Kylian Mbappe tells PSG he’s leaving club at season’s end as chances of Real Madrid move increases

Kylian Mbappe has told PSG he will leave the club as a free agent when his contract expires this summer, sources tell CBS Sports’ Jonathan Johnson. The 25-year-old forward has long been linked with Real Madrid, and this decision would open the door for such a move. The news was first reported by The Athletic.

With his contract expiring at the end of June, he’s been free to sign a pre-contract since the beginning of the calendar year with this decision meaning one of the world’s very best players will likely be on the move come this summer. Mbappe is expected to participate in Euro 2024 with France and potentially the Summer Olympics, hosted in Paris.

Real Madrid’s pursuit of Mbappe has been a protracted one as Mbappe had a verbal agreement to join Los Blancos in the summer of 2022 prior to extending his current contract with PSG. Things feel different this time as even one of the keys to Mbappe’s future is his ability to play in both Euros and the Olympics. Senior players don’t have to be released for Olympic duty and it is taxing for players to take part in both tournaments but winning a gold medal for France is surely a dream of his. Having already lifted the World Cup, winning the Euros and Olympics would give Mbappe an international trifecta. 

Technically, Mbappe could stay a free agent and participate in both competitions without needing any club permission as he wouldn’t officially be with one. It remains to be seen if an agreement with a club would come beforehand, allowing him to play in both tournaments. 

There is also Mbappe’s pursuit of a Champions League title to consider. While Madrid have won four UCL titles since 2016, PSG have still yet to win one with their best finish coming in as runners-up in 2020. Winning everything that there is to win in France, Mbappe’s Champions League pursuit is paramount having not even lifted the trophy while flanked by Lionel Messi and Neymar in Paris. 

Still in the running of this year’s edition, Mbappe can close his PSG era with a Champions League title after his play helped lead the team to a victory over Real Sociedad by scoring in the first leg of their round of 16 tie. Joining PSG from Monaco in 2017, Mbappe was one of the most expensive transfers of all time costing a steep €180 million. But it was also money well spent. Not only has no player scored more Ligue 1 goals since his debut in 2015 but Mbappe has also become PSG’s top goalscorer at only 25. 

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Mbappe has 243 goals in 290 appearances with PSG and is currently Europe’s top goalscorer with 31 goals in only 30 matches. A decorated PSG trophy cabinet has included five Ligue 1 titles, three Coupes de France, two Coupes de la Ligue, and three Trophées des Champions but the absence of a Champions League title is what could define his legacy in Paris. There is a chance to end things on a high note but this could become a case of what could’ve been for PSG.

A chance at Olympic glory

Already speaking out on his desire to go to the Olympics in an interview with GQ, Mbappe made it clear that he’d like to go and that it’s high on his priority list for 2024. 

“For any athlete, the Olympics have a special place and I already wanted to go to Tokyo because I want to win everything and write my name in the history of the French team as that of a player who mattered,” Mbappe said.

For Mbappe to play in the Olympics while with PSG, he likely would’ve needed to extend his contract but there’s also risk if he doesn’t sign a deal before the end of the season. If Mbappe were to go to the Olympics while being out of contract and gets injured, it could dent his earning potential by limiting destinations. Time will tell if he can reach an agreement before the cups with permission to participate in both.

What’s next for PSG?

It was a summer during which PSG added youth to their team in the form of Randal Kolo-Muani, Manuel Ugarte, Bradley Barcola, Hugo Ekitike, Kang-in Lee and buying Xavi Simons back. It’s a talented group that could propel PSG into their next era but to flourish, they need to be relied on without Mbappe. After Real Madrid, PSG may have the best collection of under-24-year-olds in the world so while losing a star like Mbappe would hurt, the salary savings allow PSG to keep their own stars while also pursuing stronger defenders to augment their attack.

If not Madrid, then where?

The expectation, and for good reason, is that the Santiago Bernabeu with Real Madrid will be Mbappe’s next home but that doesn’t mean that other clubs won’t be circling. Saudi Arabia has already sounded out offers for Mbappe before planning to offer PSG a $300 million transfer fee and Mbappe a salary of $1 billion. That may have been turned down to remain in Europe but it doesn’t mean that Saudi Araba won’t be back in the mix. Arsenal are a club that could make things interesting especially since it would be a way for Mbappe to follow in Thierry Henry’s footsteps but Liverpool are another Premier League club that can’t be ruled out. If Mohamed Salah is to depart, that could open enough space for chasing Mbappe despite the manager uncertainty with Jurgen Klopp leaving at season’s end.

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