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‘Mbappe has to prove himself at PSG’

Former Spanish star Morientes backs Real move for not making sweeping changes

Gulf News

Abu Dhabi: Former striker Fernando Morientes has backed Real Madrid’s move of not hiring too many players during the last window and opting to stay with the core team that performed exceptionally well last season.

Real chose not to break the bank for French star striker Kylian Mbappe, who was then picked by Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), on loan from Monaco for an astronomical 155 million euros. However, Morientes was of the view that letting go of some serious talent like Mbappe will do very little harm for Real at the moment.

“Given the fact that Real had an exceptional last season there was no need to higher too many players. A player like Mbappe will have so many teams to go. Usually when you are in need of bringing a new player, then you have to come at the back of a bad season. In my view, Real have done the right thing by not opting for a major change,” said Morientes, one of the flamboyant Spanish stars of the nineties, who has played for Real, Monaco and Liverpool.

“Mbappe is a fantastic player and he has an opportunity to take his game to another level. Only then will he get a chance to play in a team like Real Madrid. To play for Madrid, you really have to be at the top of the game and should be one of the best around,” said Morientes, who went on to add that players like Mbappe and Neymar, who switched loyalty from Barcelona, have added star value to PSG but they still need to click as a team to get the desired result.

“PSG is clearly one of the favourites to win the Champions League but to reach the level especially where Real Madrid is, you not only need good players but also need to make sure they play as a team. We have to wait and see if they can do that,” said Morientes, who is here in the capital as La Liga’s Ambassador and shared his experience at a seminar organised by the Abu Dhabi Sports Council.

With Abu Dhabi set to host the Club World Cup later this year, Morientes was of the view that the capital should put their best foot forward to ensure that the event is a smash hit.

“The Club World Cup is definitely one of the biggest world events this year. It gives Abu Dhabi a great opportunity to show the world their ability to host a world class event. It will be a challenge though,” said Morientes, who has also asked Al Jazira’s local players taking apart in the Club World Cup on behalf of the host nation to give their 100 per cent.

“For the local players, the focus has to be to make the most when they step on to the field to play against top teams. In such an event, there will be lot of scouting taking place. Everyone will be seeing them and it opens up a window to Europe and I think most of them should be looking to take that move,” said Morientes, who also welcomed La Liga’s move to start an academy here in the UAE.

“It is a fantastic achievement opening an academy here as it was one of their main aim to go abroad. UAE is a great market and it also helps us to get closer to the kids and the fans of La Liga,” said Morientes, who also backed La Liga’s plans of moving some of their matches abroad in future.

“It is a debatable move as of now but that’s the way La Liga is looking at it as of now. We already had a match between Real and Barca in Miami. Playing La Liga matches outside will need special preparations and arrangement but definitely this is going to be the new trend and we are heading in that direction,” asserted Morientes.