Kylian Mbappe and French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet have cleared the air over an image rights issue that could have disrupted France's World Cup preparations.

Le Graet indicated on Saturday that Mbappe has agreed for now to accept the existing collective agreement that governs rights for the France team as a whole.

Image rights are an increasingly lucrative market, and Mbappe is well aware of his own value after recently committing to a three-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain, snubbing Real Madrid. He is thought to have agreed to some of the most lucrative terms ever offered to a footballer.

With Les Bleus, though, there is a collective agreement that means each player receives the same amount in image rights income.

It was reported that lawyers for Le Graet and Mbappe met at the end of May to discuss that position, with the player's representatives saying an agreement was struck that will see a review of the terms that were drawn up in 2010. That now appears set to come after this year's World Cup.

Le Graet spoke about the matter after the federation's general assembly, telling a news conference: "I saw Mbappe by himself, then Mbappe at Clairefontaine [the national team headquarters], Mbappe in a group, then all the players."

According to RMC Sports, Le Graet added: "The conclusion remains: no change until the World Cup, perfect equality between all players. Frankly, there is no major problem to deal with.

"On the contrary. It was done in a very friendly manner with him, first, then the old soldiers of the federation, the players."

Mbappe had said in May that the matter would be handled "with intelligence and respect", as he sought greater control over where his image is used.

The 23-year-old striker has scored 27 goals in 57 internationals for reigning world champions France, becoming the leader of his generation of players.

He was a World Cup winner with Les Bleus as a teenager in 2018 and, with Karim Benzema, will carry the main goal threat for France at the Qatar 2022 finals in November and December.

LaLiga has called for Kylian Mbappe's contract at Paris Saint-Germain to be ripped up, demanding French government officials act and league chiefs take a closer look at the capital club's spending.

France striker Mbappe signed a new three-year deal with PSG in May, turning down Real Madrid who had been courting him for the past year.

The terms of the contract have not been officially disclosed, but Mbappe is widely reported to have received a staggering signing-on fee as well as extraordinary wages. Figures of €100million for signing and €50m per season have been suggested.

Lawyer Juan Branco, representing LaLiga, told a news conference in France on Friday that Spanish league chiefs are ready to go to court to challenge PSG's finances.

Ligue 1 champions PSG have strenuously denied being in breach of financial fair play regulations, but the Spanish authorities have expressed doubts about the legitimacy of their vast recent outlay on players. PSG have been owned by the Doha-based Qatar Sports Investments since 2011.

LaLiga wants the Ligue de Football Professionnel (LFP) and the DNCG, the body that oversees football club finances in France, to examine in detail whether the Mbappe deal should have been given the green light.

"We are going to request the repeal of the approval of Mbappe's contract from the minister of sports, because that is the supervisory authority of sports administration," Branco said.

"Subsequently, we will appeal to the LFP so that it acts via its legal commission the DNCG in order to operate a monitoring report on the accounts of PSG. This is a legal step which will allow us to establish whether Mbappe's contract is within the economic parameters which are imposed by the regulations of the DNCG and UEFA financial fair play."

PSG signed Lionel Messi last August after Barcelona ran out of money to hand their captain a new contract, and also acquired former Real Madrid skipper Sergio Ramos at the end of his Santiago Bernabeu stay.

Real Madrid were optimistic about landing Mbappe, but hopes in Spain that he would move to LaLiga were dashed.

Branco said LaLiga was prepared to take action via the administrative court of Paris to seek the quashing of Mbappe's contract.

The lawyer added: "We are going to proceed in the form of a graduated response. We are going to see little by little what is the capacity of the French professional footballing bodies and also regulatory and administrative authorities to react to our appeals and our requests.

"As time goes by, we will increase the pressure."

LaLiga has also complained to UEFA, European football's governing body, about PSG, as well as Manchester City.

Javier Tebas, the Spanish league's president, this week claimed the agreement between PSG and Mbappe was "an insult to football".

