WORLD CUP 2018

Real issue denial on reports of world-record Mbappe bid

MADRID • Real Madrid yesterday denied they have made a bid for Paris Saint-Germain's teenage striker Kylian Mbappe, who is emerging as one of the biggest stars of the World Cup.

The media reports came after news that Real star forward Cristiano Ronaldo has received an offer to leave the Spanish giants and join Italian champions Juventus, according to a source close to the Portuguese.

Social media user Baptiste Ripart, who identifies himself as a journalist and editor, said in a Twitter posting that Real had agreed to a world-record €272 million (S$432 million) fee for the 19-year-old Frenchman.

Real, who had on Monday also dismissed claims they have made a £275 million (S$496 million) bid for Brazilian superstar and Mbappe's club-mate Neymar, issued their denial after Spanish sports dailies Marca and AS ran articles citing the posting.

"Given the information published... regarding an alleged agreement between Real Madrid and PSG for the player Kylian Mbappe, Real Madrid would like to state that it is completely false," the club said in a statement on their website.

"Real Madrid has not made any offer to PSG or the player and condemns the spreading of this type of information."

PSG signed Mbappe on an initial year-long loan deal from Monaco last year with an option to buy after one season. That deal was reported to be worth €180 million.

Mbappe has so far scored three World Cup goals, including two in France's 4-3 round-of-16 victory over Argentina.

France face Uruguay in a quarter-final in Nizhny Novgorod tomorrow.

Ronaldo, on the other hand, looks set to leave. The 33-year-old is Real's all-time top scorer with 451 goals in all competitions and has won two LaLiga titles and four Champions League trophies with them.

Despite the glut of silverware, however, the five-time World Player of the Year has had frequent fallouts with Real and has declared on several occasions that he wants to leave the club.

Moments after lifting a third consecutive Champions League trophy by beating Liverpool 3-1 in the final on May 26, Ronaldo appeared to suggest he had already decided to leave Real, telling a television reporter on the pitch at Kiev's NSC Olympic Stadium: "It was beautiful to play for Real Madrid."

He then appeared to backtrack on that statement during Real's celebration parade through the Spanish capital the next day, when he told a mass of supporters: "See you next season."

Marca suggested yesterday that Ronaldo is unhappy at Real because they are searching for his successor.

According to Sky Sports, Real are considering an offer from Juventus in the region of £88 million.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on July 05, 2018, with the headline 'Real issue denial on reports of world-record Mbappe bid'. Print Edition | Subscribe