Door open for Real Madrid to try signing Mbappé after he decides not to extend PSG contract

PARIS — The door is open for Real Madrid to try signing Kylian Mbappé because the France superstar decided not to extend his Paris Saint-Germain contract into 2025.

Karim Benzema’s sudden departure from Madrid leaves the Spanish giant short of a star striker, and Mbappé perfectly fits the bill.

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It could be third time lucky for Madrid, after Paris Saint-Germain rejected an offer of 180 million euros ($190 million) for Mbappé in 2021. Madrid missed out again last year when Mbappé — amid frenzied speculation that Madrid would get him to join — signed a new deal with PSG.

It included an option for an extra year. Now he’s told the club he will not trigger the 12-month extension on his contract, which expires at the end of next season.

The France superstar confirmed his decision in a letter to PSG, a person with knowledge of the correspondence told The Associated Press on Monday. The person, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, also said PSG would not allow Mbappé to leave as a free agent.

This raised the possibility of an immediate transfer bidding war by Madrid and other clubs this summer.

Mbappé posted on Twitter on Tuesday to dismiss a newspaper report saying he wants to join Madrid this summer.

“LIES,” he wrote, adding: “I’ve already said I’ll continue with PSG next season.”

He said at the French league’s end-of-season awards two weeks ago that he will be a PSG player next season, while not saying if he would stay longer.

It means PSG face the prospect of him running down his contract and leaving for nothing to Madrid, or elsewhere.

The 24-year-old Mbappé has a long connection with Madrid.

He visited the club when he was a youth before deciding instead to join Monaco, which then sold him to PSG in 2017.

He might be on another flight to Madrid before long.

The Ballon d’Or winner Benzema bid his farewell to Madrid last week after 648 games, 25 trophies and 354 goals for the club. He joined Al-Ittihad to become the the Saudi league’s latest star after Cristiano Ronaldo, who plays for Al-Nassr.

Given his stated ambition to win the Champions League and the Ballon d’Or, Mbappé seems unlikely to join them for a while yet.

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