Branco said LaLiga would "go upmarket... harden our game" if necessary, saying it considers the French capital giants to be spending on a "fraudulent" scale.

That accusation has been consistently denied by PSG.

Kylian Mbappe could fulfil his "dream" of playing for Real Madrid in the future and chose to remain at Paris Saint-Germain due to "political issues", according to former Los Blancos forward Hugo Sanchez.

Mbappe had been widely expected to join Madrid on a free transfer before the 2018 World Cup winner elected to sign a blockbuster three-year extension to remain with PSG last month.

That decision irked senior figures at Madrid, with president Florentino Perez telling El Chiringuito the striker was "already forgotten" after Carlo Ancelotti's men won a 14th Champions League title last month.

LaLiga have also gotten involved in the saga, with the league's president Javier Tebas lodging a complaint about PSG's spending with UEFA, accusing the Parisians of seeking to "destroy the ecosystem of European football".

But Sanchez, who scored 208 goals in 283 appearances for Madrid between 1985 and 1992, winning five LaLiga titles and finishing as the league's top goalscorer on five occasions, thinks Mbappe could still end up at the Bernabeu in the future.   

"It's very difficult to answer you, because I'm not in his head, in his brain, nor am I him," he told Marca.

"But I sense that he didn't say no to Real Madrid, but he told Real Madrid to 'wait for me a little bit'.

"He has so many pressures, so many external situations, and maybe even family members have pressured him and influenced his decision to [not] choose Real Madrid. It was his wish [to join Madrid], it was his illusion, it was his dream, but that dream, as he said, well, the dream can wait a little while.

"I think he is showing signs that he wants to go to Real Madrid, but now, because of political issues, social issues… economic issues I don't think they are, because he was going to earn a lot of money at Real Madrid, as he is going to earn a lot of money at PSG, so it is not because of money.

"Rather, he has not said no to Real Madrid, rather he said, 'I cannot betray other types of situations that are stronger than money'. You have to understand that."

 

Sanchez was also asked how his own talents compared to those of Madrid striker Karim Benzema, who has been widely tipped to win the Ballon d'Or after recording 59 goal involvements (44 goals, 15 assists) in 46 games last season.

But he refused to engage in such a debate, only saying that true footballing greats would shine in any era and that Brazilian legend Pele was his first idol.

"It is very difficult, these are answers that you must answer first and not me, because I am very respectful in terms of eras and times," he said.

"What I am sure is that players like Pele and [Franz] Beckenbauer, who are older than me, would succeed in today's soccer, and so would all the great players who have been participating in this wonderful sport.

"I feel that because of the physical conditions and the training and preparation that we have today, we can say that people nowadays, like Cristiano Ronaldo or [Lionel] Messi, if they had been born in the time of Pele, Beckenbauer, in our time, would be shining exactly the same way.

"The great talents and the great footballers, the successful people, I believe that they would succeed in any period.

"On my side, my reference was Pele, apart from other Mexican players who were playing professionally when I was a kid."

Florentino Perez says Kylian Mbappe must have "changed his dream" by rejecting Real Madrid to stay at Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe had been expected to join Los Blancos as a free agent, but signed a blockbuster new three-year deal with PSG last month.

Madrid president Perez says the Mbappe who snubbed the LaLiga and European champions is not the same character he wanted to bring to the Spanish capital.

He told El Chiringuito: "Mbappe is already forgotten. We have had a perfect season and we will continue to work to get the best players.

"His dream was to play at Real Madrid, we wanted to do it last August and they didn't let him leave, he kept saying he wanted to play at Madrid and like 15 days before he changed the situation.

"This is not the Mbappe I wanted to bring, he is another one, who must have changed his dream. He changes, he is offered other things, he is pressured and he is already another footballer.

"There is no one at Real Madrid above the club. He is a great player, he can win more than others, but it is a collective sport and we have values and principles that we cannot change.

