Christian Karembeu has warned Real Madrid they need to be quick if they want to sign Kylian Mbappe as their replacement for Cristiano Ronaldo.
The five-time Ballon d’Or winner departed the Bernabeu earlier this week to complete a €100m (£88m/$117m) move to Juventus, stunning the football world in the process.
Madrid now have a void to fill, with the likes of Chelsea star Eden Hazard, PSG’s Neymar and Mbappe apparently among their preferred candidates to replace Ronaldo.
Karembeu, a World Cup winner with France in 1998 but also a player for Real Madrid during his professional career, does not think that capturing the 19-year-old will be a straightforward exercise.
“He’s a phenomenon. If Real Madrid want to sign him then they’d better be quick!” Karembeu said at an event organized by Save the Dream, a charity organisation that supports and encourages young people’s involvement in sport.
Mbappe, who PSG signed for €160 million (£141m/$187m) from Monaco, has exploded to superstardom at the World Cup, where he has been one of France’s most eye-catching players, notably scoring a double against Argentina in the 4-3 last-16 victory over the South Americans.
Team-mate Antoine Griezmann, meanwhile, has three goals for the tournament and has been tipped as a candidate to win the Ballon d’Or – an achievement that Karembeu believes is not out of his reach.
“Griezmann could win the Ballon d’Or, but for that to happen he needs to win the World Cup,” the former France international said, before wishing his best for the country ahead of Sunday’s showdown against Croatia.
“I’d really love it for France to become champions again, 20 years later. We’ve suffered a lot in our games, but we’ve managed to liberate ourselves from that and now we’re playing well.”
France defeated both Australia and Peru in the group stage before being held to a scoreless draw against Denmark in their last pool game. Thereafter, they have defeated Argentina, Uruguay and Belgium to reach the country’s second final.