Liverpool will have Virgil van Dijk to call on for the Champions League final.

The defender suffered an injury in the FA Cup final against Chelsea earlier this month and subsequently did not feature in either of Liverpool's final two Premier League outings.

Liverpool won both games, coming from behind to beat Southampton 2-1 and Wolves 3-1, though those victories were not enough to secure the Premier League title, which went the way of Manchester City.

While Liverpool's hopes of a quadruple are now over, Jurgen Klopp's team will go in hunt of a third trophy of another fine season when they face Real Madrid at the Stade de France on Saturday, and one of their key men will be available for selection.

Van Dijk told Liverpoolfc.com: "Yeah, I'm fine, absolutely fine. No issues and very excited for Saturday, of course."

Asked if the two-week break had helped him recover, Van Dijk explained: "Yeah, I think physically definitely. 

"My body is definitely enjoying a little bit of rest after playing so many games, so many tense moments, and I think getting a little knock after the FA Cup final was maybe a sign that my body needed to have a rest. 

"I feel absolutely fine now and looking forward to, hopefully, a special evening."

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp described Real Madrid boss Carlo Ancelotti is a "role model" and "one of the best people you can ever meet".

Los Blancos and Liverpool meet at the Stade de France in the Champions League final on Saturday in a rematch of the 2018 showpiece match, as both look to add to their storied European history.

Klopp and Ancelotti, who is the only coach in history to have won all of Europe's big five leagues, are going up against each other for the 11th time as managers, having first met in 2014 when Borussia Dortmund took on Madrid.

The head-to-head record is tilted in favour of the Italian, with four wins against Klopp's three, with a further three draws, including two during Ancelotti's time on Merseyside with Everton.

Indeed, Ancelotti guided Everton to their first win in a Merseyside derby in over 10 years when the Toffees won 2-0 in February 2021, which also marked the club's first victory at Anfield since 1999.

Speaking ahead of their latest encounter, Klopp explained how he thinks the best of his opposite number, and painted a warm picture of their relationship.

"What Carlo is for me is obviously one of the most successful managers in the world," Klopp told reporters. "But he's a role model for me in the way he deals with his success.

"He is one of the best people you can ever meet, I think everybody will tell you that. He's fantastic company, a really nice guy, and we have a really good relationship.

"It had a break when he was at Everton because we both respect this part of the business too much, or we would have gone out to dinner a couple of times. We didn’t do that at all!

"The respect from my side couldn't be bigger. I'm sure he won everywhere, everything, and will never stop. I really respect that, but it doesn't mean anything for this game obviously."

Ancelotti was Milan coach when Liverpool lodged a remarkable comeback in the Champions League final in 2005, coming from 3-0 down to draw 3-3 and then go on to win on penalties.

This season, it has been Madrid who have had a penchant for dramatic turnarounds on the road to Paris.

Madrid roared back to defeat Paris Saint-Germain in the last 16 thanks to a hat-trick from Karim Benzema, who subsequently scored a decisive extra-time goal versus Chelsea in the quarter-finals before slotting in a match-winning penalty after Rodrygo inspired a comeback against Manchester City.

Liverpool lost 3-1 to Madrid in Kyiv in 2018, with Gareth Bale scoring twice from the bench, and Klopp backed his own side's experience gleaned from that defeat.

"If we would take only the last 10 minutes of all the knockout games they had, we would say they are pretty much unbeatable," he added.

"The comebacks they had are really special, but these games were longer than only these last 10 minutes and obviously they had to come back in moments.

"So the other team were in the lead, we remember the PSG game where they missed a lot of chances they usually [score]. Madrid kept the door open or PSG left the door open.

"But for sure this team is full of experience. They know exactly how to approach a game, especially a final. We felt that harshly in 2018.

"They had a massive advantage to us that night, that was clear. Since then we gained a lot of experience ourselves, which is very helpful."

The "massive advantage" Klopp referred to might well be an injury to Mohamed Salah, who had to be taken off after a collision with Sergio Ramos four years ago.

Salah went on to net from the penalty spot as Liverpool won the Champions League the following year, beating Tottenham 2-0.

Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp has said Thiago Alcantara has a "good chance" of being fit for the Champions League final against Real Madrid on Saturday.

The Spain international hobbled off with an injury just before half-time during Liverpool's 3-1 win against Wolves on the final day of the Premier League season on Sunday, and was not seen in training on Wednesday.

However, Klopp told reporters at a media conference that he was scheduled to do some training later that afternoon, and that he should feature in team training on Thursday.

