Karim Benzema would have loved to play alongside Kylian Mbappe at Real Madrid, but insists the forwards' decision to stay at Paris Saint-Germain will not affect their friendship.

Mbappe was widely expected to move to the Santiago Bernabeu at the end of his contract in Paris, but he conducted a late U-turn last week and chose to sign a new three-year contract with the Ligue 1 champions.

But Madrid showed they have the firepower to cope without the 2018 World Cup winner as they beat Liverpool 1-0 in Saturday's Champions League final, with Vinicius Junior scoring the only goal of the game.

Benzema played a key role during Madrid's 14th European triumph, scoring 15 Champions League goals this season to fall just two strikes short of Cristiano Ronaldo's single-season record (17 for Madrid in 2013-14).

The striker, who has been tipped to win the Ballon d'Or later this year, also became just the second French player to win a European Cup/Champions League final as captain after Didier Deschamps with Marseille in 1993.

Mbappe, meanwhile, scored 39 goals and added 21 assists in all competitions in a fine individual campaign.

Kylian Mbappe

Although Benzema admits he would have been delighted to see Mbappe join Los Blancos, he respects the 23-year-old's decision and is looking forward to teaming up with him for France's upcoming Nations League fixtures.

"I would have liked him to be able to realise his dream of playing at Real Madrid, together," Benzema told Telefoot.

"He chose PSG, you have to respect [his decision]. He is young, he has a lot of responsibilities on him.

"It's his choice, he's a PSG player, so we will enjoy playing together in the [national] selection. 

"Everyone makes their choices. "I'm not disappointed, I'm happy and I hope he does good things. We're good friends, it won't affect our relationship."

France will play four Nations League fixtures next month, including a double-header against Croatia, who they beat in the 2018 World Cup final in Moscow.