PSG drop Mbappe from squad for Asian tour

The 29-player squad that flies east on Saturday will include Mbappe's younger brother, 16-year-old Ethan Mbappe, as well as the club's remaining superstar Neymar.
Kylian Mbappe (Photo | AP)
Kylian Mbappe (Photo | AP)

PARIS: French champions Paris Saint-Germain on Friday left Kylian Mbappe out of their squad for a pre-season tour of Japan, casting further doubt on the star striker's future.

PSG gave no reason for the omission of France's captain.

The 29-player squad that flies east on Saturday will include Mbappe's younger brother, 16-year-old Ethan Mbappe, as well as the club's remaining superstar Neymar.

Mbappe has been taking part in the club's pre-season preparations and played the last 30 minutes as PSG entertained Le Havre in a training-ground friendly on Friday, scoring a goal.

Mbappe declared in May that he would not extend his PSG contract, which expires next year, but indicated he wanted to remain at the club for a final season.

"I still have a year left on my contract and I am going to honour my contract," he said.

That would allow him to become a free agent next summer and leave PSG for nothing.

PSG president Nasser al-Khelaifi reacted by saying earlier this month that Mbappe "must sign a new contract".

"We can't let the best player in the world today leave for free. It's impossible," Khelaifi said.

Khelaifi even gave Mbappe an ultimatum of a "maximum two weeks" to make his decision: sign a new contract or leave this summer. That date corresponds roughly with the departure of the team for Japan.

If Mbappe refuses to sign, the club must sell him in this transfer window, otherwise they will likely lose him for nothing when his deal ends after next season.

Madrid bound?

The 24-year-old was expected to leave a year ago for Real Madrid when his previous contract came to an end, only to agree a new deal to remain in Paris.

That was a two-year contract with the option of a third season which would take him to 2025, which the player has said he would not take up, even if he has indicated his intention to see out his existing deal.

Having missed out on his signature a year ago, Real would again be chief among his suitors.

They are in the market for a new striker after reigning Ballon d'Or Karim Benzema ended his 14-year stay in the Spanish capital, opting to move to Saudi Arabia.

Recently named as the new France captain, Mbappe was still a teenager when he joined PSG on a season-long loan from Monaco in August 2017, just after helping the principality club win the Ligue 1 title.

The move turned into a permanent transfer the following year in a 180-million-euro ($196m) deal.

He helped France to World Cup glory in 2018 and has established himself as arguably the leading forward on the global stage.

Mbappe also scored a hat-trick in France's 2022 World Cup final defeat to Lionel Messi's Argentina before helping PSG win a record 11th French title.

He was the top scorer in Ligue 1 last season with 29 goals and netted 41 in 43 games for his club in all competitions.

PSG are under new management, with Luis Enrique as coach.

Their Asian tour opens against Cristiano Ronaldo's club Al-Nassr of Saudi Arabia in Osaka, on July 25.

PSG then play Cerezo Osaka, also in Osaka, and Inter Milan in Tokyo before finishing off the tour in Busan, South Korea, against Jeonbuk Motors on August 3.

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