After months of intense speculation, lobbying and last-minute horse-trading, the Kylian Mbappe soap opera is finally over. The world's best young player has rejected the chance to join 13-time European champion Real Madrid and instead signed a new three-year contract at Paris Saint-Germain.
The 23-year-old World Cup winner had reached an initial agreement with Madrid months ago for a much-anticipated switch to Spain, and Real Madrid president Florentino Perez was confident the deal could be confirmed at the end of the season.
However, PSG have managed to persuade Mbappe to change his mind in a stunning late twist as the French striker announced his decision to stay in France on Saturday.
"I have chosen to extend my contract at Paris Saint-Germain, and I am very happy. I am convinced that here I can continue to grow within a club that gives itself all the means to perform at the highest level," Mbappe said in a club statement. "I am also very happy to be able to continue playing in France, the country where I was born, grew up and flourished."
Mbappe joined PSG Monaco in August 2017 and has helped the French giants win four Ligue 1 titles in five seasons. He marked his new deal with a hat-trick in PSG's 5-0 thrashing of Metz later in the day and it took his total of domestic goals for this campaign to 28 in 35 games. He also provided a further 17 assists, which made him the first player to win both the top scorer and assists record in Ligue 1.
"Since the day Kylian joined our family, he has achieved greatness beyond his years on every single stage," said PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi. "In committing to PSG, he will be the foundation of our club's future both on and off the field."
"I am incredibly proud and very happy – for Kylian, for our fans, and our entire PSG family worldwide – that we will continue our wonderful journey together. For our fans and our club, the greatest chapters of our future lie ahead," he added.
According to multiple media outlets, PSG doubled Mbappe's current salary with a pay package worth $5 million a month and offered over $125m as signing-on fee, which will make him the highest-paid player in the world. PSG have also made financial concessions on image rights, bonus payments for goals, trophies and individual honors.
Mbappe's shock turnaround was met with a vehement response from Spanish La Liga, who slammed his new PSG deal as "scandalous" in a strongly worded statement.
"It is scandalous that a club like PSG, which last season reported losses of more than 220m euros ($232m) after accumulating losses of more than €700m in prior seasons [while reporting sponsorship income at a doubtful valuation] with a cost of sports staff around €650m for this 2021-22 season, can face an agreement of these characteristics while those clubs that could accept the arrival of the player without seeing their wage bill compromised, are left without being able to sign him," read the statement.
"This type of agreement threatens the economic sustainability of European football, putting hundreds of thousands of jobs and sporting integrity at risk in the medium term, not only from European competitions, but also from our domestic leagues," it added.
La Liga also announced that it will "file a complaint against PSG before UEFA, administrative and tax authorities in France and before the competent bodies of the European Union to continue defending the economic ecosystem of European football and its sustainability."
Meanwhile, La Liga president Javier Tebas also slammed PSG in characteristically bombastic style.
"What PSG are going to do by renewing Mbappe with large amounts of money after losing 700m euros in recent seasons and having more than 600m euros in wages, is an INSULT to football," he fumed on Twitter.
It remains to be seen who will be Madrid's next transfer target after missing out on Mbappe. After a patient wait for the wunderkind's arrival for years, the transfer saga's incredible conclusion won't please Madrid fans. For Perez, it could be a long summer.