According to an executive who is familiar with the discussions among Mbappé and P.S.G., the 24-year-old Mbappé, one of the world’s most famous athletes and the cornerstone of the club’s plans to rebuild its brand around a core of top French talent, informed P.S.G. in a letter that he will not renew the agreement when it expires next June. Due to the delicate nature of the discussions, the executive was not permitted to discuss them in public.
Because of Mbappé’s choice, P.S.G. may have to contemplate doing something it would rather not: selling Mbappé’s playing rights as soon as this summer. P.S.G. would likely break the global record for a player if they decide to accept bids for Mbappé, which could be in excess of $200 million.
According to the executive, the top brass at P.S.G. were taken aback by Mbappé’s letter and found out about it from a French news source that claimed to have obtained a copy of it before it was submitted to the club. Mbappé’s representative did not return a call seeking comment. The letter and Mbappé’s plans were initially published by the French sports weekly L’Equipe, although representatives from P.S.G. declined to comment on either.
Before a last-ditch attempt and cold, hard cash convinced Mbappé to remain in Paris, P.S.G. had to deal with a similar dilemma over his future last summer, when the striker was out of contract and prepared to join Real Madrid. Qatar, which has funded P.S.G. for more than a decade, was very interested in keeping the team’s greatest star in place in the year leading up to the men’s World Cup, and did all it could to retain him.
The agreement Mbappé ultimately agreed to was for two years with a player option for a third. Mbappé informed the club in a letter obtained by The New York Times that he would not be exercising the option, meaning that his current contract and presumably his relationship with P.S.G. would terminate at the conclusion of the next season, unless the club could find a team ready to pay to acquire him sooner.
Since Real Madrid was his favourite team as a kid and they gave him their largest deal ever a year ago, it seems probable that he will end up there once again.
Mbappé’s popularity has skyrocketed since then, especially after his performance in the World Cup final for France against Messi and Argentina in Qatar. France nearly won a second straight title thanks to Mbappé’s hat trick, but they lost in a dramatic final against Argentina on penalty kicks.
After that, Messi and Mbappé both went back to Paris and helped PSG win their second consecutive French league title.
Days after Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez answered favourably to a fan’s query regarding whether the Spanish club would pursue Mbappé, Mbappé announces his wish to leave P.S.G. To which Pérez said, “but not this year.” This might soon be changing.
Mbappé spoke highly of Real Madrid in an interview with The Times last summer, just before the European season and the World Cup. The club had invited him to Spain to train when he was still in his early teens, and the club’s stars had stared down at him from posters on the walls of his childhood bedroom. Mbappé promised to return to Madrid after being invited to train with the club, but his choice to turn down a record offer from Madrid in favour of re-signing with P.S.G. cast doubt on whether that promise would ever be kept.
Mbappé’s price was driven up by Real Madrid’s participation in discussions last year. After receiving an offer from Real Madrid worth over $250 million over three years, P.S.G. countered with an even more lucrative contract, which contained the opt-out option he intends to employ.
However, the possible loss of Mbappé, a French national treasure trained in the Paris banlieues, the ring of the suburbs and satellite towns surrounding the capital, would signal a major crisis regarding the direction of the club and would be deeply regretted by P.S.G.
Despite the team’s inability to win Europe’s most prestigious football trophy for the second year in a row, Mbappé had mostly avoided the wrath of the club’s fans.