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What is a signing bonus? The money that Mbappé will receive after free agent signing with Real Madrid

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French superstar Kylian Mbappé will soon leave Paris Saint-Germain as the club’s all-time record scorer, with 256 goals scored across an exhilarating 308 appearances.

He will join Real Madrid, the team that has coveted him, and that he has coveted in return, since he was a teenage prospect. For years PSG’s vast wealth and rotating cast of global stars had managed to keep Mbappé in the French capital but he is finally set to leave.

Kylian Mbappé starred at Parc des Princes for six years.
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Kylian Mbappé starred at Parc des Princes for six years. Juan MedinaREUTERS

Real Madrid, reigning Spanish and European champions, regularly attract the world’s best players but had to pull out all the stops to bring in Mbappé. The 25-year-old is expected to become the team’s highest-paid player with an annual salary of €15 million. He is also set to receive a huge signing bonus, widely reported as €150m spread across the duration of his contract.

What is a signing bonus in soccer?

Elite soccer players are among the most highly-paid athletes in the world and those top-end contracts are often supplemented with various extra bonuses to bump up the player’s total earnings. In the case of Kylian Mbappé, he is expected to received a vast ‘signing bonus’ in addition to his salary.

Signing bonuses were traditionally just a up-front payment for players joining a new club, a little sweetener to add to their regular earnings. However in the case of Mbappé, his vast €150m signing on fee will be paid in instalments across the course of his contract.

Mbappé's signing on fee is substantially more than the standard. His is essentially a large chunk of the transfer fee that Real Madrid would have had to pay to Paris Saint-Germain, had Mbappé not allowed his contract at the French club to run down.

As the 25-year-old’s contract expires this summer he is able to join Madrid without a transfer fee being paid, taking advantage of his free agency. It’s a fairly unusual situation in soccer but one that Real Madrid have taken advantage of a number of times in recent years. Before Mbappé, David Alaba and Antonio Rudiger both arrived on free transfers after their contracts expired at Bayern Munich and Chelsea, respectively.

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