Mbappé defends Zidane after Le Graët comments cause controversy

PARIS – Kylian Mbappé stepped in to defend Zinedine Zidane after French football federation president Noël Le Graët’s dismissive remarks to France’s great player on Sunday.

World Cup star Mbappé posted a message on his Twitter account late on Sunday saying “Zidane is France, you don’t disrespect a legend like that”.

Former star Zidane is considered one of the greats of world football and led Les Bleus to their first World Cup title in 1998 and starred again in winning the European Championship in 2000. He scored in two World Cup finals and lost one time, just as Mbappé has been.

Le Graët, who recently extended current France coach Didier Deschamps’ contract until July 2026, was a guest on RMC radio’s talk show on Sunday. He was asked about rumors linking Zidane to take over the vacant Brazil manager post following Tite’s departure.

“I would be surprised if he goes there. But he can do whatever he wants, that’s none of my business. I never met him (Zidane) and we (the FFF) never considered parting ways with Didier,” Le Graët told RMC. “Does it bother me that (Zidane) went there? I couldn’t care less. He can go wherever he wants, to a big team, a national team… Has Zidane tried to get in touch with me? Certainly not, I wouldn’t even have picked up the phone.

France’s sports minister, Amélie Oudéa-Castéra, who reportedly has strained relations with Le Graët, went a step further than Mbappé, whose tweet did not refer to Le Graët by name. She asked Le Graët to apologize to Zidane. She even used quotes to refer to him as president.

“A shameful lack of respect, which hurts us all, towards a legend of our sport,” wrote Oudéa-Castéra on Twitter. “A ‘president’ of France’s main sports federation shouldn’t say that. I apologize, please, for going too far with Zidane.”

Le Graët faced allegations of sexual harassment and the FFF was the subject of an investigation ordered by Oudéa-Castéra.

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