The true value of Kylian Mbappe’s new deal

It was not, Killian Mbabane wants you to know, about money. It is true that to a childish, innocent, uninformed person it may seem as if he spent the last year in the game between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in order to raise his value and make the most of it. A contract is possible. But that, for sure, is just an illusion.

The money, in fact, barely came into the negotiations, of course, with PSG. Mbabane said this particular topic only appeared at the end: “A few minutes” was a discussion about how much to pay, he said, but there was. Choose the exact nature of PSG’s “sports project” for many months.

What form this project takes, of course, is still unknown. Mbabane has denied that the three-year contract he signed last week includes clauses guaranteeing him a veto, in effect, on various appointments at the club, ranging from managers to players to sporting directors.

Whether the points are recorded is hardly important. It is inconceivable that any club would make such a financial commitment that PSG made to the 23-year-old Mbabane and not make decisive decisions on him. Lionel Messi enjoyed a similar influence in the years following his work in Barcelona. This is a privilege given to the best players in the world.

However, this does not indicate that there has been as much change in PSG’s “sports project” as Mbabane might want to believe. For the past 10 years, PSG’s policy has been to hire extravagantly talented superstars at eye-catching costs and whim them. There are countless stories about Neymar’s sometimes banned approach to training. At least one coach found that his team did not agree with him that he might need to put pressure on opponents.

PSG promoted a tolerant, individualistic ethos, with little or no thought to structure and system, and this ultimately prevented the club from achieving its greatest ambition: to win the Champions League. To solve this, PSG’s plan seems to be to keep the extravagantly talented superstar at an eye-catching price and serve his whims.

And the cost is staggering. Mbabane will receive a minimum wage of $ 75 million after taxes under the contract. There is a $ 125 million gold hand seizure. Last summer, a value factor of around $ 200 million, PSG rejected Real Madrid and the deal cost PSG around $ 400 million.

Now it is easy to feel proud of money in football against the excess weight of the sport. After all, there are so many zeros. After a period of time, the numbers stop being abusive, rising higher and higher until you seem to draw an arbitrary line – why is $ 25 million a year too much, but $ 15 million a year is acceptable? – and the figures begin to blur in misunderstanding.

But they ultimately matter and matter because of what follows them. In football, money is not really money. Players sincerely do not believe that they need this extra few hundred thousand dollars, because otherwise they will stay. Yes, they generally (and understandably) want to maximize their income from short-term careers, but their motivation is often more ingrained in power, status, and value.

The parable of Ashley Cole, a former Arsenal defender who almost went astray as his club offered him $ 63,000 a week rather than the $ 69,000 a week he believed he should receive, does not apply to a man who is shocked by the prospect of impending poverty. After all, there is almost nothing that can buy $ 3.5 million a year, which can not be $ 3.2 million a year.

No, Cole was irritated by the feeling that Arsenal did not value him as much as his teammates or – worse – his peers. Other players of his quality were earning much more than him, he knew, and if Arsenal were not ready to offer this course, then maybe the club would not value his contribution the way he thought it would.

This is the problem with the Mbabane deal. Each time superstars’ salaries increase, they slowly but surely drag others along, making the Overton window of the sport more and more distant from the stratosphere.

PSG will be able to handle this, of course, when Mbabane’s teammates show up, demanding better conditions under the new normal conditions. Even $ 400 million is not an amount that will bother the Qatari national state. And perhaps his peers in the European elite will be fine too, when Mohamed Salah or Kevin de Bruyne or Vinicius Jr. or Pedri start negotiations with Mbabane as a starting point.

But down the food chain, there will be a problem. Some clubs will swallow the extra cost of talent retention, with all the risk that comes with it. Others choose to cash in and sell, which will further strengthen the rift between the aristocrats and everyone else.

The statement It was a strange decision made by the apparent president of La Liga, Javier Tebas, after Mbabane’s decision, made almost entirely from fermented sour grapes. Its main principle – that the best way to protect everyone from a competitive imbalance was to introduce More He’s in the competition he’s running – somewhere between the bored and the hypocrite.