"The Mbappe who was going to come here is not this one. If it is, I prefer him to stay at PSG. I want the one with the dream."

Perez did not rule out making another move for Mbappe when he comes to the end of his new deal.

"Impossible in three years? In three years' time we'll all be bald?" he added.

"This Mbappe is not my Mbappe, who refuses to do a publicity stunt with his national team... I don't want that. It could have been a slip of the tongue, but I think he was mistaken."

Erling Haaland was also linked with Madrid before joining Manchester City, but Perez says Los Blancos did not need the Norway striker when they have Karim Benzema.

He added: "We have the best nine in the world and we weren't going to bring in Haaland to have him on the bench, right? Clause [Haaland reportedly has a release clause in his City contract] in two years?

"I don't know. We have no interest now other than to build the new team with the youngsters we have and some reinforcement."

Real Madrid's new signing Aurelien Tchouameni has revealed that Kylian Mbappe tried to persuade him to join Paris Saint-Germain.

The 22-year-old was officially unveiled by Madrid on Tuesday having completed a €100million move to the Santiago Bernabeu from Monaco, with Carlo Ancelotti's side winning the race for the highly coveted midfielder.

Mbappe, having already snubbed Madrid this window to pen a new deal with PSG, tried to strike again to frustrate Los Blancos by attempting to persuade his compatriot to move to the French capital.

"Kylian knew I was leaving Monaco and he wanted to know if I would join PSG," Tchouameni told a news conference. "But my first choice was Real Madrid and he understood that completely.

"It's true that I had the opportunity to choose, but as soon as I knew Madrid was interested, I didn't hesitate for a second. I want to leave a mark on the history of football and there is no better team for that than Real Madrid."

 

Other options were also on the table for Tchouameni, who confirmed he had received proposals from elsewhere, but he instructed his entourage to push a move to Madrid over the line.

"I had already spoken to other teams, but in my head I was waiting for the call from Madrid," he said. "And when they did, I didn't hesitate for a moment to talk to my family and agent to find the best deal. Being here is wonderful.

"As I said before, as soon as Real Madrid came out in the talks I directly told my agent to close that deal, it was what I wanted most. There were more options, but this is a dream that is fulfilled today."

Tchouameni will wear the number 18 shirt at Madrid – previously worn by Gareth Bale – as his favoured number eight top is taken by Toni Kroos.

Kylian Mbappe should be fit to feature in France's Nations League clash with Croatia on Monday, according to Didier Deschamps.

The Paris Saint-Germain striker was forced off during Les Bleus' 2-1 defeat to Denmark at the Stade de France earlier this month.

Mbappe appeared to sustain the injury innocuously, pulling up after playing a pass to Aurelien Tchouameni.

He sat out the follow-up draw away to Croatia before coming off the bench to score France's late equaliser against Austria.

Deschamps is unsure how long Mbappe can feature for on Monday, but he is seemingly expecting him to be in contention to play some part.

Asked if Mbappe is fit, Deschamps told reporters: "Yes, according to him, although he still has a feeling that is not ideal.

"He is much less uncomfortable than he was at the start of the week when he couldn't train.

"He was ready to do half an hour [against Austria], it was planned. He exercised his knee where he had this discomfort.

"We are doing everything so that he can be there tomorrow."

Another France forward who is having difficulties of a different variety is Antoine Griezmann.

The 31-year-old, who spent this season on loan at Atletico Madrid, has not scored for club or country since his first appearance of 2022, way back on January 6 in a Copa del Rey win over minnows Rayo Majadahonda.

His last goal for Les Bleus was two months earlier in the 8-0 win over Kazakhstan.

Despite his struggles, Deschamps insists he and the team retain belief in the man who played such a key role in their 2018 World Cup success.

"We have all experienced less beneficial periods, when confidence is less," Deschamps added.

"For Antoine, it is not a question of positioning. I have confidence in him, the group has too, he is not at his best but this can happen to anyone."

