Kylian Mbappe, Real Madrid and even the fire brigade defend Zinedine Zidane over French football president’s ‘shameful’ remarks about ‘legend of football’

    Kylian Mbappe and Real Madrid have come to the defence of Zinedine Zidane after French Football Federation [FFF] president Noel Le Graet’s ‘disrespectful’ comments.

    Le Graet gave a scathing response when asked about Real Madrid legend Zidane’s links to the Brazilian national team job after he was reportedly considered by France, saying he ‘didn’t care’ and ‘wouldn’t answer his phone call’.

    Le Graet has found himself in hot water

    Getty

    Le Graet has found himself in hot water

    Mbappe defended Zidane

    Mbappe defended Zidane

    Zinedine Zidane leaves Real Madrid: Ramon Calderon on former Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger moving to Bernabeu

    And Madrid later did the same with their legendary coach and player

    That drew a quick response from Mbappe as well as many other huge names in France, with the Paris Saint-Germain striker Tweeting: “Zidane is France, we don’t disrespect the legend like that…”

    Madrid later released a statement on the club website calling the comments ‘inappropriate’ and comparing them to other remarks Le Graet made about Los Blancos captain Karim Benzema.

    Zidane has been out of work since leaving Madrid for the second time in 2021, and many reports claimed he was holding out for his national team job.

    However, that role remained with Didier Deschamps, who agreed an extension shortly after guiding Les Bleus into back-to-back World Cup finals, despite losing on penalties to Argentina in Qatar.

    RMC Sport have since claimed Zidane’s likely next destination is now either the Brazil job or PSG, with his stock still high after winning the Champions League three times as Real Madrid manager.

    President Le Graet was asked about those reports on RMC, and seemingly turned his nose up at a legend of French football.

    Le Graet is more than happy with Deschamps

    Getty

    Le Graet is more than happy with Deschamps

    “I would be surprised if he went there [Brazil],” he said. “But he can do as he wants. It is of no concern to me.

    “We never met and we never considered parting ways with Didier. I could not care less. He can go where he wishes – to a big club, a national team.

    Asked whether Zidane tried to contact him about the job, Le Graet replied: “Certainly not – I would not even have taken the call.”

    Mbappe was far from the only public figure supporting Zidane, with sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera suggesting that Le Graet should say sorry.

    She Tweeted: “Statements again above ground with the added bonus this time of a shameful lack of respect, which hurts us all, to a legend of football and sport.

    Zidane was a World Cup winner with France

    Zidane was a World Cup winner with France

    “A president of the first sports federation in France should not say that. Apologise for these words that were too much about Zidane please.”

    Le Graet has since offered an apology for his ‘clumsy remarks’ after he received a huge backlash.

    Real Madrid’s full statement read: “Real Madrid CF regrets the unfortunate statements made by the president of the French Football Federation, Nöel Le Graët, about Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest legends of world sport.

    “These words imply a lack of respect towards one of the figures most admired by football fans around the world and our club expects an immediate rectification.

    “Zinedine Zidane, world champion and European champion defending his country’s jersey, among many other titles, represents the values ​​of sport and has demonstrated this throughout his professional career as a player and as a coach.

    Even the French fire brigade defended Zidane

    Even the French fire brigade defended Zidane

    “The statements by the president of the French Football Federation are inappropriate for someone who holds that representation and disqualify themselves, like the ones he also makes about our captain Karim Benzema, current Ballon d’Or, champion of the League of Nations with France in 2021 and winner of 5 Champions League, among many other titles.”

    Even the French fire brigade Tweeted their support, saying that with 16million calls, they ‘would still pick up’ if Zidane phoned for a chat.

    Le Graet’s full apology, sent to AFP, read: “I would like to apologize for these remarks which absolutely do not reflect my thoughts, nor my consideration for the player he was and the coach he has become.

    “I gave an interview to RMC that I should not have given because they was looking for controversy by opposing Didier to Zinedine Zidane, two monuments of French football.

    “I admit that I made some awkward remarks which created a misunderstanding. Zinedine Zidane knows the immense esteem I have for him, like all French people.”

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