"I only met him now inside. Good chance [he will make it]," Klopp said.

"He will be training this afternoon, he did some stuff this morning. It was not planned he would be doing this session with players and in the moment it looks like he can be part of training tomorrow, which would be pretty helpful, and then we'll go from there.

"It's surprisingly good. After the game I was not positive about it but we got news that night it was not that bad... and now we will see."

Klopp had already been boosted earlier in the day, with Fabinho and Joe Gomez back in training following injuries sustained in the recent win at Aston Villa.

Saturday's game will see Liverpool and Madrid meet again in the Champions League final, having done so in 2018 when Los Blancos won 3-1 in Kyiv, which included Mohamed Salah being forced off with a shoulder injury in the first half.

Klopp said his players are determined to win the game, but that this does not come from an idea of "revenge", despite Salah saying he wanted it following the semi-final win against Villarreal.

"It was a harsh night for us, tough to take," Klopp said. "We came there on three wheels a bit, players came back just in time for the final, we couldn't replace Mo one for one.

"I don't believe in revenge, but I understand it as well... I'm not sure it's the right thing to do. For us, I understand what Mo said, he wants to put it right, I want to put it right.

"In Germany, we say 'you always meet twice in life', and that sounds more like a threat than it is. It just means behave better in the first moment, when you meet again you will get a better reception.

"It's all fine between me, us and Real Madrid. It is a football game of the highest level, and whoever thinks it's a good idea to give us an opportunity to win this time, I think it would be a great story but not because of what happened in 2018. It will just happen if we make the right decisions on the pitch and I hope we can do that."

Liverpool superstar Mohamed Salah has said he intends to play for the club next season despite having just one year left on his contract.

The Egypt international remains in talks with Liverpool over a new deal, although reports suggest an agreement is not imminent.

Salah has scored 31 goals and recorded 15 assists in 50 appearances in all competitions this season, and some reports have linked him with a move at the end of this campaign in light of his contract situation.

However, speaking at a media conference ahead of Saturday's Champions League final against Real Madrid, Salah made clear he intends to remain at Anfield for at least one more year, telling reporters: "I am staying next season for sure."

Salah has previously said he does not want to talk about his contract situation until the end of the season, and he reiterated that stance, adding: "In my mind, I don't focus on the contract, I don't want to be selfish. It's about the time now, it's an important week for us. I don't want to talk about the contract."

The 29-year-old was also asked about his motivation ahead of the clash with Madrid, having previously declared he wanted "revenge" following their 2018 meeting in the Champions League final that the Spanish giants won 3-1; Salah went off injured in the first half with a shoulder issue caused by former Madrid defender Sergio Ramos.

"I am very motivated," he said. "After what happened with Madrid last time and also after what happened on Sunday, everybody is motivated to win the Champions League because this is an unbelievable trophy for us and every season we fight for it since I came here, and everyone wants to fight for it."

Liverpool were denied the opportunity to continue their pursuit of an unprecedented quadruple on Sunday when Manchester City's comeback win against Aston Villa clinched the Premier League title ahead of Jurgen Klopp's men.

While the players were disappointed, captain Jordan Henderson told reporters they are only looking forward now to Saturday.

"The mood's good to be honest," he said. "Training was very good today. I can see the excitement in them, ready for the weekend.

"Of course we're disappointed on Sunday with the outcome, coming so close and then finding out what was happening in the other game. It was tough to take, but I couldn't be more proud of the lads for the season and how we've competed in every single competition.

"We've given absolutely everything, played the maximum number of games that we could have played, won two trophies so far and got a big opportunity on Saturday to win another.

"It's all positive here, really good morale in the camp, and we just can't wait to get going again on Saturday and give absolutely everything one last time this season and try to get over the line to bring the Champions League trophy back to Liverpool."

Liverpool midfielder Fabinho resumed training on Wednesday in a boost for Jurgen Klopp ahead of the Champions League final.

The Premier League side take on Real Madrid in Paris on Saturday for the biggest prize in European club football, but it was feared Klopp could be without two of his key midfielders.

Thiago Alcantara remained absent from the AXA Training Centre after suffering an Achilles injury in Sunday's win over Wolves, but Fabinho – who has not played since sustaining a muscle strain at Aston Villa two weeks ago – was in attendance and appeared to take part in full training.

Klopp had previously expressed confidence that the Brazil international will be fit for the final.

Liverpool have had a slightly better win percentage this season in all competitions with Fabinho in the side (74.5 per cent with, 73.3 per cent without) and have conceded marginally fewer goals on average (0.7 per game with, 0.9 per game without).

