Kylian Mbappe
Kylian Mbappe at a press conference in Paris

French forward Kylian Mbappe has shocked the football community after he publicly called out his club, Paris Saint-Germain FC, due to his displeasure over a marketing campaign. Mbappe features heavily in the video recently released by the club, but he put out a statement where he disassociated himself from the campaign which was aimed at encouraging season ticket holders to renew for the 2023-24 season.

With the current season heading towards the final stretch, all clubs including Paris Saint-Germain are already drumming up ways to get fans excited about what has been achieved, and what is there to look forward to.

PSG took to their social media platforms to share a video that shows Mbappe sitting in the stands at the Parc des Princes speaking about the atmosphere while playing at the home stadium. He also talks about the fans being the 12th man helping the team and giving them the extra push on the field during crucial matches.

It then cuts to clips from the club's games, with some scenes showing goals and other milestones as the fans cheered on from the stands. A montage of other scenes feature a groundsman mowing the pitch as well as some children playing while wearing PSG kits. Shots of Mbappe is woven in with a few of his teammates, some actors posing as fans, as well as what appear to be actual videos of fans coming to matches.

In the end, the video cuts to a graphic encouraging fans to purchase season tickets for 2023/24. Shortly after the video is released on the club's accounts. Mbappe took to his Instagram to release a statement that has shocked the football world, including perhaps his own club.

"I have just seen the club's resubscription campaign for the 2023-2024 season. At no time was I informed of the content of it with my representative. It seemed like [the footage was from] when I did a basic interview at a club marketing day. I disagree with this posted video. That's why I fight for individual image rights. PSG is a great club and a great family, but it's definitely not Kylian Saint-Germain," he said on his stories. [translated from French]

It is unclear if Mbappe is also completely opposed to the message of the video itself, or if it is simply a matter of the use of his interview without his consent.

It was widely reported that the matter of his image rights was a huge talking point during his negotiations with Real Madrid in early 2022. In the end, he chose to renew his contract with PSG in May, much to the dismay of everyone at the Santiago Bernabeu.

However, less than a year later, it has been revealed by the player himself that the issue over image rights is something that he is also butting heads with PSG about. Despite the lucrative offer that convinced him to stay with the Qatar-owned side, it seems that he was not able to get his way when it came to the image rights after all.

Meanwhile, there are also speculations that Mbappe may be thinking of making an exit, and featuring heavily on an ad for a future season might have made him uncomfortable.

Apart from having had conversations with PSG and Real Madrid about taking control over his individual image rights, the prolific striker has reportedly brought up the subject with the French National Football team as well.

While featuring heavily on PSG's promotional materials, Mbappe is also practically the face of Les Bleus.

In any case, the public protest from the player has resulted in PSG immediately scrubbing the content online. However, the video has obviously been seen and shared by many other sites and social media accounts.

It would be interesting to know what kind of conversations are currently taking place between Mbappe and the club's marketing team. One thing is for sure, the incident would have made a dent in the relationship between the club and the player.

Publicly calling out one's club may be something that a player of Mbappe's calibre can do, but it remains to be seen what will happen in the aftermath.

As all this unfolds, it is inevitable for reports about a future move to Real Madrid to return to the surface. Real Madrid have not commented publicly on the matter, but several media outlets are convinced that there has been contact between the player and the Spanish giants.

Los Blancos are not likely to shell out this summer to try to buy Mbappe out of his newly-renewed contract with PSG. However, the player has an option to extend for another year beyond 2024, and he could opt not to trigger that clause in favour of a long awaited move to the Bernabeu.

That scenario would be ideal for Florentino Perez, who will be saving a lot of cash on a marquee signing. Real Madrid are still smarting from the humiliation over Mbappe's previous rejection, but his stellar performances over the past several months including the World Cup would be enough to make them reconsider.

If Mbappe manages to free himself from the clutches of PSG and can come on a free transfer, this will help the Real Madrid faithful open their arms more freely to welcome him. Real Madrid are a proud club for good reason, and they will surely be wanting to avoid being stood up once again.