The World Cup winner has revealed how he was invited to train with the youth teams of the two European superpowers but ultimately ended up at Monaco
Kylian Mbappe has revealed how Zinedine Zidane personally greeted him at the airport after he was invited to train with the Real Madrid youth team during the week of his 14th birthday.
The France international, who became the second most expensive player in history when he joined Paris Saint-Germain on a permanent deal in 2018, also travelled to London and trained with Chelsea as a youngster.
In a column written by Mbappe for the Players’ Tribune, he explained: “When I was 11 years old, I got to go to London for a few days to train with Chelsea’s youth team.
“I was so excited and shocked that I didn’t even want to tell my friends from the neighbourhood where I was going. When I came back home, my friends saw me and said, ‘Kylian, where were you last week?’
“I said, ‘I was in London with Chelsea.’ They said, ‘Pfff, no it’s impossible.’ I said, ‘No, I swear, I even met Drogba.’
“They said, ‘Pfff, you’re lying. Drogba doesn’t meet kids from Bondy. It is not possible!'”
Zidane has made no secret of his admiration for Mbappe, with Real Madrid having consistently been linked with one day signing the 21-year-old.
He has, however, been acquainted with the club, and their French head coach, before, with Mbappe explaining how Zidane picked him up from the airport to take him to a Madrid training session.
The PSG sensation wrote: “Right before my 14th birthday, I got an incredible surprise. My father received a call from someone at Real Madrid, inviting me to come to Spain for a training session over the holiday break.
“It was a shock, because they actually told my father, ‘Zidane would like to see your son.’ At the time, Zizou was the sporting director. Of course, I was over the moon. I was desperate to go.
“But it was not so simple, actually, because scouts were starting to come to our matches (Mbappe’s local team AS Bondy), and I was getting some attention from the media.
“When you’re 13 years old, you don’t know how to handle it. There was a lot of pressure, and my family wanted to protect me.
“But it was actually my 14th birthday that week, and what I didn’t know is that my parents were organising everything with the club so that they could take me to Madrid as a present. Quite a surprise for me!
“And believe it or not, we didn’t tell anyone where we were going. I didn’t even tell my closest friends, because I was too nervous. If things didn’t go well, I didn’t want to come back to my neighbourhood and disappoint them.
“I will never forget the moment that we arrived at the training centre from the airport. Zidane met us in the parking lot by his car, and it was a really nice car, of course. We said ‘hello’, and then he offered to drive me over to the field for training. He was pointing at the front seat, like, ‘Go on, get in.’
“But I just froze and I asked, ‘Should I take off my shoes?’ Hahaha! I don’t know why I said that. But it was Zizou’s car! He thought that was really funny. He said, ‘Of course not, come on, get in.’
“He drove me to the training pitch, and I was just thinking to myself, I am in Zizou’s car. I am Kylian from Bondy. This is not real. I must still be sleeping on the airplane. Sometimes, even when you are really living something, it feels like a dream.”