Defending champions France are bottom of Nations League Group A1 after three games, having only managed draws with Croatia and Austria after losing to Denmark on matchday one.

Kylian Mbappe, Vinicius Junior and Erling Haaland are the three most valuable players in world football, according to research group CIES Football Observatory.

Mbappe comes in as the most valuable having had a stellar season with Paris Saint-Germain, with 60 goal involvements (39 goals, 21 assists) in 46 games in all competitions.

Vinicius won the LaLiga and Champions League double with Real Madrid, while Haaland is soon to make a lucrative move from Borussia Dortmund to Manchester City after scoring 86 goals in 89 games during his time in Germany.

Mbappe turned down a move to Madrid to sign a new three-year deal with PSG last month, and the France international and World Cup winner is valued at an estimated €205.6million (£175.7m) by the CIES.

 

Vinicius is second at €185.5m (£158.3m), while Haaland supposedly has a value of €152.9m (£130.4m) despite costing City just €60m (£51m) thanks to a release clause.

The rest of the top 10 includes Barcelona trio Pedri, Frenkie de Jong and Ferran Torres, City's Phil Foden and Ruben Dias, Dortmund's Jude Bellingham and Liverpool's Luis Diaz.

CIES' research is based on a range of measures such as age, value of club, level of player performance and inflation.

The CIES report states: "The statistical model to estimate the transfer values for players from teams of the five major European leagues was built from a sample of 1,790 paid transfers carried out between July 2012 and January 2020.

"The correlation between the sums paid and estimated is greater than 80 per cent. This shows that the variables taken into account explain more than four-fifths of the gaps in the level of fees paid for transfers included in the model."

 

Top 10 valued players in world football (according to CIES Football Observatory)
1. Kylian Mbappe (PSG) - €205.6m (£175.7m)
2. Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid) - €185.5m (£158.3m)
3. Erling Haaland (Borussia Dortmund) - €152.9m (£130.4m)
4. Pedri (Barcelona) - €135.1m (£115.4m)
5. Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund) - €133.7m (£114.2m)
6. Phil Foden (Man City) - €124.0m (£105.9m)
7. Frenkie de Jong (Barcelona) - €112.5m (£96.1m)
8. Luis Diaz (Liverpool) - €110.1m (£94.0m)
9. Ruben Dias (Man City) - €109.6m (£93.6m)
10. Ferran Torres (Barcelona) - €109.5m (£93.5m)

Didier Deschamps has handed Liverpool centre-back Ibrahima Konate his first call-up to the France senior squad as a replacement for Raphael Varane.

Manchester United defender Varane sustained a hamstring injury during Les Bleus' 2-1 Nations League defeat to Denmark on Friday, and has had to withdraw from the squad ahead of the next three games.

Kylian Mbappe was also forced off with a knee problem at half-time in the game at the Stade de France, with assistant coach Guy Stephan saying the Paris Saint-Germain star would be assessed.

Konate has had an impressive first season at Liverpool after joining the Premier League side from RB Leipzig last year.

The 23-year-old made 29 appearances in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp's side in 2021-22, scoring three goals and helping to keep 10 clean sheets.

Konate also started the Champions League final against Real Madrid, which Liverpool lost 1-0, and that was the first game in which Konate had played that the Reds were defeated.

France play away to Croatia on Monday, before further games away to Austria and then the return game against Croatia.

Kylian Mbappe was forced off the field at half-time in France's Nations League opener against Denmark on Friday.

The striker, who last month signed a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain despite interest from Real Madrid, sustained a knee injury towards the end of the goalless first half.

He pulled up with nobody around him and did not return to field for the start of the second period, with Christopher Nkunku introduced in his place.

Mbappe limping down the tunnel would have been a concern for Didier Deschamps, whose side have three more Nations League games to come in the next 10 days.

However, Deschamps' assistant Guy Stephan confirmed to French outlet M6 that the substitution was purely precautionary.

