While the Spain squad awaits to be vaccinated ahead of Euro 2020, it seems as though Paris Saint-Germain owner Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani is looking to anesthetise Real Madrid once again in their pursuit of Kylian Mbappe.
The PSG chief's message that Mbappe will stay appears to be a bluff more than anything, as times are tough even for the sheikh due to COVID-19. The club has taken an economic hit from the high running costs over the years and, as much as UEFA back PSG due to their rejection of the Super League, they have sidestepped Financial Fair Play rules as if they didn't exist.
But perhaps for the general public, not for Florentino Perez, another factor is playing a major role: pride.
The Qataris are a proud people, who do not give up easily and who do not like to lose anything. In other conditions, they might not have any qualms about picking up the phone and finding an amicable solution in which the player will have no choice but to take a more active role. Because the sheikh, not Nasser Al Khelaifi, his billionaire bellboy, prefers to lose Mbappe for free rather than show weakness and begin negotiating with Real Madrid over a move this summer that could bring him in 100 million euros.
A few days ago, someone very close to Leonardo, categorically assured me that Mauricio Pochettino would not leave for Real Madrid. They wouldn't allow it. They would rather stay with a coach who has not fully fulfilled them than to satisfy the wishes of a rival, Real Madrid, whom they see as a serious threat in all areas.
Winning often has nothing to do with what you achieve but with what you prevent the opposite person from achieving. As the Arab proverb says: A calm heart is better than a bag full of gold.