Analysis: Will Real Madrid return for Kylian Mbappe down the line?

There has probably never been a transfer saga quite like it. With contrasting information flowing from both sides of the Franco-Spanish border for months, both Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain believed they would end up with Kylian Mbappe on the first of July last summer.

Mbappe’s contract was expiring and it had been ‘cantado’ [sung] or destiny that he would end up at the Santiago Bernabeu after months of speculation. On the afternoon of PSG’s final home Ligue 1 match of the season, reports began to emerge that he would signing a new contract in Paris. The media in both countries went into overdrive.

La Liga presented an official complaint to UEFA about PSG, Mbappe’s name was dragged through the Madrid gutter and he was labelled a traitor. Real Madrid President Florentino Perez also went on El Chiringuito to discuss the matter, declaring he did not recognise ‘this Mbappe’.

Many still have not forgiven him in Madrid. His current contract will expire in 2025 and after reports emerged in September that he was already unhappy in Paris, the question was asked, would Real Madrid go back in for him?

According to Sport, Perez has set out a number of conditions for any potential future between the two parties. First of all, it must be Mbappe who reaches out to Real Madrid. The player must extend the olive branch to Perez after seemingly giving his word that he would sign for Los Blancos last time.

Secondly, he will have no special privileges at Real Madrid, as he does with PSG. He would be ‘uno mas’, one more in their squad.

Although no doubt he would still be very well paid, he would also have to fit into the salary structure in place at Real Madrid. It would mean saying goodbye to being the highest paid player in the world. That would include agreeing for Real Madrid to take a portion of his image rights, a matter Mbappe has fought the French Football Federation over and is keen to have control of.

The fact that a report like this has been leaked perhaps hints at lowering of tension on the Real Madrid side. No doubt if they were to be interested in bringing Mbappe to the club in the future, there would be a slow build up of news which would warm the fanbase to the idea.

As much as anything, Los Blancos would need to lay the ground on a public relations level. Perez was humiliated by Mbappe, something he will not have taken lightly, and the backlash form the media in Spain was vicious.

That narrative would have to be changed and Mbappe would probably be painted as a repentant, a changed character from the one built up in the summer. The narrative that Mbappe would become just another part of the group, and that he would be the one to make the first move, puts the power back in the hands of Real Madrid. It allows them to justify why he did not join them last summer too.

Any road to the Bernabeu for Mbappe will be long and winding, given the way the drama played out in the summer. Yet the surfacing of a report like that, regardless of the reality, shows there is a willingness to consider such a move again.

Ultimately, while Mbappe remains one of the most talented players in football, he will always be of interest to Real Madrid. The fact he happens to be the most marketable after Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, doubles the incentive from the always business-minded Perez. Real Madrid might not go all in to pursue him again, but it seems likely they would be open to recruiting Mbappe again.

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