Mbappe watched the second half from the substitutes' bench at Stade de France with his leg heavily strapped.

Brazil coach Tite suggested Neymar has more influence in games for the Selecao than Paris Saint-Germain because at international level the team serves him more.

Neymar was in fine form as Brazil crushed South Korea 5-1 in a friendly on Thursday, with the PSG star scoring two penalties.

But that was just the tip of the iceberg with respect to his performance, as he pulled the strings and proved Brazil's biggest creative outlet.

His eight key passes was more than double the figure recorded by anyone else on the pitch, as South Korea failed to deal with him.

Neymar's showing in Seoul might be seen by some as a departure from his showings for PSG this term, with the Ligue 1 champions apparently willing to let him leave.

Tite thinks he can offer an explanation as to why Neymar may appear more important to Brazil.

"Neymar is a bow and an arrow, depending on the circumstances of the game," Tite told reporters. "He has that ability.

"At PSG, he often plays even a little deeper than Messi and Mbappe. Not here, he's more the arrow.

"He gets more rewards. The team works to give him this clarity, this creativity in this respect. We have a very supportive team."

Thursday's result was an impressive one, with Brazil creating a host of chances against the home side.

One aspect that particularly impressed Tite was their intensity despite having to adjust to the time zone.

"The Brazilian team has been at a [certain] performance level in recent games of ours," he continued.

"Doing this away from home – in a different environment and situation, with our internal clock, with the time zone – is difficult.

"I had to drink a load of coffee, and if you're not in the right frame of mind, it's hard to do that at this level of performance.

"I liked not only those in the starting XI, but also those who came on, even more so with some players coming on later and bringing that level of performance.

"I speak of the 'quick legs'. The more Fabio [Mahseredjian, Brazil fitness coach] puts in, the more the opponent wears out. Brazil had a pattern of performance in recent games."

Brazil will remain in the region for Monday's friendly against Japan in Tokyo.

Eden Hazard has backed Real Madrid colleague Karim Benzema to win the Ballon d'Or, while he suggested fellow team-mate Thibaut Courtois should finish in the top five.

Benzema has enjoyed a remarkable season, inspiring Madrid to Champions League success and the Spanish title with four games to spare.

The France international scored 15 times in the Champions League, including a joint-record 10 in the knockout stages to be named as the competition's Player of the Season.

The Madrid talisman ended the season with 44 goals and 15 assists across all competitions. Only Kylian Mbappe (60) can better Benzema's 59 goal involvements among players from Europe's top five leagues.

Meanwhile, Courtois was the star of the show against Liverpool as he made nine saves, a record for a Champions League final since Opta began collecting data in 2003-04.

Courtois has led the way among goalkeepers in the competition this season, making the most saves (59) and boasting the highest save percentage of those to produce five stops or more (80.6).

That led to suggestions the Belgium international may be an unlikely contender for the Ballon d'Or, but Red Devils team-mate Hazard believes Benzema should win the coveted individual award.

"I've known [Courtois] for ten years now and he's been doing this for ten years," Hazard told reporters at a Nations League news conference on Tuesday.

"That was already the case at Chelsea and now at Real. Courtois, [Kevin] De Bruyne, [Sadio] Mane, Vinicius [Junior], they all had a good season. 

"But still I think Benzema deserves to win it. Courtois should be in the top five. But when you see how Benzema played in the quarter and semi-finals, that was really impressive."

Benzema will hope to carry his scintillating club form into the next season with Madrid, and also with France at the World Cup in Qatar.

The 34-year-old will partner with Mbappe at the tournament in November, and the Paris Saint-Germain star was almost Benzema's club team-mate before he snubbed Los Blancos earlier in the month.

Mbappe opted to stay in the French capital and sign a three-year extension with PSG, leaving Hazard to rue the impact he could have had at the Santiago Bernabeu as he aims to recover his own form for the upcoming campaign.

