Mbappé press conference: What did PSG striker say about Real Madrid transfer decision?
Kylian Mbappé spoke to the media on Monday, following his decision to turn down a move to Real Madrid and renew his contract at Paris Saint-Germain.
Kylian Mbappé says he understands the Real Madrid fans’ disappointment after he rejected a move to the Bernabéu in favour of staying at Paris Saint-Germain.
Mbappé, 23, had been strongly tipped to join Madrid on a free transfer this summer, but PSG announced on Saturday that the striker has agreed a lucrative three-year contract to remain with the Ligue 1 champions, who he joined in 2017.
Real Madrid “did everything they could” to make move happen, says Mbappé
Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Mbappé said: “I’d like to thank them [the Real Madrid fans]. I’ve never worn the Madrid shirt - well, I did for a week as 14-year-old [when he was invited to train with the club] - but they’ve always accepted me as one of their own. I’m grateful to them and I understand their disappointment. I hope they understand my decision to stay in my country. I’m French, and as a Frenchman I have the dream of carrying on trying to see France and its league at the very top.”
He added: “Everyone knows that I wanted to leave last summer and it was the best decision possible at that time. The context is different now. Now I know what I can bring to my country, the country I dream of playing in. There’s also a sentimental element, and the project has changed. I think my story here isn’t over.”
Mbappé told reporters that he made the decision to stay at PSG “last week”, adding: “Afterwards, I made the decision to call [Madrid president] Florentino Pérez. I have great respect for Madrid. They did everything they could to make my arrival at their club happen, and I’m grateful to them for that. I had to tell him [Pérez] personally.”
In a statement posted on social media on Sunday, Mbappé said he would be Madrid’s “number-one fan” in Saturday’s Champions League final, in which the Spaniards take on Liverpool in Paris.
Asked on Monday how much influence PSG team-mates Neymar and Lionel Messi had had on his contract extension at the Parc des Princes, the France international said: “It’s a personal decision; they told me they would respect my decision.”
PSG chief responds to LaLiga complaints
LaLiga president Javier Tebas has branded Mbappé's big-money PSG contract an “insult to football”, and the Spanish league has announced that it is to take legal action against the French club, “in defence of the economic ecosystem of European football and its sustainability”.
“It is scandalous that a club like PSG, which last season reported losses of more than 220 million euros after accumulating losses of more than 700 million euros in prior seasons (while reporting sponsorship income at doubtful valuation), with a squad cost around 650 million for this season, can close such an agreement, while those clubs that could afford the hiring of the player without seeing their wage bill compromised, are left without being able to sign him,” LaLiga said in a statement.
In response, PSG chief Nasser Al-Khelaifi told reporters on Monday: “I have a lot of respect for LaLiga, but we deserve respect. We have the best player in the world and that’s the most important thing of all. The things Tebas says aren’t my problem. He may be afraid of Ligue 1 being a better league than LaLiga. We’re focusing on our club, our league and the best player in the world. I don’t listen to anything else.”