A stellar night under the lights at the Santiago Bernabeu awaits tonight as Real Madrid welcome Paris Saint-Germain for the Champions League Round of 16 second-leg and once again, all eyes will be on the visitors’ star man Kylian Mbappe who could be getting a closer look at the place he may soon call home.
Mbappe is one of the hottest talents in football, and has been ever since his breakthrough onto the scene with Monaco in 2016-17 so it was only going to be a matter of time until a club the size of Real Madrid came calling. This isn’t breaking news, this story has been rumbling on for months and we are still no closer to its conclusion. The French attacker has been widely reported to have been an avid supporter of Los Blancos when he was a child and that it was the club he always had his heart set on as a professional footballer.
The forward’s incredible solo goal scored late on at Parc des Princes in the first-leg is all that separates the two sides heading into this clash and with the inescapable rumours of a move to the Spanish capital, this match will serve as an audition ahead of a potential switch in the summer. It wouldn’t be a difficult deal to complete as the 23-year-old’s contract with the French club expires at the end of this campaign.
Even with the hurdle of a staggering transfer fee being removed to complete a deal for Mbappe, Real Madrid’s financial situation remains an enigma. They were supposed to be in a crisis similar to their El Clasico rivals Barcelona but don’t appear to have gone through any of the same financial cutbacks that the Catalan giants have had over the last nine months, which would suggest they are in a position to broker such a deal.
By moving on a Bosman transfer, Mbappe will have serious bargaining power with any interested suitors ahead of next season and he will have the potential to become one of the highest-paid players in the world. For a club like Real Madrid, that isn’t too much of a problem because they know how much revenue they will get from having an asset like that at the club. An interesting twist in the tale is that it has been reported PSG have tabled a jaw-dropping £83million a year offer on the table to convince Mbappe to commit his future in the French capital, but if his heart is set on a dream move to tonight’s opponents, money will be immaterial.
He already has the attention of the Real Madrid players who know all too well of his technical capabilities, and their captain, veteran midfielder Luka Modric has revealed that he would enjoy playing alongside the fantastic Frenchman. Speaking ahead of tonight’s match, the Croatian said: “We all want to play with great players and Mbappe is one of those. Of course I’d like to play with Mbappe but we’ll see what happens.”
The PSG star will be flattered by such nice words by one of this generation’s greatest midfielders but it feels as though the Spanish outfit are either trying to play mind games with the forward, or are just increasing their infatuation with him and pulling out all the stops to lure him to the Bernabeu on a permanent basis.
Regardless of what the real intentions of Modric’s words are, it is clear how much Mbappe is wanted by Los Blancos and with the club’s rich and decorated history, it is totally understandable to see why Mbappe would want to join them. But can he inflict the decisive and damaging blow for the Parisians at the Bernabeu tonight?
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