French superstar Kylian Mbappé has decided to stay at Paris Saint-Germain rather than join Real Madrid, ending one of football’s biggest transfer sagas.
With Mbappé’s contract at the French giants running out at the end of the season, the 23-year-old’s next destination had been uncertain for months: Would he choose to stay at PSG or move to Madrid, the club he fell in love with as a kid?
But after months of speculation, Mbappé announced he would continue playing for the Parisian club, signing a three-year contract extension until 2025.
“I would like to announce that I have chosen to extend my contract at Paris Saint-Germain, and of course I am delighted,” Mbappe said. “I am convinced that here I can continue to grow at a club that provides everything necessary to perform at the highest level. I am also delighted to continue to play in France, the country where I was born, where I have grown up and where I have made my name.
“I would like to thank the President, Nasser Al-Khelaïfi, for his trust, his understanding and his patience. I would also like to thank all the fans of Paris Saint-Germain, both in France and around the world, for their support, especially in recent months. Together, side by side and ambitious, we will make magic in Paris.”
One of a kind
Mbappé had a historically fast start to life in professional football.
Having been placed into the AS Monaco first team as a teenager, he made his first team debut aged 16 years and 347 days. In doing so he became Monaco’s youngest-ever first team player, breaking the record set by France great Thierry Henry.
Mbappé broke another of Henry’s records a few months later, scoring his first goal and becoming the team’s youngest first team scorer.
During his first full season, Mbappé was a key member of a Monaco team that pipped PSG to the Ligue 1 title and also reached the Champions League semifinals. He scored 26 goals in 44 games.
It was his excellence that season which caught the eye of Les Parisiens, who moved quickly to sign the services of an 18-year-old Mbappé.
Mbappé, who was born in Paris, initially moved to PSG on a one-year loan before signing a permanent deal.
Neither club revealed the financial figures involved in the transfer, but a fee of $214 million has been widely reported, which would have made Mbappé the world’s second-most expensive player at the time – just behind his new teammate, Neymar.
In five full seasons in the French capital, Mbappé blossomed into a superstar, for both club and country.
He’s scored over 150 goals for PSG, winning four French league titles, three French Cups and two French league cups along the way.
He was also a key part of the squad that reached the 2020 Champions League Final, only to lose to Bayern Munich.
For the French national team, Mbappé has become a regular starter, playing a vital role in France’s 2018 World Cup victory, including scoring once in the final and being voted that tournament’s best young player.
Despite being part of one of the most expensively assembled club teams ever, Mbappé and PSG have struggled in the Champions League – one of the club’s main targets.
Season after season of dramatic and heartbreaking exits from the competition have happened with Mbappé looking forlorn, culminating in this year’s most recent meltdown against Real Madrid – in which PSG conceded three goals in 27 minutes to throw away a 2-0 aggregate lead.
But after it appeared he might be leaving, Mbappé announced he will in fact stay with the club until 2025.
‘It is scandalous’
Upon the announcement of Mbappé’s new deal, La Liga released a statement saying it will file a complaint about the deal over PSG’s “non-compliance with UEFA’s financial fair play.”
“LaLiga wishes to state that this type of agreement attacks the economic stability of European football, putting at risk hundreds of thousands of jobs and the integrity of the sport, not only in European competitions, but also in domestic leagues,” it said.
La Liga called the deal “scandalous,” saying it will file a complaint with UEFA, the French administrative and fiscal authorities and European Union authorities to “continue to defend the economic ecosystem of European football and its sustainability.”
“This behaviour demonstrates once more that state owned clubs do not respect and do not want to respect the rules of a sector as important as football. These rules are key to protect and sustain hundreds of thousands of jobs.
“This kind of behaviour led by Al-Khelaifi, president of PSG, and member of the UEFA Executive Committee and president of ECA, endangers European football on the same level as the European Super League.”