PARIS, France – The athlete before money: Kylian Mbappé explained on Monday that he extended until 2025 at Paris SG to enroll in a project that has “changed”, beyond financial reasons, while promising that he will not abuse his new status.
To rebuild, PSG found its cornerstone, laid in great pomp on Monday afternoon in the crowded amphitheater of the Parc des Princes, where hundreds of journalists from around the world took part for the epilogue of the long soap this opera. End of transition window, on Saturday.
“This option is a very strong sign, we keep the best player in the world”, Paris president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi liked at a press conference, two days after the announcement of the player’s extension to the capital, in large resentment of Real Madrid.
All smiles, accompanied by his family and those around him (his father Wilfried Mbappé, his mother Fayza Lamari, his brother Ethan, his lawyer Delphine Verheyden), Mbappé savored the end of this period of uncertainty. “A difficult decision”, he admitted, while making sure “he always wanted to take refuge in my football”.
After that, Mbappé was able to go to the forecourt of the Parc des Princes to speak to ultra Parisian supporters, before being the guest of television news on TF1 in the evening.
Yes, Bondynois (23 years old) chose to stay in Paris, his heart club, rather than go to Real Madrid who have been courting him for months. But this option came for sporting purposes only, to “lead France to the heights”, and not, for example, for financial reasons when the press mentioned a very good salary.
“We talked about months of sports, hours (of image rights) and minutes of money, it took five minutes”, Mbappé summed up, wearing a dark suit and a matching tie, exchanging- exchange smiles and answers in French or English.
“The (PSG) project has changed. The club wanted to change a lot of things at the sporting level, and that really gave me the desire to keep going, because I think my story isn’t over here yet, ”he said.
He also said he wanted to “thank” Madrid fans, who were inevitably disappointed. “I hope they understand that I chose to stay in my country. I am French and as a Frenchman I want to continue a little bit, to lead France to the heights and pull this championship and this club, ”he explains.
Incidentally, in this ultra-sensitive file to the point of being political, Mbappé admitted to some media including the AFP that he consulted with Emmanuel Macron on his future, appreciating the “good advice” of the French president, who wanted to “rest” the attacker.
Because if “Kyky” had ventured to isolate a good part of Spain, it was precisely because he had ensured that in Paris, he would be “the foundation of the project”, a formula already accepted by Al-Khelaïfi.
The 2018 world champion clearly got the sporting guarantees, with the first promise of the ouster of sporting director Leonardo on Saturday night through Sunday, shortly after the formalization of the striker’s extension.
Another point discussed, Mbappé should be able to play in the 2024 Olympic Games at home in Paris, a dream for the youngster from Bondy who will require, if he is selected, the agreement of his club. “This is one of the things we talked about. The club is not against, it is for, ”he said.
On the other hand, there is no question that Mbappé will have control over the sportsman or claim the captain’s armband, temporarily owned by the Brazilian Marquinhos.
“I remain a footballer, anchored in a collective, I will not go beyond this role”, said the striker, who was crowned this season’s top scorer and best pass in Ligue 1.
“Kylian wants to win”
And Nasser Al-Khelaïfi confirmed: “We, as a club, we decide what we want to do,” he assured. “Kylian didn’t ask for anything, he wanted to win like us and that’s a good thing. »
There has never been a speech that has aroused so much curiosity since the spectacular arrival of Lionel Messi, presented in Paris in the middle of summer 2021.
Al-Khelaïfi, however, did not give any hints about the next decisions to come in the Paris project: coach Mauricio Pochettino, under contract until 2023 but given a start, will he be replaced? And who will replace Leonardo, when the name of the Portuguese Luis Campos is mentioned?
“I don’t know who Jorge Campos is,” quipped the Parisian president in the face of a journalist who scratched the Portuguese’s first name.
It also finds out who will be the next coach on the “short-list” that has already been reported in the press (Zidane, Motta, Martinez, Conte, Galtier, Amorim) and how to rebuild the workforce.
But for now, the first stone of PSG’s project has been called Mbappé.