Kylian Mbappe will not have long to wait until he wins the Ballon d'Or, according to Barcelona great Patrick Kluivert.

Mbappe was widely expected to join Real Madrid when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expired in June, but opted to sign a three-year extension in the French capital.

The 23-year-old cited the project changing at PSG as he hopes to secure a maiden Champions League success.

Mbappe was in scintillating form this campaign as he scored 28 league goals, a tally only bettered by Bayern Munich's Robert Lewandowski (35) across Europe's top five leagues.

The France international also added 17 assists, with no player in Europe's biggest leagues managing more direct goal involvements (45) – Les Bleus team-mate Karim Benzema ranked second with 39.

Mbappe will look to deliver World Cup glory for France in Qatar later this year, and Kluivert believes it will only be a matter of time before the PSG talisman wins the Ballon d'Or.

"Mbappe is one of the best players out there at the moment," former PSG director of football Kluivert told Spanish daily Mundo Deportivo.

"I congratulate him on his recent renewal with the team. I think he will win the Ballon d'Or shortly."

 

Kluivert also discussed his former club Barca, who ended LaLiga in second despite languishing in ninth when Xavi took charge after Ronald Koeman's dismissal in late October.

Xavi will now be tasked with rebuilding in the transfer window as he looks to close the gap on Champions League and LaLiga winners Real Madrid.

Kluivert played with Xavi at Camp Nou, and backed his former team-mate to transform Barca's fortunes.

"Next season he will have many possibilities to improve the team, I have a lot of faith in him," Kluivert said.

"The club has very good young players who know the values ​​of the club. I am confident that Barca will return to where it was."

Florentino Perez claimed he had "already forgotten" Real Madrid's failed pursuit of Kylian Mbappe after watching his side beat Liverpool in the Champions League final.

Mbappe was widely expected to join Madrid when his Paris Saint-Germain contract expired this year.

But the World Cup winner had a change of heart last week and instead committed to a new three-year deal in Paris.

Rather than have Mbappe come to Madrid, Madrid came to him on Saturday, visiting the French capital for another Champions League final and another triumph, winning their 14th European crown and making it eight successive victories when reaching the competition's final.

Vinicius Junior netted the only goal in a 1-0 win, showing the sort of firepower Madrid still possess even without Mbappe.

And president Perez vowed the LaLiga and European champions will continue to chase the world's best players after their transfer disappointment.

"Mbappe is already forgotten," he told Movistar. "We have had a perfect season and we will continue to work to get the best players."

Madrid already have one of the best around in goalkeeper Thibaut Courtois, who made a record nine Champions League final saves to keep Mohamed Salah and Liverpool at bay.

"Thibaut has had a spectacular season," Perez said of the Belgian. "He is the best goalkeeper in the world, and that's why we brought him to Real Madrid."

 

Kylian Mbappe staying at Paris Saint-Germain can only be a positive outcome for French football, according to Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps.

World Cup winner Mbappe appeared set to move to Real Madrid when his contract expired in June, but opted to sign a three-year extension with PSG.

That denied Madrid talisman Karim Benzema the chance to link-up at club level with international team-mate Mbappe, who insisted he stayed at PSG "because the project had changed" and for sentimental reasons.

Deschamps will have the attacking duo to call upon for the Nations League campaign, starting against Denmark next Friday, and the France coach was delighted to see Mbappe stay in Paris.

"It's his choice. It's obvious that he stays in Ligue 1, it's a very good thing for French football," he told reporters on Saturday.

"He is attached to the club, he said what he had to say but in being French, that can only be a good thing.

"We can grow by staying. Today the objective of PSG is the same as in all the big clubs, and to win the Champions League. It may be necessary one day to go abroad, but that is not an obligation.

"We are not going to speak in other periods when there was a lag compared to France. But today, the choice of players is not the same.

"It is perhaps less of an obligation to go abroad to accomplish beautiful things."

