PARIS (AP) — Kylian Mbappe is a young man in a big hurry who wants to “win everything” with Paris Saint-Germain.
The 18-year-old forward spoke Wednesday for the first time since his move from Monaco went through last week. And besides detailing his huge ambition, Mbappe mentioned several times that he initially planned to stay another season with Monaco.
“I had given my priority to Monaco, but certain things happened,” Mbappe said at a packed news conference at Parc des Princes. “I will speak about it very soon and say everything that happened. I have a lot of respect for (Monaco vice president) Vadim Vasilyev, who is a remarkable man. But some things happened.”
Mbappe, who arrived accompanied by his lawyers and members of his family, said he felt PSG was the right move.
“It’s a great pleasure to join PSG, a very ambitious club that wants to become the best,” the France forward said. “It was important for me not to leave France after just six months at the highest level.”
Those six months were sensational. Mbappe scored 26 goals and helped Monaco reach the Champions League semifinals. But all that was just a stepping stone.
“I’m an ambitious player who always wants to improve. So my objective is obviously to score more than last season,” he said. “But individual ambitions should always be part of a wider ambition, and that is for the team to win everything.”
By signing Mbappe, PSG made a clear statement that the club intends to compete for the Champions League title after several years of frustration since being taken over by cash-rich Qatari investors in 2011.
PSG coach Unai Emery is hoping Mbappe helps his team take the extra step after failing to go beyond the quarterfinals of the Champions League in recent years.
Mbappe has been added to a glittering assembly of attacking talent that includes Brazil forward Neymar and Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani.
“I’m starving for trophies and I want to win year after year, starting right now,” Mbappe said. “Of course Neymar’s (presence) is an added bonus. It’s extraordinary to play with someone of that level.”
Mbappe is on loan until the end of the season — PSG’s way of dealing with Financial Fair Play requirements — but when with the move becomes permanent next year it will cost the club 180 million euros ($216 million). It gives PSG unprecedented status as owning the world’s two most expensive players, with Neymar bought from Barcelona for a world record 222 million euros ($262 million).
The massive price tag does not bother Mbappe.
“It won’t change my way of living or thinking,” he said. “I’m not receiving the money and it’s coming out of my pocket.”
Mbappe is expected to make his PSG debut at Metz on Friday.
“I’ve spoken to the coach, he told me I can play in several positions in attack and that there can be a lot of rotation,” Mbappe said. “There’s no set position. If you ask me now I’d say I prefer center forward. If you ask me next year I might say on the wing. It’s a good question.”
Because of the arrivals of Mbappe and Neymar, PSG has been put under investigation by UEFA. The governing body of European soccer said “recent transfer activity” triggered concern that the club was again flouting rules designed to control excessive spending.
“We have nothing to hide,” PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi said Wednesday. “I can’t speak about all the details. We’ve done everything within the rules.”
After securing his dream move, Mbappe still has one ambition remaining: to pass his driving test.
“It’s been put on standby, but I’ll have to get back on the case,” said Mbappe, whose mother drove him to training at Monaco. “But PSG has provided a chauffeur for me, so it’s fine.”
(AP Photo/Christophe Ena)
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