PARIS: Lionel Messi has joined Paris Saint-Germain, where he will be reunited with his former Barcelona teammate Neymar in an all-star assault.
However, the issue now is if the presence of the Argentinian superstar would actually force Kylian Mbappe away from the French champions.
Even if Paris Saint-Germain intends to field an all-star attack with the three strikers in order to ultimately win the Champions League, Mbappe’s long-term future remains a source of uncertainty.
Neymar, who is 29 years old, signed a contract extension with the club in May that would keep him at the club until 2025.
However, the French international has an expiring contract at the end of this season, and Real Madrid has had his services on their radar for some time.
“Mbappe is a possibility,” read the headline on the front page of the sports daily AS, which is located in Madrid.
“With Messi’s arrival at PSG, Mbappe is pushed to the sidelines, paving the path for his eventual entrance at Real Madrid.”
Mbappe has refused to make a hasty decision on his future, putting Paris Saint-Germain in a difficult position.
They have no intention of selling him, but they also do not want to watch a player who paid 180 million euros ($211 million), the second-highest transfer price in history, walk away for nothing when his contract expires in June next season.
“Everyone is aware of my strong attachment to this club,” Mbappe stated in a May interview with French television Canal Plus.
“However, I want to believe that I am in a position where I can truly win and that there is a project in place to enable me to do so.”
Nasser al-Khelaifi, president of Paris Saint-Qatari Germain’s affiliate, claimed that the France striker was now in the greatest possible position to achieve his Champions League objectives when asked about Mbappe’s future during the introduction of Lionel Messi on Wednesday.
“Kylian is a member of the Parisian team. He is extremely competitive, and he has a winning attitude. His public declaration that he desired a competitive squad has come to pass, and there is no more competitive team than this,” Khelaifi stated.
“He has no justification for doing anything other than staying.” says the author.
Messi isn’t the only player PSG has signed this summer. The club also added Gianluigi Donnarumma, Diego Costa, Sergio Ramos, Georginio Wijnaldum, Achraf Hakimi, and others.
They appear to be stronger than they have ever been in all areas of the field, but may Mbappe believe that by remaining in Paris, he would have to give up too much of the attention now that Messi has arrived?
His 27 goals in the most recent season helped him to become the top scorer in Ligue 1 in each of the previous three seasons. He formerly played for Monaco.
While Neymar rushed to Instagram to express his delight at Messi’s arrival at the Parc des Princes following his surprise signing for the Qatar-owned club, Mbappe did not express himself in the same way.
However, given his young age, PSG believes that Mbappe symbolizes the future of the club and is the inevitable successor to an aging Lionel Messi in the role of the most renowned player in the world of football.
It is another evidence of the shifting balance of power in European football, away from traditional elites like Real Madrid and Barcelona and towards teams such as Paris Saint-Germain, Manchester City, and Chelsea, which are backed by the riches of Gulf nations or billionaires.
Madrid, on the other hand, believes that Mbappe is the guy who will take them back to the pinnacle of European football, three years after Cristiano Ronaldo left the club.
I’m in desperate need of a new talisman as well.
Ronaldo has long ago left the club, and this summer has witnessed the departures of center-backs Ramos and Raphael Varane. Karim Benzema, the team’s last surviving superstar upfront, will be 34 in December.
Alternatively, they hope that PSG will be receptive to bids at this point, or that Mbappe would opt out of his contract and join them for the 2018-19 season.