Joe Gomez, who came off injured with an ankle issue in the win at Villa, was also back in training but is unlikely to feature from the off at the Stade de France having made just 11 starts for the Reds in all competitions this season.

Arsenal are looking to bring in two forwards this off-season after narrowly missing out on Champions League football.

With Alexandre Lacazette and Eddie Nketiah's contracts expiring and Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang already leaving in January, the Gunners are in need in attack.

According to reports, Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has identified the players to propel his side forward.

TOP STORY – ARSENAL IDENTIFY STRIKER TARGETS    

Arsenal are looking to bring in Victor Osimhen and Gabriel Jesus this off-season, according to Goal.

Jesus' contract at Manchester City expires following the end of the next season, but the Gunners have reportedly been in talks for weeks with his representatives, with a deal early in the window in mind.

Meanwhile, it is understood Osimhen's agent flew to London for a meeting with Arsenal technical director Edu over a possible transfer.

With Napoli having qualified for the Champions League and club president Aurelio De Laurentiis driving a traditionally hard bargain, however, the 23-year-old's transfer will not come cheap.

Although Arsenal may be looking for two forwards, it remains to be seen if they opt for two big-money signings.

ROUND-UP

– Eden Hazard has ruled out an off-season departure from Real Madrid, citing unfinished business after an injury-plagued time at the club, per HLN.

– Sevilla will not be turning Anthony Martial's loan deal from Manchester United into a permanent move, according to the Daily Mail.

– Raphinha has reportedly told Leeds United he wants to leave this off-season to play for Barcelona, Sport reports.

– Chelsea coach Thomas Tuchel is set to have a £200m influx of transfer funds as Todd Boehly's takeover nears completion, the Telegraph is reporting.

City Football Group chief executive Ferran Soriano says Erling Haaland could have gone anywhere, but chose to play under Pep Guardiola in Manchester.

The Norwegian forward landed in Manchester on Tuesday to finalise a £51million move from Borussia Dortmund, after completing his medical.

City essentially won the Premier League without a striker this season, with Kevin De Bruyne, Raheem Sterling and Riyad Mahrez the three players to break the 10-goal barrier.

Soriano believes Haaland will ultimately adapt and thrive at City and despite how Guardiola's side has counteracted the need for a centre forward like him this season, he is still required.

"Haaland has chosen us because we explained a project to him," Soriano told RAC 1. "What we pay him could be paid by PSG, [Manchester] United, Bayern [Munich] or Real Madrid. We put the focus on football.

"Haaland will need a period of adjustment and we will have to be patient, but he will succeed. Our focus is on football, playing well and winning, rather than star players, and we were missing a centre forward.

"We had someone spectacular like [Sergio] Aguero. We lost him because of his age, and we have been looking for a replacement for more than a year and Haaland is one."

Soriano also refuted suggestions City are state-owned like Paris Saint-Germain and pointed to their shareholder structure, with Chinese and American consortiums owning a 24 per cent stake.

Meanwhile, the ex-Barcelona vice president used examples within the Premier League like Manchester United and Chelsea to suggest City's dominance is not simply financially driven.

"We are not a state club, we are a club owned by three shareholders looking for profitability," he said.

"The French market is different because the gap between PSG and the rest of the French clubs is huge. City and PSG are not the same.

"City has less income than United or Chelsea, for example. The debate about state clubs is ridiculous, because United has spent much more than us."

Karim Benzema insists he does not feel "betrayed" by Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay with Paris Saint-Germain instead of joining him at Real Madrid.

After well over a year of intense speculation, Mbappe finally confirmed on Saturday that he had signed a new three-year contract at PSG.

It was a decision few saw coming given Madrid's apparent confidence the France international was going to join them on a free transfer at the end of June.

Mbappe's decision infuriated LaLiga chief Javier Tebas, while others associated more closely with Madrid were said to have been stunned.

An Instagram post by Benzema later the same day attracted particular attention, as he uploaded a photo of late rapper Tupac Shakur that was deemed to be veiled reference to betrayal.

According to Madrid-based newspaper Marca, which is generally regarded to have strong ties to Los Blancos, Benzema had been key in trying to persuade international team-mate Mbappe to join the club, hence why he might have felt betrayed.

But Benzema is adamant such stories are nonsense.

Speaking to Movistar Plus on Tuesday, Benzema said: "I'm going to tell you that we're going to play a Champions League final on Saturday. This is not the time to talk about those little things. I'd rather not talk.

