In a move widely anticipated, Real Madrid confirmed the signing of Kylian Mbappe on a free transfer. This transfer ended a long-running saga, with Mbappe joining the Spanish giants on a five-year deal. His departure from PSG, however, did not come without lingering tensions and unresolved financial disputes.

The Frenchman’s high-profile move to Real Madrid came after a turbulent last season with the Red-and-Blues. The saga began before the 2023-24 campaign when Mbappe informed PSG that he would not renew his contract. He instead opted to leave on a free transfer at the season’s end. This revelation prompted a swift and severe response from the club.

In a bid to coerce Mbappe into signing an extension, PSG sidelined him from the first-team setup. They also excluded him from the pre-season tour of Japan and South Korea. The club’s president, Nasser Al-Khelaifi, was reportedly furious at the prospect of losing their star player without a transfer fee. Thus, the management withheld significant payments to Mbappe, including salary and bonuses amounting to $87 million.

Despite the intense pressure from PSG’s hierarchy, Mbappe remained resolute in his decision not to extend his contract. This steadfastness saw him initially sidelined from their opening Ligue 1 match against Lorient. However, following a lackluster performance by the team, they reintegrated the star into the squad. All thanks to the intervention of sporting director Luis Campos and head coach Luis Enrique.

Luis Enrique kept Kylian Mbappe afloat at PSG

L’Equipe reveals that PSG withheld Mbappe’s salary for April and May, as well as his loyalty bonus for February, totaling around $87 million. This was seen as a move by PSG to recover some of the financial losses they anticipated from his departure. Mbappe, in response, highlighted the crucial support he received from Luis Enrique and Luis Campos, crediting them with saving his career in Paris during this turbulent period.

Throughout the season, the French giants reduced the 25-year-old’s playing time as they tried to manage the situation. Despite this, he continued to deliver on the pitch when given the chance, maintaining his status as the club’s all-time top scorer. The relationship between the player and the club deteriorated further, leading to a complete breakdown by the end of the season.

Accusations and counter-accusations flying

The fallout from Mbappe’s departure has left PSG reeling, with accusations and counter-accusations flying between the player and the club. PSG’s management accused Mbappe of lacking class, while Mbappe criticized the club’s harsh treatment and thanked Enrique and Luis Campos for their support.

“I was made to understand that I would no longer play for PSG [after informing them of my desire to leave at the end of the season]. I was told right to my face, and quite violently, so I was convinced that I wasn’t going to play. Luis Enrique and Luis Campos saved me. Without them, I would never have stepped onto the pitch again.

“That’s why my ambition was different this year. It was below my standards but just playing, stringing together matches and winning trophies was my biggest pride but next season, I won’t settle for a season like that,” he told the media.