Kylian Mbappé has demanded more respect for Zinédine Zidane and thus faces the president of the French association.
“Zidane is France, we don’t disrespect this legend so much”, wrote Mbappé on Twitter. Zidane was seen as a potential successor as France coach had Didier Deschamps’ contract not been extended. Zidane has been out of a job since leaving Real Madrid in the summer of 2021.
Noël Le Graët, president of the FFF association, claimed in a radio interview that he had not been interested in a phone call with Zinedine Zidane before the contract extension with national coach Didier Deschamps.
Zinedine Zidane was seen as a possible successor to Didier Deschamps.
Le Graët: “I wouldn’t even have answered the phone”
Le Graët responded when asked if Zidane had phoned him to express his interest in Deschamps’ work: “I wouldn’t even have answered the phone. What could I have said to him? ‘Hello, don’t worry, find another club. I just signed a contract with Didier.'” Deschamps had extended his contract on Saturday until 2026, almost three weeks after the final defeat in the World Cup in Qatar against Argentina. “He can do whatever he wants, that’s none of my business,” said Le Graët. “I never met him and we never thought of parting with Didier.”
Noel Le Graët (right) with national coach Didier Deschamps
The Minister of Sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, spoke of a “shameful disrespect” and asked Graët to join the “Legend of football and sport” apologize. Real Madrid, where Zidane has won the Champions League several times as a player and manager, also commented: “These words imply a lack of respect for one of the most admired figures by football fans around the world and our club expects immediate rectification.”
Le Graët speaks of a misunderstanding and shares: “I would like to personally apologize for these comments, which do not reflect my thoughts or my appreciation for the player he was and the manager he has become.”
Mbappé and Le Graët already in dispute after the EM
In 2021, France lost to Switzerland in the round of 16 of the European Championship, Kylian Mbappé failed in the decisive attempt on penalties. “He said that as a league we didn’t protect him enough from criticism on social media after the missed penalty.”said Le Graët then. “We talked for five minutes in my office. He was angry and didn’t want to play for France anymore. But obviously he didn’t mean it.” He didn’t cite racist slurs against French players as a problem. “There is little or no racism in football”said Le Graet.
After his missed penalty in the round of 16, Kylian Mbappé was racially insulted on the internet.
He explained to Le Graët that the frustration of the national team after the European Championship was linked to racism, not to the missed penalty. “But he said there was no racism”then wrote Mbappé on Twitter.
Le Graët: Powerful civil servant with scandals
Le Graët has been criticized on several occasions. Before minimizing racist slurs in 2021, he relativized homophobic chants and banners in stadiums in 2019. “Football matches should only be interrupted in the event of racist incidents or security concerns”, he said at the time. Homophobic statements are not comparable. French government officials contradicted him.
In 2022, employees of the French association denounce in the magazine “So Foot” sexual harassment by SMS on the part of Le Graët, who denies the allegations. Other employees spoke of a “poisonous working atmosphere” within the federation, the French sports ministry announced an investigation. Confronted with the dilapidated housing of migrant workers preparing the French team hotel for the World Cup in Qatar, Le Graët said: “It’s not unsolvable, it’s missing a few brushstrokes.”
Noel Le Graët reportedly sent text messages containing sexual innuendo to employees.
Le Graët, 81, has been president of the FFF since 2011. In 2019, following the resignation of then DFB president Reinhard Grindel, he became one of the European representatives on the FIFA Council. On April 5, 2023, Portuguese representative Fernando Gomes will stand against him for a place in the FIFA panel at the UEFA Congress.
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