 

There were reports of tension between Benzema and Mbappe after the former uploaded a photo of late rapper Tupac Shakur that was deemed to be a veiled reference to betrayal.

Benzema has since denied those suggestions, insisting he does not feel betrayed by Mbappe, and Deschamps does not envisage problems between the pair when they arrive for international duty.

"From my position as coach, where I have the players live where I know from A to Z what is going on, the main thing is the group," he added.

"It can lead to misunderstandings. From a situation where we can all draw negative conclusions when they are not necessarily negative... It can turn into a misunderstanding, which does not reflect reality.

"Today with the connected world it can go very very quickly, the slightest photo goes quickly. Even if I'm not on there!"

Christopher Nkunku, Moussa Dembele and Wissam Ben Yedder will also join Mbappe and Benzema in France's attacking ranks, with Olivier Giroud missing out from selection.

Deschamps says he did not call up Giroud as he wanted to offer the likes of Nkunku, Dembele and Ben Yedder a chance to show their worth.

"I said that in relation to the attacking players, who will be supposed to have a little more playing time," Deschamps continued.

"Olivier Giroud is not with us, it's to give playing time to Moussa, Christopher and Wissam, who are with us regularly, who have had playing time and will have the opportunity to have a little more.

"If possible we will make sure to involve everyone, some will play more than others. Through the four meetings, we will make sure that they are active, so that they get stronger, to have more experience. It will give additional information on the final list for the World Cup."

France's sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera believes Kylian Mbappe will be the poster boy for the Paris Olympic Games.

Mbappe last week decided to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, despite having widely been expected to join Real Madrid on a free transfer.

The 23-year-old has signed a three-year deal with PSG, keeping him at the Parc des Princes until 2025.

It is a move that Oudea-Castera believes benefits the whole of France, as she suggested Mbappe, already a World Cup winner, will now be the star for the country to get behind in the 2024 Olympics.

"To be on the field, in our magnificent sites, to represent his country at the Olympic Games in 2024, he has always dreamed of it and he will make so many of us dream of it," she told RMC Sport, as quoted by Le Parisien. 

"It's a big 'YES' in capital letters. PSG will be fully behind the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I am certain that all this will happen."

Oudea-Castera thinks Mbappe is worth the huge salary the Ligue 1 champions are paying him.

"The amounts are very high, but that rewards an immense talent, constant work. He is a huge worker, sport also has its big stars as has entrepreneurship," she added.

"It's not dirty or ugly, especially since he gives a lot. Kylian makes his values clear, he is very committed."

Oudea-Castera also had a word for Mbappe's France team-mate Karim Benzema, who she backed to win the Ballon d'Or after an extraordinary season with Madrid that might culminate in a Champions League triumph, with Los Blancos facing Liverpool in Paris on Saturday.

"He has a good chance [of winning the Ballon d'Or]," she said. 

"We are all behind him, it would be a very nice reward."

Kylian Mbappe is already the best player in France and can continue to make history after signing his new contract with Paris Saint-Germain, according to Ronaldinho.

Last week, Mbappe agreed a new three-year deal with the Ligue 1 champions, rejecting Real Madrid's public advances in a huge transfer blow to the Champions League finalists.

The World Cup-winning forward scored 39 goals and added 21 assists during a remarkable individual season with PSG, as Mauricio Pochettino's team secured a10th league title in the club's history.

The 23-year-old is already the second-highest Ligue 1 goalscorer in PSG history, scoring 171 goals in 217 league outings for the Parisian giants – only Edinson Cavani (200 goals in 301 games) has more.

Former PSG star Ronaldinho, who scored 25 goals in two seasons with the club before departing for Barcelona in 2003, says Mbappe is already out-shining team-mates Lionel Messi and Neymar.

However, Ronaldinho also insisted PSG would have been able to cope had the France star left for Madrid, highlighting the quality of his team-mates.

