kylian mbappe: Real Madrid calling, again? Kylian Mbappe says won’t trigger contract extension at PSG


French striker Kylian Mbappe reportedly informed Paris Saint-Germain that he would not be taking up an option to extend his contract until 2025. Mbappe’s current deal expires in 2024, with the option to trigger an extension by one year.

Mbappe’s move comes a little over a year since he snubbed Real Madrid by signing a surprise extension to his contract to remain at the Parc des Princes. The Spanish club once again emerges as the prime destination, particularly after Karim Benzema left the Spanish giant for Saudi Arabian team Al-Ittihad.

In 2021, PSG turned down a bid of $190 million from Real Madrid for the World Cup-winning forward, who went on to sign his current contract.

Mbappe hoped to help PSG win its first Champions League title, but the team suffered another disappointment in European soccer’s top competition, which Manchester City went on to win by beating Inter Milan 1-0 in the final on Saturday.

PSG was planning a change of strategy after moves for the biggest stars failed to bring success in Europe. The new focus would be on young, French talent. Mbappe was expected to be at the heart of that shift and it had been hoped he would sign a longer-term contract.

It has been suggested that the French club would rather sell the 24-year-old striker this year than let him go for free the following year. Mbappe’s decision not to renew, announced in a letter to the club and revealed by the French sports daily L’Equipe, is a fresh blow to PSG following the loss of Messi to Inter Miami. There had been a deadline of July 31, 2023, for Mbappe to decide. The striker’s departure for free at the end of his current contract, in the summer of 2024, would prove catastrophic for PSG, who saw Argentine ace Lionel Messi depart to MLS club Inter Miami.

In addition to the void left in the team, the club would also be deprived of the millions of euros a transfer would earn.

The future of Brazilian fellow star striker Neymar, under contract until 2025, also appears vague ahead of what is shaping up to be a summer of upheaval in the French capital.

Growing doubts over future

He has been at the club since 2017 after signing from Monaco in a transfer worth a reported $190 million.

He helped France to World Cup glory as a teenager in 2018 and has established himself as arguably the leading forward on the global stage.

Mbappe also scored a hat-trick in France’s 2022 World Cup final defeat to Messi’s Argentina and helped Paris Saint-Germain win a record 11th French title.

But Mbappe hinted last month that he could leave in 2024.

“I said that next year I will play at PSG. I still have a year of contract so I will honour my contract,” he said when asked about his future at an awards ceremony where he was voted the Ligue 1 player of the season for the fourth successive time.

The striker appeared relaxed on Monday at Clairefontaine, where France is preparing for their next Euro qualifying matches.

Smiling and joking with coach Didier Deschamps and fellow attacker Antoine Griezmann, he participated in afternoon training and signed dozens of autographs for spectators.

The announcement of Mbappe’s intentions to PSG are yet another annoyance for the club’s Qatari owners following a difficult season on and off the pitch, despite winning the French title.

After another failure in the Champions League, the club are working to find a successor to coach Christophe Galtier.

The season was widely seen as a disappointment after PSG were dumped out of the Champions League by Bayern Munich in the last 16 and from the French Cup at the same stage.

As for Neymar, the Brazilian’s fitness has regularly been a concern for PSG, ever since he signed from Barcelona for a world-record fee of 222 million euros in 2017.

He has scored 118 goals in 173 games for PSG, but has missed more than 100 games due either to injury or suspension.

(With AFP inputs)

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