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Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 16 December 2018

Neymar not reason for Mbappe move to PSG from Monaco

French forward says he joined Paris Saint-Germain because he wanted to 'mark the history' of capital.

Kylian Mbappe says he always wanted to play for Paris Saint-Germain. Franck Fife / AFP
Kylian Mbappe says he always wanted to play for Paris Saint-Germain. Franck Fife / AFP

Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe, at 18 the most expensive French player of all time, said on Sunday he wanted to "mark the history" of the French capital with his new club.

Mbappe, who hails from the north-eastern Parisian surburb of Bondy, joined PSG from Monaco on a season-long loan last week in a deal that will make him the second most expensive footballer in history.

His overall transfer fee could rise to €180 million (Dh784.6m) including add-ons, which would make Mbappe second only to new teammate Neymar on the all-time list of costliest transfers.

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"Big players have marked history in their country whether with the national team or their club," Mbappe said in an interview with TF1, adding that it would have been premature to have left France.

"What I want to do is to really mark the history of my city. PSG was really the project that allowed me to carry on my progress while playing."

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Asked whether the arrival of Neymar from Barcelona for a record €222m affected his decision to join PSG, Mbappe said: "No.

"Nonetheless, to play with Neymar is really something extraordinary. We all know the player he is. PSG already interested me but with Neymar it's true that it was an extra boost.

"When you arrive at a club like that, which has the ambition of becoming the best club in the world, you have the ambition to win everything.

"The [Uefa] Champions League is part of those competitions so we'll play to win everything."

French pundits were left purring about Mbappe, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger telling TF1 he had the potential "to become a Pele", and 1998 World Cup winner Bixente Lizarazu claiming he was "more complete" than France's record goal scorer Thierry Henry at the same age.

Mbappe scored his first international goal in France's 4-0 victory over the Netherlands on Thursday, coming off the bench to net at the death.

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