Real Madrid free to make another run for Mbappe after disappointment from several years ago

Fri, Feb 16, 2024
Soccer News (AP)

Real Madrid free to make another run for Mbappe after disappointment from several years ago

MADRID (AP) - Real Madrid and Kylian Mbappe may get a second chance to make it work.

Less than two years after what seemed to be a done deal fell apart, the Spanish powerhouse and the France star could have another opportunity to join forces.

Mbappe reportedly told Paris Saint-Germain on Thursday that he will leave the club at end of the season, opening the way for another run by Madrid to sign one of the world's best soccer players. There could be a bidding war among several clubs to sign the former World Cup winner, but Madrid is widely considered to be in the front seat.

Mbappe's arrival would give Madrid one of the top attacks in soccer, with Mbappe joining Jude Bellingham, Vinicius Junior and Rodrygo. It would also give Europe's most successful club a great outlook for the future, as Mbappe would the oldest of the four at just 25 years old.

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Madrid made a big push to sign Mbappe in 2022, with one of its offers rejected by PSG reportedly reaching 200 million euros ($215 million).

Mbappe never hid his dream of one day playing for Madrid, but decided at the time that it was best to continue his "adventure" in Paris.

It would be a much cheaper deal for Madrid now, as Mbappe will be a free agent after seven years with PSG. He informed the French club last year that he would not trigger an extension to the contract he signed in 2022.

Madrid had failed to secure Mbappe even before that debacle a few years ago, when the player visited the club's facilities at age 14 but instead decided to join Monaco's youth academy.

The most-recent failure was a big blow to Madrid fans, who felt it was only a matter of time for the transfer to happen. The only doubts then were about where the young Frenchman would fit in the squad. Madrid supporters had even "welcomed" Mbappe by applauding him at the Santiago Bernabeu Stadium when he played with PSG in a Champions League match.

The inability to close the deal led to criticism toward Madrid president Florentino Perez, and even prompted some backlash against Mbappe. Midfielder Federico Valverde said at the time that to be a Madrid player was "a privilege that not everyone can have."

Mbappe would have arrived to play alongside Karim Benzema, who left a year later and was never replaced by a top-level forward.

Mbappe could be that replacement, finally giving Madrid a star who could possibly be on a similar level to former Portugal great Cristiano Ronaldo.

Mbappe perhaps could also bring the club back to the "galacticos" era that it enjoyed in the 2000s with players such as Luis Figo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham and former Brazil great Ronaldo.

It would be an attack that could potentially rival the success of Barcelona's trio of Neymar, Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez, who helped the Catalan club thrive in the late 2010s.

Mbappe's arrival could also create a lineup challenge for Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti, who has been using a 4-4-2 formation with Vinicius and Rodrygo up front and Bellingham - the England player who is Madrid's leading scorer this season - playing just behind them.

Rodrygo has been playing well but would theoretically be the one giving up his place to Mbappe if the Frenchman is signed. Ancelotti could also sacrifice one of the regular starting midfielders - Eduardo Camavinga, Aurelien Tchouameni or Toni Kroos - and play with an attacking trio including Mbappe, Vinicius and Rodrygo.

Mbappe, one of only two players in soccer history to score a hat trick in a World Cup final, won five French league titles with PSG but so far failed to lead it to success in the Champions League. Madrid is that tournament's most successful club, with 14 European trophies in total.

And the Spanish club will likely increase its chances of adding to its trophy case if it can finally bring Mbappe.

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