Kylian Mbappe has been the most intriguing young prospect ever since his standout performance in France’s successful World Cup campaign in 2018. With another World Cup final appearance as well as approaching a fourth Ligue 1 title since the 2018 Cup, there is little debate about his greatness, at least for most. Of the major five leagues, Ligue 1 is consistently one of, if not the weakest when it comes to competition. Paris Saint-Germain has nearly every year since 2012 been league champions and as high of an honor as it is, these championships are not always as well-respected by fans across the world. With Mbappe now being in the conversations as the next Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi, many fans have called on him to jump ship to LaLiga, Serie A, or even the Premier League. With recent rumors swirling, we see now that there is a clear path in mind, Spanish football giant, Real Madrid.
If you haven’t already, please read my article “The PSG Problem” to see the larger picture on Mbappe’s disapproval of the situation in Paris. Between their disappointing Champions League play over the past three seasons and the off-the-pitch drama that seems to follow their big three, Mbappe is not content in Paris. Last season a move to Real Madrid seemed imminent, but ultimately fell through after Mbappe announced his return to PSG “until 2025”. Ever since that extension however, belief that he would stay until that year has fallen more and more by the headlines.
What Does This Mean for Madrid?
Madrid has been in win-now mode in European competition for what seems like centuries now. With the recent UCL victory for Madrid being the first in the post-Ronaldo era, along with success in this year’s UCL campaign, it is apparent that Real are geared to continue their dominance. The acquisition of Mbappe would solve the question of who will take on the goal-scoring duties after Karim Benzema’s departure (assuming he retires in the coming years). With an already promising duo of Vinicius Jr and Rodrygo, offense was something Madrid was prepared to have figured out for years to come, but the addition of Mbappe would set Madrid up for years of success in domestic and continental competitions.
With Modric and Kroos getting older, the midfield is beginning to become a concern for the future of Madrid. This is a unit that has won them countless trophies over the years and will be hard to replace in the upcoming years. With Vini, Rodrygo, and Mbappe all preferring a wing position, there’s a chance that we see one of them drop back, or the thought of playing with these three could attract world-class midfielders including Jude Bellingham, but that is an article for a different day. With the 4-0 loss to Manchester City in the second leg of the UCL semi-final, they will be looking to come back with a vengeance next season and we could see that in the form of Mbappe.
What Does This Mean for Paris Saint-Germain?
Just a few years ago, this scenario with PSG would have been unimaginable. A Champions League success seemed to be on the horizon with the rise of Mbappe and the acquisitions of Messi and Neymar. Present day is much worse than the dreams that the Parisians had not so long ago and all three of those mega-stars are now halfway out the door. So that begs the question of what the state of PSG football will be this coming season.
Although some may assume a rebuild for PSG, the amount of money invested into the club is too much to not attempt to build a European contender. Harry Kane, Victor Osimhen, Bernardo Silva, and others have been linked to move to PSG this summer, all of which huge names in the footballing world. This just goes to show that after the takeover of the QSI, they have the money to always be a player in the European side of things and will continue to dominate domestically. As for if they are better off without Mbappe, only time will tell. On the field, it is hard to predict a team to be better all-around without the best player on the planet in some eyes. However, with now not having to run all decisions through a player, having the freedom to select the roster needed, and avoiding the off-field issues, PSG could take a turn for the better.
What Does This Mean for Mbappe?
Mbappe isn’t like most 24-year-olds. He isn’t fighting for another contract or a spot in the starting XI. Mbappe is trying to build a legacy at this point and just like his current club, the Champions League trophy is what alludes him. At 24, Cristiano Ronaldo had won one, Messi had won two, and Erling Haaland is preparing to play in a UCL final. Three guys that will be strong competitors and comparisons in Mbappe’s journey that have already captured this piece of silverware that Mbappe is yet to capture. While some will argue that his World Cup trophy is more important (and it is), it would be impossible to enter the GOAT debate in this day and age without a Champions League Title.
With him going to Real Madrid, he will be playing for a side with twice as many Champions League titles (14) as second place in the history books (AC Milan). This means that he will be playing in a culture that isn’t just hoping for a UCL title, but they will be expecting one year in and year out. Whether this kind of pressure assists Mbappe or not, this new culture will definitely be one that he can succeed in. I expect this potential transfer to be one that benefits both sides. Real Madrid gets their future star and PSG is allowed to take a deep breath, reset, and gear up for what should be a new and successful era in Paris if they can use this transfer to secure new star power.