Football: ‘Very happy’ Mbappe snubs Real Madrid to stay at PSG

PSG's French forward Kylian Mbappe poses with a jersey after announcing he will stay with the club until 2025. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - Kylian Mbappe said he was “very happy” to stay at Paris Saint-Germain after the club’s president announced on Saturday (May 21) the World Cup winner was rejecting Real Madrid to remain in France until 2025.

“I am very happy to stay in France, in Paris, in my city,” Mbappe told supporters on the Parc des Princes pitch before PSG faced Metz in their final Ligue 1 match of the season.

Standing next to PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, Mbappe said: “I hope I’m going to be able to continue to do what I like most – winning football matches and trophies with all of you.”

Mbappe marked his announcement by scoring twice in five minutes to take his total of league goals for the season to 27, putting him on course to finish as Ligue 1’s leading scorer for a fourth consecutive season.

Mbappe’s decision ends months of speculation surrounding arguably the hottest property in world football.

Real Madrid had pursued Mbappe for months and had reportedly agreed a deal with him months ago for a switch to Spain which would have included a signing-on fee of 150 million euros (S$218 million).

Mbappe had made no secret of his desire to play one day for Real, who will face Liverpool in the Champions League final in Paris next weekend after securing a 35th Spanish title.

But PSG, who have won the Ligue 1 title for a record-equalling 10th time but angered their hardcore supporters with their limp exit to Real in the last 16 of the Champions League, have battled to hold on to their biggest asset.

‘Insult to football’

The president of Spain’s La Liga, Javier Tebas, complained bitterly on Saturday that the massive financial resources of PSG’s Qatari owners had proved decisive in persuading Mbappe to stay in France.

“What PSG is doing by renewing Mbappe with large sums of money...after posting losses of 700 million euros in recent seasons and having a wage bill of over 600 million euros, is an INSULT to football,” Tebas tweeted.

La Liga announced in a statement it was launching an official complaint about PSG’s actions “to Uefa, the French administrative and fiscal authorities and the appriopriate decision-making bodies of the European Union”.

In his tweet, Tebas also called Khelaifi “a danger to European football”.

Mbappe scores PSG's second goal against Metz, on May 21, 2022, after announcing he will stay at the club until 2025. PHOTO: REUTERS

Mbappe will now line up next season alongside Neymar and probably Lionel Messi – if he stays at the club – to help PSG in their protracted quest to land the Champions League, the title that has so far eluded them.

Mbappe joined PSG on a season-long loan from Monaco in August 2017 that turned into a permanent deal worth 180 million euros.

He has helped the club win four Ligue 1 titles in five seasons.

In the Champions League exit to Real this season, Mbappe scored in both legs of the tie, but could not prevent PSG from losing 3-2 on aggregate.

He will be a key figure when France attempt to defend the World Cup in November and December.

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