If Paris Saint-Germain supporters thought losing to Real Madrid in the UEFA Champions League was tough, wait until Kylian Mbappé bolts for the Spanish capital this summer.
The expectation is that when Mbappé’s contract at PSG expires at the end of the season, he will sign for Real Madrid on a free transfer. He won’t be at a PSG football camp teaching young players or even a summer pre-season tour. He will be gone and training with one of PSG’s fiercest European rivals.
Nothing is set in stone, of course, but Real Madrid is a club that Mbappé is clearly fond of, and with PSG needing to go through a rebuild, it’s more likely than not that he will be trading Ligue 1 for La Liga next season.
Assuming this scenario plays out, one question that I find myself asking is, “What will Mbappé’s legacy at PSG be?”
The France international joined PSG in 2017 from AS Monaco and has played five full seasons in the French capital. During that time, he has accumulated three Ligue 1 trophies (four if PSG maintains its lead in Ligue 1 this season), three Coupe de France trophies, and two Coupe de la Ligue trophies.
He will also have one appearance in the Champions League final to his name—a 1-0 loss to FC Bayern Munich during the 2019-20 campaign.
Perhaps most impressive is Mbappé’s goalscoring record. The 23-year-old has recorded 158 goals for Paris Saint-Germain, which is good for second on the club’s all-time list just behind Edinson Cavani who finished his career at the Parc des Princes with 200 total goals.
There’s a lot of good in there, but is it really up to the level that we all think Mbappé is at? One Champions League final appearance, a few domestic titles in France, and second-best in goals scored in club history?
When it comes to legacies, you have to consider the good and the bad. We can’t forget that with Mbappé on the pitch, PSG has lost to Real Madrid twice in the knockout stages of the Champions League. Joining them is an admittance that you can’t beat them, so you want to take the easy route.
We also have to mention that Mbappé went eight straight Champions League games without scoring a goal. That record is bad enough, but it gets worse when you consider it was during PSG’s run to the Champions League final in 2020. You could argue that Neymar Jr. was the one who dragged PSG to that game against Bayern, not Mbappé.
For me, Mbappé has had a stellar career at PSG full of moments that have dazzled. Who could forget that hat-trick against FC Barcelona in 2021? However, he hasn’t been able to be the leader that PSG needs on the pitch when times get tough and in those big moments in the Champions League, he hasn’t really delivered in the way that you would expect.
If Mbappé were to become PSG’s all-time leading scorer, that is certainly an accomplishment that is worth celebrating and is likely in the first paragraph when writing the story of the Frenchman’s time in Paris. Unfortunately, he’s not and his team has continuously come up short in the Champions League. When you combine those two facts, I personally feel Mbappé’s legacy at PSG is incomplete. If he does leave this summer, I hope he returns one day because he certainly has unfinished business to attend to.