French football row explodes as Mbappe clashes with chief over Zidane

FIFA World Cup 2022 Final: Argentina V France In Pictures

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Kylian Mbappe has leapt to the defence of Zinedine Zidane after French Football Federation (FFF) chief Noel Le Graet ‘disrespected’ him. The former Real Madrid star was linked with becoming the France national team’s manager recently before Didier Deschamps penned a contract extension in the post.

After a shock Euros exit, Les Bleus bounced back to form at the Qatar World Cup with a second-placed finish to Argentina. Deschamps’ side looked a much-improved side throughout the tournament, despite injury issues stacking up and forcing the manager to amend his plans on the eve of the competition – with Ballon d’Or winner Karim Benzema a notable absentee.

France lost on penalties in the final, with Argentina goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez the hero on the night. And the result prompted Deschamps to extend his contract as manager until 2026, amid reports that potential candidates were circling.

Zidane was amongst those linked with the position, though FFF chief Le Great told the RMC Sport’s Bartoli Time show that he would definitely not be considered. He explained: “Zidane to Brazil? I don’t give a toss. He can go wherever he wants, to a club or to a national team. I don’t really care about it.

“Did he try to ring me? Definitely not. I wouldn’t have even picked up the phone for him. Make a special program for Zidane to find another club or country.”

The harsh comments certainly catch the eye, and Mbappe was unhappy with the tone that Le Grate spoke about the 1998 World Cup winner, who is largely considered one of the greatest French players to ever grace a football pitch. Mbappe tweeted: “Zidane, he is France. You don’t show a lack of respect to a legend like that.”

Zidane has been linked with numerous managerial vacancies since leaving Real Madrid in 2021, with his time at the Santiago Bernabeu catching the eye of several sides. Over the course of two spells at the club, the 50-year-old led Los Blancos to two La Liga successes, as well as victory in the Champions League on three occasions.

Prior to the arrival of Erik ten Hag, Zidane was cited as a candidate to take the reins at Manchester United. L’Equipe report that he recently declined an approach from the United States men’s national team following speculation that Gregg Berhalter could be set to leave his post. Brazil and Portugal have also held talks with Zidane but had their approaches fall on deaf ears.

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