Kylian Mbappe says he told Real Madrid he changed his mind and maintains he chose to stay at Paris Saint-Germain because his story ‘is not over’‘.
The 23-year-old spoke at a press conference on Monday after signing a new three-year contract with the Ligue 1 outfit over the weekend – a deal which will see him earn just under a million pounds a week, among other benefits.
The decision came as a surprise as the French starlet looked set to leave PSG on a free transfer and join the La Liga champions.
Real were ready to pay £195m for the goalscorer last summer, with the deal expected to total £300m, signing fees and wages taken into account.
“I’ve always dreamed of wearing the Real Madrid shirt – I even did it when I was 14 [when he was invited to train with the club]. I am grateful to them and I understand their disappointment,” Mbappe started during the press conference.
“I hope they understand my decision to stay in my country.
“I am French, and as a Frenchman, I have the dream of continuing to try to see France and its championship at the top.
“Everyone knows I wanted to leave last summer and it was the best decision possible at that time.
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“The context is different now. Now I know what I can bring to my country, the country in which I dream of playing. There is also a sentimental element, and the project has changed. I think my story here is not over.
Mbappe went on to explain that he informed Los Blancos president Florentino Perez of his decision before the announcement was made, dismissing any suggestion that he hadn’t been transparent with the club.
“Afterwards, I made the decision to call [Real Madrid president] Florentino Perez. declared the winner of the World Cup.
“I have a lot of respect for Madrid. They did everything to make my arrival at their club happen and I’m grateful to them. I had to tell him [Pérez] personally.”
The striker’s press conference came as La Liga president Javier Tebas slammed Mbappe’s lucrative new contract with PSG.
The Spanish League boss called the move an ‘insult to football’ and said he would take legal action against the French club for causing Mbappe’s Real Madrid U-turn.
It remains to be seen if Mbappe sees out his full three-year contract, or even if his Real return for a third attempt.
But this episode will certainly take some time for those of Real Madrid and La Liga to recover.