Mbappé accuses French FA president of disrespect over Zidane comments

Kylian Mbappé has come out in support of Zinedine Zidane after France’s football federation (FFF) president, Noël Le Graët, said he would not pick up the phone if the former midfielder called him to discuss coaching the national team.

The FFF had announced Didier Deschamps’s contract extension on Saturday after he led France to a second consecutive World Cup final, where they lost to Argentina on penalties in Qatar last month. Zidane had previously been a favourite to succeed Deschamps.

When asked whether Zidane, a World Cup winner with France in 1998 and a national icon, would now manage Brazil instead, Le Graët told RMC: “I don’t give a damn, he can go wherever he wants. I know very well that Zidane was always on the radar. He had a lot of supporters; some were waiting for Deschamps’s departure … But who can make serious reproaches to Deschamps? Nobody.

“He [Zidane] does what he wants; it’s none of my business. I’ve never met him, we’ve never considered parting with Didier. He can go where he wants, to a club … If Zidane tried to contact me? Certainly not, I wouldn’t even pick up the phone.”

Zidane was the first coach to win the Champions League three times in a row when in charge of Real Madrid. The 50-year-old, who also won the 2000 European Championship with France in a glittering career, is without a job after he left his role with the Spanish club in 2021.

“Zidane is France, we don’t disrespect the legend like that,” Mbappé said on Twitter after Le Graët’s interview was aired.

Le Graët’s dismissal of Zidane as a potential successor to Deschamps comes two years after he had backed the former midfielder to take up the reins if available.

France’s minister for sports, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, was one of many politicians who reacted to Le Graët’s comments. “Yet more out-of-touch comments and on top of that a shameful lack of respect, which hurts us all, towards a legend of football and sport,” she wrote on Twitter. She called for an apology.

The Guardian