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Kylian Mbappé won’t be drawn on whether he’ll be supporting Real Madrid in Champions League final: ‘I’ll just watch like you’


By Amanda Davies, Aleks Klosok and Martin Bourke, CNN

Sardinia, Italy (CNN) — He’s a World Cup winner, who has won multiple titles with French club Paris Saint-Germain over the last seven years. Now, Kylian Mbappé, who is widely expected to imminently join Real Madrid, says he’s looking forward to the challenge of playing in a new country.

“I want to be happy,” Mbappé told CNN Sport’s Amanda Davies after being crowned Best Men’s Player at the inaugural Globe Soccer Awards Europe Edition in Sardinia, Italy, on Tuesday.

“I will leave my country for the first time,” added Mbappé. “It’s going to be an amazing experience and I can’t wait to be in my new club. I want to win trophies … When you speak about football, [it’s about] winning trophies, being with new teammates.

“Now, I have my contract with PSG … Everybody knows that it’s soon finishing and we’re going to see what happens.”

It was earlier this month that confirmation came that the 25-year-old, who is the second most expensive soccer player in history, wouldn’t be extending his stay with French giant PSG.

The first time Real came calling for Mbappé was when the forward was just 13 years old. In his comic book, “Je m’appelle Kylian (I’m called Kylian),” Mbappé describes his dreams of one day playing in the famed white shirt of Los Blancos.

And when Real submitted a $188 million bid for the striker in August 2021 – a deal that was close to being agreed – the Frenchman admitted at the time that he wanted to leave PSG.

Mbappé eventually made a U-turn by signing a three-year contract extension with PSG in May 2022, temporarily pausing one of soccer’s biggest transfer sagas.

So was it the right decision to stay in Paris?

“It was more than just staying at PSG. It was the World Cup in Qatar. It was many things around these things. It was a big decision, difficult decision … but I don’t regret anything,” said Mbappé.

“Of course, in a career, you have to take difficult decisions and it’s what I did, but I became the all-time top scorer with PSG. I just want to remember the best things … It was not an easy situation and I wish nobody to live that.”

Speaking with CNN Sport, PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi paid tribute to Mbappé ahead of his impending departure from the club.

“I wish him all the best. He’s done amazing for us for seven years. He was vice captain, he came to us at 18 years old or less and now he is a big man, the best player in the world,” Al-Khelaifi said.

“You never know, maybe one day he comes back to France, that’s football,” he added. “He only deserves good things.”

Real Madrid, meanwhile, has long had a history of having some of the game’s biggest superstars in its ranks.

The 2000-06 Galácticos squad boasted the likes of Zinedine Zidane, Ronaldo Nazário, Luís Figo and David Beckham, before the second incarnation came in 2009 in the form of record-breaking signings Cristiano Ronaldo and Kaká – not to mention signing a young Karim Benzema from Lyon.

The young Frenchman seems to have been earmarked as the player to headline a new wave of star power alongside the likes of Vinícius Jr. and Jude Bellingham. Those two players will be bidding to help Real win a record-extending 15th European Cup on Saturday when Los Merengues face Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final in London’s Wembley Stadium.

Will Mbappé be cheering on his prospective new employer and teammates?

“No – I’ll just watch the final like you,” he smiled. “When you love football, you watch every game. I watch every game when I can … in France, England, Spain, Germany, Italy. Every league. So, of course, I’m going to watch the Champions League.”

‘It’s part of the journey’

Champions League glory has so far eluded Mbappé in what is otherwise an astounding trophy-laden career. The closest he and PSG got was the 2020 final in Lisbon, when the team lost 1-0 to Bayern Munich.

“I think it’s part of the journey,” he says. “I have, of course, many opportunities more to win the Champions League, but I think it’s part of your destiny.

“We were close a few times … It’s part of the game. Now, I’m in the position that I only want to have good feelings, good memories about my journey in Paris and everything that happened in this club and don’t forget about the small details.”

Paris is where Mbappé the boy became Mbappé the man.

After leaving AS Monaco as a fresh-faced 18-year-old, the superstar has achieved numerous individual and team accolades with PSG. He leaves the French capital having won six Ligue 1 titles, four French Cups, two League Cups and a record five Player of the Year awards.

And, on top of that, he’s a World Cup winner.

“If I’m the player who I am now … I have to thank PSG,” said Mbappé. “When I arrived there [at 18], I was just a young guy who wanted to be someone in world football.

“I did one year in Monaco. Of course, it was great. We won the league and went to the semifinal of the Champions [League], but I did nothing important in the world of football.

“[PSG was] an amazing opportunity. I’m French, I’m from Paris, so it was something special. Seven years … That’s a lot in a career, even more in modern football … It was a special feeling for me to be part of this club.”

‘I want to really improve my game’

While some will judge his career in terms of goals, trophies and accolades, Mbappé sees his imprint on the sport in a bigger, historical perspective.

“I have a lot of things to give to football,” he said. “I’ve done many things, but I’m still young and I want to do more … I want to put my name in the history of football.

“I just watch what I have in the future, and I want to really improve my game, to be a better player every year and to be the player who I want to be.

“It’s not just about goals, not just about trophies, it’s about the feeling that you give to people, the emotion, and the way you can be a complete player, the way you can help your teammates to be better.

“I want to understand more the game, more the world of football, everything. I have more experience so that’s helped me to be better.”

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