Real Madrid’s interest in Kylian Mbappe is well documented, but the Paris Saint-Germain superstar has now revealed all the details of a meeting he had with current Los Blancos boss Zinedine Zidane years back.
The 21-year-old has been heavily linked with the Spanish giants since his breakthrough campaign at Monaco, though he once went close to joining the club well before that.
Mbappe once visited Real’s training ground as a 13-year-old, after then sporting director Zidane offered the hopeful young attacker a trial.
The PSG striker has said he did not even tell those closest to him about his visit to Los Blancos, admitting that he did not want to let down his friends and community if he failed to make an impression.
"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," he wrote for the Players' Tribune.
"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."
Mbappe revealed it was Zidane who drove him from the airport to Real’s training complex.
"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."
It is widely believed Mbappe will join Real in future, although he does have a contract with the reigning French champions until 2022.
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