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Sports

AP Source: Mbappé to stay at PSG after rejecting Real Madrid

PARIS (AP) — Kylian Mbappé celebrated with fans at Parc des Princes then scored a hat trick after signing a new three-year contract with Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday and turning down the chance again to join Real Madrid.

Before PSG beat Metz 5-0 in its final home game, France’s World Cup-winning star stood on a platform near the center circle to address fans.

“I’m very happy to continue this adventure, to stay in France, in Paris, my city. I always said Paris was my home,” Mbappe said. “I hope I will continue doing what I love the most, which is to carry on playing football and winning trophies.”

Mbappe then held up a PSG jersey with 2025 written on it as he stood alongside president Nasser Al-Khelaifi, who had just announced the new deal.

“I have some very good news to give you. Kylian Mbappe is going to stay until 2025,” said Al-Khelaifi, barely heard as fans chanted Mbappe’s name over and over. “Kylian’s commitment to PSG represents an amazing milestone in the history of our club.”

The PSG contract of one of soccer’s most coveted players was expiring in June, and Mbappé would have been available on a free transfer.

But instead of joining 13-time European champion Madrid, which has chased him for so long, Mbappé decided to stay to try to deliver PSG its first Champions League title.

Madrid managed to beat PSG in the Champions League this season but not in the transfer market once again.

The Spanish giant’s failure to sign Mbappé was a significant blow for its president, Florentino Pérez, who has been trying to get the transfer over the line for a year.

PSG turned down Madrid’s official bid of 180 million euros ($190 million) — the same amount it signed Mbappé for from Monaco in 2017 — and even another reported amount of 200 million euros ($211 million) was not enough to sell its star despite him having only a year remaining on his contract. Mbappé said he wanted to leave at the end of last season but only on the right terms for PSG.

The wealth of the club’s Qatar sovereign wealth fund ownership linked to the emir allows PSG to resist bids that could be irresistible to other clubs without state funding.

The non-transfer reflects the shifting power dynamics in European football. Pérez was one of the architects of the European Super League breakaway from the UEFA Champions League that imploded within 48 hours in April 2021.

PSG opted out of joining the 12 Super League founders, allowing its president, Al-Khelaifi, to gain one of the most powerful roles in the game as head of the European Club Association.

Pérez is still pursuing his Super League dream in conflict with UEFA.

Meanwhile, Spanish league president Javier Tebas was irate.

“It is an INSULT to soccer that PSG is going to renew Mbappé with huge quantities of money (who knows from where and how they will pay them) after losses of 700 million euros in recent seasons and more than 600 million euros in salaries,” he wrote on Twitter. “Al-Khelafi is as dangerous as the Super League.”

Mbappé, who starred for France at the 2018 World Cup, would have been a statement signing for Pérez — especially if he had lured Mbappé away from a team that emerged as a rival only in the last decade through its Qatari funding.

But the energy expended in pursuing the transfer, and optimism from Madrid, which is chasing its record-extending 14th European Cup win when it meets Liverpool in next Saturday’s Champions League final in Paris, has come to nothing.

When Mbappé won the league’s best player award for the third time last Sunday, he said his mind was basically made up but didn’t say which way.

The tension between the clubs was evident when PSG was knocked out of the Champions League in the round of 16 by Madrid in March — despite leading 2-0 overall with two Mbappé goals — and Al-Khelaifi remained under UEFA investigation for allegedly confronting match officials after the loss.

Madrid is being thwarted yet again, having tried to sign Mbappé after he left Monaco in 2017 — and even before that.

He visited Madrid’s facilities at age 14, and was greeted by France great Zinedine Zidane, but he instead chose to launch his stellar career at Monaco.

Mbappé’s first professional goal came at the age of 17 years, 62 days, which beat the Monaco club record held by Thierry Henry.

Henry is France’s record scorer with 51. Mbappé is already on 26 and may well overtake him as a PSG player.

He is PSG’s second-highest scorer with 171 and could surpass Edinson Cavani’s record of 200 next season.

He took his league-leading tally to 28 in the season-ending home game, where he played alongside teammates Lionel Messi and Neymar.

The glittering attacking trio, which hasn’t clicked as expected this season, will play together again next season.

However, Mbappé misses out on the chance to play alongside France teammate Karim Benzema for Madrid in what would have been a devastating partnership and the envy of Europe. Over the past year they have been prolific together for Les Bleus and both netted when France won the Nations League final.

Another one of the world’s coveted young forwards is Erling Haaland, who is leaving Borussia Dortmund for English powerhouse Manchester City.

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Harris reported from Manchester, England.

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More AP soccer: https://apnews.com/Soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

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