Kylian Mbappé finally joins Real Madrid

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MADRID — Kylian Mbappé has officially joined Real Madrid, the club announced on Monday. The French star has signed a five-year deal with the Spanish giants, marking the end of a long courtship by one of soccer’s most prestigious clubs.

While financial details were not disclosed, the announcement follows years of speculation and pursuit by Real Madrid. Mbappé, currently with the French national team preparing for the European Championship, expressed his excitement on social media.

“A dream come true,” Mbappé wrote on X. “So happy and proud to join the club of my dream. Nobody can understand how excited I am right now. Can’t wait to see you, Madridistas, and thanks for your unbelievable support. ¡Hala Madrid!” The post, shared in English, Spanish, and French, included childhood photos of Mbappé in a Madrid jacket and with Cristiano Ronaldo.

Real Madrid also released a video featuring highlights of Mbappé’s career, with a voiceover saying, “Are you watching closely?”

The 25-year-old World Cup winner joins a Madrid team already brimming with talent and fresh off a 2-0 victory over Borussia Dortmund in the Champions League final, securing their 15th European Cup title. Mbappé will now play alongside rising stars like Vinícius Júnior, Rodrygo, and Jude Bellingham.

This move rekindles memories of Real Madrid’s “Galácticos” era, when the club boasted some of the world’s top players, including Ronaldo, Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, and Luis Figo. The current squad has welcomed Mbappé warmly, with forward Brahim Díaz stating, “Welcome to the best club in the world,” and former goalkeeper Iker Casillas remarking, “I don’t know if we won the Champions League on Saturday or if we won it today with Mbappé’s signing.”

Until now, Mbappé has only played club soccer in France, starting at Monaco and then spending seven seasons at Paris Saint-Germain (PSG). He left PSG as a free agent after declining to renew his contract. His departure was amicable, with Monaco posting a photo of a young Mbappé holding their jersey in front of posters of Madrid players, including Ronaldo.

The Spanish league hailed Mbappé’s arrival, calling him “a new star in the universe of Real Madrid.”

Real Madrid had previously offered PSG 180 million euros for Mbappé in 2021, the same amount PSG paid Monaco for the then-teenage sensation. However, Mbappé chose to stay in Paris, influenced by French President Emmanuel Macron, who encouraged him to continue his adventure with PSG.

Despite this, Real Madrid president Florentino Pérez made signing Mbappé a strategic priority. After missing out on him in 2021, Pérez remained persistent, ultimately securing the star forward as a free agent. Mbappé’s proficiency in Spanish, learned during his time at Monaco, will aid his integration into a squad that includes French players Eduardo Camavinga, Aurélien Tchouaméni, and Ferland Mendy.

Mbappé’s impressive resume includes a World Cup victory at 19, a World Cup final hat trick at 23, seven French league titles, four French Cups, and a record as PSG’s all-time leading scorer with 256 goals. Despite not securing a Champions League title with PSG, his individual accolades and scoring prowess have solidified his status as one of the best players in the world.

Mbappé’s arrival in Madrid signals a new era for the club, with fans and teammates alike eagerly anticipating his contributions on the field. – AP