MADRID • With Cristiano Ronaldo pledging his commitment to Real Madrid yesterday, the biggest question remaining at the Bernabeu was whether Kylian Mbappe would be his team-mate in the new season.
Spanish newspaper Marca reported that Real and Monaco had agreed, in principle, on a world-record €160 million (S$254 million) fee plus a further €20 million in objectives.
Although Monaco denied that to the French newspaper Nice Matin, sources at the Spanish club insist that they are optimistic that a definitive deal is close.
Mbappe would join the club he supports on a six-year deal worth around €7 million a year.
Madrid have raised more than €100 million in sales this summer, with striker Alvaro Morata joining Chelsea and full-back Danilo signing for Manchester City, while forward James Rodriguez has gone to Bayern Munich on loan.
The departures of Morata and Rodriguez have also ensured that, should Mbappe join Real, he will only have to compete with Ronaldo, Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale for a place in Madrid's front three.
STATEMENT OF INTENT
To win important trophies with my club and the personal honours last season was brilliant. To do it again would be nice.
CRISTIANO RONALDO, putting to rest talks that he wanted to leave Real Madrid.
Regular playing time is key to the 18-year-old, who is keen to cement his place in the France team ahead of next year's World Cup.
He scored six goals in 10 Champions League outings and 15 in Ligue 1 as he exploded onto the scene in the second half of last season.
If the deal is finalised, it would mean that Real have smashed the world-record transfer fee for the sixth time in the club's history after moves for Luis Figo (Barcelona), now-manager Zinedine Zidane (Juventus), Kaka (AC Milan), Ronaldo (Manchester United) and Bale (Tottenham Hotspur).
United midfielder Paul Pogba is the world's most expensive footballer after his £89 million (S$158 million) move from Juventus.
Madrid president Florentino Perez has made little secret of his liking for Mbappe, who is under contract at Monaco until 2019.
Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City and Arsenal had all expressed an interest in the player, whose father has been handling negotiations.
While speculation over the Frenchman's future continues to heat up, Ronaldo has ended weeks of rumours about his own plans. The Portugal star broke his silence, telling Marca he is staying put at Madrid to plunder more silverware.
"To win important trophies with my club and the personal honours last season was brilliant. To do it again would be nice," the 32-year-old said in an interview from Shanghai.
His declaration of intent to remain at the Bernabeu for the upcoming season comes after reports that he had threatened to leave Real over his run-in with the Spanish tax authorities.
He has been summoned to appear before a judge near Madrid on Monday to answer four counts of evading €14.7 million in taxes.
THE GUARDIAN, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE