Kylian Mbappe signed his contract extension with Paris Saint-Germain this Saturday, deciding to give up on playing for Real Madrid. There are many things to discuss about this unprecedented saga, but here are the main takeaways about it.
- Oil money can’t be defeated. Real Madrid are one of the richest clubs in world football yet they simply can’t compete with Qatar. PSG have an unlimited budget and they were willing to do whatever it took to keep Mbappe around. Many Real Madrid fans, analysts and journalists alike assumed Mbappe would sign for Madrid as a free agent, but some others had concerns and we knew how difficult it would be for the player to reject all the money he was going to get offered. In the end, PSG got the win and...
- Nasser Al-Khelaifi patiently cooked and got his revenge. PSG always felt like Madrid were being disrespectful during this saga with the way they were pursuing Mbappe. Furthermore, Real Madrid embarrassed the French club during the return leg of the Champions League’s Round of 16, proving that money can buy players but not guarantee victories on the field —at least not yet—. This is just my personal take, but I’m fairly sure that Al-Khelaifi and his boss the Emir of Qatar planned for what happened yesterday immediately the day after PSG’s 3-1 loss at the Bernabeu. They patiently waited until Manchester City secured the signing of Madrid’s Plan B Erling Haaland and then sent Mbappe the biggest contract in the history of football. They paid the Frenchman the biggest fee ever only to retain him. Real Madrid end up looking like fools just seven days ahead of a Champions League Final. Al-Khelaifi and Qatar win.
- Real Madrid should’ve known that Mbappe’s word wasn’t enough. Madrid fans have every right to be upset and feel like Mbappe betrayed them and that PSG should not be allowed to spend as much as they are right now under the Financial Fair Play regulations. Fine. But it’s also time to look at Madrid’s own mistakes during this saga. President Florentino Perez and his board compromised the last few transfer windows to increase their odds of landing Mbappe. They decided to give up on the possibility of signing Haaland because Mbappe was the priority and he had already promised that he would be a Madrid player. Florentino Perez is an experienced business man and he should’ve known that there are no such things as promises when oil money is involved. Real Madrid should’ve kept a Plan B. Luckily enough for Perez and his board, the team has performed at a high level this season. Still, the future is now uncertain and the club will need to find a promising, quality striker very, very soon as Benzema will turn 35 years old next winter.
- (Bonus) Mbappe’s alleged madridismo vanished when (this amount of) money got involved. We’ve been told all along that Mbappe’s dream was to be a Real Madrid. He’s admitted as much by publishing comic books and revealing some interesting anecdotes about his childhood an his madridismo. This is the second time he has rejected the possibility of joining Real Madrid (the fourth if we consider the offers to join the academy). Real Madrid will never try to sign him again and he will never be regarded as a legendary player as long as he stays in the Ligue 1. Not that he cares much about this when he looks at his new paycheck, though.