Curious attitude from Mbappé, who having spent a year making Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez jealous, was so affectionate in his final message you might say he wants to keep his options open. Indeed it had a certain symmetry with the Madrid president’s goodbye WhatsApp saying “you weren’t allowed to realise your dreams”, which sounds a little like Philip II’s effort to save face with his, “I sent my ships to fight the English, not the elements”, after the Spanish Armada was broken up by a storm. Florentino let it be known that it wasn’t Mbappé, currently the subject of much angst from the Madrid fans, who had let him down, but rather ‘the elements’. For that feel free to read Qatar, Macron, the player’s mother... A perfidious conspiracy that crushed the lad’s dream.
Mbappé doesn’t want to shut the door on Real Madrid
And what about Mbappé? What does he want? No doubt, to keep the door open. He’s 23, he’s signed with PSG for three years, he’ll be 26 when he finishes. He’s hoping the irritation felt by the Madridistas (increased by the undisguised pleasure of the anti-madridistas, which has unleashed a torrent of memes over the past few days) will have disappeared by then. Meanwhile he can test whether him staying at PSG, with his high profile in the project, will finally make the Qatar-tinged Parisian outfit one of Europe’s big clubs - a team of talent and authentic football instead of the bunch of pampered stars it is now, or if in three years time it’s still an imitation of the real thing.
Madrid feel snubbed by Mbappé, for now
Who knows what we’ll think in three years time. Right now, the disappointment has been massive, because Madrid had sown optimism without the eventual harvest they’d led people to expect, the old Figo-style agreement (if I don’t sign you I’ll pay you so much, if you don’t want to come you pay me the same...) guaranteeing fulfilment. Florentino, the inventor of the formula, wasn’t able to apply it here and Madrid, together with the media storm around the club, feels snubbed by a 23-year lad who has played a masterful game of poker. What a pity. He’s the only player who has the quality, age and prospects to be the figurehead of the new promised era.
Translator’s note: The headline of this article in the Spanish is ‘Interesado quite del perdón de Mbappé', which requires some explanation. The quite del perdón is a bull-fighting term. When a bullfighter has had a terrible showing with their two bulls they may come out with their cape and be allowed a number of passes (called the quite) with a bull of one of the other bullfighters in a bid to make the crowd forget how bad they were with their own bulls. Literally, the passes of forgiveness or redemption. So here, Mbappé's attempt at redemption.
Interesado here means self-interested, so the headline could be rendered ‘Mbappé’s self-interested bid for redemption’, i.e. sending affectionate messages to Real Madrid president Pérez so that in the future if he does want to sign for Madrid, all will be forgotten, or at least forgiven.