Real Madrid welcome Mbappé to cap their prodigious decade

The Frenchman turns Los Blancos into a fearsome side  
Una captura de imagen de vídeo muestra al delantero del París Saint-Germain Kylian Mbappe mientras se detiene en la entrada de los campos de entrenamiento del París Saint-Germain para reunirse con los aficionados y firmar autógrafos, después de una sesión de entrenamiento en Poissy, suburbios occidentales de París, el 22 de julio de 2023 - PHOTO/AFP/TOM MASSON
A video image capture shows Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe as he stops at the entrance of Paris Saint-Germain's training grounds to meet fans and sign autographs, after a training session in Poissy, western suburbs of Paris, on July 22, 2023 - PHOTO/AFP/TOM MASSON

Not even the best Hollywood script could have written Kylian Mbappé's arrival at Real Madrid like this. Seven years of stormy relationship where the Frenchman refused to land in Madrid because the BBC (Benzema, Bale and Cristiano) were in their best form. From Monaco he moved to PSG, despite having known Valdebebas, where he was photographed with Cristiano Ronaldo in a unique image.   

His life in Paris has been plagued by tensions with the club's ownership and even with the Presidency of the Republic, which has pressured him until the last moment not to leave France. The Gallic jewel was not supposed to leave the country and for that they had to pay millions of euros to a player incapable of winning the Champions League in the seasons in which he was surrounded by Neymar and Messi.  

Meanwhile, Real Madrid conquered Europe again and again. Up to 15 times after the last Champions League at Wembley. Mbappé's arrival has become inconsequential thanks to the stability of the club at all levels. In addition to the usual institutional peace managed by Florentino Pérez and a veteran board of directors who do not lose their nerves, there are also the right signings and a healthy economy, not buoyant, but which allows them to deal with signings such as those of the French player without modifying their wage bill too much.   

La plantilla del Real Madrid celebra el campeonato durante el partido de la final de la Liga de Campeones de la UEFA entre el Borussia Dortmund y el Real Madrid en el estadio de Wembley en Londres, Inglaterra, el 1 de junio de 2024 – PHOTO/MI News/NurPhoto/NurPhoto vía AFP
Real Madrid's squad celebrates the championship during the UEFA Champions League final match between Borussia Dortmund and Real Madrid at Wembley Stadium in London, England, June 1, 2024 - PHOTO/MI News/NurPhoto/NurPhoto via AFP

Mbappé arrives at Real Madrid for the only thing the Frenchman needs: the Champions League. World Champion with France and top scorer in his league on several occasions, he lands in Madrid to lift the 16th that now becomes an obligation for Real Madrid after this year's feat without Benzema and with long-term injuries.   

A statement of just two lines is all Real Madrid have boasted about the signing. The club's best moment is not going to be surpassed by one player, no matter how good he is. Florentino Pérez wanted to make it clear to Mbappé that he is coming to a club without fanfare and where no one is better than anyone else. This shirt has been worn by Figo, Beckham, Ronaldo and Zidane and has survived the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo and Sergio Ramos. This season he has won La Liga and knocked out Manchester City in a play-off that was the grand finale of the European competition.  

Mbappé will wear white after the European Championship and will not go to the Olympic Games in his country. Thierry Henry revealed at a press conference that his interlocutor at Real Madrid had told him ‘no’ time and time again and that he had not received so many refusals since high school. Real Madrid do not need to show their affection for Mbappé by allowing him to go to the Games, their discipline is different and the rules are clear for all players who want to alternate between the European Championship or Copa America and the Olympic Games: impossible.   

Kylian Mbappé dijo a los directivos del PSG que planea dejar el club, dijo a la AFP una fuente cercana al club el 15 de febrero de 2024 - AFP/FRANCK FIFE
Kylian Mbappé - AFP/FRANCK FIFE

The script of the film has a perfect twist. The protagonist arrives at the team of his dreams, but he is no longer the player who is essential to win titles. He will be just another player in the dressing room and a machine for selling shirts and sponsorship contracts. The white club saves LaLiga and gives it a top-level figure to restore some of the lustre lost in recent years.   

Barça looks on in disbelief as they wonder how they could have reached such institutional mediocrity in just a few years and how difficult it will be to put everything right again. Europe wonders why a club owned by its members wins European Cups without altering the market while they invest billions in buying a football that does not make them reign in a continent where Real Madrid has become the team to beat.