Kylian Mbappe Pursuit by Real Madrid Shows PSG a 'Lack of Respect,' Leonardo Says

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVOctober 5, 2021

TOPSHOT - Paris Saint-Germain's Brazilian sporting director Leonardo (R) speaks with Paris Saint-Germain's French forward Kylian Mbappe prior to a training session at the Camp des Loges Paris Saint-Germain football club's training ground in Saint-Germain-en-Laye on August 28, 2021. (Photo by FRANCK FIFE / AFP) (Photo by FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images)
FRANCK FIFE/AFP via Getty Images

Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has vented his frustration toward Real Madrid amid the drama around Kylian Mbappe's expected exit.

"It's lasted for two years," the Brazilian told L'Equipe (via soccer journalist Fabrizio Romano). "The transfer window is over, Real Madrid need to stop behaving like this. They need to stop! Mbappe is PSG player and the club wants this relationship to last. It's a lack of respect [to PSG]."

Mbappe remains a member of the PSG squad, but the 22-year-old said this week he was prepared to leave in the summer with his contract due to expire next year.

"I asked to leave because from the moment I didn't want to extend [my contract], I wanted the club to receive a transfer fee to bring in a quality replacement," he said to RMC Sport (via ESPN). "... I wanted everyone to come out of this stronger, that we leave hand in hand, to make a good deal, and I respected that. I said, if you don't want me to leave, I will stay."

Starting in January, Mbappe will be free to sign a pre-contract agreement with another club. Real Madrid president Florentino Perez weighed in on the situation Tuesday.

"In January we will have news from Mbappe," he said to El Debate (via The Athletic's Charlotte Harpur). "We hope that on Jan. 1 everything can be solved."

Perez then walked back those comments:

Fabrizio Romano @FabrizioRomano

Real Madrid president Florentino Perez clarifies to <a href="https://twitter.com/RMCsport?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@rmcsport</a>: “My words about Mbappé have been misinterpreted. What I said is that we have to wait until next year to have news - always with respect to PSG with whom we have good relations”. ⚪️🇫🇷 <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/RealMadrid?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#RealMadrid</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Mbapp%C3%A9?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Mbappé</a>

Although Leonardo's anger is understandable, this was inevitable when PSG spurned Madrid's multiple reported transfer offers for Mbappe. The Frenchman is one of the most coveted talents in the world, so speculation about his future won't fade.

It's impossible to envision a scenario in which Paris Saint-Germain sold Mbappe in the summer and remained as good as it was before. For that reason, holding on to him might've been smart because winning a Champions League title in May would be worth whatever fee the club would've received for him.

The trade-off is that Mbappe's presumed departure will cast a shadow over the French capital for the duration of this campaign.