Al-Khelaifi claims Madrid bettered PSG's Mbappe offer, hits out at 'dead' La Liga

By Sports Desk June 21, 2022

Kylian Mbappe decided to stay at Paris Saint-Germain due to the club's "project" and rejected a more lucrative offer from Real Madrid, according to the Parisians' president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

Al-Khelaifi also hit out at suggestions Mbappe possesses undue influence in footballing decisions at the club in an explosive interview with Marca, as well as labelling La Liga "dead" and claiming to never have heard of the league's president Javier Tebas.

Mbappe was widely expected to join Madrid upon the expiry of his contract in Paris this month, but committed his future to PSG until 2025 in a shock decision in May.

That decision sparked fury in Spain, with Madrid president Florentino Perez claiming the striker "must already be sorry" for snubbing the European champions, and LaLiga chief Tebas accusing the French club of trying to "destroy" European football in a complaint to UEFA over supposed financial fair play breaches.

But Al-Khelaifi says Mbappe's choice was never about money, and even claims to have known the 2018 World Cup winner wanted to stay long before the end of last season.

"I have great respect for Real Madrid as a club, they're a great club, but Kylian has never decided to renew for the money, that's the first thing. Madrid's offer was better than ours," he said.

"He is our player and he had other clubs in England as well as Madrid, but he chose PSG, and we didn't talk to him or his family about money until the last moment. 

"Kylian was above all interested in the project, in football and sport. He is Parisian, he is French, and he wanted to stay here to represent his city and his country, his club, and it is not fair what has been said about him."

The PSG chief rejected huge bids for the striker before last season and says he did so in the knowledge he would decide to renew: "I knew 18 months ago that Mbappe wanted to stay. I heard that Madrid said he wanted to play for Madrid, but it wasn't true. 

"We are talking now about Madrid's latest offer, but in the summer [of 2021] they made an offer of €170million and 180million. That means that Madrid's offer, plus his salary, was already better than ours, as it is now. 

"I turned down 180 and they told me I was crazy, people I trusted, because he could leave for free, but I did it because I was sure Kylian was going to stay because I know him and his family well. I know what he wants. 

"Kylian is very serious, professional, and he wants to play and win, he doesn't care about money. I understand that Madrid are disappointed, but it's not fair to say that about Mbappe."

LaLiga have complained about the spending of both Manchester City and PSG to UEFA, claiming a need to keep European competition "clean".

But Al-Khelaifi is not worried about accusations of overspending, as he labelled the Spanish top flight "dead" and said last year's signing of Lionel Messi demonstrated PSG's ability to invest and stay within the rules.

"Who is Tebas? I don't know that person," he claimed. "Our style is not to interfere in the affairs of other clubs, other leagues or federations, it is not our style. But I am not going to accept that others give us lessons. 

"I don't care what he says, the truth is, we have been talking about this for years. We have a football project to build, and we are going to go ahead. We're not worried about everything that comes out in the media, because we can't waste our time with everything that comes out.

"Every year, every summer, it's the same thing. He says we don't respect the fair play, we don't respect the others? We know what we can do, who we can sign, we know better than him what we can do and nobody has to tell us what to do. 

"We don't have to be told by someone from outside what we can or cannot do. If we do it, it's because we can. Look at the case of Messi. It was the same, they said it was financially impossible, and we have made money with Messi. 

"He has no idea and he should focus on his league because La Liga is a bit dead."

Al-Khelaifi, who also serves as chairman of the European Club Association (ECA), could not resist taking another swipe at Madrid over their continued support for the European Super League, which failed spectacularly upon its attempted launch last year.

Madrid, along with Barcelona and Juventus, are still committed to the breakaway project, and Al-Khelaifi says their jubilation at winning the Champions League last month is strange in that context.

"For me it [the Super League] is already dead," he said. "But it's also strange. Madrid have won the Champions League and deservedly so, but on the one hand they want to win it and on the other hand they don't want to play it. 

"If you're not happy you don't need to play it. It's the best competition in the world and I don't even know why the Spanish fans are also against this competition, but for me the Super League is dead."

Related items

  • Ronald Koeman: Barcelona cannot 'live in the past' Ronald Koeman: Barcelona cannot 'live in the past'

    While criticising Joan Laporta's management, Ronald Koeman has claimed Barcelona are caught up in their own history as football evolves beyond their identity on the pitch.

