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Mbappe the next prize for Real Madrid, kings of Europe

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Real Madrid’s record-extending 15th Champions League triumph will leave incoming French superstar Kylian Mbappe licking his lips at what lies ahead for him.

The 25-year-old forward has been unable to win the competition with Paris Saint-Germain in seven years at the French club.

Set to join the Spanish giants in the coming days, Mbappe saw the sheer winning mentality of Madrid harnessed in the 2-0 win over Borussia Dortmund at Wembley on Saturday.

The German side defeated Mbappe’s PSG in the semi-finals but despite being outplayed, Madrid managed to escape from London with yet another Champions League trophy.

Signing for the new Spanish and European champions will give Mbappe the greatest chance of winning silverware and the game’s top individual awards in the years to follow.

Mbappe has seemed destined to join Real Madrid for years, coming close on multiple occasions but this time it will finally come to fruition.

The France captain announced he would be leaving PSG on May 10 at the end of his contract, and since then Madrid fans have been waiting to celebrate the official announcement, which should arrive early next week, a source close to negotiations has told AFP.

Street vendors around the Santiago Bernabeu have been selling Mbappe scarves and shirts for months, with anticipation steadily rising in the Spanish capital.

Mbappe signed a Real Madrid fan’s shirt earlier this week while training with France, another nod towards his impending switch.

As a child growing up in Paris suburb Bondy, Mbappe had numerous posters of Real Madrid’s all-time top goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo on his walls.

Mbappe’s dream move has taken a long time to come to fruition, with Madrid first attempting to lure him in 2017, when he signed for PSG from Monaco.

Even the last few weeks have dragged, with Madrid wanting to announce the deal after the Champions League final, to avoid distractions.

Madrid president Florentino Perez also tried to lure Mbappe to the club in 2021 and 2022, and he will finally get his way.

Conquering the biggest trophy in club football before capturing the game’s most prized asset days later is a demonstration of Madrid’s power.

‘I want to play with the best’

Questions over exactly how Mbappe will fit in at Madrid can be chewed on by fans at length over the summer.

Both the French forward and Vinicius Junior prefer to play coming in off the left flank, while Mbappe’s arrival could also see new Madrid star Jude Bellingham pushed into a deeper role.

However Madrid’s stars are excited to welcome the forward to the club.

“I always want to play with the best players in the world,” said Vinicius last week.

“Kylian Mbappe, what a player, who wouldn’t want to play with someone as good as him?” remarked Bellingham.

Mbappe is touted to sign a five-year deal with Madrid at a much lower wage than he earned at Qatari-owned PSG but still become the club’s highest paid star, above Bellingham and Vinicius.

The forward may also rake a higher percentage of his image rights earnings than Madrid are accustomed to agree with their stars, typically a 50-50 split.

Some believe his presence could unsettle a stable Madrid side which clinched a La Liga and Champions League double for the fifth time in their history.

Others are certain it is a match made in heaven and Mbappe will drive an already dominant Madrid on to further glories both at home and abroad.

Only time will tell, and little of that remains before Mbappe’s move is finally made official.

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