Football News

Kylian Mbappe feels “betrayed” by PSG amid reports of desired January exit

By Harry Edwards

Published: 14:01, 12 October 2022

Kylian Mbappe’s Paris Saint-Germain future is once again in doubt with reports emerging that the Frenchman wants to leave the club in January.

The 2018 World Cup winner looked almost certain to leave PSG in the summer with his contract up, and a move to Real Madrid reportedly very close. However, Mbappe stunned everyone by signing a new three-year deal at PSG, which led to La Liga president Javier Tebas to accuse the French club of “destroying football’s ecosystem”.

Key to the Mbappe’s new contract was the fact that the Frenchman would have a larger say in how PSG is run. In the months surrounding Mbappe’s new deal, Leonardo left as sporting director and Mauricio Pochettino following him out the door, replaced by Luis Campos and Christophe Galtier respectively.

Kylian Mbappe news: Frenchman to leave PSG in January?

Campos had worked with Mbappe at Monaco and the pair grew close, especially when the 23-year-old had doubts over his future at the club as a youngster.

Under Galtier’s stewardship PSG have hit the ground running as expected, still unbeaten after 15 games across all competitions to sit at the top of Ligue 1 and with one foot in the last 16 of the Champions League. Galtier also appears to have solved the Lionel Messi problem, with the Argentine scoring eight goals and recording eight assists in 13 appearances so far.

Neymar is also at the top of his game once more with 11 goals and nine assists in 15 appearances, rebuilding his Barcelona partnership with Messi. Mbappe has also scored 12 goals in 13 games but the Frenchman appears less happy than his attacking partners, who have received most of the plaudits this season.

And according to reports, Mbappe’s unhappiness comes from playing out of his favoured position, wanting to play alongside a striker in a partnership which would give him more freedom in a freedom. The Frenchman also wanted PSG to sign another centre-back and sell Neymar, after their relationship broke down. Neither have happened, and Mbappe is now looking to leave PSG in the January transfer window.

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“He feels betrayed by the club in the sense that all the things the club promised him when he signed that new deal until 2025 have not happened,” journalist Julien Laurens told BBC Radio 5 Live.

All eyes were on Mbappe for PSG’s Champions League match against Benfica on Tuesday night which he started and scored the opening goal for the French side in what finished a 1-1 draw.

During the latter stages of the match, TV cameras showed a close up of PSG manager Galtier with his notepad at hand. Faintly written on the back was the note: “Kylian pref (the right).”

As soon as the image was shared around social media, fans were quick to hypothesise that Galtier was playing with those he knew would see the note, playing to the story of the day. Before the game (and also before the news broke) Galtier had spoken about trying to find different options for Mbappe, who had posted on his Instagram story about a preference to play in a strike partnership rather than being the lone centre forward.

“To tell you the whole story, he shouldn’t have played against Reims, he was ill,” he told reporters.

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“You already have Leo’s absence, Neymar had muscular pains. Kylian played while ill and tired, in a match which didn’t turn out well for us. I’m trying to reassure him by finding different options. We’re very mindful about his comments and his thinking because he’s a very important player for the team.”

The story caused a lot of stir around and was naturally the topic of conversation after the Champions League games on Tuesday, and former France forward Thierry Henry believes Mbappe could learn from his own experiences.

“Nobody likes being exposed to what they’re not good at. He doesn’t like it, that’s all,” Henry told CBS Sport.

“But there is something bigger than all the rest: the club. But did they make him feel that the club was the most important thing? Where did they make him feel more important than the club?

“I will talk about my own story. I didn’t like playing on the side at Barcelona. I hated it. But I had to do it for the team. I haven’t heard anyone say: ‘Oh, what a nice gesture’, to play on the left for others who had fewer internationals and goals than me.

“In the end, there’s only one rule: If the coach asks you to do something, you do it for the good of the team. And the team wins! If the team lost, I would have understood the debate.”

The future of PSG director Campos has also been put into doubt with the Portuguese reportedly on his way out just months after joining. But Campos has played down these reports, while also insisting Mbappe has not mentioned any desire to leave.

“I am with Kylian Mbappe every day,” Campos told Canal+. “He has never talked to me about leaving in January.

“It’s not a statement from the player, it’s [from the press], and to have such information before a match like this is very serious. That’s why I’m here, to deny and say clearly that Kylian Mbappe has never spoken to me or to the president to leave PSG in January.”

But Real Madrid manager Carlo Ancelotti refused to be pulled into conversations, saying: “If Mbappe will come in January? You have the courage to ask that… I won’t answer. I don’t have to answer.”