EUROPEAN FOOTBALL

Mbappé hits out at federation president over Zidane criticism

Angel

In the face of an arduous route to the Euro 2024 finals, a morsel of solace is welcome. But only time will tell if French friction can benefit Ireland at Aviva Stadium on March 27. The latest rift in Les Bleus acrimony is over Kylian Mbappé’s clash with federation president Noel Le Graet. They also include another of their legendary heroes, Zinedine Zidane, in the controversy. But it is indirect since it is his current managerial position that sparked the public spat.

After the recent World Cup, Zinedine Zidan was expected to succeed France manager Didier Deschamps. But his achievement of coming within a penalty shoot-out of retaining the trophy earned him a new deal. Zidane is currently out of work after his second spell at Madrid.

Mbappé rebuked Zidane over the weekend for making some unflattering remarks about his credentials as the head of France’s national team. Zidane scored two goals in France’s World Cup final victory in 1998.

The criticisms pointed at Zidane

Le Graët in a TV interview told RMC Sport that:

“I don’t care – he can go where he wants, to a club or a national team, but I would hardly believe it.”

“Zidane was always under the radar. He had a lot of followers; some were waiting for Deschamps to leave. But who can seriously criticise Deschamps? No one can. There have not been many problems. His departure always generates clicks.

“I have never seen Zidane and we’ve never thought of separating ourselves from Didier Deschamps. That doesn’t correspond to anything.”

Initially criticized by the country’s Minister of Sport Amélie Oudéa-Castéra.

“Zidane is France, we don’t disrespect the legend like that.” 

Mbappe said on Twitter.

Mbappé’s outburst illuminates the strength of player power in the French ranks, despite the French supremo trying to quell a public maelstrom. Only 24 years old, this is not the attacker’s first call to the federation’s hierarchy. 

A third-placed France will begin their Euro 2026 series against Netherlands on March 24 at Stade de France before traveling to Ireland three days later. Among the top two teams, Greece and Gibraltar advance directly to the showpiece hosted by Germany in November.

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