"I'm not angry, I'm just telling you that I'm focused on the Champions League final, which is more important than listening to other things."

Asked if he felt "betrayed", Benzema continued: "Why? Everyone has to be focused on their things.

"Mbappe and other players have no reason to call me. Everyone decides their future. I'm calm here, preparing for Saturday's game. Each person does what he wants.

"There is no history of betrayal, or anything… Every month and a half I [post] photos of Tupac, who is my favourite.

"It's not a photo with a message; if I have a message I will see the person. Madrid is the best club in the world, but it was not a message."

Benzema did acknowledge, however, that the news was unexpected.

"I was surprised, like everyone else," he said. "He is a Paris player and we have a game on Saturday."

Both players are expected to be on international duty with France next month when Les Bleus begin their Nations League title defence.

Former Liverpool and Real Madrid midfielder Xabi Alonso says both teams should be described as "mentality monsters" ahead of Saturday's Champions League final.

Alonso played for Liverpool between 2004 and 2009, before moving to Madrid where he also spent five seasons, winning the Champions League with both clubs.

The English and Spanish giants meet at the Stade de France at the weekend in a repeat of the 2018 final, which Madrid won 3-1 in Kyiv.

Speaking to BT Sport, Alonso expressed his admiration for Reds boss Jurgen Klopp and his ability to get the most from his team.

"Jurgen, I have played many times against him," he said. "He is intense, he is very passionate and I think that one of his best qualities is that he is able to get the best from his players and he is able for them to commit in a very generous way and create proper teams.

"Each manager, I think they have their own way, their own book. Some managers, they do it on a tactical way, on a very analytical way. There are others that like to create more of that connection, to give that freedom, but you need to know the players.

"You need to be able to give them the right recipe for them to show their best level. That’s the beauty - you don't have just one way, you have many different ways and Carlo [Ancelotti] is different to Jurgen, Jurgen is different to Pep [Guardiola], Pep is different to Thomas Tuchel to Xavi, so they are all different."

Klopp regularly refers to his Liverpool team as "mentality monsters" in relation to their ability to respond to adversity and find a way to win, and Alonso believes this is an accurate assessment, but also feels Ancelotti's men have the same attribute.

"I love when Jurgen says that they are 'mentality monsters' because to do what they are doing, it is not easy," he said. "It's not just this year, it's what they have been doing for the last few years and they have that mentality.

"But, another thing is the final. The final, it is a big one and when you need to show that mentality because Madrid, they are other mentality monsters, so it's a big, big clash that we are going to have. Enjoy it.

"I was in Kyiv a few years ago and it was great to enjoy with two of my teams. It's not all about the final, it's also about reaching the final and enjoying it with the crowd. I was there with friends from Madrid and friends from Liverpool and I am kind of in the middle of both teams, so I will win whatever happens.

"[They are] both great teams, they both deserve [to win] so I will feel for one not to get it.

"We will see. It's the Champions League final so just enjoy it."

The ball used for Saturday's Champions League final will carry a message of peace, and will be auctioned off following the match.

The final will be held in Paris, with 13-time champions Real Madrid taking on Liverpool in a repeat of the 2018 showdown.

That match four years ago was held in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, which has been under attack from Russia since the end of February.

Sport has united in its condemnation of Russia's actions, with football no different.

This year's Champions League showpiece was meant to be held in St Petersburg, but UEFA swiftly moved the match to Paris following Russia's invasion.

Russian clubs, meanwhile, will be unable to compete in UEFA competitions, while Russia's national team were removed from their World Cup qualifying play-off by FIFA.

Adidas, the manufacturers of this season's Champions League ball, have now revealed the match ball for the final.

The special edition ball will not be available for retail, and instead will be auctioned to help fund humanitarian efforts. It will also be inscribed with the words 'мир | PEACE'.

An Adidas statement read: "Using one of sport's biggest stages as an opportunity to unite the world in a global message of peace... the match ball will be auctioned after the game with the proceeds going to UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, to help protect people forced to flee their homes because of conflict and persecution."

"Placed on the ball in bold lettering as a statement from UEFA, 'мир' in Cyrillic script can be translated as 'peace', which sits above the word in English – PEACE.

"The ball is designed to carry a simple message of peace, belonging, and hope that will be passed from player to player with every kick of the ball and beyond the Stade de France to the furthest corners of the world. The broader design of the ball is noticeably devoid of colour, featuring pure white panels to symbolise truce and unity."

