Kylian Mbappe confirms he will leave PSG at the end of this season

Kylian Mbappe has announced that he will be leaving Paris Saint-Germain at the end of the season because he “needs a new challenge after seven years”.

The Athletic previously reported that the 25-year-old forward would leave the French club when his contract expires at the end of the season.

He confirmed he will play his final game at Parc des Princes this Sunday when his side take on Toulouse.

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The France international took to social media to confirm his decision to leave the club, saying: “I’ve always said that I would speak with you when the time comes. I wanted to announce to you all that it’s my last year at Paris Saint-Germain. I will not extend (my contract) and the adventure will come to an end in a few weeks. I will play my last game at Parc des Princes on Sunday.

“I have a lot of emotions. Many years where I had the chance and the great honour to be a member of the biggest French club. One of the best in the world, which allowed me to arrive here and have my first experience in a club with a lot of pressure. To grow as a player by being alongside some of the best (players) in history. Some of the greatest champions. To meet a lot of people and to grow as a man as well with all the glory and the mistakes I’ve made.

“It’s hard. I never thought it would be this difficult to announce that I will be leaving my country, France, the Ligue 1, a championship that I have always known, but I think I need this. A new challenge after seven years.”

Mbappe will leave PSG after seven years at the club — six as a permanent member of the squad. He joined on loan from Monaco in 2017, with the move being made permanent the following summer.

The France international has scored 255 goals in 306 games for PSG, winning Ligue 1, the top division in France, six times with the club — including this season.

He has also won the Coupe de France three times and the Coupe de la Ligue twice. Mbappe and PSG finished as Champions League runners-up in 2019-20.

He admitted it was tough to announce his departure and made it clear he would be leaving France this summer.

“First of all, I want to thank all of the team-mates that I had. All the coaches: Unai Emery, Thomas Tuchel, Mauricio Pochettino, Christophe Galtier and Luis Enrique. The sporting directors, Leonardo and Luis Campos, for always accompanying me. All the staff members at the club, the ones that nobody sees. The folks in the shadows. Whether it’s physios, the attendants, all the office staff members, the ones at campus, everybody. All these incredible people who give everything to the club and they deserve to have this recognition.

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“Despite everything that can happen on the outside, all this media hype that surrounds the club sometimes, there are some real club lovers, who want to protect it and make it shine and it’s great. I know with all these people, the club is in great hands.”

Mbappe thanked PSG fans and affirmed his intention to leave the club with one more trophy — the Coupe de France. They will face Lyon in the final on May 25.

“Of course, there are some people I want to thank above all and those are the fans. I know I am not the most demonstrative player. I haven’t always lived up to the love you all gave me for seven years, but I never wanted to cheat. I have always wanted to be effective.

“PSG is a club that never leaves anyone indifferent. We can love it or hate it. I made the choice to love it and I did for seven years through the ups and downs. I do not regret at any moment signing for this prestigious club. It’s a club that I will keep in my memory my entire life. I will tell everybody that I had the chance to play here. Although I won’t be a player here anymore, I will continue to watch every game because it’s a club that I will always be interested in and I will always closely follow.

“It was me with my qualities and defects, but I tried to give the best version of myself during those seven years. I want to say thank you because without you all, I would have never experienced half of the emotions that I felt. For that, I am grateful for life.

“Thank you all and I hope we finish this year with a last trophy. We are going to have good moments for what’s left and believe me that you will remain in my heart forever. Goodbye.”

How will Mbappe be remembered at PSG?

Kylian Mbappe is the best French player to have worn the PSG shirt. Arguably, he is their best of all time and perhaps their most important and influential.

Since he signed for Monaco in the summer of 2017, initially on loan and then made permanent for an eye-watering €180million (now £153.8m; $193.7m), PSG have transformed as a club. They are now an internationally recognised brand, a super club, a team who have boasted star players and Mbappe has been at the heart of it.

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The relationship between PSG’s fans and their star player has not always been one of doting affection over the past seven years — a product, as L’Equipe outlined last week, of his frequent ‘near departures’. But he has been loved in Paris as a leader for club and country, the locally-born superstar who has become the face of PSG. Off-field matters have not fully diminished the respect, admiration, and indeed affection for this global superstar.

Mbappe winning the World Cup in 2018 (Matthias Hangst via Getty Images)

Today, he is arguably the best player in the world and he has left his mark at PSG. He has broken multiple records since he signed, aged 18. He has surpassed all that have gone before him in Paris.

He has scored the most goals for PSG both domestically and in Europe, as well as the most hat-tricks, the most ‘doubles’ and the most goals in a single game (five). He has helped France win the World Cup during his time at the club, as well as scoring in successive World Cup finals, including one hat-trick, has won the tournament’s Golden Boot, and has gone on to become France captain. He is the most prolific and consistent goalscorer the French league has seen since Jean-Pierre Papin was running riot for Marseille in the late 1980s and early 1990s.

If he wins the Ligue 1 Golden Boot again this season (a near-certainty: he is on 26 goals, second-placed Alexandre Lacazette of Lyon has 17), he will have received that award six times in a row — no player has done that before.

While PSG were ahead of schedule with their Champions League run this season, Mbappe will still leave without winning the biggest prize in club football — and that will always be a disappointment to him. But he leaves as probably the most significant player in the club’s history.

Peter Rutzler

Where does this leave PSG?

While Mbappe’s exit from PSG is only now official, it has not exactly been an unforeseen eventuality. Speculation about his future has been a regular soap opera.

Mbappe is not just any old player — and not only because of his talent. He has been incredibly influential. He may have insisted that the club was not ‘Kylian Saint-Germain’ in a marketing dispute last year but, at least in recent times, it is hard to escape the veracity of that description.

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He is arguably the best player in the world today and losing a player of that calibre leaves a huge hole. Currently, he is the team’s top goalscorer by a sizeable margin. He has scored 43 goals in all competitions this season. The next best for PSG is Goncalo Ramos, on just 15.

PSG will have to replace those goals, but the club have already begun regeneration, moving on from their ‘galacticos’ era. Last summer they parted company with Lionel Messi and Neymar and implemented a new focus on a younger, more cohesive team, built with a longer-term focus — and clear playing philosophy — in mind.

More than €250million was spent on talent, with 13 new faces signed, plus the appointment of new head coach Luis Enrique. January saw the addition of two more youngsters in Lucas Beraldo and Gabriel Moscardo. The average age of the team has dropped dramatically.

There is the loss of an elite-level talent, but now the idea of the “club above all else”, stressed by president Nasser Al-Khelaifi last summer, may be easier to enforce. For the first time in a while, PSG will not have a player with great power and influence, beyond what is sometimes seen as healthy. This may well benefit head coach Luis Enrique.

But PSG still want to be an elite club and are set to target the likes of Victor Osimhen and Gavi this summer in a bid to fill the void.

Peter Rutzler

(Top photo: Matthias Hangst/Getty Images)

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