Football: Mbappe not ruling out PSG stay, clears the air with Neymar

(From left) Lionel Messi, Mbappe and Neymar form what is regarded as the most exciting attacking trio in club football, but they have struggled to gel. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (REUTERS) - Kylian Mbappe on Tuesday (Oct 5) fell short of saying he would leave Paris St Germain when his contract expires at the end of the season but Real Madrid president Florentino Perez said he was optimistic the France striker would join the Spanish giants.

The 22-year-old told the Ligue 1 club he wanted to join Real Madrid during the close season, only for PSG to turn down the Spanish club's offers.

Asked if he was going to leave next summer, Mbappe told French sports daily L'Equipe: "I've been in football long enough now to know that yesterday's truth is not necessarily today's, nor tomorrow's. If I was told that Messi was going to play at PSG, I wouldn't have believed it, so you never know what's going to happen."

Perez, however, told Spanish paper El Debate on Monday that his club would have news on Mbappe in January.

"Hopefully, everything can be sorted on the first of January," he said.

Perez's comments prompted an angry reaction from PSG sporting director Leonardo.

"It's been going on for two years," the Brazilian told L'Equipe.

"I just remind you that the transfer window is closed, that a season is under way.

"There are matches and Real Madrid cannot continue to behave in this way. Let it stop! Kylian is a player of Paris St Germain and the club wants this relationship to last."

Mbappe, Lionel Messi and Neymar form what is regarded as the most exciting attacking trio in club football, but they have struggled to gel, with Mbappe showing his frustration towards the Brazilian.

Mbappe was heard saying "this bum, he never passes to me" in a Ligue 1 game against Montpellier last month.

"Yes, yes, I said that. Now, these are things that happen all the time in soccer. It's just not something that sticks. That's why, immediately afterwards, seeing how big it had become, I talked to him about it," said Mbappe.

"We've exchanged a lot of words like that in the past and we'll continue to do so, because we want to win, but there shouldn't be any hard feelings. There is no resentment at all because I respect the player and the man and I admire what he is."

Mbappe now wants to focus on football.

"Right now, my future is not my priority," he said. "I've already wasted a lot of energy this summer, and it was tiring."

Mbappe is with the France squad as they prepare for this week's Nations League Final Four tournament with a semi-final against Belgium on Thursday and the PSG forward is looking to put his Euro 2020 disappointment behind him.

His miss in the penalty shootout against Switzerland effectively knocked the world champions out in the last 16 and Mbappe faced stern criticism in France as well as racist abuse.

"What shocked me, once again, was to be called a monkey for a penalty," he said.

"That's why I wanted support, not because I took my penalty on the left and (Yann) Sommer stopped it. That's my fault."

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