MADRID (AP) — Real Madrid said it wants to quickly forget about Kylian Mbappe and focus on the Champions League final against Liverpool.
Four days before the final in Paris, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and his players tried to avoid talking about the French striker and his decision to stay with Paris Saint-Germain.
They also downplayed the clear call for revenge by Liverpool striker Mohamed Salah, who was part of the team that lost the 2018 final to Madrid.
On Saturday Mbappé gave the surprising news about his future and dealt a blow to the meringues and their fans who were almost sure that they would see him play in the Spanish capital next season.
“It is quite clear for us to think about what we have to think about,” Ancelotti said on Tuesday. “We have never talked about players from another squad, we respect everyone and their decisions and those of their clubs. We have to do our job and it’s simple in what we have to think about, which is to prepare well for the final”.
As a club, Madrid have not commented on Mbappé’s decision, although some players were quick to post messages praising the team and saying it was an honor to wear his shirt.
Veteran defender Marcelo said that they talk about Mbappe in the locker room.
“It wasn’t a surprise because we didn’t talk about players from other teams,” said Marcelo, one of the players who could clinch his fifth Champions League title. “We are indifferent. It would be different if he had been signed by Madrid”.
Last year Mbappé had said he wanted to go to Madrid, but PSG rejected an offer of almost 200 million euros ($214 million) for the player. The striker was expected to leave for Madrid after becoming a free agent at the end of this campaign, but instead decided to sign a three-year deal with PSG.
Mbappé’s decision to reject the whites was the most talked about topic in recent days in Spain, leaving the Champions League final aside.
Madrid are trying to extend their record and win their 14th European title at the Stade de France on Saturday. It is also their fifth Champions League final in eight seasons. They have won 13 of the 17 finals they have played in Europe’s top competition.
Madrid won its 10th European Cup eight years ago with Ancelotti at the helm and subsequently won three titles between 2015 and 2018 with Zinedine Zidane at the helm. Real Madrid beat Liverpool in the 2018 final in kyiv.
“That (2014) was a previous one with much more pressure. Real Madrid hadn’t won the Champions League for many years, it was almost an obsession,” Ancelotti said. “Now Real Madrid is motivated, but with less obsession. That can give us an advantage.”
Ancelotti, who could become the first coach to win four Champions League titles, will have his squad in top form on Saturday.