And yet, under all of this, Teba makes sense. It is dangerous to artificially inflate salaries by clubs, without any financial restrictions. This poses a threat to the health of football as a whole. In some ways, this is not entirely different from the main problem of the Super League.

The point, of course, is that there is no one, no one at all, who is willing to do anything. Tebas was not the only executive who provoked Mbabane’s signature and made a slightly bizarre statement. His Ligue 1 colleague Vincent Labrun, Replied Teba A reminder to everyone that both Real Madrid and Barcelona have benefited from illegal state aid.

Al-Khalifa himself took an unusual position, saying that Teba was worried that Ligue 1 might catch La Liga, but at the same time misunderstood that thinking about such an issue was the essence of Tebas’s case and clearly reduced the league to both his club and its broadcast network. , beIN Sports, has done so much for subsidies in recent years.

(None of this was as bizarre as Emmanuel Macron, the president of France, intervened to persuade Mbabane to stay in Paris: Macron is a sincere and ardent fan of Marcel and probably should love nothing more than the disappearance of Mbabane in Spain. Most of his teammates).

The fact that all of them could see more of their own agenda was neither surprising nor outrageous. Tebas’s role is to popularize and defend La Liga, just as the role of al-Khalifa – or one of them – in any case – is to act in the best interests of PSG, and this is, without a doubt, not just in the interests of PSG. Accumulate as much talent as possible, but gradually make it harder for all his competitors.

What is even more frustrating is that there is no one, anywhere, who wants or can challenge these issues, not from the perspective of a particular club or a particular league, but in the interests of the sport – the industry -. What is good for PSG or Real Madrid is not in the best interests of the game as a whole; Football cries for someone in an influential position to say this, but they remain conspicuous in their absence.

The most obvious candidate, UEFA, relinquished his responsibilities, confused by his dual role as the organizer of supreme authority and competition. It is UEFA that has allowed self-interest to be spoiled and merit to flourish. It was UEFA that forgot that for a healthy functioning of football it should be seen as a collective effort.

If this is not the case, he threatens to break without repair, with the golden goose stuck and a quarter, sold to the highest bidder in a market damaged by several teams for no apparent reason – and that description applies to both Real Madrid and PSG – and, now, one deal , One vanity and courage on the part of a club that refuses to stop anything in its path, whose vision for the future is to be everywhere in Paris, for whom it is not really about money. Because when you have enough, money is meaningless and so zero that it makes no sense at all.

William IrelandClearly, this column was chosen with a fine-toothed comb. “I saw that the English Women’s Super League was the strongest in the world and I do not understand why,” she wrote.

“Chelsea have been humble in the Champions League for the last two years. Arsenal have looked good this year. When European teams play NWSL teams, Lyon and Barcelona Femení have matched. It seems he is not the best in Europe and especially in the world. “

This is an excellent point and there are several factors that affect it. The first, of course, is your general English exclusivity. Second, the innate Eurocentrism of football. Third, the degree of hyperbole, which is deeply related to the rapid growth of WSL.

But the most interesting is the fourth, which was mentioned by at least a few Barcelona players: television. For example, a lot of football does not go beyond the top flight of Spanish women. This makes it difficult for people to know how high the standard is; A lot of what we see is Barcelona winning games, 8-0, and it is natural, to some extent, to assume that many of its opponents are substandard.

The view of Caroline Graham Hansen, the Norwegian wing of Barcelona, ​​is, of course, that this is not the case; He argues that the simplicity of Barcelona’s games wins over its capabilities and not the accusation of opponents. Before fans evaluate it with their own eyes, we tend to assume that the league we see the most – say, WSL, or NWSL – is the strongest.

Bob HonigAt the same time, he wonders if the existence of the (Men’s) World Cup in the middle of next season could “strengthen club teams that are not so dependent on national team players?”

This is, of course, a logical conclusion. Take advantage of this break for teams whose players are given half a break next season; The skills gap, to some extent, needs to be closed with a higher degree of novelty. I think we can all hope this is the case, but let’s not forget the golden rule of modern football: no matter what happens, great teams win.

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