Carlo Ancelotti said he would "respect" Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay at Paris Saint-Germain and turn down Real Madrid, as the coach attempted to move on from the saga.

Mbappe was widely expected to leave the French league behind and move to Madrid on a free transfer at the end of this season, with the red carpet ready to be rolled out for the World Cup winner's arrival.

Yet the 23-year-old was eventually persuaded to sign a lucrative three-year contract in Paris, a jolt to the system for Madrid and LaLiga, with league president Javier Tebas left seething and questioning how PSG's finances could allow for such a deal.

Ancelotti has a Champions League final coming up on Saturday as Madrid face Liverpool, and a news conference on Tuesday gave him an opportunity to answer Mbappe questions before game-day comes closer.

His responses were predictably curt, and the Italian said: "We haven't talked about players who don't form part of this club.

"We respect the player and his decision, and we've got to work hard and of course we've got something big coming up which is the final."

Asked again about Mbappe, Ancelotti said: "I don't talk about players who aren't here, who aren't Real Madrid footballers."

Mbappe had said it was a dream of his to pull on the famous white shirt of Madrid, but his snub to Los Blancos may mean that never happens.

In an interview with Marca, published on Tuesday, Mbappe said: "I think it's disrespectful to say that my dream is to play for Real Madrid after signing my contract just a few days ago.

"The dream is fine, but today I am only focused on my new contract, in the present. You never know what can happen... I have a three-year contract, but for the moment I have to focus on my year at PSG."

PSG were eliminated by Madrid in the last-16 stage of the Champions League, and the French club have never won the Champions League.

By contrast, Madrid will be chasing a 14th such title when they tackle Liverpool, in a match that by a quirk of fate takes place in Paris.

Mbappe insisted his decision to commit to the Ligue 1 champions was not a question of money.

"People can talk about what they want, but everyone knows me. I have spoken with everyone at Real Madrid, I have spoken with PSG, and they know that I have never discussed money with the president, with Florentino Perez, or with Nasser Al-Khelaifi," Mbappe said.

"My lawyer talked a little about money, as did my mother, but I didn't. I talk about sport because I talk on the pitch. 

"My money goes to my account, I look at it a bit, but I don't care. I am here to win titles, to show that I am the best and to be happy. I think right now I'm happy."

Real Madrid have set their sights on Manchester City forward Raheem Sterling after missing out on Paris Saint-Germain's Kylian Mbappe.

The Spanish giants were widely regarded as favourites to land Mbappe until a late change of heart led to him signing a three-year extension to stay in France.

Madrid and City went head to head in the Champions League semi-final, but they may find themselves talking business soon for the England international.

 

TOP STORY – LOS BLANCOS PREPARE BID FOR STERLING

Sterling has spent seven seasons with City, racking up 131 goals in 338 appearances in all club competitions, and has played no fewer than 46 games in any of those campaigns.

Despite this, his playing time waned in the closing stages of this season, culminating in the Champions League when he only played a combined 28 minutes across both fixtures against Madrid.

Sterling set a record at the time for the most expensive transfer of an English player when he was sold to City for £44million plus add-ons in 2015, but Madrid are not looking to overshoot that number by much, with the Daily Star reporting they will offer £50million.

ROUND-UP

– According to Sky Sports, Sadio Mane fancies a move to Bayern Munich in the upcoming transfer window.

– The Telegraph is reporting Tottenham will sign six players, heavily investing in an attempt to convince Antonio Conte to stay.

– The Telegraph is also reporting one player high on Tottenham's wish-list is Manchester City striker Gabriel Jesus, who also has strong interest from Arsenal.

Arsenal will try to sell as many as seven first-team players in the upcoming transfer window – with Hector Bellerin and Bernd Leno named by The Sun. The Telegraph added that Leicester City midfielder Youri Tielemans is a key target for the Gunners.

– The Times is reporting Leeds United are set to sign 21-year-old USA international Brenden Aaronson from RB Salzburg for £23m.

Kylian Mbappe revealed he had discussions with Liverpool while he was weighing up his options, before ultimately deciding to re-sign with Paris Saint-Germain.

Mbappe, 23, is widely considered the most valuable player in world football, and was tipped to leave France to join Real Madrid when his contract expired at the end of this season.

He ended up turning his back on his favourite childhood club in favour of remaining in his home country, signing a deal that will keep him in Paris through 2025.

While most believed it was a true two-horse race between the Spanish and French giants, Mbappe revealed in an interview with TeleFoot that he entertained the idea of heading to Anfield.

