Kylian Mbappe dropped by Paris Saint-Germain after decision to leave

Kylian Mbappe is dropped from the Paris Saint-Germain starting lineup against Nantes following his decision to leave the club at the end of the season.

Paris Saint-Germain manager Luis Enrique dropped Kylian Mbappe from the starting lineup for their Ligue 1 clash with Nantes following reports that the attacker has decided to leave the club at the end of the season.

On Thursday evening, the bombshell news broke that the 25-year-old had apparently informed PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi of his intention to move on when his contract expires at the end of the season.

Mbappe’s future has been a hot topic of the transfer market for the past few years, but the ex-Monaco man will seemingly end the long-running soap opera at the end of June, when his PSG deal runs its course.

Head coach Enrique refused to discuss Mbappe’s future during his pre-game press conference, insisting that he was in no place to comment until official word arrived from the club or the player, although he affirmed that he had “no information” about the matter.

PSG’s trip to Nantes on Saturday represented their first fixture since the Mbappe revelations, and for the second successive Ligue 1 fixture, the France international was named among the substitutes.

Paris Saint-Germain attacker Kylian Mbappe on January 28, 2024© Reuters

Enrique instead opted for an attacking trident of Bradley Barcola, Randal Kolo Muani and Lee Kang-in for the clash at the Stade de la Beaujoire, which came three days after PSG’s 2-0 win over Real Sociedad in the first leg of their Champions League last-16 tie.

Without Mbappe in the first XI, the Ligue 1 champions flattered to deceive in the first half against Les Canaris and survived a scare when Nicolas Pallois‘s effort was disallowed for offside.

However, PSG finally broke the deadlock on the hour mark, as Lucas Hernandez‘s speculative effort took a wild deflection off of former Tottenham Hotspur midfielder Moussa Sissoko and sailed into the bottom corner.

Immediately after Hernandez’s fortuitous opener, Mbappe was brought on as part of a triple change from Enrique, who also introduced Achraf Hakimi and Ousmane Dembele into the fray for the final half hour.

The soon-to-be free agent was unsurprisingly involved in the thick of the action straight away and won a penalty for PSG in the 78th minute, being felled by Douglas Augusto and stepping up to the 12-yard mark.

Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe celebrates scoring against Real Sociedad on February 14, 2024© Reuters

Nantes goalkeeper Remy Descamps dived the right way, but Mbappe’s penalty nestled into the corner to seal a two-goal success for the Parisiens, and the smiling Frenchman was mobbed by his teammates after converting his second-half spot kick.

Mbappe’s penalty moved the 25-year-old onto 21 goals from just 20 Ligue 1 games in what is expected to be his final season in a PSG shirt, and his total for the capital giants now stands at 244 efforts from 291 contests.

Real Madrid remain the favourites to snap up Mbappe on a free transfer this summer, although the attacker is yet to negotiate the terms of his exit with PSG, whom he told last year that he would not be taking up the 12-month extension in his current deal.

Premier League title chasers Liverpool and Arsenal have also been linked with an approach, but a move to England is regarded as fanciful due to Mbappe’s astronomical wages, currently standing at €200m (£171m) a year in Paris.

PSG’s triumph moved the champions 14 points clear at the top of the Ligue 1 table, and Enrique’s men return to the Parc des Princes to battle Rennes next Sunday.

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