Kylian Mbappé confirmed he told Paris Saint-Germain he wanted to leave the club in July in an interview released Monday by French broadcaster RMC.
Mbappé was subject to reported bids from Real Madrid approaching 200 million euros ($230 million) in August as he entered the last season of a five-year contract with PSG.
“I asked to leave,” the 22-year-old star said, explaining once he decided not to renew his deal “I wanted the club to have a transfer fee to have a quality replacement.”
Mbappé can sign a pre-contact agreement with another club in January and join after the season with PSG getting no fee.
He asked to go in July and hoped to leave with a good deal and respect on all sides. Reports that his request was in the last week of August made him sound like a thief, Mbappé said.
“I said, ‘If you don’t want me to go, I will stay’,” Mbappé told his interviewer, former France and PSG player Jérôme Rothen. “It’s a club that that’s given me a lot and I’ve always been happy.”
PSG rejected Madrid’s interest then signed free agent Lionel Messi in August to form a superstar attack with Mbappé and Neymar as the club pursues a first Champions League title.
Extracts of the interview were published Monday one day ahead of a longer interview being broadcast.