Kylian Mbappé has denied that his new three-year PSG contract gives him the power to influence transfers, sack the club’s manager and appoint his sporting director of choice, insisting he “will not go above the role of a footballer”.
It had been suggested that the 23-year-old’s dramatic last-minute decision to reject Real Madrid and stay at PSG had been swayed not only by the vast finances on offer in Paris – thought to include a salary of £20m after tax and a signing bonus in excess of £100m – but also the lure of more control within the club. This is particularly relevant with the imminent exit of manager, Mauricio Pochettino, and sporting director, Leanardo, with Luís Campos, who enjoyed a good relationship with Mbappé at Monaco until 2016, one of the frontrunners to replace the Brazilian.
“Honestly, I don’t know [Campos], but yes, there could be new players arriving,” confirmed PSG president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, on Monday, who also dismissed complaints made by La Liga president, Javier Tebas, that the money behind Mbappé’s new contract was scandalous and an insult to football. “There are other clubs in your country that could pay more,” remarked Al-Khelaifi in a barbed comment to the Spanish press at the Parc des Princes press conference.
Mbappé, meanwhile, stressed that the decision to stay at PSG was, most importantly, a sporting one. “Everybody knows I wanted to leave last year,” said the striker. “I was convinced that was the best decision at the time. The context is different now, in sporting terms and personal terms. France is the country where I grew up, I’ve always lived here and leaving wasn’t right. The sporting project has changed as well, that made me want to stay, I don’t think my story is over yet.”
Before signing his new deal, Mbappé looked certain to leave PSG on a free transfer for Real Madrid – whose shirt he wore as a youngster. Mbappé said over the weekend he would be openly supporting Real in the Champions League final and did not rule out joining them in the future, with his new deal expiring in 2025.
Mbappé would be out of contract and in his prime at 26 years old, which means the same transfer saga could feasibly begin again in 18 months. To further worry those in Paris, Mbappé said on Monday he enjoyed “a close relationship” with Real president, Florentino Pérez, whom he personally called to inform him of the decision to stay at PSG last week.
“I made the decision before the call with Pérez,” Mbappe said. “I have lots of respect for him and for Real Madrid. They wanted to do a lot to make me happy. So I thank them for that.
“I’d also like to thank Real fans. I hope they’ll understand the fact I’ve chosen to stay in my country. The reality is I’m French. As a Frenchman, I want to stay here and take France towards the top, take this club and league forwards. I don’t want to be captain. I am looking to the near future. I don’t know what’ll happen in three years.”