After almost a year of a drawn-out soap opera with new episodes almost daily, Kylian Mbappe is breathing a sigh of relief.
Revered by Paris Saint-Germain fans and singled out by Real Madrid supporters, the 2018 World Cup winner wants to explain himself.
After a press conference with more than 100 requests from journalists, of which plenty were turned away, the attacker chose MARCA as the best outlet in which to offer his side of the story.
Here is the entire MARCA interview with Mbappe.
Five years ago you said you were part of a soap opera. How is this soap opera going now, in which you even talk to the president of the France?
It is something special. I never imagined talking to someone like that just because of my new contract. It was incredible to talk to him and all these important people, but in the end it was my decision and they gave me good advice.
I can only say good things…. But it was my decision. I thought a lot about what I could do and what I can become. My choice was to stay in my country because I am French and to be part of the new project, the new era at PSG. I think it’s a good decision because it’s my decision.
There was a lot of talk that you would sign for two years or for one with another year optional. Is there a clause to leave PSG after the World Cup?
In Spain you can have those clauses, but not in France. At the moment, to be honest, I’m only thinking about my new contract and next season. I don’t want to think about other things because you have to respect everybody if you want to be a great player, and now I have to respect my club. For now, I am a PSG player.
Yes, I’m honest. I’ve spoken to Liverpool because [red] is my mother’s favourite colour and my mother loves Liverpool. Why? I don’t know, ask her [laughs]. We met them a few years ago when I was at Monaco, it’s a great club… Now we talk to them a little bit, but not much…. In the end it was between Real Madrid and PSG.
Everyone knows that last year I wanted to go to Real Madrid. I thought it was a good decision to leave last year, but now it is different because I am a free agent, I am French and I know I am important for the country, and when you are important for the country you have to think not only about football, but also about your life.
After my career I will be in France, I will live here with my family and my friends. The only thing I can do is thank all the Real Madrid fans, the whole club, because they gave me all the love they could give me and it was incredible because I have never played there. I was only [there when I was] 14 years old, for one week, but they’re an amazing club and I wish them good luck for the Champions League final.
Is it still your dream to play for Real Madrid one day?
I think it is disrespectful to say that my dream is to play for Real Madrid after signing my contract just a few days ago.
But I am not asking you whether you will do it or not, but whether it is still your dream.
The dream is fine, but today I’m just focused on my new contract, on the present. You never know what can happen… I have three years on my contract, but for the moment I have to concentrate on my year at PSG.
Your father has always told you to be yourself, how do you do that when you are a superstar?
They are different things: You can be a superstar and be yourself. That’s what I am. I’m myself, I’m relaxed. I know sometimes I do things for football, for the business, because I’m famous, but when I go home I’m a normal guy. I’m Kylian, I go with my family, I enjoy my free time, I take care of my family…. I’m like you, a normal guy. When I go out, I’m not a normal guy, but…
It was said that Florentino had sent you a Real Madrid shirt. What happens with it now?
He didn’t give me one. So nothing happens.
Do you think you have made a mistake, like with the trip to Madrid recently?
It was not a mistake. I was in Madrid because Achraf [Hakimi] told me to please, to go to Madrid with him. I would probably do it again. I didn’t go to Madrid so that people would talk. I went with Achraf on a private flight, we changed our names and everything so no one would see me and then we went to a restaurant and someone saw us and spoke.
But I didn’t go to Madrid so that everybody could see me. I went directly, secretly, with my friends and Achraf paid for the trip so that even my name wasn’t there and people didn’t see me at the airport. I went to the hotel, I relaxed, then I went to the restaurant and everybody saw me. But it was because of Achraf.
What do you think about the accusations that you are staying in Paris for money?
I’m a bit sad because since I started playing football I showed everyone that I had the desire to play. I have always talked about football, titles, important matches, and never about money. People can talk about whatever they want, but everyone knows me.
I have spoken to everyone at Real Madrid, I have spoken to PSG and they know that I have never spoken about money with the president, with Florentino Perez, nor with Nasser Al Khelaifi. My lawyer talked a little bit about money, as did my mother, but not me. I talk about sport because I talk on the pitch.
My money goes into my account, I look at it a bit but I don’t care. I’m here to win titles, to show that I’m the best and to be happy. I think I’m happy right now.
Is the Champions League an obsession or just a goal?
It is always an obsession for me. It’s not that it’s an objective because we didn’t win, but it’s an obsession. You mustn’t be afraid of losing, I’m not afraid of losing. Maybe I won’t win the Champions League next year, but it’s an obsession.
I won the World Cup, I hope to win my second one this year, but of course I want to win the Champions League. I’m not saying it’s an objective because I lost a final. It’s an obsession. I’ve tried every year and I’ll try again. That’s what I want.
What happened with Karim Benzema and his Instagram story?
Yeah, yeah, and I saw several Real Madrid players posting things. These things happen, I have nothing to say. Of course, when I go to the France national team I will explain to Karim why I have stayed at PSG because we have a good relationship.
You said you wanted to be the best. What does it take to be the best?
To be the best you have to write history, win individual and collective titles, make people enjoy it because football is not only titles, but also emotions, feelings. It’s not just about scoring goals or winning the Ballon d’Or or the Champions League. It’s a lot of things on and off the pitch, like being respectful. It is something global.