    The former Barcelona head coach claims Laporta placed unnecessary pressure on him before his dismissal in October last year.

    Xavi taking over from the 59-year-old formed part of a narrative that the financially embattled club would return to their roots both on and off the pitch, as part of Laporta's second stint as club president.

    In an interview with Esport3, Koeman suggested such a sentiment is ultimately impractical and ignorant of football's evolution, while defending his own tactical choices in charge of the Blaugrana.

    "I am in favour of dominating the game," he said. "If you play with three central defenders, you cannot say that it is a defensive system. With this system for three or four months, we played the best games in recent years.

    "The clearest example was the [2021 Copa del Rey] final against Athletic. Barcelona lives in the past, from 4-3-3, to Tiki-taka. Football has changed. Now it's faster, more physical.

    "You can't live in the past. If you have Xavi, Iniesta... and Messi, who by the way, they took from me. This was a very hard one to take."

    Koeman also hinted to the weight lifted off his shoulders after his dismissal, especially within the context of leaving the Netherlands national team to take Barcelona over during a period of significant financial and political upheaval at the club.

    Laporta was elected as Barcelona president three months after Koeman's replacement of Quique Setien in 2020.

    Set to take over the Netherlands from Louis van Gaal after this year's World Cup, Koeman insists life has become less complicated since leaving, but harbours no regrets about his return to the club he won a Champions League with as a player.

    "Leaving was a bit of a liberation," he said. "It was a difficult time for the club, without a president, with Laporta's doubts about the coach.

    "You want to be a coach and you know that if you don't win you have problems. I made an effort, I left the national team and if it happened again, I would do it again. I don't regret it.

    "As president, you can always have doubts but if you say them to the public, everyone doubts. It was a big mistake on his part."

  • Fernandinho returns to Athletico Paranaense after Man City departure Fernandinho returns to Athletico Paranaense after Man City departure

    Fernandinho has rejoined former club Athletico Paranaense after announcing his departure from Manchester City.

    The 37-year-old stated his intention to return to Brazil in April before completing his ninth campaign at the Etihad Stadium, and leaves at the end of his contract having made a total of 383 appearances for City.

    Fernandinho took over as City captain after David Silva's 2020 departure and featured in five Premier League title wins, the last four of them under Pep Guardiola's management.

    But the holding midfielder, who has won 53 caps for Brazil, was reduced to a supporting role during the 2021-22 season, starting just 17 games in all competitions as Rodri enjoyed a terrific campaign at the base of Guardiola's midfield.

    On Monday, Athletico Paranaense tweeted an image of Fernandinho with club president Mario Celso Petraglia, alongside the caption: "Welcome back, Fernandinho!"

    Fernandinho spent three seasons with the Curitiba-based club before joining Shakhtar Donetsk in 2005, where he won six Ukrainian top-flight titles.

    Athletico Paranaense are coached by former World Cup-winning Brazil boss Luis Felipe Scolari, who joined the side in May.

  • Barcelona considering legal action as Roma pull out of Joan Gamper Trophy match Barcelona considering legal action as Roma pull out of Joan Gamper Trophy match

    Barcelona are studying the possibility of taking legal action against Roma after the Italian club announced they will no longer take part in the Joan Gamper Trophy. 

    The two clubs were set to meet at Camp Nou on August 6, with their respective women's sides also facing off, in a fixture that acts as an annual curtain-raiser for Barca's season.

    However, just 12 days after the friendly was announced, Roma confirmed on Monday that they have withdrawn from the match.

    Roma said in a statement the decision was taken as a result of modifying their pre-season plans to best suit both their men's and women's sides.

    In a strong statement of their own released shortly thereafter, Barcelona hit out at the Europa Conference League winners, who are managed by their former coach Jose Mourinho.

    "Roma have decided to unilaterally, without reason, withdraw from the agreed contract for both parties for the Joan Gamper Trophy," the statement read.

    "The club is working on a finding a new opponent for this year's edition. In the next 24 hours the return of money already spent on tickets will begin.

    "The club wants to make it clear that the suspension of the games has been due to circumstances outside the control of FC Barcelona, the express wish of AS Roma. 

    "The club's legal department is studying possible action against the Italian club for damages caused to Barcelona and its fans due to this unexpected and unjustified decision."

    Barcelona are scheduled to face UE Olot, Inter Miami, Real Madrid, Juventus, New York Red Bulls and Manchester City ahead of the start of the 2022-23 LaLiga season.

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.