At first he lost to Lionel Messi. Now, Paris Saint-Germain, the French football champions backed by Qatar, could face the loss of one of the game’s biggest stars: Kylian Mbappe.
Mbappe, 24, one of the most marketable athletes in the world and a cornerstone of the club’s plans to rebuild its identity around a group of top French talent, has told Paris Saint-Germain that he will not renew his contract when it expires next June, according to The newspaper. British Guardian. To an executive familiar with the discussions between Mbappe and Paris Saint-Germain, the CEO was not authorized to speak publicly about the talks, given their sensitive nature.
Mbappe’s decision may force Paris Saint-Germain to consider a move he would prefer to avoid: selling Mbappe’s playing rights as soon as this summer, rather than risk losing him for nothing when his deal expires next year. If the club takes in offers for Mbappe, PSG can expect him to fetch a price well in excess of $200m that could surpass the player’s world record.
Senior PSG officials were surprised by Mbappe’s letter, according to the CEO, and learned of it after they were first contacted by a French news outlet in which they claimed to have received a copy before it was sent to the club. A spokeswoman for Mbappe did not respond to a request for comment. PSG representatives also did not comment on the letter or how the club was informed of Mbappe’s intentions, which were first reported By the French sports newspaper L’Equipe.
Paris Saint-Germain faced a similar crisis over Mbappe’s future just last summer, as the striker, whose contract expired at the time, was on the verge of joining Real Madrid before a last-gasp attempt, cold and cold money convinced him to sign a new deal. kept him in Paris. Keeping him in France was a priority for Qatar, which has funded PSG for more than a decade and was keen to keep its team’s biggest star in the fold in a year when it was hosting the World Cup.
The contract Mbappé eventually signed was a two-year deal, with a player option for a third season. In his letter, a copy of which was seen by The New York Times, Mbappe told the team he would not exercise the option, which means his current contract, and most likely his association with PSG, will expire after next season – unless PSG finds a team willing to pay to get him. sooner.
Once again, the most likely destination for Mbappe is Real Madrid, the Spanish club that was Mbappe’s favorite when he was young and who offered him the richest contract in its history a year ago.
Since then, Mbappe’s star has grown, particularly in the World Cup in Qatar, where he led France to the final against Argentina’s Messi. Mbappe single-handedly wrestled the second consecutive championship title against France by scoring all three of his team’s goals in a match that ended 3-3 before Argentina eventually won on penalties.
Both stars then returned to Paris and helped lead PSG to their second consecutive Ligue 1 championship.
His stated desire to leave the club comes just a few days after Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Perez, responded positively to a question from a fan about whether the Spanish club would hire Mbappe. Perez replied thatBut not this year.“
Last summer, in an interview with The Times ahead of the European season and the World Cup, Mbappe discussed his admiration for Real Madrid, the club he was invited to train with as a youngster and whose stars once stared at him from posters. on the wall of his childhood bedroom. He said he then vowed to return one day, but his decision to turn down a record-breaking offer from Madrid last year to re-sign with PSG raised doubts about whether his dream would ever come true.
“You never know what’s going to happen,” Mbappe said at the time, acknowledging that although he didn’t play for Real Madrid, the team had revolved around his professional career in the deepest way. “You’ve never been there, but it looks like your house, or something.”
The presence of Real Madrid in the negotiations helped to present Mbappe’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain. When Real Madrid made an offer worth more than $ 250 million over three years, Paris Saint-Germain was forced to confront him with a richer contract, a contract that included a clause that he had now announced. intention to practice.
While PSG weren’t particularly sad to see Messi’s back after his two seasons in France, the potential loss of Mbappe, a French national treasure set up on the outskirts of Paris, and the ring of suburbs and cities that surround the capital, would herald the loss of Mbappe. Big crisis about the direction of the club.
Mbappe had largely escaped the wrath of the club’s supporters for a season in which he claimed another French title, a success now so commonplace that it is hardly celebrated, but another year of failure in the Champions League, European football’s biggest prize. .
Messi, in his final months with the team, became an object of scorn: fans jeered him during matches and the club suspended him for two weeks after an unauthorized late-season leave to Saudi Arabia. This season, fans have also expressed their anger at other key players, including Brazilian Neymar who, along with Messi and Mbappe, formed the most feared attacking line in football. With the mood deteriorating towards the end of the season, the club was forced to provide extra security outside the homes of some of its stars.
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