• Monday, July 15, 2024
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How Mbappe sacrificed £70m PSG bonuses to sign for Real Madrid

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Kylian Mbappe has reportedly foregone bonuses worth £70 million (€80 million) from Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) as he moves to Real Madrid on a free transfer.

The French superstar was confirmed as the European champions’ latest ‘Galactico’ on Monday, ending a transfer saga that had stretched on for years. Mbappe joins Real Madrid on a five-year deal.

In 2022, Mbappe appeared set to join Real Madrid before making a dramatic U-turn and signing a new contract with PSG, extending his stay until 2024 with an option for an additional year. However, last summer, he announced he would not be triggering the extension and would leave at the end of the season as a free agent.

Reports indicate that Mbappe’s decision angered PSG, particularly club president Nasser al-Khelaifi. According to L’Equipe, PSG has withheld large payments to avoid losing face.

The French club reportedly refused to pay Mbappe’s salary for April and May, as well as his bonus for February, allowing them to recover the £70 million promised as a loyalty bonus when he signed his 2022 extension.

In November, French outlet RMC Sport reported that Mbappe, who was briefly exiled from PSG’s squad after refusing to utilize his contract extension, was only allowed to return if he agreed to forgo his owed bonuses.

Initially, PSG insisted that he could only rejoin the first team under Luis Enrique if he signed a new deal, which Mbappe declined.

During this period, Mbappe was excluded from PSG’s pre-season tour of Japan and South Korea and trained with a group labelled as the ‘undesirables’—players PSG intended to offload. He was reintegrated into the squad after missing the season opener against Lorient.

L’Equipe’s recent report corroborates these claims but notes that the dispute is only partially resolved. Mbappe, PSG’s all-time top scorer, saw his playing time drastically reduced after informing the club of his intention to leave.

He received a loyalty bonus in February but had subsequent payments withheld. Following PSG’s decision to withhold his salary for April and May, it is likely that Mbappe will also miss his June salary, his last contracted payment from the club. This situation may lead to legal proceedings if no agreement is reached.

Currently with the France squad preparing for Euro 2024, Mbappe will formally join Real Madrid after the tournament. Speaking at a press conference in Metz, Mbappe expressed his excitement:

“It’s a huge pleasure, a dream come true. I’m happy, liberated, relieved, and proud to join this big club—the best in the world.”

Reflecting on his time at PSG, especially the period he spent training with reserves, Mbappe said, “They made it clear that I wouldn’t play for PSG, and the club told me this to my face. Without [head coach] Luis Enrique and [Football Advisor] Luis Campos, I wouldn’t have set foot on the pitch. They saved me. That’s the truth.”

Addressing the pressures of his situation, Mbappe added, “There’s a lot of pressure, but it’s just football, and there are more serious things in life. I’ve always been taught not to complain. I get paid handsomely to play football while some people do backbreaking work. I wouldn’t wish what I went through on anyone, so I find it difficult to complain. There are much worse things in the world.”

Mbappe concluded, “It’s a big relief, I’m very happy, and I think you can see it in my face. I played less at the end of the season, and everyone knows why. That’s how it is—you adapt when you’re a high-level player.”