"Right now, of the future... he's a player that could be part of history," he told Mail Online. "He deserves all the respect he's getting. He is making history and can continue to create happiness for us in this game.

"Today he is the best player for PSG. If he left to go anywhere else, it would only be to have the chance to be the best player in another country. He's already the best in France.

"Paris Saint-Germain has some of the best players in the world right now – Messi, Neymar, Sergio Ramos. 

"Some of the best players in the world are in this team. So, if one of the best players in the world leaves, other top players will continue in their place."

 

Meanwhile, Ronaldinho's former Barcelona team-mate Messi endured a mixed first season in France, recording 11 goals and 14 assists in all competitions but being jeered by his own fans in the aftermath of March's Champions League defeat to Madrid.

However, Ronaldinho insists the Argentine is happy in Paris, highlighting his 2021 Ballon d'Or win as evidence of his continued quality.

The former Camp Nou star also insists Barcelona will recover from Messi's departure and return to the top of the game under Xavi's management, backing the Blaugrana boss to create another "beautiful" team.

'If my friend is happy, it's the right decision, and I believe he is very happy," Ronaldinho said of Messi. "He is going through a period of adapting, but he's already been voted the best player in the world.

"People said they were surprised when I left Barcelona and when Messi left. But Barcelona continues to be Barcelona. 

"Things change in football, naturally. Now the club's hierarchy needs to bring in new players with talent to continue being successful.

"They already have a great coach who has a foundation in the history of the club. So, the club can begin it's rebuild with this manager to create a beautiful team. They need to now give the manager the opportunity to build a great team.

"It won't be easy. They need a bit more time to build a side that is based around the best players. But I think players are happy to be playing for one of the best teams in the world."

Mauricio Pochettino is "100 per cent" committed to Paris Saint-Germain and does not believe his future at the club will be decided by his relationship with Kylian Mbappe.

Both Pochettino and Mbappe have been the subject of speculation for much of this season.

But while the superstar forward has signed a new contract in Paris, snubbing Real Madrid, it is unclear how that development impacts his coach.

Pressure has been building on Pochettino since PSG again failed to win the Champions League, losing to Madrid in the last 16 despite Mbappe scoring in both legs.

Given reports suggest Mbappe has been given a significant say in the running of the club as part of his new deal, it would appear crucial Pochettino keeps the World Cup winner onside.

But in an interview with COPE, the former Tottenham boss seemed confident he would be given the opportunity to prove his worth at the Parc des Princes regardless.

"I have said I am 100 per cent here. Today I tell you I am 100 per cent here," Pochettino said.

"I have one more year of contract. The challenges are there and it motivates any coach.

"I don't think [the relationship with Mbappe is decisive]. I will be judged by the work. We have won all the titles that previous coaches have won. That is earned regularly, and you have to give it value. This league is not easy."

Asked if he wanted to keep his job, Pochettino added: "Of course, 100 per cent. It's a club that has ambition. The big disappointment is the Champions League because of the desire of the people."

Kylian Mbappe remains at the centre of a disagreement between French and Spanish footballing bodies after snubbing Real Madrid to stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, long linked with Madrid, announced last week he would be signing a new contract in Paris rather than joining the Champions League finalists as a free agent.

LaLiga chief Javier Tebas swiftly responded to the news by claiming it to be "an insult to football".

Those comments have unsurprisingly prompted replies from France, firstly from LFP president Vincent Labrune, whose letter to Tebas was reported on Thursday.

Labrune questioned "your latest attacks against Ligue 1 and one of our clubs", believing his counterpart's behaviour to be "completely inappropriate".

And that is a view shared by the UNFP, the French players' union, which released a statement also directed at Tebas later on Thursday.

"We can hear and understand the disappointment of people from Madrid and their compatriots, even knowing, especially in the world of football, that you don't win every time and that it is possible to say 'no' to Real Madrid, even for a third time," said the body on its website.

