Real Madrid in pole position to sign Mbappe
Real Madrid remain in pole position to land the PSG and France striker Kylian Mbappe next summer.
Given that the signing of Mbappe is a crucial part of Madrid’s future plans and will only be successfully brokered if the matter is handled flawlessly, club president Florentino Pérez is overseeing the process personally. It’s a deal that will require the utmost diplomacy, as the key to the transfer is not in Paris, but in Doha.
Pérez has been treading carefully in his dealings with PSG’s Qatari owners for a few years now, allowing him to steal a march on his competitors in the battle for Mbappe’s signature.
Also working in Los Blancos’ favour is that the player idolises Madrid head coach and compatriot Zinedine Zidane, a figure he sees as a mentor.
As Mbappe prepares to head into the final 18 months of his contract at PSG – a club who have tried, and failed, to persuade him to sign a new, five-year deal worth 150 million euros after tax – his list of suitors is growing. The latest interest in the 21-year-old has come from Barcelona presidential candidate Víctor Font, who is keen to steal the star from under Madrid’s noses.
Having made contact with Mbappe’s camp, however, Font has been left in no doubt that the footballer only has eyes for Real Madrid and Zidane, and has been eager to play for Los Merengues ever since meeting the club’s current coach when he spent a week training at Valdebebas as a 13-year-old.
In February, Mbappe remembered the experience in an open letter in The Players’ Tribune that was a declaration of love for Madrid and Zidane. “Right before my 14th birthday, I got an incredible surprise,” he wrote. “My father received a call from someone at Real Madrid, inviting me to come to Spain for a training session over the holiday break. It was a shock, because they actually told my father, ‘Zidane would like to see your son.’ At the time, Zizou was the sporting director. Of course, I was over the moon. I was desperate to go.
“I will never forget the moment that we arrived at the training center from the airport. Zidane met us in the parking lot by his car, and it was a really nice car, of course. We said hello, and then he offered to drive me over to the field for training. He was pointing at the front seat, like, ‘Go on, get in.’
“But I just froze and I asked, ‘Should I take off my shoes?’ Hahaha! I don’t know why I said that. But it was Zizou’s car! He thought that was really funny. He said, ‘Of course not, come on, get in.’ He drove me to the training pitch, and I was just thinking to myself, I am in Zizou’s car. I am Kylian from Bondy. This is not real. I must still be sleeping on the airplane. Sometimes, even when you are really living something, it feels like a dream.”