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Did Florentino Pérez send a secret message to Kylian Mbappé during Bellingham’s presentation?

The Real Madrid president spoke at the unveiling of Jude Bellingham, and it seems his carefully selected words meant a lot more than first thought.

El Real Madrid presentó en el Palco VIP del Santiago Bernabéu con su presidente a la cabeza, Florentino Pérez, la reforma del estadio blanco, que se extenderá durante los próximos tres años y medio.

Blink, and you’ll miss it. Or rather, stop listening, zone out, and it’s gone. Was it even there? Doesn’t Jude look lovely. What a mature young man he is.

Real Madrid president, Florentino Pérez, at the ripe age of 76, is still a master at close-up magic. In a flash, the blink of an eye, the single, millisecond-long waft of a bee’s wing, the trick is done, and Pérez sits down. You didn’t even notice.

Jude Bellingham, for what little my opinion is worth on fashion, did look lovely and did do a fantastic job during his presentation as he batted back every question from the tens of journalists with a smile, a joke and two eyes bulging with hope and happiness. The 20-year-old’s first press conference as a Real Madrid player was a show of maturity that impressed those watching enormously and immediately gave everyone mental images of the young midfielder tearing teams apart at the Santiago Bernabéu for years to come.

But in the midst of it all, what everyone failed to notice, on that special day for Jude, was Florentino’s secret message to Kylian Mbappé.

Bellingham impressed those watching when he was presented as a Madrid player.
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Bellingham impressed those watching when he was presented as a Madrid player.EFE/Real Madrid

Florentino’s secret message to Mbappé

We always say that a huge part of the success we have together is because our players feel a special emotion and know what it means to play for Real Madrid: in short, players who are Madridistas.” Pérez’s speech before Bellingham got up and spoke lasted exactly 6 minutes, most of which you and I could improvise right now and not come up with something dissimilar.

But one line stood out and Pérez stood on stage and spoke to Bellingham: “I want to give your our thanks as you have done everything possible so that you could achieve your dream, thank you for being a Madridista and for having the ambition of continuing your story at this club.”

On the face of it, the words are nothing more than Real Madrid’s standard presentation style: a sense of grandeur, pressure and forward thinking all come rolled into one when playing for Los Blancos, so surely this sentence doesn’t mean anything other than ‘thanks for coming’, right? Well, not quite.

PSG lost to Real Madrid in the 21/22 Champions League, despite Mbappé scoring both home and away.
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PSG lost to Real Madrid in the 21/22 Champions League, despite Mbappé scoring both home and away.JAVIER GANDULDIARIO AS

Mbappé signed a deal with PSG until 2025

The case would never have been opened and Jude Bellingham’s presentation could be filed under ‘other’ if we didn’t have a huge, €200 million elephant here with us in the room. Kylian Mbappé's will he/won’t he annual flirtation with Real Madrid is well underway: the Birds of Paradise have nothing on the Frenchman who can flash coloured feathers and hop along twigs like he earns €70 million per year. Florentino’s message of thanks to Bellingham for ‘everything possible so that you could achieve your dream’ sounds just too close to the bone to not be aimed towards the PSG player.

Mbappé is not renewing his deal with PSG, who are in the position of either selling him now or watching him leave for free in a year after paying another whack of his astronomical wages. But this is not Boehly shaking hands with a Saudi in a case of willing seller meets willing buyer, or at least not quite yet, which is why Pérez’s words have such significance.

The deal for Kylian Mbappé to Real Madrid should have been done last year. Madrid believed that it was on its way to completion, right before Mbappé held up a PSG shirt with 2025 written on the back. The decision hurt the Spanish club, who had ceded image rights to the player along with a million other things to, ahem, make the dream come true for the young boy whose bedroom was plastered with photos of Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mbappé's latest contract extension was an attempt to see him stay at PSG until 2025.
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Mbappé's latest contract extension was an attempt to see him stay at PSG until 2025. CHRISTIAN HARTMANNREUTERS

Pérez wants Mbappé to make the first move

This year, however, that is not the case. Real Madrid may have the funds and the energy to enter into the process of buying Kylian Mbappé, but, as highlighted by Pérez on Jude’s big day, want to see the player put the pieces in order for an easy exit before sliding into Charles De Gaulle airport on their knees with a whopping suitcase full of money. Madrid don’t want to fight: it’s Kylian’s turn to do the work.

Maybe Florentino Pérez didn’t look away from Jude, face the camera, and wink directly down the lens while screaming “KYLIAN!” Or maybe we just weren’t fast enough to see him do it.