Paris St.-Germain have convinced Kylian Mbappe to sign a new contract, one of the richest in football history, that will keep the French striker at the club for the next three years as he pursues a second consecutive World Cup with France and tries to end the club’s series of failures in the Champions League.
His decision put an end to Real Madrid’s hopes of enticing Mbappe, arguably the best young player in the world, to become the most successful team in European football.
Real Madrid, a 13-time European champion, had offered Mbappe a contract that would make the 23-year-old attacker the highest paid player in his history. The offering included a nearly $140 million signing bonus, a net salary of more than $26 million per season, and full control of his image rights.
But PSG, the perennial French champion funded by gas-rich Qatar, prevented him from leaving as a free agent by offering even better terms. PSG offered a similar fee, but a much higher base salary (including after taxes), keeping him in a team already made up of Argentine star Lionel Messi and Brazilian forward Neymar, who was acquired by PSG for a world-record $263 million fee. in 2017.
PSG are expected to announce Mbappe’s decision to re-sign with the club on Saturday evening. Mbappe announced earlier Saturday that he would not come.
PSG’s success in convincing Mbappe to stay is the latest sign that the dominance of global football, once held by longtime clubs like Real Madrid, Barcelona and Manchester United, has now fallen into the hands of a few. Gulf-backed teams. PSG’s confirmation that it had retained Mbappe came just over a week after Manchester City, owned by the brother of the ruler of the United Arab Emirates, confirmed it had acquired Erling Haaland – a prolific Norwegian goalscorer whose signature was being considered by many. takeover as sought after as that of Mbappé.
But unlike Haaland, whose contract was to be taken over by Manchester City for an eight-figure transfer fee, Mbappe’s expiring contract in Paris made him a free agent, able to effectively pick from the highest bidders for his prodigious talents. The unusually short duration of his new contract with PSG – three years – suggests he may already be planning his move and his next payday.
Amid an economic downturn caused by the coronavirus pandemic, few teams, save the wealthiest elite, have been able to draw the kind of marquees that were once a staple of any off-season football. But Mbappe had made no secret of his desire to move from PSG to Real Madrid, and the Spanish powerhouse went out of his way to recruit him. His expiring contract in Paris also meant he was a free agent, available without a multimillion-dollar transfer fee.
In addition to the nine-figure signing bonus and staggering annual salary – a huge offer even by Real Madrid’s standards – the club is also said to have offered Mbappe 100 percent control over his image rights, a lucrative revenue stream that Real Madrid typically shares with its star list.
But PSG and its Qatari owners have managed to offer an even better deal in a transfer soap that has dragged on for more than a year since Real Madrid first tried to pull Mbappe from Paris with the offer of a record transfer fee.
Last summer, Real Madrid and its president, Florentino Pérez, were so determined to make Mbappe the center of the club’s efforts to return to the top of national and European football that they pledged to raise more than $212 million. pay for the attacker, although he would have been available as a free agent again this summer.
For PSG, retaining Mbappe is a welcome highlight in a season that has been played against a backdrop of uncertainty following another Champions League failure. The club were knocked out early in the knockout stage – ironically by Real Madrid, who will face Liverpool for the trophy in the final next Saturday – although it had added several A-list talents in the pre-season, including Messi, who came from Barcelona. a rich private contract.
PSG’s strategy of attracting the most exciting talent, regardless of cost, has produced mixed results. The team continued to dominate in the French league, the weakest of the five major European competitions, with yet another title this season, but its success on the continental stage continued to elude it, raising questions about the team’s durability in the toughest matches .
It remains unclear whether anything more than a huge salary increase convinced Mbappe to stay in Paris. He was reportedly frustrated when PSG turned down Real Madrid’s offers last season, with PSG sporting director Leonardo saying at the time that Mbappe wanted out.
However, Mbappe has continued to thrive this season, leading the French league in goals (25) and assists (17) this season. All the while, Real Madrid continued to court him and, until the end of this week, the Spanish club were confident they had finally succeeded in convincing a player coveted by its president, Florentino Perez. News media reports in Spain early in the week even suggested a deal had been struck.
In recent days, however, that confidence began to evaporate as Mbappé put pen to paper. On Friday, Mbappe’s mother, who was involved in the negotiations, said her son is considering two offers. Real Madrid’s worst fears were confirmed on Saturday, when Pérez, in Belgrade to follow Real Madrid’s basketball team in a European final, received a message saying that Mbappe had decided to stay with PSG.
For Mbappe, the deal comes amid major efforts to build his brand off the pitch. The striker has spent months in talks with the US-based talent agency to start his own media company that will be modeled after a company similar to one built by basketball star LeBron James. That new company could bring Mbappe’s profile and wealth into the same ranks as Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, superstars whose global stardom is now greater than the sport they play.
With both Messi and Ronaldo now in their thirties, it will be players like Mbappé and Haaland who will dominate football’s biggest awards, including individual accolades such as the Ballon D’Or, awarded to the world’s best player, and competitions such as the Champions League, a trophy that both PSG and Manchester City covet, but neither of them have won.