Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo has said he's annoyed by rumours linking Kylian Mbappe with an exit from the club. This came after Zinedine Zidane said the player dreams of moving to Real Madrid.
Leonardo spoke to RMC (h/t Goal's Josh Thomas) after PSG defeated Club Brugge 1-0 in the UEFA Champions League on Wednesday, issuing a hands off warning to Zidane and Real, via Goal:
Clubs are prohibited from talking to players while they're contracted to other teams, and Leonardo appeared frustrated with Zidane's public fawning over PSG's talisman:
"Yes, it annoys me a little and it bothers.
"This is not the time to talk about this. He still has two-and-a-half years of contract with us. It's time to stop all this.
"He is very important for us. He is the best young player that France has. He is world champion and even the best player in the world. This is not the time to destabilise or touch him."
Mbappe, 20, is PSG's top scorer this season with nine goals in all competitions (five in Ligue 1). The CIES Football Observatory ranks him and Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling as the only two players in the world worth more than €250 million (£215.2 million).
Real manager Zidane recently intensified rumours linking 2018 FIFA World Cup winner Mbappe with a move to Madrid, telling reporters he knew the player dreams of representing Los Blancos, as Omnisport shared:
The France star started in the win over Club Brugge but was uncharacteristically quiet as Mauro Icardi scored the only goal of the game.
ESPN FC's Jonathan Johnson provided more comments from Leonardo, who emphasised Mbappe's admirers can't purchase the player regardless of how badly they want to:
The youngster joined PSG on loan from AS Monaco in August 2017, making the move permanent one year later when the former paid a €145 million fee.
That figure falls some way short of the €222 million PSG paid to sign Neymar from Barcelona in 2017, but it's the significantly younger Mbappe who is likely the more coveted star at his club.
PSG are right to be guarded over Mbappe, a player who has been tipped to contend for the Ballon d'Or when the reigns of Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo—who have each won the award five times—are over.
Edinson Cavani turns 33 in February, and his contract is due to expire next summer. Meanwhile, Mbappe has formed a promising relationship with Inter Milan loanee Mauro Icardi, as French football writer Rich Allen highlighted:
There isn't a team in the world in which Mbappe wouldn't at least contend for a starting place, but PSG are hopeful of keeping him at the Parc des Princes for as long as possible.
PSG visit Brest in Ligue 1 on Saturday, when Mbappe will hope to get back on the scoresheet, having netted seven times in four matches prior to Wednesday.