"But demonstrating to the point of incomprehension does not justify disrespecting the player, his club and all of French football in this way, unless we call into question the freedom for a footballer to sign a contract with the club of his choice?

"The arrogance of the remarks made is shocking and there is no need here to reply to our Spanish friends that they have hardly any lessons to give to French football in terms of financial management, protectionism and equality...

"Once again, the most enraged is Javier Tebas who, when it comes to PSG, forgets to turn his tongue in his mouth seven times before speaking.

"And his offensive, hateful remarks, without restraint or foundation, bring shame and discredit to him, especially with regard to his position.

"In the heart of the 70s, Jeannette sang 'Porque te vas?' ['Why must you leave?']. But Kylian Mbappe will not leave, no offence to the president of the Spanish league...

"So 'Porque Tebas?' asks the UNFP..."

Karim Benzema insists he does not feel "betrayed" by Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay with Paris Saint-Germain instead of joining him at Real Madrid.

After well over a year of intense speculation, Mbappe finally confirmed on Saturday that he had signed a new three-year contract at PSG.

It was a decision few saw coming given Madrid's apparent confidence the France international was going to join them on a free transfer at the end of June.

Mbappe's decision infuriated LaLiga chief Javier Tebas, while others associated more closely with Madrid were said to have been stunned.

An Instagram post by Benzema later the same day attracted particular attention, as he uploaded a photo of late rapper Tupac Shakur that was deemed to be veiled reference to betrayal.

According to Madrid-based newspaper Marca, which is generally regarded to have strong ties to Los Blancos, Benzema had been key in trying to persuade international team-mate Mbappe to join the club, hence why he might have felt betrayed.

But Benzema is adamant such stories are nonsense.

Speaking to Movistar Plus on Tuesday, Benzema said: "I'm going to tell you that we're going to play a Champions League final on Saturday. This is not the time to talk about those little things. I'd rather not talk.

"I'm not angry, I'm just telling you that I'm focused on the Champions League final, which is more important than listening to other things."

Asked if he felt "betrayed", Benzema continued: "Why? Everyone has to be focused on their things.

"Mbappe and other players have no reason to call me. Everyone decides their future. I'm calm here, preparing for Saturday's game. Each person does what he wants.

"There is no history of betrayal, or anything… Every month and a half I [post] photos of Tupac, who is my favourite.

"It's not a photo with a message; if I have a message I will see the person. Madrid is the best club in the world, but it was not a message."

Benzema did acknowledge, however, that the news was unexpected.

"I was surprised, like everyone else," he said. "He is a Paris player and we have a game on Saturday."

Both players are expected to be on international duty with France next month when Les Bleus begin their Nations League title defence.

Carlo Ancelotti said he would "respect" Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay at Paris Saint-Germain and turn down Real Madrid, as the coach attempted to move on from the saga.

Mbappe was widely expected to leave the French league behind and move to Madrid on a free transfer at the end of this season, with the red carpet ready to be rolled out for the World Cup winner's arrival.

Yet the 23-year-old was eventually persuaded to sign a lucrative three-year contract in Paris, a jolt to the system for Madrid and LaLiga, with league president Javier Tebas left seething and questioning how PSG's finances could allow for such a deal.

Ancelotti has a Champions League final coming up on Saturday as Madrid face Liverpool, and a news conference on Tuesday gave him an opportunity to answer Mbappe questions before game-day comes closer.

His responses were predictably curt, and the Italian said: "We haven't talked about players who don't form part of this club.

"We respect the player and his decision, and we've got to work hard and of course we've got something big coming up which is the final."

Asked again about Mbappe, Ancelotti said: "I don't talk about players who aren't here, who aren't Real Madrid footballers."

Mbappe had said it was a dream of his to pull on the famous white shirt of Madrid, but his snub to Los Blancos may mean that never happens.

