Real Madrid’s new signing Aurelien Tchouameni said Kylian Mbappe asked if he would sign for Paris Saint-Germain, as the 22-year-old was unveiled at Madrid’s training ground on Tuesday.
Madrid won the race to sign Tchouameni, one of the world’s most highly-rated midfielders, from Monaco in a deal worth around 100 million euros.
His arrival comes after Mbappe rejected Real Madrid to sign a three-year contract at PSG. Madrid have also signed Antonio Rudiger this summer, the defender joining from Chelsea on a free transfer.
“Kylian decided to stay at PSG and he already knew I was going to leave Monaco at the end of the season,” Tchouameni said in a press conference, after being introduced by Real Madrid president Florentino Perez.
“He wanted to know if I would go to PSG but I told him Real Madrid was my first choice and he understood that completely, he was very happy for me.”
Tchouameni has signed a six-year contract at Real Madrid after being linked with several of Europe’s biggest clubs, including Liverpool and Chelsea in the Premier League.
“As soon as Madrid arrived, I didn’t hesitate,” he said.
“I want to leave my mark on football and the best club for this is Real Madrid. It’s the best decision for me.”
He said Real Madrid’s sensational comebacks in the Champions League against PSG, Chelsea and Manchester City helped him make up his mind.
Madrid beat Liverpool in the final to win the club’s 14th European Cup.
“It’s true that when I watched those games I wrote to my agent and told him, ‘please do everything possible to get me to Real Madrid’,” Tchouameni said.
After breaking into the first team at Bordeaux, Tchouameni joined Monaco in 2020 and was a key player last season as they finished third in Ligue 1, behind PSG and Marseille. He was also named Young Player of the Season at the end of the 2020/21 season.
With 12 caps for France, Tchouameni will be hoping to secure his place in the starting line-up for the World Cup in Qatar in November and he said former Real Madrid star and coach Zinedine Zidane as one of his idols.
Madrid have long-relied on Luka Modric, Toni Kroos and Casemiro in midfield but all three are now in their thirties, with Tchouameni viewed as a possible successor to Casemiro.
“Since I was little I have played with two midfielders and in a 4-3-3 my position would be as a number six, but I can play as an eight as well, I can play in both positions,” he said.
Perez said Tchouameni is “one of the best midfielders in the world”. He added: “At 22 years old you were able to choose your club and you have chosen this one.”