“Human ties are much more fascinating (than money),” Mbappe told Paris Match (via RMC Sport ). “It’s the life experience that counts, more than making money. “I am thirsty above all for discoveries , trips, meetings with players, different cultures. I have a quiet relationship with money: I know it’s important, I’m happy to have it, but that’s not what drives me every second of the day.”
At his press conference earlier this month, PSG boss Mauricio Pochettino kept his cards close to his chest as he explained: “I don’t know his decision, it’s something personal between Kylian Mbappe and the club. I may have inklings – but it’s up to Kylian and the club to communicate on it.”
Mbappe’s mother went some way to revealing that the decision is not one motivated by money before it had been confirmed, as both clubs offered the 23-year-old a similar deal. “We have an agreement with both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain,” Fayza Lamari told Kora Plus. “Kylian will now decide. The two offers from PSG and Real Madrid are almost identical. It’s up to Kylian now.”
Just a few months ago, Mbappe was rumoured to have penned a pre-contractual agreement with the Spanish giants. Even more recently, personal terms had been sorted and all that was left to do was simply wait until the season had finished.
However, PSG sources have since told the Athletic how Madrid’s confidence that the young star was always going to arrive at the Bernabeu was always misplaced. What a statement the French outfit have put out to the rest of the footballing world.
The final blow came in the form of a WhatsApp message from Mbappe sent to Perez, informing the Real Madrid chief of his decision. “I inform you that I have decided to stay at PSG,” Mbappe’s text read. The forward was gracious in his rejection.
“I want to thank you for the opportunity you have given me to play for Madrid, the club I have been a fan of since I was a child,” Mbappe went on.
Given the well-documented links between PSG and Qatar that stem from the ownership, it would have been perceived as a blow to the reputation of the latter just months before the eyes of the planet are on them for the World Cup if they were to lose Mbappe to Madrid.
Instead, PSG now look every inch the European powerhouse to have kept hold of their prized asset, fending off arguably the biggest club side on the planet in the process. The Parisians already boast seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi and Neymar within their ranks, but it is Mbappe who is viewed as the face of the PSG brand.
Meanwhile, Real Madrid are left scratching their heads as to who their next ‘Galactico’ signing will be after missing out on both Mbappe and Erling Haaland. La Liga in general are desperately searching for a new face, as replacing the likes of Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo has proved a tall order.