In an interview with Marca, published on Tuesday, Mbappe said: "I think it's disrespectful to say that my dream is to play for Real Madrid after signing my contract just a few days ago.

"The dream is fine, but today I am only focused on my new contract, in the present. You never know what can happen... I have a three-year contract, but for the moment I have to focus on my year at PSG."

PSG were eliminated by Madrid in the last-16 stage of the Champions League, and the French club have never won the Champions League.

By contrast, Madrid will be chasing a 14th such title when they tackle Liverpool, in a match that by a quirk of fate takes place in Paris.

Mbappe insisted his decision to commit to the Ligue 1 champions was not a question of money.

"People can talk about what they want, but everyone knows me. I have spoken with everyone at Real Madrid, I have spoken with PSG, and they know that I have never discussed money with the president, with Florentino Perez, or with Nasser Al-Khelaifi," Mbappe said.

"My lawyer talked a little about money, as did my mother, but I didn't. I talk about sport because I talk on the pitch. 

"My money goes to my account, I look at it a bit, but I don't care. I am here to win titles, to show that I am the best and to be happy. I think right now I'm happy."

Real Madrid have set their sights on Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling after missing out on Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

The Spanish giants were widely regarded as favourites to land Mbappe until a late change of heart led to him signing a three-year extension to stay in France.

Madrid and City went head to head in the Champions League semi-final, but they may find themselves talking business soon for the England international.

 

TOP STORY – LOS BLANCOS PREPARE BID FOR STERLING

Sterling has spent seven seasons with City, racking up 131 goals in 338 appearances in all club competitions, and has played no fewer than 46 games in any of those campaigns.

Despite this, his playing time waned in the closing stages of this season, culminating in the Champions League when he only played a combined 28 minutes across both fixtures against Madrid.

Sterling set a record at the time for the most expensive transfer of an English player when he was sold to City for £44million plus add-ons in 2015, but Madrid are not looking to overshoot that number by much, with the Daily Star reporting they will offer £50million.

ROUND-UP

– According to Sky Sports, Sadio Mane fancies a move to Bayern Munich in the upcoming transfer window.

– The Telegraph is reporting Tottenham will sign six players, heavily investing in an attempt to convince Antonio Conte to stay.

– The Telegraph is also reporting one player high on Tottenham's wish-list is Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, who also has strong interest from Arsenal.

Arsenal will try to sell as many as seven first-team players in the upcoming transfer window – with Hector Bellerin and Bernd Leno named by The Sun. The Telegraph added that Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans is a key target for the Gunners.

– The Times is reporting Leeds United are set to sign 21-year-old USA international Brenden Aaronson from RB Salzburg for £23m.

Kylian Mbappe revealed he had discussions with Liverpool while he was weighing up his options, before ultimately deciding to re-sign with Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, 23, is widely considered the most valuable player in world football, and was tipped to leave France to join Real Madrid when his contract expired at the end of this season.

He ended up turning his back on his favourite childhood club in favour of remaining in his home country, signing a deal that will keep him in Paris through 2025.

While most believed it was a true two-horse race between the Spanish and French giants, Mbappe revealed in an interview with TeleFoot that he entertained the idea of heading to Anfield.

"It was not just Real Madrid and PSG – I was in talks to join Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool," he said.

In an interview with the Telegraph, he added his motivation, and that Liverpool was not part of his final deliberation.

"I talked to Liverpool because it’s the favourite club of my mum – my mum loves Liverpool," he said. "I don’t know why, you will have to ask her.

"It’s a good club and we [first] met them five years ago. When I was in Monaco I met them. It’s a big club.

"We talked a little bit, but not too much… of course, it was between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in the end."

The superstar forward also shined some light on why he may have back-flipped on his desire to head to Madrid, saying that leaving on a free transfer with Paris Saint-Germain getting nothing in return did not sit right with him.

