14 In Paris? Real Madrid Have Already Proved They Don't Need Kylian Mbappe

Los Blancos will visit the French capital with bigger things on their mind
19:05, 27 May 2022

Real Madrid will stroll into Paris this weekend as a wounded beast. Saturday could have been the day that they walked into the French capital, picked up their prized asset, scooped the Champions League trophy and stopped off into the sunset. Instead, they’ve been left embarrassed by the man they have been targeting for five years. Kylian Mbappe. 

Los Blancos reportedly paid the Frenchman €40m as a premature signing on fee back in December, convinced that he would be their new Galactico. Even when he scored at the Bernabeu in the Champions League round of 16, Florentino Perez remained certain he would be wearing all white next season. 

His U-turn is one that the UK government would be proud of, but it has left Madrid angry. They missed out on Erling Haaland because they thought Mbappe was theirs, and the most successful club in European football isn’t used to being second choice. But as Los Blancos stroll along the River Seine this weekend, they’d be remiss to forget what has got them this far. 

It seems fitting that this Champions League final, where Real Madrid can win their 14th European crown, will take place in Paris. The city where the shadow of Mbappe looms large may give Madrid another crowning moment, and if they do beat Liverpool on Saturday it will be one of their greatest European triumphs. 

Their front three have dragged them to this final in the most unlikely circumstances. That PSG turnaround was courtesy of a hat-trick from Karim Benzema, a man who has hit new heights as the main man. He may be 34, but his record of 44 goals in 45 games this season, 15 of which have come in Europe has made him the favourite for the Ballon d’Or. A win on Saturday will surely see him crowned as the best player in the world. 

Mbappe would have been a signing to carry Real Madrid into the future, but he would have once again overshadowed his countryman. Los Blancos don’t need to upset the balance of a forward line that has carried them to the La Liga title and a Champions League final. More to the point, they already have two of the world’s best youngsters that have contributed hugely to this journey.

Vinicius Jr is without a doubt one of the finest wingers in the world. He’s two years younger than Mbappe and has stepped up where Eden Hazard has failed. Then, you have Rodrygo, the man who dragged them back from the brink.

The same age as his Brazilian countryman, his goal against Chelsea kept Madrid in the competition, before he scored a dramatic brace against Manchester City in that chaotic semi-final finish. He may not have played as big a role as he would have liked this term but he has shown he can be a key player in the crucial moments. 

With those two 21 years olds, and the likes of Eduardo Camavinga already in the squad, the future looks bright as it stands in the Spanish capital. Yes, there is no doubt Mbappe would have elevated them to the next level, but there is also a risk that comes with his signing. Especially in the Champions League this season, this squad has shown a desire to fight tooth and nail for each other, until the final second. 

You don’t come back against Manchester City and PSG without an incredible team spirit and this squad seems perfectly balanced. It has experienced heads, Benzema is playing better than ever before and they already boast some of the best youngsters in Europe. Bringing Mbappe in one mega-wages might just have upset the balance of the dressing room and the team - it certainly would have changed the power dynamic.

13 Champions League titles to their name is unmatched. If it becomes 14 in Paris, then even Mbappe will be watching on in envy. 

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