Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane has admitted he is ‘in love’ with Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe ahead of their Champions League clash.
The striker is said by reports to be the long-term goal for Madrid and is said to be a cornerstone of Zidane’s demands to strengthen his side.
“Do you know that I have known about him for a long time?” Zidane responded when asked directly about the striker.
“It is not the first time that I have seen him and of course, I am in love with him.
“I love him as a person because he came here on a trial a long time ago, but is he in love with Real Madrid? He is a rival player, so we cannot speak about that!”
Zidane told a separate press conference earlier this month, as cited by Marca: “For the moment he (Mbappe) is with PSG. We will see in the future. He always said that his dream was to play at Real Madrid one day.”
Those comments prompted Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo to confess he was ‘annoyed’ by Zidane’s attitude on Mbappe.
“Truthfully, I am annoyed by it,” Leonardo responded, as cited by Marca.
“Firstly, Kylian is a player who is under contract with us for two and a half years more so if you are peaking about dreams and what he wants, I think it is time to stop that for a bit.
“Kylian is very important player for us because he is the best young player in France, he is a world champion and one of the best players in the world.
“This is not the time to critique him or try to destabilise him – this is something that has to stop, everyone wants him but nobody can get him.”
At the start of November, Marca cited a report from Le Parisien which claimed Paris Saint-Germain will offer Mbappe a new contract on ‘Neymar levels’ with an annual net salary of €40m.
This comes in the wake of fresh reports that Madrid have set aside €300m to land the France international, following a plethora of coverage that he is their long-term transfer objective.
AS Monaco president Vadim Vasilyev has also revealed: “Mbappe has told me of his desire to go to Real Madrid.”
In October, Le10 Sport cited claims that Mbappe will be offered a whopping €650k per week by Los Blancos – a wage which will only be bettered in football by Lionel Messi’s annual wage of €40m at Barcelona.
El Chiringuito reported in September that Madrid have already paid €35m plus a further €5m in variables for the deal, with a total payment of €225m plus €50m in variables, in what was an outlandish claim.
The 20-year-old striking sensation scooped the Ligue 1 player of the year award for last season and hinted that he could be open to a move to another club, with Madrid strongly linked.
Diario AS have previously that ‘a project outside of Paris could seduce him’ although a summer move this year is unlikely, ‘with not even a €300m bid enough’ to secure a move.
Mbappe has netted 69 goals in 98 games for PSG and was the top scorer in Ligue 1 last campaign with 32 strikes to his name.
The striker joined PSG from Monaco in the summer of 2017 for a total fee in the region of €170m – making him the world’s second most expensive player, behind teammate Neymar.