Kylian Mbappe: The decision to reject Real Madrid and sign a three-year contract extension with Paris Saint-Germain signals the start of a major reconstruction project at the French league club.
PSG have been a dominant force in France since cash-rich Qatari owners took over in 2011 but have consistently struggled to reproduce that success in the European arena despite spending large sums on outstanding players.
Officials at the club are hoping that Mbappé’s decision to ignore the Spanish behemoth will eventually lead to the club’s biggest trophy, the Champions League, being won.
In addition to the massive sums of money supposedly promised to the 23-year-old forward — the financial parameters of Mbappé’s new contract have not been revealed — the France star has been assured that things will change dramatically, with a new coach and sports director set to be appointed.
“The project has altered,” Kylian Mbappe said at a Monday press conference. “The club wants to change a lot of things on the sporting side, which gives me the motivation to keep going. This is not the end of my narrative.”
This summer, new players will join the initiative, which will be centered around the World Cup-winning striker. Mbappé will become “the cornerstone of the club’s project for years to come, both on and off the pitch,” according to PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. However, the striker has insisted that he didn’t ask for full authority.
“I am a soccer player with a strong sense of belonging to a team”, Mbappé explained. “Even if, of course, members in a team have distinct standing. I’m still a soccer player, and I’m not going anywhere.”
Al-Khelaifi did not provide many details regarding PSG’s reorganization while sitting next to his star player, but he did agree that if Mbappé stayed, he vowed to buy new players.
“Because he truly deserves it,” Al-Khelaifi added that money was not a factor in convincing Mbappé to reject Madrid’s offer and stay at Parc des Princes to continue his dazzling relationship with Neymar and Lionel Messi.
“For Kylian, the most important issue was the sporting project”, he said while adding that clubs in Spain would be able to pay more money than PSG.
Kylian Mbappe revealed that he received some advice from French President Emmanuel Macron in a conversation with the media transmitted by Le Parisien newspaper.
“Let’s just say that was sound advise,” Mbappé explained. “It was part of the deal that he wanted me to stay. He was one of the many folks I spoke with.”
Leonardo, Mbappé’s sports director, was the first casualty of Mbappé’s protracted stay in Paris. After lengthy conversations, the former Brazil international, who returned to the club three years ago, was fired over the weekend.
According to the publication L’Equipe, his departure was key in the negotiations with Mbappé, who demanded a change in the hierarchy after PSG was eliminated from the Champions League in the last 16 by Real Madrid in March.
Luis Campos has been mentioned as a possible Leonardo replacement. The Portuguese is a well-known talent scout with ties in Europe and South America, and he and Mbappé’s family have a great relationship. Campos, who previously worked at Lille and Monaco, was instrumental in Mbappé signing his first professional contract with Monaco in 2016.
However, PSG’s propensity of replacing coaches on a regular basis will not change overnight. Mauricio Pochettino, who guided PSG to a record-tying 10th league title but failed to prevent yet another Champions League exit, is unsure about his future at the helm of the Parisian club, according to reports in the French press. In recent days, speculation has grown around Zinedine Zidane’s possible appointment.
PSG executives have also discussed with Mbappé the possibility of bringing in a versatile full back and new midfielders to bolster their group. PSG made a priority of recruiting Monaco’s Aurélien Tchouaméni, according to L’Équipe, with Ousmane Dembélé also on the list.
Mbappé moved to PSG from Monaco when he was still a youngster in 2017. He has 171 goals in 217 games for PSG, winning three consecutive player of the season titles and leading the French scoring charts in each of the last four seasons.
Mbappé has stated that playing for Real Madrid was a childhood goal of his, and the Frenchman has not ruled out the possibility of doing so in the future.
“This new contract has my whole attention. What will happen in the future, I don’t know,” he replied.