Madrid finally get Kylian Mbappé – but do they need a shiny new collectible?

<span>Scarf sellers are quick to get their new wares on the stands.</span><span>Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images</span>
Scarf sellers are quick to get their new wares on the stands.Photograph: Thomas Coex/AFP/Getty Images


At last! Real Madrid have announced the signing of Kylian Mbappé, a deal that was reportedly done in February; a pursuit that began in the Mesozoic era. There have been bumps along the way but it was always going to materialise at some point, donning the whites at the Bernabéu a boyhood dream for the Parisian. And while most of us grow out of our pre-adolescent craze for Panini stickers [better skip over Quote of the Day, then – Football Daily Ed], Madrid’s chief suit, Florentino Pérez, is not most of us. Nearly a quarter of a century since he nicked Luís Figo from Barcelona, Pérez, his eyes bulging outside the toy store, has not lost his desire for the latest shiny collectible. Even after winning Big Cup for the sixth time in 10 years, he just had to have him.

One could almost feel sorry for the state-backed, uber-rich, monopolising entity that is Paris Saint-Germain, losing their star man as a free agent after another season without European glory, their own galacticos era coming to a close without the trophy they so desperately desire. That is until one realises this is the state-backed, uber-rich, monopolising entity that is PSG, making the whole episode, actually, very funny. Madrid can feel a little smug but there’s also a slight awkwardness to deal with here, that of the megastar entering a perfectly functioning dressing room that, truth be told, doesn’t need him.

How to accommodate Vinícius Júnior alongside Mbappé, with both inclined to venture out on the wing before bursting into the middle? For all the potential damage the partnership could cause, there’s also the prospect of them playing bumper cars on the left-hand side. The club’s own history also tells us that signing an electric world-beating forward straight after continental success is no guarantee of a trophy glut. The original Ronaldo, fresh off winning the 2002 World Cup and 25 years young – the same as Mbappé today – was signed just months after Zinedine Zidane’s balletically thunderous volley against Leverkusen secured Madrid their third Big Cup in five seasons. A 12-year wait would follow for la décima, and only one league title encompassed R9’s four-and-a-half seasons at the club.

So yes, it’s time for Carlo Ancelotti to do his thing. The ultimate big-player manager, Ancelotti continues to exude the calming qualities of a botanical garden, making him the best man equipped to work Mbappé safely into the mix. If he’s ever inclined to dish out the odd hairdryer, Ancelotti’s Smint-guzzling over the weekend suggests he’ll even offer something refreshing with an outburst. The 64-year-old is a scented candle, a bar of chocolate, an Etta James vinyl; a care package made flesh. Get Mbappé roaming around in sync with the rest of the Madridistas and Ancelotti can begin thinking about his sixth – cue eyebrow raise Big Cup as a manager.


Join Taha Hashim at 8pm BST for minute-by-minute updates on France 3-1 England in Euro 2025 qualifying.


“If a big-name player comes out, you get a buzz … It’s a special place to be when you hit the big cards and being known as the pack king, I’ve got to keep it up, haven’t I? It’s brilliant, to be honest. They’re all putting ‘let’s go Bunting mental’ in the chat and I think I’ve gained a lot of new followers as well from people who didn’t know me” – world No 16 darts player Stephen Bunting describes the, erm, thrill of opening packets as he explains how he became a big deal among sticker heads after popping up on a Paolo Panini TikTok channel live stream.


Thanks to our friends at the Guardian Print Shop, we’re giving away one more David Squires cartoon on Friday. To enter, just write us a letter for publication below. We will choose the best of our letter o’ the day winners at the end of each week and that worthy winner will then be given a voucher for one of our top, top cartoonist’s prints. And if you’re not successful, you can scan the full archive of David’s cartoons here and buy your own. Terms and conditions for the competition can be viewed here.

Speaking of which, here’s our cartoonist’s latest offering on the Big Cup final that was, including Carlo Ancelotti’s winning vibes and Vinícius Jr’s coronation as the winner of the 2024 Ballon d’Or, Ballon d’Or, Ballon d’Or!.


So José Mourinho already feels loved by Fenerbahce (yesterday’s Football Daily, full email edition)? The boom-bust cycle seems unusually compressed this time around. Maybe he’ll be gone by Friday?” – John Nielsen-Gammon.

Good to see Mourinho ingratiating himself with the Fenerbahce fans. And nice that he promises ‘that from this moment I belong to your family’. Yep. All families have that weird uncle [rings a distant bell – Football Daily Ed] who can cause a fight in an empty room, and personally, I can’t think of a more fitting candidate to dampen down the extreme emotion and conspiracy nonsense that has plagued Turkish football of late. Still, it should make for some interesting Squires work” – Colin Reed.

All those suggestions for Roy Hodgson action figures (Football Daily letters passim) yet no mention of Fighting Roy?” – Alan Burgess.

How about an All Action Alan Pardew, akin to Action Man’s moving eyes via a switch on his head – one press could produce a Pardew headbutt. And maybe a double-press enters Cup Final Disco Dad Dance mode” – Darren.

Send letters to Today’s letter o’ the day winner is … John Nielsen-Gammon, who now has the chance to win a David Squires cartoon from our print shop at the end of the week. Terms and conditions for all this can be viewed here.

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