Real Madrid were left grinding their institutional teeth after Kylian Mbappe took a U-turn on his dream and decided to renew his contract with Paris Saint-Germain. The French forward committed to the Parisians for three seasons and torpedoed Florentino Perez’s Galactico signing for the summer.
Many took to social media to call Mbappe a mercenary, some coining the nickname ‘Mpaypal’, in a crude joke about the situation.
Yet CEO Nasser Al-Khelaifi is adamant that Mbappe’s decision was not based on finances.
“For the last five years, I’ve built up a special relationship with Kylian and his family. He has an incredible family. I’ll never forget that in our first six meetings with him and his parents, when he was at Monaco, they never spoke to me about money. Never!”
“That’s why I like them a lot, I admire the way he was brought up. This year, we spoke a lot, but money was only brought up in the last few weeks. People say he stayed for the money, but Real Madrid were offering much more than us! They were ready to put €170m* on the table last summer. They were ready to invest that amount again this year even though he was free!”
Of course, it would suit Al-Khelaifi for that to be the narrative, but it’s only fair to take him at his word. Curiously, Real Madrid President Florentino Perez didn’t reference money as the decisive factor in Mbappe’s decision, which perhaps gives more credence to Al-Khelaifi’s claim.
*Al-Khelaifi later put this figure at €180m in an interview with Marca.
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