“We have to get used to playing without Mbappe now. Mbappe will soon be saying goodbye to us.”

It’s not official because it’s in-season, but all signs point to Kylian Mbappe’s departure. Luis Enrique has also confirmed that the club must prepare for a void.

Paris Saint-Germain hosted Stade Rennes in the 23rd round of the 2023-24 French Ligue 1 at their home stadium, the Parc des Princes, in Paris, France on Saturday. In an unexpectedly close game at home, a late Gonzalo Hamus equalizer in stoppage time secured a 1-1 draw and a point.

Paris Saint-Germain traveled to Stade Rennes with a three-man defense. Mbappe got the start but only managed three shots and was substituted in the second half. Paris Saint-Germain have a world-class offense in their core attack, but not on this day. His shots were inaccurate and off target. He only dribbled once in four attempts and had no shots on target.

Along with Mbappe’s poor performance, the Paris Saint-Germain team was also poor. Despite having more possession and shots than Stade Rennes, they conceded the lead in the 33rd minute to Amine Guiry. After nearly 60 minutes of stalemate, Gonzalo Hamus, who came on as a second-half substitute, converted a penalty to level the game.

With just a point at home, the hosts moved to 54 points (16 W, 6 D, 1 L). They are 11 points clear of second-place Brest, a comfortable margin, but not a satisfactory one.

Mbappe has been a full-time player for most of his career, except for the early years when he had friction with Paris Saint-Germain. Luis Enrique’s trust in him was absolute, as he was a key part of the team and a game-changer. The last time Mbappe came off the bench as a substitute was in the sixth round against Olympique Marseille last September.

This time, however, it was an unusual decision. Enrique explained his decision in his post-match interview. According to local French media, Enrique told the press after the 1-1 draw at Stade Rennes: “If I think it’s appropriate for a player to continue playing, he will play, otherwise I will substitute him. I want maximum competitiveness for next season,” but added: “We have to get used to playing without Mbappe now. Mbappe will soon be saying goodbye to us.”

Enrique hopes to keep his squad motivated as they prepare for the Mbappe-less era: “I want everyone at Paris Saint-Germain to think they have a good chance. It has already been observed in the players. The competitiveness of this team is what we are looking for for this season and the next.”

The Paris Saint-Germain players agree. “We know that Mbappe is a player who can make a difference at any time on the pitch,” said Luca Hernandez, a former France international defender who joined the club this summer. But it’s the manager’s decision to take a player off. It’s the manager who manages the team. It’s up to him to make decisions. We have a great squad of players. It’s up to us to keep moving forward.”

Mbappe’s most likely next destination is Real Madrid. In fact, Real Madrid have been linked with the player since his time at AS Monaco. According to local reports, Mbappe’s contract with Paris Saint-Germain expires at the end of the 2023-24 season and he has opted not to exercise his option for a one-year extension.

Mbappe reportedly told president Nasser Al-Khelaifi and his teammates that he would leave the club at the end of the season. Al-Khelaifi, who had been pushing for 안전놀이터 Mbappe’s departure, has now decided to let him go. Paris Saint-Germain players have also reportedly wished Mbappe the best of luck for his future at Real Madrid.

Mbappe’s departure was also reported by the BBC. “Mbappe has decided to join Real Madrid this summer. He will leave Paris Saint-Germain in June when his contract ends. Mbappe has not yet signed a contract with Real Madrid, but could announce an agreement if Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain do not meet in the UEFA Champions League.”

According to the BBC, Mbappe and Real Madrid have signed a mega deal. While not at the level offered by Paris Saint-Germain, it is reportedly Real Madrid’s highest ever offer. “Mbappe has signed a five-year contract with Real Madrid and will earn €15 million a season. The signing bonus is €150 million, and Real Madrid will also grant Mbappe a percentage of his portrait rights.”

Real Madrid has had a five-for-five split between player and club image rights since the days of Florentino Perez’s Galactico. However, Mbappe was given 80 percent of the rights to his likeness, with the club retaining 20 percent. It was an unusual decision that broke more than a decade of club tradition and helped the club land the world-class striker. “Mbappe’s likeness rights will act as a signing bonus, replacing a portion of his high salary,” analyzed Spain’s As.

With Mbappe’s departure to Real Madrid all but confirmed, Paris Saint-Germain are preparing for a new era. Enrique wants to try new attacking combinations with Mbappe playing less and less.

Real Madrid, meanwhile, have been steadily adding young players to assemble a new Galactico. This summer, they’re set to add Alfonso Davies from Bayern Munich after Mbappe. According to German publication Spiegel, “Real Madrid and Bayern Munich have agreed on a deal for Alfonso Davies. The transfer fee is estimated at a minimum of €40 million and a maximum of €50 million. Bayern Munich’s acquisition of Raphael Guerreiro from Dortmund before the start of the 2023-24 season was an early preparation for the departure of Alfonso Davies.”

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