Paris Saint-Germain sporting director Leonardo says the club will do “everything” to extend Kylian Mbappe’s contract as Real Madrid threaten to oust him with a free transfer.
The French star has long been linked with a move to Madrid, which reportedly made an unsuccessful bid worth 180 million euros ($200 million) for Mbappe in August.
Despite the celebratory arrival of seven-time Ballon d’Or winner Lionel Messi, Mbappe has underlined his status as key to PSG’s pursuit of European success.
His 24 goals this season easily surpass those of the team’s second top goalscorer, Messi, on seven.
The 23-year-old equaled Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s total of 156 goals in PSG colors in last weekend’s win over Saint-Etienne. Only Edinson Cavani has scored more goals for the club (200).
“As long as there is no signature, we will try everything. We will do everything we can to keep him,” Leonardo told the French sports newspaper L’Equipe.
The Brazilian denied claims by both Spanish and French media that the club had offered Mbappe an annual salary of €50 million on top of a €100 million “loyalty bonus”.
“It’s not true, we haven’t made a specific offer,” said Leonardo, who believes the financial aspect of a new deal is “secondary” in Mbappe’s eyes.
“The last thing we put on the contract is the amount.”
Mbappe said last month that he had not yet made a decision about his future and that he would not talk to Madrid while the two teams faced each other in Europe.
His goal in stoppage time at the Parc des Princes gave PSG a 1-0 lead in the return leg in Spain next Wednesday.
He will be well rested for the trip to the Bernabeu as he has been banned from Saturday’s game against third-placed Nice due to a suspension.
Not only is that a boost to Nice’s pursuit of Champions League football, but it would also further highlight the void PSG would have to fill if Mbappe leaves once his contract expires in July.
The stuttering recent form of Marseille and Nice has enabled Rennes, Strasbourg and Lens to extend the race for a top three finish.
After winning just one point from games against lowly Clermont and Troyes, Marseille will host a Monaco team injured on penalties after losing to Nantes in the French Cup semi-final on Sunday.
Lyon president Jean-Michel Aulas also believes his club can still compete for a Champions League spot, despite being eight points in 10th place. He expressed his support for coach Peter Bosz.
“What we see in training and matches gives us the idea that he is the man for the situation,” Aulas told L’Equipe.
Lyon head to Lorient on Friday, desperate to bounce back from a controversial loss to Lille after the league head admitted a disallowed late equalizer from Lucas Paqueta should have stood.
One to watch: Amine Gouiri
The France Under-21 international sent Nice to the club’s first French Cup final since 1997 with a goal and sensational assist for Kasper Dolberg that shattered Versailles’ dreams in fourth place mid-week.
Gouiri, a former Lyon youngster, has scored 12 goals in 30 appearances for Nice this season as they aim to qualify directly for the Champions League group stage for the first time.
4 – teams are at 22 points at the bottom of the table. Goal difference separates Troyes in 17th place from last-placed Bordeaux, with Metz and Saint-Etienne in between.
6 – matches PSG has won this season after conceding the opening goal.
Matches (all times GMT)
Lorient v Lyon (2000)
Lens v Brest (1600), Nice v Paris Saint Germain (2000)
Saint-Etienne v Metz (1200), Bordeaux v Troyes, Nantes v Montpellier, Reims v Strasbourg, Rennes v Angers (all 1400), Lille v Clermont (1605), Marseille v Monaco (1945)