Real Madrid president Florentino Perez has insisted the club do not want to sign Kylian Mbappe as he is after the Frenchman opted against joining Los Blancos.
The off-field story that dominated most of the 2021/22 campaign was the future of Mbappe, whose contract at Paris Saint-Germain would be up in the summer of 2022. For most of the campaign it looked as though the Frenchman would be on his way to Real Madrid, so much so that PSG’s Champions League last-16 tie against Los Blancos was dubbed his audition.
Once the domestic campaign was over, Mbappe was expected to be announced as a new Real Madrid player, the star for them to build their team around in the future and setting up a mouthwatering partnership alongside compatriot Karim Benzema.
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But over the final weekend of the 2021/22 Ligue 1 campaign, Mbappe pledged his future to PSG, signing a new three-year deal with the club which reportedly has given him a say in how the club is run. What that completely entails, only those involved in the deal will know completely, but there have been signs of Mbappe’s influence with Luis Campos replacing Leonardo as sporting director – having grown close with Mbappe while the pair were at Monaco.
However, while some Real Madrid fans expressed their sadness at Mbappe not making the move to the Santiago Bernabeu, others quickly claimed they had no interest in the Frenchman in the first place. It’s a line that club president Perez has now followed, though he claims Mbappe has changed from the man who wanted to join Real Madrid last summer.
“This Mbappe is not the Mbappe I wanted,” he told El Chiringuito.
“But if he changes… Life can take a thousand turns. I think they confused him and he’s very young. I wish the best for him, I don’t want anything bad for him. I just believe in the dream.
“Madridistas will be disappointed, but the Mbappe who wanted to come to Real Madrid was not this Mbappe.
“I have never said that it was finished forever between Kylian Mbappe and Real Madrid. A lot of things can change in three years.”
Mbappe finished the 2021/22 campaign with the most goals and the most assists in Ligue 1, scoring 28 and setting up a further 17 as he played a starring role in PSG winning the title at a canter. Across Europe’s top five leagues, only Robert Lewandowski (35) scored more goals and only Thomas Muller (18) provided more assists but Mbappe came out on top for total goal involvements at 45.
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But Perez went on to say that Real Madrid are no longer interested in signing Mbappe as no player is more important than the club, with no exceptions being made.
“Mbappe conveyed to the whole world his desire, his dream, to play for Real Madrid – he stated that publicly. We wanted to do it in August but it wasn’t possible, they wouldn’t let him go.
“It took a long time. We had to wait a year, that year passed and then the situation changed. I think it was due to political pressure and I think it was also economic.
“[PSG] practically offered him not only to be the leader of the team, but also of the management. It was at that point that we saw it wasn’t the same Mbappe that we wanted to sign. He changed his dreams as a result of pressure.
“If a kid is called by the president of a country (Emmanuel Macron), of course it’ll affect him. What makes no sense is that he did it at all – it influenced him a lot. But he could have succeeded at Real Madrid, just as Zidane did, and still be a source of pride for his country.
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“I think his mother wanted him to come to Real Madrid, because it was his dream as a little boy. I haven’t spoken to her, but they tell us that she it upset. When the circumstances change and a person makes a decision, you have to respect it. He’s 23 and was put under a lot of pressure.
“He told me about his decision in a message and I wished him luck. At the moment we are no longer interested because no player in the history of Real Madrid has ever been above the club. We’re not going to make exceptions and risk mismanagement.”
Perez also insisted that Mbappe’s failed moved had no impact on the club potentially signing Erling Haaland, who he believes would have had to settle for a bench role at the Santiago Bernabeu.
He added: “Mbappe deal didn’t create any problem with Haaland deal, absolutely. We have Benzema, so it was impossible to have him with Karim. We can’t sign Haaland to stay on the bench.
“Haaland is an amazing, fantastic player.”
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