Real Madrid’s Florentino Perez has claimed that French President Emmanuel Macron helped persuade Kylian Mbappe to stay with Paris St Germain and snub a move to Spain.
Mbappe signed a lucrative new three-year contract at Paris St-Germain instead of joining the reigning European champions.
The 23-year-old had long been expected to move to Real Madrid at the end of the season, when his previous PSG deal expired, and had reportedly agreed terms with the La Liga title winners.
But the France striker decided to remain in Paris and has signed a new deal until 2025 with the Qatari-owned side.
“His dream was to play at Real Madrid,” Real president Perez told Spanish television programme El Chiringuito.
“We wanted to do it last August and they didn’t let him leave, he kept saying he wanted to play at Madrid and 15 days before changed the situation.
“Macron called Mbappe, it makes no sense. PSG offered him to be the leader of the project, it changed everything.
“It was not easy for Mbappe to receive calls from the president of France … to tell you not to leave the club.
“Then [you] go to Qatar and they offer things that drive you crazy, probably things out of proportion. This is why Kylian has changed.
“I didn’t see the same Kylian Mbappe that we wanted. He changes, he is offered other things, he is pressured and he is already another footballer.”
Mbappe has not ruled out moving to Real Madrid in the future, saying it is “never over” when asked about joining Los Blancos.
But Perez added: “The Mbappe who was going to come here is not this one. If it is, I prefer him to stay at PSG. I want the one with the dream. Here, no one is bigger than Real Madrid. He is a great player, he can win more than others, but it is a collective sport and we have values and principles that we cannot change.”
Leading the line for Real last season was Karim Benzema with Mbappe's international teammate scoring 44 goals in 46 games, as Carlo Ancelotti's side triumphed domestically and in Europe.
Perez also suggested that the 34-year-old, who is favourite to win the Ballon d'Or, is the reason Real did not challenge Manchester City for the signature of striker Erling Haaland.
“We have the best nine in the world and we weren't going to bring in Haaland to have him on the bench, right?” said Perez.
“We have no interest now other than to build the new team with the youngsters we have and some reinforcement.”