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Mbappé looks to follow Ronaldo's path at Real Madrid
Kylian Mbappé is guided by the example of Cristiano Ronaldo, who left a Champions League-strong Manchester United for a Real Madrid team that had not passed the last 16 in five straight seasons.
Aside from money, among PSG’s arguments to try to convince Kylian Mbappé to stay, instead of going to Real Madrid for free next summer, is the club’s stronger Champions League credentials.
The club is selling itself as a stronger competitor for the Champions League than Madrid. And it is true that in recent years PSG has done better than Madrid in Europe. In 2019-20 they reached the final, where they lost to Bayern, and in 2020-21 they were semi-finalists. Madrid also reached the semi-final last year, but in the previous season fell in the round of 16, as they had done a year before.
PSG is right if we consider that, in view of the world of football right now, the club is seen as a better option to compete for the Champions League. Together with City and Bayern, PSG is one of the bookies’ favorites to win the title; while Madrid appears 7th on the list, even in odds with Juventus, a club not living its best days either.
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“Kylian wants to be at the center of a sporting project”
But it seems that this current situation will not bear much influence on Mbappé’s decision, as revealed by his mother, Fayza Lamari, in her interview with Le Parisien.
“Four years ago, Madrid were more attractive than PSG and we chose PSG. This summer, Kylian decided on Madrid because he wanted to make his dream come true. Now, if Kylian joins Madrid, plus three or four more players in the next four years, the team won't be the same. Kylian wants to be at the center of a sporting project. He needs constant challenges.”
Mbappé is also inspired by the example of Cristiano Ronaldo, his great footballing idol. Let's remember that Cristiano came to Real Madrid from Manchester United in 2009, making a decision backed by history (Los Blancos then had nine European Cups; United, just three) rather than what was happening at that time. Real Madrid had fallen at the last-16 stage for five consecutive seasons, while United had been a semifinalists 2006-07, champions in 2007-08 and finalists in 2008-09.
Mbappé behind Messi and Neymar at PSG
Doubts were raised after the failure in Ronaldo’s first season with Los Blancos (the club fell again in the last-16 against Lyon), but his decision to leave Manchster for Madrid was justified over time. Over his nine years at the Bernabéu, Madrid won four champions league titles and reached the semi-finals on four other occasions.
Cristiano arrived at the Bernabéu to become the center of the club’s sporting project and the fruits of that project were eventually borne in abundance, although it took a few years as the first Champions League title of the CR7 era didn't come until 2013-14.
At the time, Cristiano was surrounded by a lot of talent: Benzema, Kaká, Xabi Alonso, Di María, Özil, Bale, Isco, Kroos, Modric, Casemiro, Morata… Mbappé expects the same. He knows that if he signs for Los Blancos, he will be the sun around which the rest of the stars in the Madrid sky will orbit.
He has been pursuing that position in Paris for some time but with PSG having renewed Neymar’s contract and signed Lionel Messi, Mbappè now finds himself third in the pecking order of club stars.
Mbappé grew up watching Ronaldo's goals at Madrid and staring at posters of his idol in his Bondy bedroom. Regardless of PSG’s stronger Champions League credentials at the moment, Mbappè is more likely to move to Madrid next summer, as he looks to follow in the footsteps of his hero.
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