First, we lost Lionel Messi. Now Qatar-backed French football champions Paris Saint-Germain may be facing the loss of another of the game’s biggest stars, Kylian Mbappe.
The 24-year-old Mbappe, one of the world’s most famous athletes and a key part of the club’s plans to reshape its identity around France’s top talent, will not renew his contract, which expires next June. was reported to PSG in a letter. A senior official familiar with the talks between Mbappe and PSG was not authorized to speak publicly about the talks due to their sensitivity.
Mbappe’s decision could force PSG to consider selling a spot as early as this summer rather than risk losing him for free when his contract expires. If the club accepts an offer to sign Mbappe, PSG are expected to demand well over $200 million, possibly breaking the player’s world record.
The executive said PSG officials were surprised by Mbappe’s letter and learned of it when they were first contacted by a French news agency that 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 declined to comment on the letter or how the club was made aware of Mbappe’s intentions. first reported French sports newspaper L’Equipe reported.
PSG faced a similar crisis over Mbappe’s future last summer. The player, who was out of contract at the time, was on the verge of joining Real Madrid, but his last-ditch effort and cold-blooded cash convinced him to stay in Paris. Retaining him is a top priority for Qatar, which has funded PSG for more than a decade, and is keen to keep the team’s biggest star in its colors for the men’s World Cup year. rice field.
Mbappe’s final deal was a two-year contract with a player option for a third season. In Mbappe’s letter, a copy of which was seen by The New York Times, Mbappe told the team he did not intend to exercise the option. This means that his current contract, and possibly his relationship with PSG, will end at the end of next season – unless PSG has a deal – find a team willing to pay to get him sooner. rice field.
Once again, Real Madrid is the most likely destination for Mbappe. Real Madrid were his favorite team as a boy and the Spanish club that offered him the most expensive contract ever just a year ago.
Since then, Mbappe’s star has only grown, notably at the Qatar World Cup where he led France to the final against Messi and Argentina. Mbappe scored all three of his side’s goals in a thrilling final that Argentina won on penalties, almost single-handedly leading France to their second successive title.
Messi and Mbappe then returned to Paris to help PSG win their second straight French league title.
Mbappe said he wanted to leave PSG just days after Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez answered in the affirmative to questions from fans about whether the Spanish club would sign Mbappe. Mr. Perez replied that he would.But this year is different.That may be about to change.
In an interview with The Times last summer ahead of the European season and the World Cup, Mbappe spoke of his admiration for Real Madrid for inviting him to Spain to train before he was a teenager. towards him from a poster on his bedroom wall when he was a child. After being invited to train in Madrid, Mbappe vowed to one day return to the club, but his refusal of a record offer from Madrid to re-sign with PSG has raised doubts about whether that dream will come true. he said.
“You never know what could happen,” said Mbappe at the time, admitting the team put his professional career on the deepest trajectory, even though he never played for Real Madrid. rice field. “I’ve never been there, but it looks like a house or something like that.”
Real Madrid’s participation in last year’s negotiations helped drive Mbappe’s price up. When Real Madrid offered him a three-year deal worth more than $250 million, PSG were forced to respond with an even more lavish deal, including an opt-out clause they now plan to exercise.
PSG weren’t particularly saddened by Messi’s return after two seasons in France, but they could lose Mbappe, a French national treasure who grew up in Paris-Bainlieu, a ring of suburbs and satellite cities surrounding the capital. would signal a crisis. A serious crisis over the direction of the club.
Mbappe has almost escaped the ire of club supporters and won another French title. His successes, which are now so commonplace that they are rarely celebrated, included failures in Europe’s biggest prize money, the Champions League. soccer.
During his final months with the team, Messi was the subject of contempt. He was jeered at by fans during the match and was given a two-week suspension by the club after his late-season truancy leave to Saudi Arabia. Fans this season also voiced their anger at other key players, including Brazilian Neymar, who, along with Messi and Mbappe, formed one of football’s most feared fronts.
After signing an extension with PSG in 2022, Mbappe said in an interview in New York that his decision to stay was partly due to his desire not to leave the club as a free agent. commission. Now the club and Mbappe are in exactly the same situation.
Under his current contract, Mbappe had until July 31 to inform the club if he would automatically extend his contract on terms that the club considered the richest in European football. For months before sending the letter this week, Mbappe’s family and lawyers had been discussing a new multi-year deal with the club.
His apparent desire to move has attracted France last year, even enlisting French President Emmanuel Macron to convince Mbappe to stay in France in defense of the World Cup title he won in 2018. It could mean a repeat of the same melodrama. .
PSG’s biggest obstacle to beating Mbappe again isn’t financial, it’s sporting. Despite routine domestic success, the team seems to be in perpetual peril behind the scenes. Already, they are facing a rebuilding on and off the field, including hiring a new coach for their second consecutive summer.
Messi’s departure is expected, the player wants to transfer to Inter Miami in the United States, and the club is positive about releasing Neymar as the system is reorganized. Losing Mbappe in such circumstances could also plunge a team long known as stars into a worrying period of uncertainty.