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Mbappé stays at PSG after rejecting Real Madrid

The PSG contract of one of soccer’s most coveted players was expiring in June, and Mbappé would have been available on a free transfer.

By: AP |
Updated: May 22, 2022 7:47:56 am
PSG's Kylian Mbappe warms up prior to the start of the French League One soccer match between Paris Saint Germain and Troyes at the Parc des Princes stadium in Paris, Sunday, May 8, 2022. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena)

Kylian Mbappé celebrated with fans at Parc des Princes after signing a new three-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday and turning down the chance again to join Real Madrid.

France’s World Cup-winning star stood on a platform near the center circle to address fans moments before PSG’s final home game against Metz.

“I’m very happy to continue this adventure, to stay in France, in Paris, my city. I always said Paris was my home,” Mbappe said. “I hope I will continue doing what I love the most, which is to carry on playing football and winning trophies.”

Mbappe then held up a PSG jersey with 2025 written on it as he stood alongside president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who had just announced the new deal.

“I have some very good news to give you. Kylian Mbappe is going to stay until 2025,” said Al-Khelaifi, barely heard as fans chanted Mbappe’s name over and over. “Kylian’s commitment to PSG represents an amazing milestone in the history of our club.”

The PSG contract of one of soccer’s most coveted players was expiring in June, and Mbappé would have been available on a free transfer.

But instead of joining 13-time European champion Madrid, which has chased him for so long, Mbappé decided to stay to try to deliver PSG its first Champions League title.

Madrid managed to beat PSG in the Champions League this season but not in the transfer market once again.

The Spanish giant’s failure to sign Mbappé was a significant blow for its president, Florentino Pérez, who has been trying to get the transfer over the line for a year.

PSG turned down Madrid’s official bid of 180 million euros ($190 million) — the same amount it signed Mbappé for from Monaco in 2017 — and even another reported amount of 200 million euros ($211 million) was not enough to sell its star despite him having only a year remaining on his contract. Mbappé said he wanted to leave at the end of last season but only on the right terms for PSG.

The wealth of the club’s Qatar sovereign wealth fund ownership linked to the emir allows PSG to resist bids that could be irresistible to other clubs without state funding.

The non-transfer reflects the shifting power dynamics in European football. Pérez was one of the architects of the European Super League breakaway from the UEFA Champions League that imploded within 48 hours in April 2021.

PSG opted out of joining the 12 Super League founders, allowing its president, Al-Khelaifi, to gain one of the most powerful roles in the game as head of the European Club Association.

Pérez is still pursuing his Super League dream in conflict with UEFA.

Meanwhile, Spanish league president Javier Tebas was irate.

“It is an INSULT to soccer that PSG is going to renew Mbappé with huge quantities of money (who knows from where and how they will pay them) after losses of 700 million euros in recent seasons and more than 600 million euros in salaries,” he wrote on Twitter. “Al-Khelafi is as dangerous as the Super League.”

Mbappé, who starred for France at the 2018 World Cup, would have been a statement signing for Pérez — especially if he had lured Mbappé away from a team that emerged as a rival only in the last decade through its Qatari funding.

But the energy expended in pursuing the transfer, and optimism from Madrid, which is chasing its record-extending 14th European Cup win when it meets Liverpool in next Saturday’s Champions League final in Paris, has come to nothing.

When Mbappé won the league’s best player award for the third time last Sunday, he said his mind was basically made up but didn’t say which way.

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The tension between the clubs was evident when PSG was knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 by Madrid in March — despite leading 2-0 overall with two Mbappé goals — and Al-Khelaifi remained under UEFA investigation for allegedly confronting match officials after the loss.

Madrid is being thwarted yet again, having tried to sign Mbappé after he left Monaco in 2017 — and even before that.

He visited Madrid’s facilities at age 14, and was greeted by France great Zinedine Zidane, but he instead chose to launch his stellar career at Monaco.

Mbappé’s first professional goal came at the age of 17 years, 62 days, which beat the Monaco club record held by Thierry Henry.

Henry is France’s record scorer with 51. Mbappé is already on 26 and may well overtake him as a PSG player.

He is PSG’s second-highest scorer with 168 and could surpass Edinson Cavani’s record of 200 next season.

He was looking to add to his league-leading tally of 25 later Saturday in the season-ending home game against struggling Metz alongside teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar.

The glittering attacking trio, which hasn’t clicked as expected this season, will play together again next season.

However, Mbappé misses out on the chance to play alongside France teammate Karim Benzema for Madrid in what would have been a devastating partnership and the envy of Europe. Over the past year they have been prolific together for Les Bleus and both netted when France won the Nations League final.

Another one of the world’s coveted young forwards is Erling Haaland, who is leaving Borussia Dortmund for English powerhouse Manchester City.

La Liga calls the Mbappe deal ‘scandalous’

The Spanish league will file a complaint against Paris Saint-Germain over the renewal of Kylian Mbappé’s contract, saying the “scandalous” agreement attacks the economic stability of European soccer.

The league’s announcement on Saturday came after Mbappé’s decision to stay with PSG instead of joining Spanish powerhouse Real Madrid.

The league said in a statement it will file the complaint to UEFA, the European Union and French administrative and fiscal authorities to “defend the economic ecosystem of European football and its sustainability.”

The league said the agreement puts “at risk hundreds of thousands of jobs and the integrity of the sport, not only in European competitions, but also in domestic leagues.”

“It is scandalous that a club like PSG, which last season reported losses of more than 220 million euros ($232 million) after accumulating losses of more than 700 million euros ($739 million) in prior seasons (while reporting sponsorship income at doubtful valuation), with a squad cost around 650 million ($686 million) for this season, can close such an agreement, while those clubs that could afford the hiring of the player without seeing their wage bill compromised, are without being able to sign him.”

The league has filed complaints against PSG to UEFA over non-compliance with financial fair play rules in the past. UEFA initially sanctioned the French club but the Court of Arbitration for Sport reversed the sanctions in a “bizarre decision,” according to the league.

“PSG is assuming an impossible investment, seeing that it has an unacceptable wage bill and large financial losses in prior seasons. It is violating current UEFA and French economic control rules,” the league said. “This behavior 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.”

Spanish league president Javier Tebas has often attacked state-owned clubs such as Paris Saint-Germain and Manchester City for what he calls their disregard to financial fair play rules.

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He tweeted after news broke that Mbappé was staying with PSG that it was an “INSULT to soccer.”

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