Kylian Mbappe raises doubts about Paris Saint-Germain future
Newly crowned Ligue 1 Player of the Season looking for more challenges
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 32 times for PSG in Ligue 1 this season, despite sharing front-line duties with Uruguay striker Edinson Cavani and Neymar of Brazil.
Mbappe, who has always said he would love to play at Real Madrid, was named 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, I am arriving at maybe the first or second turning point in my career," Mbappe told beIN Sports.
"I have learnt so much here and I feel it's maybe the time to have more responsibility. Maybe at PSG, that would give me great pleasure, or maybe elsewhere for a new project."
He did not back down on his comments when asked about them in the mixed zone a few minutes later.
"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.
"I said what I had to say. When you are at such an occasion, you can send messages and I have sent mine. If I speak more, it will be too much and that is not the message I wish to send."
Mbappe has been regularly linked with a potential move to Real since breaking through with AS Monaco's 2017 Ligue 1 title-winning team, but instead made the switch to PSG, initially on loan, and then for 180 million euros (S$277m).
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 season, Mbappe has stepped up another gear with 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 this Sunday 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 the fourth footballer to feature on the cover of Time magazine in October, after Messi, Neymar and Mario Balotelli.
KROOS WELCOMES LINKS
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.
Meanwhile, Real midfielder Toni Kroos, a World Cup winner with Germany in 2014, has welcomed the Mbappe links, as Zidane is expected to freshen up a squad who finished with no silverware, Goal.com reported.
The Spanish giants ended their La Liga campaign in third, 19 points behind winners Barcelona, crashed out of the Champions League in the last 16 and exited the Copa del Rey at the semi-final stage .
Kroos, who committed his own future to Real by penning an extension to his contract through to 2023, said: "I like him as a player, but that question is not for me. I cannot buy him. I have a good contract, but it's a question for the club!"
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