The day after Valentine's Day, on February 15, the madridistas who traveled to Paris to attend the first leg of the Champions League round of 16 received Kylian Mbappé at the Parc des Princes as if he were already theirs.
An hour before the game, the local team began warming up next to the corner where the Spanish fans were located and they unfolded a wide range of chants for a footballer who, according to their conviction, only time separated him from the Bernabéu.
The French public attended the scene with indifference and the striker continued on his own.
Three hours later, in the 94th minute, Mbappé defeated Madrid from that same corner of affection after a long personal siege,
but not even the defeat in the last second (1-0) seemed to affect the love of the white fans for the boy from Bondy.
It was still a matter of time before it was theirs, they thought.
The biggest soap opera of recent times, peppered with generous doses of
and propaganda, continued its course for months, with the inevitable twists of any serial, but at the Bernabéu the youngsters never doubted, until the end, about Mbappé's white future.
She fantasized about the dimensions of the presentation... That's how it was until very shortly before the outcome left Madrid like a bride planted at the altar.
The bomb has exploded in his face at the worst time and the shock wave has very notable consequences in the short and medium term for the club, which also fails to take the player away from his current nemesis, the PSG club-state.
From the outset, the unexpected script twist happens a week before the Champions League final, with the erosion and noise that this implies, and whatever happens in Paris, Kylian's
compromises his sports planning.
In the last two courses, all the Valdebebas sketches placed the attacker as the apex of the project of a team that is witnessing the final stretch of its old guard, with Modric (36 years old) and Benzema (34) at the head.
In the world there are two players called to dominate football and
in the next decade, Erling Haaland and Mbappé, and Madrid had the Frenchman as a priority issue.
However, in July, when the squad returns to activity, neither of them will cross the gate of the sports city.
The Norwegian, for whom the Chamartín entity also showed interest, will do so at City.
Two weeks ago the landing of the Dortmund striker in Manchester was announced and nobody flinched in the Castellana.
Mbappé, then, was a matter of time.
The arrival of the pandemic and its serious economic consequences made it even more necessary to set priorities, and Madrid made it clear that theirs was playing for PSG.
During two campaigns, transfer expenses were reduced to almost zero and all the proceeds from sales, which was not scarce (180 million), were used to fatten up the pig to soften losses and be able to undertake the operation.
There was hardly an exception of 30 million, the arrival of Camavinga last summer, and only when on the last day of the market the acquisition of Mbappé was ruled out at that time due to the negotiating wall of Qatar, owner of the Parisian entity.
Despite the serious inconvenience of the covid, the savings plan had paid off and the white leadership, in the last week of last August, launched an unprecedented offensive: three consecutive offers for 160, 180 and 200 million for a player who finished contract in one year.
The decision, in addition to showing financial muscle at a time of serious global crisis, served to measure the degree of importance that Madrid gave to the arrival of Mbappé.
A thermometer now of the disappointment left by the soccer player, aggravated by the sensitive moment in which it occurs.
Faced with the imminent and inevitable physical decline of several of his key men, the epicenter of the next decade should be Kylian, the man to pick up the witness from his friend Benzema, who has not stopped courting the young man every time they have coincided in the selection.
The Frenchman is having the best campaign of his career (44 goals and 15 assists), but each year that passes is one less bullet in his legs.
Since last summer, moreover, his return to France has increased the stress on his body, which this season has already shown signs of some weakness despite his scoring exuberance (almost 10 games lost due to injury or rest compared to six last season).
The proximity of the World Cup and the frustration accumulated by his absence from the national team for five years rule out any possibility of Karim resigning from the national team in the short term.
This season, under the gentle gaze of Carlo Ancelotti, the Whites have finally found fruit in their policy of acquiring young talent.
In the attack, Vinicius has exploded and Rodrygo has offered great spikes, however, Benzema's age forced him to think of deep movements because, in the current squad, behind these there is only a huge desert, with Mariano, Jovic and Hazard's loss.
The chosen one was Mbappé, the name to which everything was trusted and whose continuity in Paris forces us to rethink Madrid's sports plan in the medium, and even short, term.
A serious sporting setback that joins the victory in the offices of PSG in Qatar.
Defeated on the pitch in March in the Champions League for the first of Madrid's comebacks, a fall that affected the image of solidity of the project, now its economic strength and the diplomatic and political deployment of the club and France have granted the Parisian entity an institutional victory no less than its declared enemy.
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