For the entirety of the 2021-22 campaign, football fans and journalists assumed Kylian Mbappé would leave Paris Saint-Germain when his contract expired at the end of the season and for good reason.
Real Madrid made several offers before the season started and after PSG refused to entertain those offers, Mbappé stated that he did tell the club he wanted to leave. To rub salt to the wound, Real Madrid knocked PSG out of the UEFA Champions League in the Round of 16. At that time, you would have better odds playing online pokies than betting on Mbappé to stay in the French capital.
Then came the final home match against FC Metz. PSG supporters waited with bated breath for Mbappé’s decision. Prior to kickoff, reports started to leak that Mbappé had decided to stay at PSG. Then came the official announcement from the club and a presentation on the pitch. It felt like PSG won the Champions League and a new era was being ushered in with his decision.
There’s no question that Mbappé is the best young player in the world. His marketability couldn’t be higher and he’s poised to take over the FIFA World Cup with France when the tournament kicks off this winter.
After the announcement, several reports indicated that PSG gave Mbappé full control over the sporting project to convince him to stay. Such power is almost unheard of in world football. But, is it true?
The 2022-23 season is still young and after a suspension and injury, Mbappé is back on the pitch. Against Montpellier HSC, PSG was awarded a penalty kick and the Frenchman stepped up to take it. Unfortunately, Montpellier’s goalkeeper, Jonas Omlin, was up to the challenge and made a fantastic save. Later in the match, PSG won another penalty but it was Neymar Jr. who took the opportunity and converted the chance with ease.
Throughout the match, Mbappé appeared to be unhappy and his demeanor only got worse after Neymar’s penalty. The cause seems to be due to the new manager, Christophe Galtier, stating before the season that Mbappé was the first choice to take penalties when available and Neymar would be second in line.
The assumption is that Mbappé made it clear to PSG executives that when he signed a new contract, he would be the only one taking penalties if he was on the pitch. He wants to become PSG’s all-time leading scorer and pad his stats to make a run at the Ballon d’Or.
Is that too much power to have? Shouldn’t the manager be making the decision regarding who takes penalties? PSG won the match 5-2, shouldn’t Mbappé be happy with the team’s overall performance and not his individual accolades?
These are all great questions and the answer is probably that Mbappé has too much power at PSG, but it’s better than the alternative. Mbappé could be at Real Madrid right now and PSG could be in complete rebuild mode. For now, Neymar and Lionel Messi will need to take a backseat to Mbappé and hopefully, Galtier can keep the squad together without too much fracturing.