"It was not just Real Madrid and PSG – I was in talks to join Jurgen Klopp at Liverpool," he said.

In an interview with the Telegraph, he added his motivation, and that Liverpool was not part of his final deliberation.

"I talked to Liverpool because it’s the favourite club of my mum – my mum loves Liverpool," he said. "I don’t know why, you will have to ask her.

"It’s a good club and we [first] met them five years ago. When I was in Monaco I met them. It’s a big club.

"We talked a little bit, but not too much… of course, it was between Real Madrid and Paris Saint-Germain in the end."

The superstar forward also shined some light on why he may have back-flipped on his desire to head to Madrid, saying that leaving on a free transfer with Paris Saint-Germain getting nothing in return did not sit right with him.

"Everybody knows I wanted to leave for Real Madrid last year, and I think it was a good choice to leave last year," he said. "But now it’s different because I was a free agent.

"I was a free agent, and it was important to give back to my country. If I had left I would have left as a great player, but there is a sentimental part. 

"I don’t think my chapter is closed. Things were not over for me at PSG.

"I’m French and I know I’m important in the country, and when you are important you have to think not only about football, but about your life. 

"I will be in France after my career. I will leave here [PSG], I will be with my family, my friends. 

"The only thing I can say is thank you to all the Real Madrid fans, and the club, because they gave me all the love. 

"It’s amazing because I was only there for one week when I was 14 [to train]. I said to them good luck for the Champions League [final]."

Kylian Mbappe has revealed he stayed at Paris Saint-Germain for sentimental reasons and because "the project has changed".

Mbappe was widely expected to join Real Madrid as a free agent, but snubbed the LaLiga champions to stay at PSG.

The 23-year-old forward's new three-year deal was confirmed before the Ligue 1 champions' 5-0 rout of Metz on Saturday and he celebrated by scoring a hat-trick.

Mbappe ended the campaign as the first player in a Ligue 1 season to be top goalscorer, with 18, and the leading assister on 17 since the awards were first given out by the LFP for the 2007-08 campaign.

Reports of Mbappe's deal have varied, though a common suggestion has been that the France international has been given additional power at the club.

Some reports have even suggested Mbappe would be able to act as a de facto sporting director, and would be given control over possible transfers and even coaching appointments.

But Mbappe said during a news conference on Monday: ""Leaving my country like that, there is this sentimental side. And also the project has changed.

"The club has changed a lot of things and I think my story is not over."

Asked about talk of him having more power, he said: "I remain a football player, I remain anchored in a collective.

"I remain a football player and I would not go beyond this function."

Mbappe also had a word for Madrid supporters, who he thanked for accepting him as "one of their own", even after he scored twice against Los Blancos in the Champions League this season.

"I want to thank them, they have always accepted me as one of their own," he said.

"I understand their disappointment, but I hope they will understand that I am staying in my country and as a Frenchman I want to help my country and make grow the championship."

Kylian Mbappe discussed a possible move to Real Madrid with Lionel Messi and Neymar, but says he did not need persuading to commit his future to Paris Saint-Germain.

The France international had been strongly linked with a switch to Madrid prior to Saturday's announcement that he has signed a new deal to remain at the Parc des Princes.

Mbappe, who had been due to become a free agent next month, penned a new three-year deal in the French capital and celebrated that with a hat-trick against Metz later that day.

He will once again link up with fellow superstars Messi and Neymar next season, and the 23-year-old revealed he talked about his future with the pair before making his decision.

"We had a difficult season, but we talked a little bit – not a lot, because they told me it was a personal choice. They understood," Mbappe said at a news conference on Monday.

"Whether it's PSG or Madrid, these are clubs that you don't need convincing to play for. For any player it's an honour to play for one of these two clubs.

"I'm playing with great players and that's what I wanted."

Mbappe scored 39 goals in all competitions this campaign, which is behind only Karim Benzema (44) and Robert Lewandowski (50) among players from Europe's top five leagues.

That compares to just 13 goals for Neymar and 11 for Messi in what was a disappointing campaign for PSG on the whole, despite reclaiming their Ligue 1 crown.

 

Reports from France also claimed that Mbappe was persuaded to sign a new deal after being promised additional powers, including a say of transfers and coaching appointments.

It was also suggested that Mbappe would take over as captain as a reward for his loyalty, though the World Cup winner is not looking to take the armband from Marquinhos.

"He deserves his armband," Mbappe said. "I don't need to be a captain to be heard and set an example on the pitch. 

"Marquinhos is a great player and a very good captain. He is very important for us."

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