"Everybody knows I wanted to leave for Real Madrid last year, and I think it was a good choice to leave last year," he said. "But now it’s different because I was a free agent.

"I was a free agent, and it was important to give back to my country. If I had left I would have left as a great player, but there is a sentimental part. 

"I don’t think my chapter is closed. Things were not over for me at PSG.

"I’m French and I know I’m important in the country, and when you are important you have to think not only about football, but about your life. 

"I will be in France after my career. I will leave here [PSG], I will be with my family, my friends. 

"The only thing I can say is thank you to all the Real Madrid fans, and the club, because they gave me all the love. 

"It’s amazing because I was only there for one week when I was 14 [to train]. I said to them good luck for the Champions League [final]."

Kylian Mbappe has revealed he stayed at Paris Saint-Germain for sentimental reasons and because "the project has changed".

Mbappe was widely expected to join Real Madrid as a free agent, but snubbed the LaLiga champions to stay at PSG.

The 23-year-old forward's new three-year deal was confirmed before the Ligue 1 champions' 5-0 rout of Metz on Saturday and he celebrated by scoring a hat-trick.

Mbappe ended the campaign as the first player in a Ligue 1 season to be top goalscorer, with 18, and the leading assister on 17 since the awards were first given out by the LFP for the 2007-08 campaign.

Reports of Mbappe's deal have varied, though a common suggestion has been that the France international has been given additional power at the club.

Some reports have even suggested Mbappe would be able to act as a de facto sporting director, and would be given control over possible transfers and even coaching appointments.

But Mbappe said during a news conference on Monday: ""Leaving my country like that, there is this sentimental side. And also the project has changed.

"The club has changed a lot of things and I think my story is not over."

Asked about talk of him having more power, he said: "I remain a football player, I remain anchored in a collective.

"I remain a football player and I would not go beyond this function."

Mbappe also had a word for Madrid supporters, who he thanked for accepting him as "one of their own", even after he scored twice against Los Blancos in the Champions League this season.

"I want to thank them, they have always accepted me as one of their own," he said.

"I understand their disappointment, but I hope they will understand that I am staying in my country and as a Frenchman I want to help my country and make grow the championship."

Paris Saint-Germain are "keeping the best player in the world" having convinced Kylian Mbappe to remain with the club, according to president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

Mbappe had widely been expected to join Real Madrid when his previous contract expired at the end of the 2021-22 campaign.

However, prior to PSG's final game of the season against Metz, reports emerged he had in fact decided to take up PSG's offer of a new contract and remain in the French capital.

His mother and agent confirmed on Friday that agreements had been reached with both clubs and, before Saturday's game, it was confirmed Mbappe would be staying put on a three-year deal.

Mbappe was paraded on the pitch before the game at Parc des Princes, with a "2025" shirt, and subsequently scored a hat-trick as PSG rounded off a title-winning Ligue 1 season with a 5-0 rout.

That treble took his tally for the season to 39 in all competitions. Only two players in Europe's top-five leagues, Robert Lewandowski (50) and Karim Benzema (44), have scored more.

But, with 21 assists to his name, no player in the top-five leagues registered more goal involvements than Mbappe's 60.

Speaking at a media conference on Monday, Al-Khelaifi said: "Kylian has stayed at PSG for the next three seasons. It's very important for us, Ligue 1 and France.

"This choice is a very strong sign, we are keeping the best player in the world. He stays here because Paris puts him in a position to achieve his sporting goals: win, win and win."

 

Reports have suggested Mbappe will earn a €100million a year salary and has received a €150m signing bonus.

Additionally, there has been speculation he will help decide the coach, with Mauricio Pochettino's future in doubt, have a say in the appointment of a sporting director and approve transfers.

Asked about his reported powers, Al-Khelaifi did not directly address the question, replying: "I'm going to be very honest with you: from day one we talk about football with his family.

"That's what I like about him, we always talk about football. When we come here, we come here because it's Paris and he's coming to win a lot of trophies."

