MENA Sports Wrap: Mbappe meets Qatar emir amid 'Real Madrid talk'

MENA Sports Wrap: Mbappe meets Qatar emir amid 'Real Madrid talk'
Qatar-owned PSG are reportedly trying to hold onto French star Kylian Mbeppe, who has been linked to a move to Real Madrid this summer.
5 min read
01 March, 2024
Mbappe, Macron and Sheikh Tamim met in Paris on Tuesday [Getty]

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani and Kylian Mbappe met in Paris on Tuesday, amid rumours that the French star might be destined for a move to Spain.

Meanwhile, Qatar football saw more drama on the pitch following an intervention from a leading official while Egypt's famed Zamalek ultras chanted in support of Gaza.

Mbappe meets Qatar emir in Paris  

Qatar Emir Sheikh Tamim Al-Thani met French star Kylian Mbappe on a visit to Paris this week, in the latest twist to the saga of arguably the world's best forward.

After seven years at Qatar-owned Paris Saint-Germain (PSG), Mbappe is set for a move to Real Madrid in the summer despite reported efforts by President Emmanuel Macron to keep him in France.

On Tuesday, Macron held a state banquet at the Elysee Palace attended by Sheikh Tamim, Mbappe, and PSG President Nasser Al-Khelaifi amid speculation of a last-ditch bid by the French president to halt the Real Madrid move.

Sheikh Tamim was in France for Gaza ceasefire talks, with Qatar playing a lead role in negotiations.

PSG has been majority-owned by state-backed Qatar Sports Investment since 2011, which has seen the French team emerge as one of Europe's most formidable sides.

It once boasted a strike force of Kylian Mbappe, Lionel Messi, and Neymar, although the latter two have since left PSG and there are multiple reports that Mbappe is also on his way out.

Mbappe and his family, including his agent mother, have reportedly flown to Madrid to prepare for a move to the Bernabeu this summer.

Yet a photo of Sheikh Tamim and Mbappe warmly meeting at the Elysee Palace will be a hopeful sign for PSG fans.

PSG has allegedly offered Mbappe a princely sum to keep him at the Parc des Princes, and only time will tell whether he will make the move to Spain or help PSG in their bid for their first Champions League title.

Qatari club president suspended after storming pitch

Qatar Football Association announced on Wednesday the suspension of Al-Wakrah Club President Sheikh Khalifa bin Hassan Al-Thani for six months over a recent outburst during a Qatari league match on Sunday.

The club president interrupted the Qatar Stars League match when Al-Wakrah was drawing 0-0 with title rivals Al-Sadd, storming the pitch to furiously protest a penalty decision in the 65th minute in favour of the opposition side. This was subsequently missed by Al-Sadd's Akram Afif, keeping the score level.

According to videos that surfaced of the incident, Al-Thani made his way down from his executive box to the touchline before moving onto the pitch to protest the decision, gesturing furiously and having to be restrained by other members of staff.

The Qatar Football Association said his ban would come into effect from 28 February and would prevent Al-Thani from entering stadiums.

The statement added Al-Thani will also be required to pay a fine of 100,000 QAR (around $27,400) for "violating the general principles of sports conduct" following his reaction on Sunday.

Zamalek fans in Gaza Coca-Cola protest

Supporters of Egyptian sporting giants Zamalek SC protested against the club hierarchy’s sponsorship deal with Coca-Cola during a volleyball match in Cairo on Tuesday.

The well-known ultras chanted, "We don’t want the drink of blood", in response to the club's corporate deal.

The Zamalek fan group known as the Ultras White Knights (UWK) say that they are opposing the club having any dealings with Coca-Cola due to the US's support for Israel as it wages a devastating war on Gaza.

UWK are known for taking political stances in the past, including their role in defending Tahrir Square from security forces and Mubarak supporters during the Egyptian revolution of 2011.

They have also in the past shown solidarity with Palestinians, including flying Palestinian flags during previous Israeli assaults on Gaza.

The club itself has previously shown support to Palestinians in the past, with it being the first Egyptian club to play against the Palestinian national team in Gaza in 2000. 

“From inside Zamalek club, this entity that has always been and will always be a holder of national positions beside our country and [also with] the Palestinian cause," UWK said in a statement on X.

“As we have always said, our hearts are with Palestine and our family in Gaza and what they are subjected to, and we hope from Allah - the Almighty - that He removes this calamity, protects our brothers and sisters, has mercy on the martyrs and returns the land to its rightful owners, safe and sound."