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Madrid tries to forget Mbappé, focus on Champions League

MADRID (AP) – Real Madrid wants to quickly forget about Kylian Mbappé and turn its focus back on the Champions League final against Liverpool.

Four days before the final in suburban Paris, Madrid coach Carlo Ancelotti and his players tried their best to avoid talking about the France forward and his decision to stay with Paris Saint-Germain (PSG).

Mbappé made the surprising announcement on Saturday, dealing a major blow to Madrid and its fans, who were certain he would be playing in the Spanish capital next season.

“It’s very clear for us that we have to think about our own things,” Ancelotti said yesterday.

“We’ve never talked about players from other squads. We respect everyone, every decision, every club. We have to do our own job. It’s very clear and obvious what we have to think about, which is to prepare for the final.”

Real Madrid players train during a media open day. PHOTO: AP

Madrid as a club had not made any comments about Mbappé’s decision, although some players were quick to post messages praising the club and saying it was a honour to wear its jersey.

Mbappé had said last year he wanted to join Madrid but PSG turned down offers of nearly EUR200 million (USD214 million) for the player.

The France forward was widely expected to complete a move to Madrid after becoming a free agent at the end of this season, but instead opted to sign a three-year contract with PSG.

“I’ve never talked about players who are not playing for Real Madrid, and I will never talk about players who are not playing for Real Madrid,” Ancelotti said.

Mbappé’s decision to reject Madrid was the most talked-about subject in Spain in recent days, leaving the Champions League final to the side.

Madrid will be trying to win a record-extending 14th European title on Saturday at Stade de France in its fifth Champions League final in eight seasons.

Madrid won its 10th European Cup eight years ago with Ancelotti as coach, then clinched three straight titles from 2016-18 with Zinedine Zidane at the helm. Madrid defeated Liverpool in the 2018 final in Kyiv.

“There was a lot more pressure then (in 2014). It had been several years since Madrid had won the Champions League. It was almost an obsession for everyone,” Ancelotti said.

“Now Madrid fans are motivated, but not so much obsessed about it, and I think that can give us an advantage.”

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