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SPORT

Mbappe: ‘Macron gave me good advice’ on PSG deal

Kylian Mbappe made the startling revelation that he had talked over his potential transfer to Real Madrid with Emmanuel Macron, saying he appreciated the "good advice" of the French president, who wanted the Paris Saint-Germain star to stay in France.

Mbappe: 'Macron gave me good advice' on PSG deal
France's president Emmanuel Macron (L) embraces France's forward Kylian Mbappe (R) (Photo by Francois Mori / POOL / AFP)

World Cup winner Mbappe had for months seemed certain to sign for Real Madrid before being persuaded to sign a new three year deal at PSG, the club he joined in 2017.

“We talked quite a bit,” Mbappe said of his exchanges with Macron. “You can say that it was good advice.

“He wanted me to stay, that’s part of the negotiations.”

Mbappe said that Macron was one of a number of different people to whom he had talked.

“It’s then that you see that football has changed and has an important place in society. It’s important to also know how to stay in one’s place despite the importance that can be given to me in the country.”

With that in mind, Mbappe also revealed that PSG would not block him from playing in the 2024 Paris Olympics.

The Paris-born Mbappe was raised in the northeastern Parisian surburb of Bondy, part of the Seine-Saint-Denis department that is home to not only the Stade de France, but also several other Olympic sites including the Olympic Village.

There is no doubt that the potential participation of a star-quality, home-grown talent in the Summer Games would be a massive boost for organisers.

“First of all I have to be picked,” Mbappe said of the possibility of taking part in Paris 2024. “We talked about it with the club.

“The club are not against it, they are for it. There weren’t any problems with regard to that in negotiations.”

No say on transfers

There has been speculation that as well as a gigantic, undisclosed financial package, PSG’s Qatari owners had persuaded Mbappe to remain with his hometown club by agreeing to give the 23-year-old forward some say in which players to sign for next season.

Mbappe however denied any such agreement had been made.

“I remain a footballer, who is part of a team, and I will not go beyond this role. I won’t go beyond my role as a player,” he said at a press conference seated alongside PSG president Nasser Al-Khelaifi.

“Everyone knows that last year, I wanted to leave and I was convinced that it was the best choice, but the years go by and things change.

“I am French and there is this sentimental side to leaving my country which would have been difficult.

“The project has changed, my club wants to build a new sporting ambition and I think there are other great stories to write here, that’s what matters.”

Hours after Mbappe announced on Saturday that he was staying at the club came the news that PSG’s powerful sporting director Leonardo — heavily criticised by supporters — had been sacked.

Al-Khelaifi said Mbappe’s decision to stay at the French champions sent “a very strong sign”.

“We are keeping the best player in the world,” the president said.

“This is a great day for Paris Saint-Germain, for our supporters in France and in the whole world — Kylian is staying at PSG for the next three seasons and that is important for us and for Ligue 1.”

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SPORT

Mbappe accuses French federation boss of ignoring racist abuse

France international Kylian Mbappe on Sunday accused the president of the French Football Federation (FFF) of ignoring racist abuse after his penalty miss at Euro 2020.

Mbappe accuses French federation boss of ignoring racist abuse

The Paris Saint-Germain star’s decisive spot-kick against Switzerland was saved in the last-16 shootout, resulting in the world champions exiting the tournament.

The 23-year-old was vilified on social media by furious fans, and even considered quitting the national team as a result.

In an interview with a Sunday newspaper, FFF president Noel Le Graet spoke of the lack of support Mbappe had felt after the Euro elimination, but failed to mention the racist absue he had received, to the annoyance of the France striker.

Le Graet said “he (Mbappe) considered that the federation had not defended him after his missed penalty and the criticism on social media networks”.

“We saw each other for five minutes in my office,” continued Le Graet, adding the striker “no longer wanted to play in the French team – which he obviously did not think”.

On Sunday, Mbappe responded on Twitter, regretting that Le Graet had not taken into account the “racism” of which had been a victim.

“Yes finally I explained to him (Le Graet) above all that it was in relation to racism, and NOT to the penalty,” Mbappe said.

“But he considered that there had been no racism.”

Le Graet later told French radio there was “no problem” between himself and Mbappe.

“I agree with him. I understood everything and there is no problem with Kylian. I have always had a deep attachment to him.”

Le Graet had spoken last year about how the striker had “taken a knock” after the penalty miss.

“He came to the federation. He had taken a bit of a knock. The elimination had affected him, especially the articles and the comments,” Le Graet told AFP.

“My role was to show him affection, to tell him that the federation was counting on him to bounce back. It’s not a defeat that can change a career.”

As for the racist insults, “maybe it affected him”, continued Le Graet, “but it was settled very, very quickly. The proof: he is competitive at a very, very high level.”

FIFA plan to protect players

Le Graet had already come under fire last September after declaring that racism in football “does not exist or hardly exists”.

A few months before the Paris prosecutor’s office announced it was investigating racist messages towards certain French international players after the Euros.

On Saturday, FIFA published a report pointing to the increase in the number of insults against footballers on social media.

According to this study, 38 percent of them were racist in nature.

FIFA said with the World Cup in Qatar just five months away, they will work with players union FIFPRO to implement a plan on how to protect players from abuse on social media.

This will involve scanning recognised hate speech terms published to identified social media accounts, and once detected, prevent that comment from being seen by the recipient and their followers.

The exchange between Le Graet and Mbappe follows a period of disagreement over the image rights of players in the France team.

Mbappe and his advisors would like to review and modernise the convention that governs these rights.

Saturday, at the end of the FFF General Assembly, Le Graet insisted there would be “no change. Until the World Cup at least”.

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