Tchouaméni says he chose Madrid despite his discussion with Mbappé

MADRID (AP) — Aurelien Tchouaméni has said nothing is stopping him from fulfilling his dream of playing for Real Madrid. Not even a conversation with Kylian Mbappé.

France’s promising midfielder made his official move to Madrid on Tuesday, saying he had no doubts where he wanted to play despite offers from other clubs and discussing a possible move to Paris Saint-Germain with Mbappé, who recently decided to stay with the French club after showing interest in playing for Madrid.

“Kylian stayed at PSG and he knew I was leaving Monaco, so he wanted to know if I could go to PSG,” Tchouaméni said during his official presentation by Madrid. “But I told him that my first option was always Real Madrid and he understood that perfectly.”

Tchouaméni, 22, has signed a six-year contract with Madrid. He joined Monaco on a fee of up to 100 million euros ($104 million), including variables.

Tchouameni did not specify which other clubs have made offers. He said he was just waiting for Madrid’s call.

“The moment Madrid called I told my agent and the club to find the best deal for everyone,” he said. “I didn’t doubt it for a second. It was my dream. I want to leave my mark in football and Madrid is the best club where I can do that.

Mbappé, Tchouaméni’s France team-mate, has upset Madrid and its supporters after opting out of a free agent move to the Spanish club this season. PSG had already turned down an offer from Madrid last year.

Tchouaméni made his first statements speaking good Spanish, saying he was happy to join “the best club in the world” and have a chance to help them win more titles.

He said he was inspired by the big names in American basketball Kobe Bryant and Michael Jordan because “they always gave their all to be able to play at a high level”, and said he would contribute with a good vision of the field, passing, physical strength and ability to regain possession.

Tchouaméni is the latest French player to freshen up Madrid’s aging midfield currently managed by 36-year-old Luka Modric, 32-year-old Toni Kroos and 30-year-old Casemiro.

Real Madrid’s new signing Aurelien Tchouameni speaks during a press conference at the club’s training ground in Madrid, Spain, Tuesday, June 14, 2022.

Last year, Madrid brought in 19-year-old Frenchman Eduardo Camavinga from Rennes, who impressed playing on the bench throughout the season.

The club recently granted Modric a one-year contract extension until June 2023. Kroos’ contract is also good until the end of next season, while Casemiro’s deal is good until June. 2025. The trio have helped Madrid win five Champions League titles in the past nine seasons. , including this year against Liverpool.

“Madrid and their fans always want more, and our goal now is to win a 15th European title,” said Madrid club president Florentino Pérez. “We have a great squad but we know we have a big challenge ahead and we need to add players who are talented and eager to win, so today we bring in a magnificent player who will help us keep improving.”

Pérez thanked Tchouaméni for ‘choosing Madrid over other clubs’.

Another young midfielder in the squad is 23-year-old Federico Valverde, the Uruguay international who has been part of the senior team since 2018.

Tchouaméni has been playing with Monaco since January 2020 after joining Bordeaux.

Other Frenchmen in the Madrid squad are left-back Ferland Mendy and striker Karim Benzema, the team’s best player this season as the club also won the Spanish league and the Spanish Super Cup.

Tchouaméni will wear No. 18, which was Gareth Bale’s number until the Wales international left at the end of the season.

Other players leaving the team include Francisco Isco and veteran Brazilian defender Marcelo, who played 16 seasons and is the player with the most titles with the club, 25.

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