"The seats are already expensive at Real, but with Kylian Mbappe they would be even more expensive," Hazard added.

"Now I have to show the coach that I'm ready, that I can play. But since my surgery I do feel better. My approach will not change. All my success is also due to how I approached it."

LaLiga plans to take Paris Saint-Germain to court over Kylian Mbappe's contract extension, with Javier Tebas insisting he will not "allow a European club to destroy the ecosystem of European football".

World Cup winner Mbappe was widely expected to join Real Madrid when his PSG contract expired in June but instead opted to sign a new three-year deal in the French capital.

That left Madrid and LaLiga infuriated, with Tebas claiming the agreement between PSG and the France international was "an insult to football".

Vincent Labrune, president of France's Professional Football League (LFP), responded by questioning LaLiga chief Tebas' "latest attacks against Ligue 1 and one of our clubs", calling his counterpart's behaviour "completely inappropriate".

France's National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP) echoed Labrune's sentiments, suggesting Tebas' "offensive, hateful remarks, without restraint or foundation, bring shame and discredit to him".

But Tebas has once again hit back by promising to denounce PSG in an investigation as he questioned how the Ligue 1 champions can circumvent financial fair play guidelines.

"The complaint that we are going to file with UEFA has already been drafted and is being examined," Tebas said at a news conference on Tuesday. 

"But we are not going to stop there, we are going to go to France, we have already hired French lawyers and we are going to denounce the position of PSG before the economic control body.

"We are going to denounce this situation before the courts administrative there. We are not going to allow a European club to destroy the ecosystem of European football."

Tebas also claimed PSG had "lost €300-400million over the last three seasons", referencing reports from French newspaper L'Equipe as he continued his scathing summary of the Parisians.

"This year – it's L'Equipe who says it, not me – PSG will go up to €600m in payroll, they will end the season with a loss of €300m and with higher commercial incomes than Manchester United, Real Madrid and Barca, something nobody believes," he added.

"With these losses and a payroll of €600m, more than Madrid, than Barca, renewing Mbappe is impossible...if there is no deception in the sponsorship or higher capital contributions to what UEFA has established."

As for Labrune's previous response, Tebas insisted he would not comment before then going on to question Qatar Sports Investments' (QSI) ownership of PSG again.

"The problem is the attitude of the owners of the club, because they have no limits, they don't care about losses," he continued.

"They put in as much money as they want, they cheat you with sponsors linked to the state. That is the problem."

Karim Benzema has been named the 2021-22 Champions League Player of the Season after helping Real Madrid to a 14th European crown.

Benzema also won the competition's Goal of the Season honour for a supreme header against Chelsea in the quarter-finals, while team-mate Vinicius Junior has been named Young Player of the Season.

The duo were instrumental in Madrid's defying run to Saturday's final in Paris, where Vinicius' finish was enough to earn a 1-0 victory over Liverpool.

With 15 goals across the season, Benzema topped the scoring charts in Europe, with a joint-record ten of those goals in the knockout stage.

The attacker, a heavy favourite for the Ballon d'Or this season, was at the centre of dramatic comeback wins against Paris Saint-Germain, Chelsea and Manchester City.

Vinicius meanwhile delivered four goals and six assists throughout, with the latter tally only bettered by Manchester United's Bruno Fernandes.

Both Madrid players were named to the Champions League Team of the Season, alongside club-mates Thibaut Courtois and Luka Modric.

Courtois made nine saves in the final to keep Liverpool at bay. He finished the Champions League campaign having faced 72 shots on target, conceding 14 goals. According to expected goals data, the Belgium international prevented 4.7 goals.

 

Beaten finalists Liverpool also contributed four players, with Fabinho, Trent Alexander-Arnold, Virgil van Dijk and Andrew Robertson featuring.

Kylian Mbappe, who scored six goals in eight Champions League matches, was named alongside Benzema and Vinicius in attack – an attacking trio that might have been lining up for Los Blancos next season had the France forward not decided to stay at PSG.

