Paris, May 20 (PTI/AFP): Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe fuelled speculation surrounding his future on Sunday, saying that he wants “responsibilities, maybe at PSG, maybe elsewhere”.
The 20-year-old backed up his excellent 2018 World Cup, where he scored four times as France won the trophy, by netting 38 times for PSG this season.
He was named as the Ligue 1 player of the season on Sunday, but did not deny that a potential move away from France could be in the offing.
“It (the award) is an important moment for me, a turning point in my career… The moment of having more responsibilities, maybe at PSG, maybe elsewhere,” he told BeIN Sports.
Mbappe did not back down on his comments when asked about them in the mixed zone a few minutes later.
“For me, it was the moment to say it… When I say something, I think about it,” he said, reiterating his desire to have more “responsibilities”.
“If it’s at PSG, it’s good, if it’s elsewhere, it will be elsewhere for a new challenge.”
Mbappe has been regularly linked with a potential move to Real Madrid since breaking through with Monaco’s 2017 Ligue 1 title-winning team, but instead made the switch to PSG, initially on loan, and then for 180 million euros.
But since Zinedine Zidane’s return to the Real dug-out earlier this year, rumours about Mbappe joining his fellow Frenchman at the Santiago Bernabeu have intensified.
This term, Mbappe has stepped up another gear with teammate Neymar — the only player to be sold for more money than him in history — out injured for much of the campaign.
Mbappe has followed in Neymar’s footsteps by winning the player of the season accolade in France, although he needs to score five in the last league game of the season against Reims next weekend to snatch the European Golden Shoe from Lionel Messi.
“I tell myself that even if I lose, I lose to Messi, one of the greatest players in history,” he told AFP.
“To think that maybe I kept up with him until the last game, that’s a source of pride too, but it’s not over.”
Mbappe became only the second teenager in history last year, after Brazil legend Pele, to score in a World Cup final during France’s 4-2 triumph over Croatia.
His global stardom — surely eye-catching for the likes of Real — was shown when he became only the fourth footballer to feature on the cover of Time magazine in October, after Messi, Neymar and Mario Balotelli.
An Mbappe exit would be a blow for PSG, although increased transfer funds may not be all bad for the French champions as they look to strengthen their squad ahead of their next bid for a first Champions League title.