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Kylian Mbappé among the first to speak out in support of Zinedine Zidane

French Football Federation president Noël Le Graët’s ‘disrespect’ for Zinedine Zidane has been criticised by PSG star Kylian Mbappé and many more.

París (Francia)
Kylian Mbappé supera a Zinedine Zidane en partidos de un Mundial

The French national are once again embroiled in controversy, just a day after renewing head coach Didier Deschamps’ contract until 2026. Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation, stated in an interview with RMC Sport that he “didn’t care” if former Real Madrid boss Zinedine Zidane, touted by many as a replacement for Deschamps, was going to coach Brazil and suggested that journalists make “a special programme to find him a club”. Le Graët also claimed that he “wouldn’t have picked up the phone” if Zidane had called him about the national team job.

What did Kylian Mbappé say about to Le Graët’s quotes on Zidane?

Le Graët’s controversial quotes have already caused a stir on social media and even provoked an angry reaction from Kylian Mbappé. The PSG star, minutes after Le Graët’s interview, took to Twitter to comment. “Zidane is France, you can’t disrespect a legend like that,” said the striker, who had his own battle with Le Graët in 2021, when he asked for more support from the federation after suffering racist insults following his missed penalty in the Euro 2020 round-of-16 shootout against Switzerland. The incident reportedly led to him considering retiring from international soccer.

In 2020, Le Graët admitted in an interview that, were Deschamps to leave the France job, Zidane would be the first person he would call. Three years later, with Deschamps set to remain in his post for another four years, the long-serving federation president confirmed that he had not met with Zidane with a view to appointing him as his former Juventus teammate’s successor and that he did not care about his future. Words which were, unsurprisingly, roundly criticised in France.

Other reactions to Noël Le Graët’s comments on Zinedine Zidane from the world of sport

The French Minister for Sport, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, also posted a tweet in support of Zidane and called for Le Graët to publicly apologise for his criticism of the former France international: “Yet more quotes but this time with of a shameful lack of respect, which offends us all, for a legend of soccer and sport: a ‘president’ of France’s leading sports federation should not say that. An apology required for this needless criticism of Zidane, please”.

Mbappé and Oudéa-Castéra were not the only high-profile figures who showed their support for Zidane and condemned the FFF president’s statements.

Ex-France teammate Frank Ribéry wrote about his ‘love’ for Zidane in an emoji-filled post on Twitter, while former Bleus striker Djibril Cissé was even more creative with his message on Instagram: “Me when I hear Le Graët’s quotes on Zidane.”

Fellow World Cup winner Youri Djorkaeff, meanwhile, was rather more serious with his criticism of the president: “Unwelcome and out of place. We’re talking about a World Cup winner. We’re talking about THE World Cup winner.” A reference to Zidane’s two goals in the 1998 final against Brazil.