City playmaker De Bruyne also made the XI, as did Chelsea defender Antonio Rudiger, who is set to join Madrid on a free transfer.

2021-22 UEFA Champions League Team of the Season: Thibaut Courtois (Real Madrid); Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), Antonio Rudiger (Chelsea), Virgil van Dijk (Liverpool), Andy Robertson (Liverpool); Kevin De Bruyne (Manchester City), Fabinho (Liverpool), Luka Modric (Real Madrid); Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Karim Benzema (Real Madrid), Vinicius Junior (Real Madrid).

Isco has posted a farewell message to Real Madrid and after nine years at the Santiago Bernabeu and took a subtle dig at Kylian Mbappe.

Madrid head coach Carlo Ancelotti confirmed last week that Isco would be leaving the club at the end of the season as a free agent.

The 30-year-old midfielder has thanks to the club, and also appeared to mock Mbappe, who turned down a move to the European champions and sign a new contract at Paris Saint-Germain.

Isco posted on Instagram on Monday: "When I was in Malaga and knew I had to leave I made a commitment to join another team, but Real Madrid called and you just can't say no, although there are always exceptions," before adding an emoji of a turtle (Mbappe's nickname) and a laughing face.

He added: "I remember telling my people 'Madrid haven't won the Champions League for years but I sense it's coming,' and then La Decima came and the rest is history.

"Nine years later my time at the club that made my dreams come true ends. Other than achieving these dreams, winning more titles than I could imagine and playing alongside the best players: I HAD A GREAT F****** TIME AND NOBODY CAN TAKE THAT AWAY FROM ME!"

Isco joined Madrid from Malaga in 2013 for a reported fee of €30million, and won five Champions Leagues, three LaLiga titles and a Copa del Rey. 

"I want to thank my team-mates, coaches, coaching staff, physios, kit men, workers at Valdebebas and Santiago Bernabeu for all the work, love and support that everyone needs and that I have never lacked," he added.

"I also want to thank the fans who welcomed me in an incredible way from the first day and who accompany this team in every corner of the world!

"Yesterday I was telling a friend that I didn't understand why they were holding the [Champions League celebration] party if number 15 is on its way hahahaha.

"Goodbye and Hala Madrid."

Karim Benzema would have loved to play alongside Kylian Mbappe at Real Madrid, but insists the forwards' decision to stay at Paris Saint-Germain will not affect their friendship.

Mbappe was widely expected to move to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of his contract in Paris, but he conducted a late U-turn last week and chose to sign a new three-year contract with the Ligue 1 champions.

But Madrid showed they have the firepower to cope without the 2018 World Cup winner as they beat Liverpool 1-0 in Saturday's Champions League final, with Vinicius Junior scoring the only goal of the game.

Benzema played a key role during Madrid's 14th European triumph, scoring 15 Champions League goals this season to fall just two strikes short of Cristiano Ronaldo's single-season record (17 for Madrid in 2013-14).

The striker, who has been tipped to win the Ballon d'Or later this year, also became just the second French player to win a European Cup/Champions League final as captain after Didier Deschamps with Marseille in 1993.

Mbappe, meanwhile, scored 39 goals and added 21 assists in all competitions in a fine individual campaign.

Although Benzema admits he would have been delighted to see Mbappe join Los Blancos, he respects the 23-year-old's decision and is looking forward to teaming up with him for France's upcoming Nations League fixtures.

"I would have liked him to be able to realise his dream of playing at Real Madrid, together," Benzema told Telefoot.

"He chose PSG, you have to respect [his decision]. He is young, he has a lot of responsibilities on him.

"It's his choice, he's a PSG player, so we will enjoy playing together in the [national] selection. 

"Everyone makes their choices. "I'm not disappointed, I'm happy and I hope he does good things. We're good friends, it won't affect our relationship."

France will play four Nations League fixtures next month, including a double-header against Croatia, who they beat in the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow.

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