Thursday, July 7, 2022

Inside Kylian Mbappé’s PSG U-turn: ‘Great anger’ at Real Madrid, the Qatar trip and a call to Florentino Perez

Kylian Mbappé turning down Real Madrid will go down as an incredible story that has resulted in the Spanish club in “great anger.” It was incredibly unexpected for Mbappé to announce his permanence at Paris Saint-Germain ahead of Saturday’s Ligue 1 season finale against Metz (a game in which he scored a hat-trick in celebration). So much so that everyone inside Real Madrid’s camp were left with no words. Speechless. 

Ultimately, Mbappé had a change of heart and decided to sign a new contract with Paris Saint-Germain on Tuesday. So what was the unexpected change that produced this turnaround? Let’s break it down in a special edition of Here We Go this week.

In the previous week, Mbappé had new contacts with Real Madrid through his lawyers and his family and everyone felt optimistic about the deal. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez had a five-year contract already prepared for months with a huge bonus for the signing fee and total control of the image rights. It’s why there was great optimism within the club. It almost felt like without a doubt there were only positive signs as they waited and waited for the green light on Tuesday when Mbappé and the rest of the PSG team returned from a quick break in Qatar before the end of the season. Carlo Ancelotti was sure that Mbappé had been destined for Real Madrid for months now. 

In order to join a new club, you obviously need to put pen to paper. And that’s where, in retrospect, things never fully materialized for Real Madrid. Mbappé and his family never signed an official document or contract with Real Madrid. They only held negotiations for a contract discussed verbally. That’s because on Monday Mbappé was in Qatar and his new camp contacts with Paris Saint-Germain changed everything. 

“When he returned to Paris on Tuesday, he was another Kylian,” sources close to the deal tell CBS Sports about the last-ditch pitch by Nasser Al-Khelaifi’s team. Mbappé was tempted by the incredibly lucrative Paris Saint-Germain three-year proposal for several reasons. For starters, a rich contract and a huge salary was the obvious, but more importantly, the possibility of rebuilding the club is what may have been the most intriguing. PSG coach Mauricio Pochettino and sporting director Leonardo Araújo are not expected to stay beyond the end of this season and some players are expected to follow them out of the door this summer following the Mbappé U-turn.

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Real Madrid expected a definitive communication from Mbappé last Tuesday. It was supposed to be the final green light to announce the new signing shortly after. Instead, Mbappé was rather silent and asked for more time to contemplate his options. That’s when worry began to circulate around the Real Madrid camp as they less than a week away from playing Liverpool in the Champions League final (CBS and Paramount+). The final decision had arrived on Friday and by Saturday at 3 p.m. local time in Spain, hours ahead of the celebration that took place in front of the Parc des Princes faithful, the verdict had reached Perez’s desk. Mbappé wanted to personally call the Perez to communicate his choice. “I’m sorry, but I reject Real Madrid’s offer and I will stay at PSG.”

Inside the Real Madrid camp there is talk of “great anger” at how Mbappé and his camp handled the situation, while the Parisian club rejoiced publicly with Al-Khelaifi. Now it will be time to react for the Spanish giants who had a clear strategy on the market: Mbappé, Antonio Rüdiger and a left back to complete the team’s wish list for next season. With Mbappé staying put, Real Madrid will have to change the plan. Meanwhile, Rüdiger will be officially introduced as a Real player as early as the next few days, with a contract signed until June 30, 2026. Losing Mbappé is a huge disappointment for Real Madrid and the PSG revolution with a new manager and a new director is about to begin in what is expected to be a busy summer of deals across the sport.

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