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REAL MADRID

Mbappé wanted Real Madrid, not Barcelona, says ex-PSG manager

Unai Emery spoke to Spanish media about his time at the Ligue 1 giants and how he and the club had to persuade the young French star to stay.

Former Paris Saint-Germain head coach Unai Emery has said that Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappé wanted to join Real Madrid before the French giants eventually persuaded the forward to stay.

Real Madrid, not Barça, for Mbappé

Mbappé has been heavily linked with LaLiga side Madrid after the PSG star fuelled speculation over his future by hinting it could be time for a "new project".

Ligue 1 champions PSG dismissed Mbappé's comments, insisting the 20-year-old World Cup-winning sensation will remain in Paris. However, Arsenal boss Emery revealed the desire Mbappé had to sign for Madrid during his time at PSG, which came to an end following the 2017-18 season.

"At some point, everyone pushed at PSG," Emery told Cadena SER. "I even talked to him and his father to stay. He wanted to choose Real Madrid, he also had a chance at Barcelona, but he wanted Madrid eyes closed.

"Among everybody we convinced him about the project in France and made him stay. We had to set money over the table, and that's what we did."

Mbappé joined PSG in a loan move from Monaco, which became permanent for a 180-million-euro fee, in August 2017.

Since then Mbappé has scored 59 goals in all competitions, netting 32 so far in Ligue 1 this season.

Emery, meanwhile, won seven titles – including the 2018 Ligue 1 trophy – in two years at PSG before he was replaced by Thomas Tuchel.