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Explaining The Disappearance of Kylian Mbappe from Japan Tour Promo Pics

Explaining The Disappearance of Kylian Mbappe from Japan Tour Promo Pics

Kylian Mbappe has added a lot of spice around his future at Paris Saint-Germain after reports ran rampant that he told the club about his intentions to not extend his current contract beyond next year – and this appears to have had an impact on him being advertised for the pre-season tour of Japan.

The Frenchman is currently enjoying his holidays after a taxing season, which included an exhilarating FIFA World Cup campaign in which he scored a hattrick against Argentina in the final. Mbappe has been really cheeky when it comes to discussing his future with the Ligue 1 champions.

Mbappe drama before removal from Japan poster

After claims started being made that he had sent a letter to the PSG management informing of his decision to not activate a clause on his contract that automatically extends it till 2025, Mbappe made a comment on his future.

He told Gazzetta dello Sport: “I didn’t say I wanted to be sold to Real Madrid or that I wanted to leave, only that I won’t activate the option of the extra year (until 2025). With PSG there has never been talk of a renewal and I am happy to continue for another year.”

Basically, he distanced himself from claims about trying to force a move out of PSG and make himself the villain in France with this diplomatic move. PSG are now left in a bit of a dilemma. Either they sell him to Real Madrid, or some other club, for a major fee and recuperate the world record fee of €180m they paid Monaco to sign him in 2017 – or they risk keeping him for next season and seeing him leave for free in 2024.

Amid all this drama, there has been a slight change in PSG’s promotional campaign of their upcoming pre-season tour of Japan in July. As part of the tour in Asia, they will be facing Cristiano Ronaldo’s Al Nassr side in Osaka – before facing J1 League side Cerezo Osaka and then wrapping up the pre-season tour against Inter Milan in Tokyo.

Did Mbappe really get deleted from the Japan tour pic?

PSG are working hard to promote it extensively around Japan to ensure that it ends up as a mega-hit and that every match is packed to the rafters. Naturally, to do so, they included Mbappe in the centre of their promotional picture in an attempt to use his popularity to attract more eyes to their pre-season campaign.

However, that all changed right after reports started flooding in on the questions about his future at PSG. Initially, the promotion snap consisted of Mbappe in the middle being flanked by his teammates Achaf Hakimi and Presnel Kimpembe on his left as wella s Neymar and Marquinhos on his right side.

But some fans have unearthed how that has been discreetly changed by the club. In the current updated picture, Mbappe’s image has been deleted and replaced with Neymar – who is now the centre of attraction. Even SixPad Japan, who are extensively promoting the tournament and even sponsoring it, seem to have replaced Mbappe in a future advertisement of PSG’s game against Al Nassr.

Is this because Mbappe will not be in pre-season? Well, at least nothing like that has been confirmed. The Frenchman has himself admitted to being quite content with spending the 2023/24 season at PSG and being the ultimate professional that he is, the World Cup winner will definitely be reporting to the club’s pre-season campaign and be ready to travel to Japan to entertain supporters.

Possible reason behind Mbappe’s removal from the picture

PSG are yet to confirm a reason behind their decision to replace Mbappe in their promotional picture, but it might not actually be out of spite – but because of a necessity. While a lot of Real Madrid fans have gone gaga over this incident and believe it is a big sign that PSG will be ready to sell Mbappe to them in the summer, the actual reason behind this move might be something totally different.

That reason might actually be issues revolving around Mbappe’s image rights issues. It’s possible that PSG authorized Mbappe to be used as the central attraction for the promotional pictures without taking his permission, something which they have actually been accused of doing in the past by the French forward himself.

Earlier this year itself, the 24-year-old snapped at his club for not taking his consent before using his voiceover in a promotional video for season ticket renewals for the 2023/24 season. In the video, Mbappe can be seen all by himself and it’s clear that PSG used it to get fans to renew their tickets in an assurance that he’d be playing for them in the 23/24 campaign. Interestingly, neither Neymar nor Lionel Messi were involved in the video – this being before Messi decided to leave the club.

Mbappe is notorious for preserving a perfect reputation, which is why he takes his image rights so seriously. Criticizing PSG’s decision to make him the ‘face’ of their season ticket renewal campaign, he had said in April: “That’s why I fight for individual image rights. PSG is a big club and a big family, but it is certainly not Kylian Saint-Germain.”

Another possible example that PSG didn’t just remove Mbappe from their tour promo image out of spite or because he might leave is that Achraf Hakimi was also removed from it. That was also probably done due to image rights issues and PSG has probably learnt its lesson in trying to challenge players in that regard. For this time being, Mbappe’s future is still up in the air.

Nobody but himself or the PSG decision-makers knows where he’ll be playing next season. However, one thing is assured is that until the European summer transfer window shuts on Friday, September 1 – Mbappe will continue getting linked to a move to Real Madrid and other major clubs – even though it’ll take something of a miracle for anyone to get PSG to sell their prized diamond.