'I will be their biggest fan' – Mbappe thanks Real Madrid for interest after choosing PSG

By Sports Desk May 22, 2022

Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe thanked Real Madrid for their efforts as he took to Twitter on Sunday night to explain his decision to stay in France.

Mbappe had for a long time appeared likely to leave PSG at the end of his contract and sign for admirers Madrid, but he ultimately decided to shun his childhood dream club.

The World Cup winner's 28 goals and 17 assists led both Ligue 1 charts this season, with his 45 goal involvements – arriving every 67 minutes on average – the most across Europe's top five leagues.

Those talents will not be turning out in Madrid colours, though.

In his Twitter post, Mbappe thanked Madrid and their president Florentino Perez and said he will remain a fan of the Spanish giants.

"Today I wanted to announce that I have chosen to extend my contract at Paris Saint-Germain," he wrote.

"I'm convinced that I can continue to grow here, at a club which is giving itself every means to reach the top. 

"I would like to thank the president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, for his confidence, his attention and his patience. 

"I also have a thought for all of the PSG supporters, in France and around the world, for their countless shows of affection, especially in these last few months.

"I am very happy to continue playing in France, the country where I was born, grew up and blossomed."

Mbappe added: "I would also like to sincerely thank Real Madrid and their president Florentino Perez. I am aware of the chance and privilege I had at being coveted by such an institution. 

"I can imagine their disappointment. It is as big as my own hesitations. 

"I will be their biggest fan in the Champions League final in Paris. At my home."

Mbappe is due to meet with the media on Monday to further discuss his decision to remain at PSG.

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    Didier Deschamps knows the importance of France's Euro 2024 opener against Austria, but he pointed to Argentina's World Cup success to demonstrate a fast start is not everything.

    France are seen as one of the favourites to win the tournament in Germany, having reached the final at three of their last four major competitions, finishing as runners-up at Euro 2016 and the 2022 World Cup either side of winning the 2018 World Cup.

    The Netherlands and Poland are also present in their tricky group, with Ronald Koeman's Oranje getting off the mark with a 2-1 win when those sides met on Sunday.

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    A Kylian Mbappe hat-trick in the final of that tournament was not enough to prevent France from losing to a Lionel Messi-inspired Argentina, who had opened their campaign with a stunning 2-1 defeat to Saudi Arabia.

    "The first match is very important, but not decisive," Deschamps said on Sunday. "Starting with a win… there is nothing better, Austria will think the same.

    "Negotiating this first match well would put us in a good position, but there is no one way to do it, look at Argentina!

    "This is the competition, we made sure with all the staff that they had all the information. The common trait between all the matches is that the intensity is very high. 

    "Austria have this strength, they use verticality well. We will have to be ready to get the result we want."

    France's Euro 2024 preparations have been overshadowed by political events in the country, with forwards Marcus Thuram and Mbappe both choosing to speak out ahead of parliamentary elections to take place in the coming weeks.

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    Mbappe, meanwhile, used Sunday's pre-match press conference to say: "I hope we'll still be proud to wear this jersey on July 7."

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    "I consider that my intervention would be inappropriate. I could have said, 'given the situation, guys, focus on the sport', as if I forbade them to speak," he said.

    "I didn't. They are men, French citizens, with their own sensitivities. When they are on the pitch, they are focused on the sporting objectives, but not disconnected from what can happen."

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    Kylian Mbappe will always put the team first and is ready to lead from the front as France prepare to open their Euro 2024 campaign against Austria, says Didier Deschamps.

    Having scored 44 goals in his final season with Paris Saint-Germain before sealing his long-awaited move to Real Madrid, Mbappe will captain his country at a first major tournament, following Hugo Lloris' international retirement.

    Les Bleus are among the favourites but the same was true when they crashed out in the last 16 at Euro 2020, losing to Switzerland in a penalty shoot-out.

    Mbappe failed to score at that tournament, but his coach is certain he is in top condition ahead of Monday's game in Dusseldorf.

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    Asked about Mbappe's leadership qualities, Deschamps continued: "He speaks but he is not there to be overbearing. 

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    Opponents Austria have been touted by some as a potential surprise package after impressing in their first qualification campaign under Ralf Rangnick, finishing just one point behind Belgium.

    "If we're complete, then we're a team that is very hard to beat," the former Manchester United boss said. "We're able to compete with anyone at a high level. 

    "We saw that during friendlies against Germany and Italy [both 2-0 wins], but also during the qualifiers against Sweden [2-0 and 3-1 victories]. 

    "We're not going to the Euros just to participate. We have faith in ourselves and believe we can qualify for the next round."

    PLAYERS TO WATCH 

    Austria – Marcel Sabitzer

    Sabitzer was involved in six goals in seven appearances during Euro 2024 qualifying (four goals, two assists), the most of any Austria player.

    The Borussia Dortmund man also created the most big chances (four) and accumulated the highest expected assists figure (1.6 xA) of any Austrian.

    France – Kylian Mbappe 

    Across the last three major international tournaments (2018 World Cup, Euro 2020 and 2022 World Cup), Mbappe has scored 12 goals. Harry Kane is the only European player to match that tally.

    However, all of those goals have come at World Cups. He failed to convert any of his 14 shots at Euro 2020 and also missed the decisive spot-kick as France lost to Switzerland on penalties. He will be desperate to atone at this tournament, starting on Monday.

    MATCH PREDICTION – FRANCE WIN

    France enter Euro 2024 as one of the favourites, with the Opta supercomputer giving them a 19.1 per cent chance of lifting the trophy before the tournament began. They are expected to live up to that billing here.

    Les Bleus have reached the final at three of their last four major tournaments, being losing finalists at Euro 2016 and the 2022 World Cup and winning the 2018 World Cup.

    They plundered 29 goals in their eight qualifiers, with 14 different players getting on the scoresheet for them (excluding own goals) – the largest spread of any nation. 

    With the likes of Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud and Antoine Griezmann – who has 18 goal contributions at major tournaments since the start of Euro 2016 (11 goals, seven assists) – supporting Mbappe, they should have too much for Austria.

    Austria have only won one of their last 10 matches against France in all competitions (two draws, seven defeats), triumphing 3-1 in a 2010 World Cup qualifier in September 2008.

    The teams have, however, managed one win apiece from their two previous tournament meetings. Austria claimed a 3-2 victory at the 1934 World Cup, and France won 1-0 at the 1982 competition.

    OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

    Austria – 15.5% 

    France – 65.8%

    Draw – 18.7%

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