MADRID — France midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni said on Tuesday Kylian Mbappé tried in vain to convince him to reject Real Madrid's offer and join him at Paris St Germain instead.
The 22-year-old ended up signing a six-year deal with the LaLiga and European champions, who reportedly paid a fee of 80 million euros ($83.65 million) with another 20 million in add-ons to AS Monaco at the weekend.
After months of negotiations with Real, PSG forward Mbappé ended up signing a three year extension with the Ligue 1 champions.
"Kylian decided to stay in Paris and called me knowing that I would surely leave Monaco," Tchouaméni told a news conference as he was unveiled as a Real player.
"But I told him right away that my first option was Real Madrid and he understood perfectly. I get to be at the best club in the world and I'm not afraid of the competition. I must demonstrate my quality and I really look forward to it."
@atchouameni: "Hello everyone. I'm very happy to be here to start my story at Real Madrid, the best club in the world. I'm very happy and we're going to work hard to win more titles for this club. Thanks to the president, my agent and my family for being here. Hala Madrid!" pic.twitter.com/8d7AAJT4Vg— Real Madrid C.F. (@realmadriden) June 14, 2022
Capable of playing both as a defensive and center midfielder, Tchouaméni will strengthen a stellar but ageing Real Madrid midfield led by Luka Modric, 36, Toni Kroos 32, and Casemiro, 30.
Named Ligue 1 Young Player of the Year in 2020-21 after joining Monaco from Bordeaux, Tchouaméni was in high demand, with Liverpool also bidding to sign him.
"Today a magnificent soccer player arrives at our club; we welcome one of the best midfielders in the world," Real president Florentino Perez said.
Tchouaméni will join fellow France midfielder Eduardo Camavinga, 19, who signed for Real in August last year from Stade Rennais in a deal worth up to 40 million euros.
Tengo tantas ganas unirme al équipo para seguir escribiendo aquella Historia por hacer ⏳Can’t wait to join the team and take a part in the history we’ll make ⏳ pic.twitter.com/t00g1hiiJQ
— Tchouameni Aurélien (@atchouameni) June 14, 2022
He said that he also received a phone call from another France team mate, Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema, and that he had helped his decision.
"Benzema is the best player in the world and when the negotiations were advancing with Real he wrote to me to offer his help and tell me about the club. We later talked and it was all great," Tchouaméni said.
The midfielder made 50 appearances for Monaco in all competitions in 2021-22, with five goals and three assists, and was nominated for the Ligue 1 Team of the Year.
($1 = 0.9564 euros)
(Reporting by Fernando KallasEditing by Christian Radnedge)