However, Al-Khelaifi suggested Madrid could have offered Mbappe more than what they are paying him.

"We never gave the figures, but it was not the most important, the most important was the sporting project. The money, the club in Spain could have paid more.

"We weren't sure, but we always believed in Kylian, in his family.

"We have built something very strong between us since day one. Maybe you don't understand it now but you will understand it later that it's positive for the club, the championship, France."

Responding to criticism of the deal from LaLiga president Javier Tebas, who labelled it an "insult to football", Al-Khelaifi said: "Our Ligue 1 president is Vincent Labrune. He can answer you better.

"But it may be a good thing if Ligue 1 is doing better than LaLiga. We have respect for everyone. We are focused on our club, our league, our best player in the world, that's the most important thing for me."

Kylian Mbappe discussed a possible move to Real Madrid with Lionel Messi and Neymar, but says he did not need persuading to commit his future to Paris Saint-Germain.

The France international had been strongly linked with a switch to Madrid prior to Saturday's announcement that he has signed a new deal to remain at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe, who had been due to become a free agent next month, penned a new three-year deal in the French capital and celebrated that with a hat-trick against Metz later that day.

He will once again link up with fellow superstars Messi and Neymar next season, and the 23-year-old revealed he talked about his future with the pair before making his decision.

"We had a difficult season, but we talked a little bit – not a lot, because they told me it was a personal choice. They understood," Mbappe said at a news conference on Monday.

"Whether it's PSG or Madrid, these are clubs that you don't need convincing to play for. For any player it's an honour to play for one of these two clubs.

"I'm playing with great players and that's what I wanted."

Mbappe scored 39 goals in all competitions this campaign, which is behind only Karim Benzema (44) and Robert Lewandowski (50) among players from Europe's top five leagues.

That compares to just 13 goals for Neymar and 11 for Messi in what was a disappointing campaign for PSG on the whole, despite reclaiming their Ligue 1 crown.

 

Reports from France also claimed that Mbappe was persuaded to sign a new deal after being promised additional powers, including a say of transfers and coaching appointments.

It was also suggested that Mbappe would take over as captain as a reward for his loyalty, though the World Cup winner is not looking to take the armband from Marquinhos.

"He deserves his armband," Mbappe said. "I don't need to be a captain to be heard and set an example on the pitch. 

"Marquinhos is a great player and a very good captain. He is very important for us."

Speculation over Declan Rice's future has long centred on an apparently inevitable departure from West Ham United.

The Hammers run to the Europa League semi-final has amplified talk around the England international midfielder, with Chelsea and Manchester United linked.

According to reports, though, the 23-year-old appears content at London Stadium with a World Cup on the horizon.

 

TOP STORY – DECLAN RICE TO STICK WITH WEST HAM    

Declan Rice will not leave West Ham despite interest from Manchester United and Chelsea, according to The Mirror.

The 23-year-old has been reticent to sign a new deal at the club, but he is reportedly in no hurry to leave yet either, seemingly wanted to stay settled ahead of November's World Cup in Qatar.

United have looked to Rice as one of their primary transfer targets as Erik ten Hag looks to overhaul the squad, but Rice appears set for one more season at West Ham following their run to the Europa League semi-final this term.

Hammers management had previously advised that Rice is not for sale, and strong performances at the World Cup with England would likely only increase his already lofty market value.

ROUND-UP

Real Madrid are showing interest in Milan's Rafael Leao after Kylian Mbappe opted to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, according to Marca.

– Los Blancos are also looking to scupper Liverpool's move for Aurelien Tchouameni, despite the player having already agreed terms with the Reds so say The Mirror.

Barcelona are discussing personal terms with Marcos Alonso, who is set to leave Chelsea, Fabrizio Romano reports.

– Arsenal defender William Saliba wants to stay at Marseille, where he has been on loan, per Goal.

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