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Kylian Mbappe’s omission from PSG opener highlights contract stand-off


Paris Saint-Germain’s French forward Kylian Mbappe in the Champions League final. — AFP/File 

Paris Saint-Germain (PSG) has made a striking move by leaving out the French football sensation, Kylian Mbappe, from their season opener, deepening the ongoing standoff between the Ligue 1 champions and their star player. 

This omission comes amidst Mbappe’s contract dispute with the club, further highlighting the growing tension between the player and the team. Coinciding with this decision, PSG announced the acquisition of Ousmane Dembele from Barcelona on a five-year contract.

Dembele’s addition marks PSG’s ninth signing this summer, a period marked by significant player movements, including the departure of Lionel Messi to Inter Miami. As the club prepares to adapt to these changes, it faces the looming possibility of life without both Messi and Mbappe. Mbappe’s reluctance to extend his contract has fueled speculation about his potential departure, with Real Madrid being frequently mentioned as his preferred destination.

PSG’s standpoint has been explicit, with club president Nasser al-Khelaifi asserting that Mbappe must sign a new contract if he intends to stay. This stance aims to prevent losing one of the world’s top players without securing a transfer fee. Mbappe’s limited involvement in training and warm-up games underscores the complexity of the situation.

Despite his absence, Mbappe extended a warm welcome to Dembele through social media, reflecting the bond they developed during their joint victory in the 2018 World Cup. Dembele, who extended his contract with Barcelona until 2024, now embarks on a new journey with PSG after the club triggered his €50 million release clause. He expressed eagerness to represent PSG and contribute to the club’s growth.

The arrival of Dembele adds another French World Cup winner to PSG’s roster, joining the ranks of Mbappe, Presnel Kimpembe, and Lucas Hernandez. This strategic move is part of PSG’s effort to fortify their attacking options amidst uncertainties surrounding the futures of both Mbappe and Neymar.

Meanwhile, PSG’s newly appointed coach, Luis Enrique, excluded Brazilian forward Neymar from the season opener due to a “viral syndrome.” The club’s potential willingness to sell Neymar, alongside Italian midfielder Marco Verratti, who was also not included in the squad for the Lorient match, underscores the evolving dynamics within the team.

As PSG navigates the intricacies of contract negotiations, new signings, and player management, it embarks on a new chapter under Luis Enrique’s leadership. Mbappe and Neymar’s omission from the opening match emphasises the challenges the club faces in maintaining stability and competitiveness while dealing with significant changes.



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