Kylian Mbappé Tells P.S.G. He Will Leave Club Next Summer

Since then Mbappé’s star has only grown, notably at the World Cup in Qatar, where he led France to the final against Messi and Argentina. Mbappé almost single-handedly wrestled a second consecutive championship to France by scoring all three of his team’s goals in a thrilling final that Argentina won in a penalty-kick shootout.

Both Messi and Mbappé then returned to Paris and helped lead P.S.G. to its second straight French league championship.

Mbappé stated desire to leave P.S.G. comes only days after Real Madrid’s president, Florentino Pérez, had responded positively to a question from a fan about whether the Spanish club would recruit Mbappé. Pérez replied that it would, “but not this year.” That may be about to change.

Last summer, in an interview with The Times ahead of the European season and the World Cup, Mbappé discussed his admiration for Real Madrid, a club that had invited him to Spain to train even before he reached his teens, and whose stars once peered out at him from posters on the wall of his childhood bedroom. After his invitation to train in Madrid, Mbappé vowed to return to the club one day, he said, but his decision to reject a record offer from Madrid to re-sign with P.S.G. had raised doubts about whether his dream would ever be realized.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Mbappé said at the time, acknowledging that even though he had not played for Real Madrid, the team had orbited his professional career in the most profound way. “You’ve never been there, but it seems like it’s like your house, or something like this.”

Real Madrid’s presence in negotiations last year had helped bid up Mbappé’s price. When Real Madrid offered a contract worth more than $250 million over three years, P.S.G. was forced to counter with an even richer deal, one that included the opt-out clause he now plans to exercise.

While P.S.G. was not particularly sad to see the back of Messi after his two seasons in France, the potential loss of Mbappé, a French national treasure groomed in the Paris banlieues, the ring of suburbs and satellite towns that surround the capital, would herald a major crisis about the direction of the club.

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