Could Mbappe replace Real Madrid talisman?

"Of course we would have loved to have had Messi at Madrid", Perez told Onda Cero, already boasting four-time Ballon d'Or victor and all-time leading goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo.

Barcelona star Neymar had a medical at Real Madrid and nearly joined the Catalans' great rivals, according to Bernabeu club president Florentino Perez.

De Gea is said to be keen on a return to Madrid, but the speculation has waned and Perez's admission that he is happy with his options at the La Liga club look like meaning a move this summer is unlikely. Two years ago we had an issue and then the appropriate circumstances didn't arise.

"We are following him of course but for the moment he's a Monaco player". It [the contract] arrived two minutes late.

Another young star believed to be on Madrid's radar is AC Milan and Italy goalkeeper Donnarumma.

"Everyone says he's a great player, he's going to be the substitute for Buffon", Perez said. "[Zinedine] Zidane's liked him a lot for a while, but it is not true we were close to signing him [a few years ago] because he still hadn't turned 16".

"Mbappe has some very good ways and surely he'll become one of the greatest".

One of those is the Champions League holders, with Perez revealing that manager Zinedine Zidane is a long-time admirer, as well as their interest in acquiring his signature.

"We do not see any reason not to continue with the players we have, including James", he added.

Going to Real Madrid at a tender age where players are already developed will be hard and could delay Mbappe's progression.

Reports in France have suggested Real are prepared to make Mbappe the world's most expensive football surpassing the £89m Manchester United - who are also keeping tabs on the striker - paid for compatriot Paul Pogba.

  • Julie Sanders