9 May 2022 will be a day to remember in Madrid. The capital is experiencing its gastronomic explosion and is starting to have endless nights reminiscent of other big cities such as New York.
Madrid fever attracted Kylian Mbappé to the north of the city and he stayed at the Eurostars Madrid Tower hotel, the same hotel where he wiped away his tears after the defeat at the Bernabéu a few weeks ago. The Frenchman experienced the first of Madrid's big nights in the flesh and saw on television what Real Madrid were capable of against Chelsea and Manchester City.
His visit to Madrid had a great host, Achraf Hakimi, his teammate at PSG and a good personal friend from what has been seen on social media. The Moroccan is from Madrid by birth, although because of his parents' nationality he has chosen Morocco to play international matches.
Perhaps the fact that they both speak Spanish and French may have helped to create the friendship that led them to stroll around Madrid on a hot May night. All the alarm bells went off at 15:00 when they were spotted entering Leña, chef Dani García's restaurant on Paseo de la Castellana. Mbappé and Achraf walked past the Santiago Bernabéu on their way to the restaurant but made no stop at the offices.
After that meal they went to the hotel and, in the evening, they headed to the golden mile of Spanish gastronomy on Calle Jorge Juan. There they can find the best restaurants while they wait for the new Bernabéu stadium that Florentino Pérez is preparing to welcome them in a couple of years to create a much bigger space in La Castellana.
Alongside Mbappé, Achraf and his brother travelled together in a van to a restaurant where other players who have played for Real Madrid and share a dressing room with him, such as Sergio Ramos and Keylor Navas, were waiting for them. All of them wanted to experience the adventure of the big signing of the summer before his arrival at the club is made official.
PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaïfi was also in Madrid on the same day as Mbappé. As chance would have it, the ECA president was in Madrid with Miguel Angel Gil, president of Atletico, to finalise his plans for the new Champions League format to be prepared for 2023.
Al-Khelaïfi did not want to answer journalists' questions, but it is said that he fell in love with the Madrid nightlife. It is possible that his visit and that of the player may have given the go-ahead for Mbappé's move to Real Madrid.
Another piece of news these days is Renault's interest in sponsoring Real Madrid. Audi and Real Madrid will part ways almost 20 years later and Alpine, as a subsidiary of the French company, wants to be part of Mbappé's Madrid as it was at PSG. The player went on to campaign for the electric Zoe model and now his sponsorship is dependent on Real Madrid and the player announcing his signing. Real Madrid could offer him 65% of the image rights, but it all depends on the new contracts to be signed.
Achraf and Mbappé enjoyed Madrid and were seen. The move is a declaration of intent and a wink to Real Madrid who have already leaked the terms of the deal with the Frenchman who will be paid a net 25 million and a signing bonus of 40 million euros.