Football

No deal for Mbappe yet, say Monaco

French club deny sale of star striker to Real, as Ronaldo confirms stay at Bernabeu

Conflicting reports concerning the future of Monaco striker Kylian Mbappe dominated the sports headlines last night.

Spanish newspaper Marca claimed that Real Madrid have agreed a £161-million (S$286m) "in-principle" deal for the teenage sensation.

That would shatter the world record transfer of £89m that Manchester United paid for Paul Pogba last summer.

Marca claimed Real have won the race for the 18-year-old, after being boosted by an income of £86.5m from the sale of Alvaro Morata and Danilo to Chelsea and Manchester City respectively.

However, Monaco later told Sky Sports News that no fee has been agreed.

French website le10sport reported that Manchester City are still in the race for Mbappe and that it is a straight fight between Real and City for his signature, with Paris Saint-Germain and Liverpool now out of the running.

It added that Mbappe is reportedly hesitant on moving to the Bernabeu as he is concerned about a lack of game time.

The "BBC" front trio of Gareth Bale, Karim Benzema and Cristiano Ronaldo are still around, and Mbappe might be reduced to a peripheral figure after a breakthrough year during which he scored 26 goals in all competitions as Monaco won the Ligue 1 title.

Meanwhile, Real superstar Ronaldo has told a Spanish newspaper he is staying put at the Bernabeu to plunder more silverware.

"To win important trophies with my club and the personal honours last season was brilliant, to do it again would be nice," Ronaldo told the sports daily Marca in an interview from Shanghai yesterday.

Ronaldo's declaration of intent to stay put for the upcoming season comes despite rumours of his departure which surfaced in Portuguese newspaper O Globo last month.

Those reports were founded on his apparent feeling of abandonment by his club over his run-in with the Spanish tax authorities.

Ronaldo, 32, has been summoned to appear before a judge near Madrid on July 31 to answer four counts of evading 14.7 million euros (S$23.3m) in taxes.

The four-time Ballon d'Or winner has protested his innocence with O Globo saying he had threatened to leave Real over the investigation.

Since extending his contract last November until 2021, Ronaldo is the highest-paid sports star in the world with 83 million euros in 2016-2017, according to Forbes magazine.

Last Saturday, Real coach Zinedine Zidane assured supporters that the superstar striker "was on holiday and would be back with us on (Aug) 5". - WIRE SERVICES

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