Kylian Mbappé and PSG, a history marked by controversies

Kylian Mbappé and PSG, a history marked by controversies
Kylian Mbappé and PSG, a history marked by controversies

End clap for Kylian Mbappé at Paris Saint-Germain. This Friday, May 10, 2024 was full of emotion in the French capital. After 7 years at the club where he notably won Ligue 1 six times and scored 255 goals in 306 matches under the Parisian tunic, making him the top scorer in the club’s history, Kylian Mbappé decided to leave for other skies for the future. “Hello everyone. I wanted to address you. Since the time that I warned that I wanted to address all of you. This is my last year at Paris Saint-Germain. I am not going to extend it and I will end my adventure in a few weeks. My last match at the Parc des Princes will be Sunday. It’s a lot of emotions, a lot of years where I had the chance and the immense honor to be part of the biggest club in France, one of the best clubs in the world, which allowed me to to arrive here and to have my first experience in a club with a lot of pressure, to grow as a player by rubbing shoulders with some who were the best in history, great champions. To grow as a man also with all the glory and the mistakes that I have made”, he explained in particular. The end of a beautiful story with many successes, European failures with still 0 Champions League under his belt, but also controversies which will have marred his career.

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After a rather quiet first season at PSG where he won the 2018 World Cup straight away, Kylian Mbappé’s second season in the capital will also go very well. Voted best player of the year in Ligue 1, he surprised everyone during the UNFP trophies by asking for his responsibilities while leaving doubts about his future for the first time: “this is a very important moment for me, I am reaching a first or second turning point in my career. I have discovered a lot of things here, I feel that perhaps it is time to have more responsibilities. I hope it will perhaps be at Paris Saint-Germain, that would be with great pleasure, or perhaps elsewhere for a new project. A sharp first media outing for Kylian Mbappé who will not fail to reproduce it. If there are new, impactful media releases, this will take on more importance from the 2021/2022 season. In disagreement with Paris Saint-Germain where he was one year from the end of his contract, the arrival of Lionel Messi and the deterioration of his relationship with Neymar brought new tensions. In 2021 when he was replaced and Julian Draxler scored against Montpellier after an offering from Neymar, Kylian Mbappé insulted his teammate: “this tramp, he doesn’t make a pass at me.” Words that he had confirmed and assumed: “yes, yes, I said it. Now, these are things that happen all the time in football. It just has to not be something that stays. That’s why, immediately afterwards, given the scale it had taken, I spoke about it with him. We have already exchanged a lot of words like that in the past and that will continue, because we want to win, but there must not be any resentment. There is none at all because I respect the player and the man and I admire what he is.”

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A phenomenon that has grown

In a real game of cat and mouse with Paris Saint-Germain, Kylian Mbappé ultimately remained in the French capital and so did the tensions. Already his message when continuing with the French club was tinged with a funny outing where he announced he was supporting Real Madrid in the Champions League final against Liverpool: “I sincerely wanted to thank Real Madrid and its president Florentino Pérez. I recognize the good fortune and privileges that were mine to be coveted by such an institution. I suspect their disappointment. She lived up to my hesitations. I will be their first supporter for the Champions League final in Paris. At my house.” Some understood it, others found it inappropriate, but there was no consensus on this statement. After the extension of Kylian Mbappé, the player who was already at the center of media attention took up even more space. Replacing Neymar in the hierarchy of penalty takers, he will miss one against Montpellier on August 13, 2022 and Neymar will grab the ball during a second attempt. Later in the match, Kylian Mbappé will stop his run in the middle of an offensive. A penaltygate which will be managed internally, but which will announce the color. A few weeks later while the Lionel Messi – Neymar duo is in great shape and Kylian Mbappé is not fulfilled in his role as center forward, he will publish a photo on his Instagram account with the hashtag Pivot Gang which will put the fire to the powder. Questioned subsequently, he will point out its use in the club by Christophe Galtier which differs from that in the selection: “I play differently, people ask me other things here. I have a lot more freedom. Here, I am being asked to make the pivot.”

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While the 2022 World Cup served as a breath of fresh air in the Ile-de-France context, the return to competition brought the differences to the surface. In the round of 16 of the Champions League, PSG lost 1-0 against Bayern Munich and after this match, Kylian Mbappé will send a dig to his teammates and especially to Neymar whose healthy lifestyle he pointed out: “Above all, all our players must be in good health. Let everyone eat well and sleep well.” After the return match and the elimination of PSG after a 2-0 defeat, he cracked a new shocking sentence: “as I said at my first Champions League press conference this season, we were going to do our best. Our maximum is that, that’s the truth.” Highlighted as the only star of a PSG resubscription clip, Kylian Mbappé will once again release on his account Instagram : “I do not agree with this published video. This is why I fight for individual image rights. PSG is a big club and a big family, but above all it is not Kylian Saint-Germain. In mid-June, the Mbappé clan will light a new fuse with a letter addressed to Paris Saint-Germain which will set things on fire.

Announcing that he will not activate the third year of his contract which was optional, Kylian Mbappé thus found himself free at the end of the 2023/2024 season. Shortly after, while Nasser al-Khelaïfi had publicly spoken out saying that the player could not leave PSG freely, an interview with Kylian Mbappé for France Football was marked by a sentence which was not passed internally: “I think that playing at Paris-SG doesn’t help much, because it’s a divisive team, a divisive club.” Deprived of the Asian tour in South Korea and Japan, he missed the first day of Ligue 1 against Lorient (1-1). If it then calmed down, this season, the Mbappé case resurfaced again after a match against Monaco where he came out at half-time and decided to go directly into the stands. This created a lot of doubts about his relationship with Luis Enrique and forced the player to intervene in the media to calm things down. If Paris Saint-Germain will have to digest the departure of Kylian Mbappé, it should nevertheless bring calm after several turbulent years behind the scenes…

Pub. THE 05/11/2024 9:15 p.m.
Update 12/05/2024 00:17

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