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‘It wasn’t just about the money’ – How PSG beat Real Madrid to Mbappe signing

The World Cup-winning striker could have moved to Spain in 2017, but Luis Ferrer explains how he was convinced to stay in his home country
Luis Ferrer spent over 10 years as part of Paris Saint-Germain’s recruitment team, working tirelessly alongside the likes of Antero Henrique and Leonardo to sign the best talent possible and transform the club into a European powerhouse.

He has since left to pursue his own business, LF360, but not before playing his part in the signing of Kylian Mbappe – a transfer that looked impossible in the wake of the club already having spent a world-record fee to sign Neymar from Barcelona.

Ferrer and PSG pulled it off, however, and became good friends with the striker’s family in the process. Speaking exclusively, the recruitment expert reveals how he and his team managed to convince Mbappe to snub Real Madrid in favour of the French giants.

“The number one signing was Kylian Mbappe, because it wasn’t just about money,” Ferrer says. “It was totally different, it took time – months and months. He had just had an amazing campaign with Monaco and everyone knew he was a jewel, but we also knew he was Madrid’s priority.

“Madrid were there and there was no way to stop that. All they had to do was press the button. We, on the other hand, had just made the biggest transfer in the world, Neymar, and couldn’t buy Mbappe because of Financial Fair Play.

“We had to think of brilliant ideas to be able to achieve it. Everyone collaborated to make it work. I should also emphasise that it was not handled by an agent. If there had been a representative, it would have been impossible.

“The first year there was no transfer, but a loan, although there was a clause that the purchase was mandatory – unless there was a decline in performances.”

“Yes, that’s why we knew there was a lot of work to do,” Ferrer replied when asked if it truly is Mbappe’s dream to play for Real Madrid.

“My idea was to tell Mbappe to join PSG first, that the World Cup was coming, and offer him a guaranteed spot in the starting XI that perhaps Madrid could not promise him, although I can’t speak on their behalf.

“But we made that promise because we believed in his talent. It’s something very rare, I’ve only ever promised a footballer once that they would definitely play. Normally it’s the coach who does that, but because [former PSG boss] Unai [Emery] was involved in the talks…

“There are many details, we could spend a lot of time talking about it, but what I’m telling you hasn’t been spoken about much.”

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