Madrid (AFP) – Zinedine Zidane hailed Kylian Mbappe’s “exceptional” breakout season on Friday as speculation mounted that the Monaco starlet has set his heart on a move to Real Madrid.
Friday’s edition of the Madrid sports daily Marca said that the 18-year-old Mbappe has indicated his desire to join the reigning European champions.
Asked about speculation linking Mbappe to Europe’s biggest clubs, Zidane said that fellow Frenchman Mbappe had once very nearly joined the Real youth academy.
“He almost signed at Real Madrid (when he was younger), it did not happen,” said the Real coach.
“He is a player who is showing all his qualities and is having an exceptional season,” Zidane told a press conference, declining to elaborate so as not to add to the rumours about the youngster’s future.
“Even though I have an opinion, it’s never very good to talk about players who are not my players.”
Marca did not name its sources but said there had been contact between Real and people close to Mbappe, who has been compared to Thierry Henry at the same age and has hit 14 league goals this term for Monaco.
If the forward does leave Monaco this summer there will be a scramble for his services and suggestions he could command a fee of above 100 million euros ($109 million).