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Leonardo: I wasn’t told that Mbappe’s PSG renewal depended on my departure

Leonardo is now history at Paris Saint-Germain. The former Brazilian player and coach, who arrived in Paris in 2019 to take charge as sporting director, has said goodbye to the French champions through the back door.

His time at the Parc des Princes ended after a turbulent season, and Kylian Mbappe’s contract renewal was rumoured to be a cause of his dismissal.

Despite PSG’s success in Ligue 1, the French club failed to win the Champions League, with Leonardo disappointed to have missed out on club European football’s biggest prize.

A quiet departure
Now, Leonardo has come clean in an interview in which he reviewed his time with PSG, as well as all the team’s current affairs.

“We talked about it with the club,” Leonardo told L’Equipe. “Maybe it’s the way I am, but it’s always a bit pathetic for me to say ‘thank you very much, goodbye…’.

“It wasn’t important to do a press release. My relationship with PSG has always been linked to too much emotion.

“I’m leaving without any bitterness.”

Leonardo’s exit… Linked with Mbappe’s renewal?
Many have speculated that the team’s star player insisted on Leonardo’s departure as one of the conditions for his renewal. If that had been the case, though, Leonardo says that he was unaware.

No, they didn’t tell me that,” Leonardo insisted. “But I don’t want to go into those things. And the fact that we have kept a player of this level, who is French and Parisian, is important for PSG and Ligue 1.

“It’s your judgement that it’s shocking that it the news came on the night when Mbappe renewed and we won the title. Judging is easier than making a decision.

“Making decisions is not easy. They made the decision, it may surprise you, but it’s their decision. Everyone is under pressure.”

PSG’s Champions League elimination against Real Madrid
Another reason for Leonardo’s termination was the loss to Real Madrid. The collapse shocked many, especially with PSG going into the second leg with the upper hand.

“We were confident of going through, of course, as were Chelsea or Manchester City,” Leonardo explained.

“It’s something to think about. Nowadays you have so many things going on in football, so many things on your mind, that it’s not easy to stay focused for more than 90 minutes.

?”Nowadays players are much more [than just players], there is a business behind it and a lot at stake.

“But the reality is that I think we could have scored more. There were moments when we thought maybe it was better to wait.”

The 2021 market
Leonardo finally addressed his transfer dealings in the 2021 market, with the Brazilian citing Lionel Messi’s signing as a particular highlight despite not being in his initial plans.

“When three young talents like [Achraf] Hakimi, Nuno Mendes, and [Gianluigi] Donnarumma, as well as [Sergio] Ramos, [Giorgio] Wijnaldum and [Lionel] Messi arrive, you say to yourself…. what is happening?

“Everybody said it. Then you lose to Real Madrid in the last 16 and everyone says ‘what sh**, it’s the sporting management, it’s the team’.

As for the signing of Messi, it was unexpected. I think about it and I say, I’ve been involved in the only transfer of Messi in his career!

“There’s Pele, [Diego] Maradona and Messi, so when I take stock of my time here I remember the Champions League final, the titles… and his signing.”

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