New captain Mbappe confirms he cleared the air with 'upset' Griezmann
‘I won’t be superior to him’: Kylian Mbappe confirms he has cleared the air with ‘disappointed’ team-mate Antoine Griezmann after he was chosen as France’s new captain instead of him… and agrees that he would feel the same way over snub
- The PSG forward said that he understood why his team-mate felt upset
- Mbappe has only 66 caps to the Atletico Madrid star’s 117 international caps
- As vice-captain, Mbappe said he and Griezmann would work ‘hand-in-hand’
Kylian Mbappe confirmed that he has cleared the air with team-mate Antoine Griezmann after being appointed captain of the France national team.
The Paris Saint-Germain forward said that Atletico Madrid star, who is one of the most senior players in the French side with 117 caps for Les Bleus, was ‘disappointed’ but that this was understandable.
Speaking ahead of France’s opening European Championship qualifying match against the Netherlands on Friday, the 24-year-old World Cup winner was honest about his conversation with Griezmann.
‘I spoke with Antoine because he was disappointed. It’s a reaction I can understand,’ Mbappe, who has 66 caps, stated.
‘I told him that in his place, I might have had the same reaction. He is 32 years old, he is one of the best, if not the best, of the Didier Deschamps era.’
Kylian Mbappe confirmed that he has cleared the air with Antoine Griezmann after being appointed captain ahead of France’s Euro qualifying campaign
Griezmann was said to be disappointed with the decision made by coach Didier Deschamps
Griezmann has been appointed vice captain alongside the Qatar World Cup top scorer, and Mbappe was adamant that there was no hierarchy in practice.
‘What I told him was that as long as I am captain and he is vice captain, I won’t be superior to him.
‘He has an experience of playing for France that I don’t have. He is held in high esteem and is liked by the whole squad, so it would be a shame for us not to benefit from his experience, and his joie de vivre.’
The new captain went on to add that: ‘We are going to be hand in hand, him and me, to try and make this French team reign at world level.
‘If he has something to say in front of the group, I will sit down and listen.
‘Everyone is free to express themselves in this group.’
Former France captain Hugo Lloris was in the habit of holding a press conference ahead of every international, but in the past, Mbappe has been more reticent.
At last year’s World Cup, Mbappe chose to pay a £882 fine (€10,000) to forgo media duties after winning his third man-of-the-match award of the tournament in France’s last-16 victory over Poland.
The PSG player admitted t he wouldn’t be looking to change his approach, and instead continue to be himself.
‘I am not going to change,’ Mbappe added. ‘Everyone is a captain based on their personality. I’m going to be a different captain.
‘I don’t think the coach made me captain thinking I was going to do the same as Hugo [Lloris]. I know my words make noise.
‘People will see me a little more often but I want to leave room for others, so I must not monopolise the media space.’
After laying out his leadership agenda, Mbappe was keen to add that he was delighted to have been chosen by Deschamps, who has been manager of the national team since 2012, and is the third player in history to win the World Cup as both a player and a head coach.
‘Putting aside the responsibilities, it is above all a great pleasure. When the coach asks you if you want to become captain, your mouth immediately says yes. I did not think about it at all.
‘He wants me to be a unifier, and lead the team. And that I can be a link between the old guard and the new generation and lead this team to win titles.
‘Players who have played with me know that my first obsession is to win. And I don’t win alone, but with the team.’
Mbappe is no stranger to taking an outspoken position within the national team.
In March 2022, the player led a boycott of certain sponsors of the national team, such as fast food and gambling companies, due to not wanting to associate his image with particular brands.
Disputes over the player’s image rights with regard to national team commitments continued for several months, with France Football Federation yielding on that particular issue in September 2022 by confirming they would ‘revise’ the agreements in place.
A statement from FFF read: ‘Following conclusive discussions with the French team’s executives, the president, the coach and a marketing manager, the FFF has undertaken to revise, as soon as possible, the agreement on image rights that binds it to its national team players.’
On Thursday, the players trained together at Clairefontaine with no sign of the earlier fracas
The pair looked dejected after losing the World Cup final to Lionel Messi’s Argentina in Qatar
It continued: ‘The FFF is looking forward to working on the outlines of a new agreement that will enable it to protect its interests while taking into consideration the legitimate concerns and convictions unanimously expressed by the players.’
The forward, who reportedly earns a yearly salary from the Parisian giants of £63.5million (€72m), is said to donate the money he earns from France sponsorships to charity.
But Mbappe’s objection to certain responsibilities is based on his personal moral and ethical beliefs over particularly products or industries.
The new captain’s first match with the armband against the Netherlands will see last year’s World Cup finalist face a depleted opponent after a number of players were sent home following an outbreak of illness.
Liverpool’s Cody Gakpo, as well as Newcastle defender Sven Botman, plus Matthijs de Ligt, Bart Vertbruggen and Joey Veerman were all sent home ahead of Friday’s fixture at the Stade de France.
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