Paris Saint-Germain have persuaded Kylian Mbappé to sign a new contract, one of the richest in footballing history, which will keep the French striker at the club for the next three years as he chases a second European Cup. consecutive world with France and tries to end the club’s failed streak in the Champions League.
His decision ended Real Madrid’s hopes of luring Mbappé, arguably the best young player in the world, to the most successful team in European football.
Real Madrid, 13 times European champion, had made Mbappé a contract offer which would have made the 23-year-old striker the highest paid player in his history. His offer included a signing bonus of nearly $140 million, take home pay of more than $26 million each season, and full control over his image rights.
But PSG, the perennial champions of France financed by gas-rich Qatar, prevented him from leaving as a free agent by offering him even better terms. PSG have offered a similar fee but a much higher base salary (also after tax), keeping him in a squad that already includes Argentine star Lionel Messi and Brazilian striker Neymar, who was acquired by PSG for a record amount of $263 million. in 2017.
PSG are expected to announce Mbappe’s decision to re-sign with the club on Saturday night. Mbappé informed Real Madrid earlier on Saturday that he would not be coming.
The saga surrounding Mbappé’s future had gripped France and was seen as a matter of such national importance that French President Emmanuel Macron told a press conference last month that he would do whatever he could. he could to keep Mbappé, considered a national treasure, in the country.
PSG’s success in persuading Mbappé to stay is the latest sign that the dominance of world football that once rested in the hands of legacy clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United has now passed to a few deep-pocketed, backed sides. Gulf. PSG’s confirmation that they had secured Mbappé came just over a week after Manchester City, owned by the UAE leader’s brother, confirmed they had acquired Erling Haaland – a prolific Norwegian goalscorer whose the signature was considered by many an acquisition as sought after as that of Mbappé.
But unlike Haaland, whose contract was to be acquired by Manchester City for an eight-figure transfer fee, Mbappé’s expiring contract in Paris made him a free agent, effectively able to choose from the highest bidders for his prodigious talents. The unusually short length of his new contract at PSG – three years – suggests he could already be planning his move and his next payday.
Amid an economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, few teams but the wealthiest elite have been able to make the kind of marquee signings that were once a staple of every football off-season. But Mbappé had made no secret of his desire to move to Real Madrid from PSG, and the Spanish powerhouse did everything possible to recruit him. His expiring contract in Paris also meant he was a free agent, available without a multi-million dollar transfer fee.
As well as the nine-figure signing bonus and eye-popping annual salary – a huge offer even by Real Madrid standards – the club have also reportedly offered Mbappé full control over his image rights, a lucrative source of income. that Real Madrid usually share with their star roster.
But PSG and its Qatari owners have managed to deliver an even better offer in a transfer soap opera that has dragged on for more than a year, since Real Madrid first tried to extract Mbappé from Paris with the offer. a record transfer fee.
Last summer, Real Madrid and its president, Florentino Pérez, were so determined to make Mbappé the centerpiece of the club’s efforts to return to the top of domestic and European football that they pledged to pay more than 212 million dollars for the forward, although he would have been available again as a free agent this summer.
For PSG, keeping Mbappé is a welcome highlight in a season that took place against a backdrop of uncertainty after yet another failure in the Champions League. The club were knocked out early in the round of 16 – ironically by Real Madrid, who will face Liverpool for the trophy in the final next Saturday – even though they had added several talents from List A during pre-season, including Messi, who joined Barcelona on a rich contract of his own.
PSG’s strategy of bringing in the most exciting talent, whatever the cost, has had mixed results. The team continued their dominance of the French league, the weakest of Europe’s big five competitions, with yet another title this season, but success on the continental stage continued to elude them, raising questions about the sustainability of the team. team in the most difficult matches.
It’s still unclear if anything other than a huge pay rise convinced Mbappé to stay in Paris. He was reportedly frustrated when PSG rejected offers from Real Madrid last season, with PSG sporting director Leonardo saying at the time that Mbappé wanted out.
Mbappe has continued to thrive this season, however, leading the French league in goals (25) and assists (17). During all this time, Real Madrid had not stopped courting him, and until the end of the week the Spanish club was convinced of having finally succeeded in convincing a player coveted by its president, Florentino Pérez. Spanish media reports earlier this week even suggested a deal had been struck.
In recent days, however, that confidence has started to evaporate as Mbappé has been slow to put pen to paper. Then on Friday, Mbappe’s mother, who was involved in the negotiations, said her son was weighing two offers. Real Madrid’s worst fears were confirmed on Saturday, when Pérez, in Belgrade to follow Real Madrid’s basketball team in the European final, received a message telling him that Mbappé had decided to stay at PSG.
For Mbappé, the deal comes amid major efforts to build his brand off the pitch. The striker has spent months in talks with US talent agency Endeavor to set up his own media company which will be modeled on a business similar to that created by basketball star LeBron James. This new company could raise Mbappé’s profile, and his wealth, to the same ranks as Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, superstars whose global stardom now extends beyond the sport they play.
With Messi and Ronaldo now in their 30s, it’s the likes of Mbappé and Haaland who will be looking to dominate football’s biggest prizes, including individual honors like the Ballon D’Or, awarded to the best player in the world, and competitions. like the Champions League, a trophy that PSG and Manchester City covet, but neither has won.