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Kylian Mbappe: Real Madrid striker claims PSG wanted to exile him

Mbappe scored 48 goals in 44 appearances for PSG in 2023/24

Football player Kylian Mbappe

Kylian Mbappe has said Paris St-Germain manager Luis Enrique and sporting director Luis Campos “saved” him from being frozen out by the club during the final season of his contract before joining Real Madrid.

PSG all-time top scorer Mbappe had long been pursued by Madrid but saw out his deal with the French champions, announcing in February that he would be leaving before confirming he would be moving to the Santiago Bernabeu on Monday.

Speaking for the first time since signing a five-year contract with a reported £85 million signing-on fee at Madrid, Mbappe claimed PSG had told him “violently” to his face that he would be barred from the team.

“I thought I wouldn’t play,” said the 25-year-old, who was the runaway top scorer in Ligue 1. “From the moment I stepped on the pitch, I think it’s been a successful season.

“I’m more proud of that season when I know everything I had to go through to play. And even in terms of performances, it’s a little less that my standards but I think it’s the best season of my career.

“Luis Enrique and Luis Campos saved me. Without them, I would never have set foot on the field again. That’s why my ambition that year was different… just playing, repeating matches and winning trophies was my greatest pride. But next year, I won’t be satisfied with a season like that.”

Mbappe: Euro 2024 ‘great’

Mbappe added that he “wasn’t unhappy” during his final campaign at his homeland’s most successful side. “There are things and people that have made me unhappy but there are things that you can’t show because I was a leader and you don’t follow someone who drags their sadness around… but there were things there that made me unhappy,” he said.

“There is a lot of pressure but there are more serious things in life. It’s still football. I am very well paid as a football player. There are people who are paid much less to go to the factory.

“It’s quite inappropriate for me, Kylian Mbappe, to complain in front of the world when horrible things are happening in the world. It’s my education.”

The former Monaco forward said his focus is now on helping Les Bleus at Uefa Euro 2024, starting with a friendly at home to Luxembourg in Longeville-les-Metz on Wednesday.

“It’s something I’ve always wanted so I’m very happy,” the boyhood Madrid fan said of his free transfer to the Champions League winners.

“It’s an immense pleasure, a dream come true. I am extremely proud to be able to arrive at this club where I have always dreamed of being.

“I arrive with a lot of humility. There is a lot of emotion but I have a responsibility as captain of the French team. I will not answer questions other than about selection.

“I prefer to protect my national team because we have a great summer ahead of us. Everyone knows why I played a lot less at the end of the season and that won’t be an excuse. My goal is to help the French team go as far as possible.”

France begin the group stage against Austria on June 17 before playing the Netherlands four days later and Poland on June 25.

Picture of Ben Miller

Ben Miller

Ben has more than 10 years' experience in sports journalism, covering two EURO tournaments, European club competitions, the Premier League, EFL and WSL and a variety of other major sporting events.