After months of speculation, Kylian Mbappé has decided on his home for the next few years. As it turns out, the forward — who had been strongly linked to Real Madrid — isn’t going anywhere, instead re-signing with Paris Saint-Germain on a three-year deal.
Though Mbappé’s contract was rumored to be worth north of $100 million per year after taxes and a $300 million signing bonus, it appears the actual contract value is worth closer to about $160 million ($53 million per year) and a $106.5 million signing bonus. That’s still a very solid haul of about $266.5 million over three years.
The 23-year-old Mbappé opted to stay with his current club, but not entirely because of the money. In fact, Real Madrid offered even more than Mbappé will receive from Paris Saint-German. Between a signing-on fee and wages, Real Madrid was willing to spend about $320 million to bring Mbappé over to their club.
Instead, the contract pairs money and power. Paris Saint-Germain is essentially giving their rising star veto power on any future moves. This isn’t completely unheard of in soccer; Lionel Messi had tremendous influence on F.C. Barcelona, and Paris Saint-Germain has catered to a star’s whims before, too, with Neymar having a lot of slack with the club.
This move could signal a power shift in soccer. The NBA often sees teams catering to players’ whims — Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert made plenty of moves (not all of them good ones, in retrospect) to try and keep LeBron James from leaving, and the star has even garnered the “LeGM” nickname for his supposed pull behind the scenes. The players are the ones that bring in top dollar, and it makes sense to have them offering their input. But there’s a delicate balance between giving players total control and freezing them out of decisions.
The decision by Mbappé to stay in France will also impact the entire European soccer landscape. Spain’s La Liga was routinely among the world’s most dominant leagues, with Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo providing a rivalry that not only kept people intrigued, but also lived up to the hype. Now, after Real Madrid has missed out on Mbappé and other young star players, La Liga is seeing its dominance slowly disappear. Meanwhile, Ligue 1, where Paris Saint-Germain plays, will get a big boost by keeping a hometown star through 2025.
Paris Saint-Germain just won its 10th Ligue 1 title this past season. With Mbappé on board for three seasons, winning a few more is a strong possibility.