The complicated relationship between Kylian Mbappé and the FFF does not seem to be calming down. After the question of partnerships, here is the international striker and President Noël Le Graët torn apart around that of racism. This tension seems above all to draw in small touches a new balance of power and a new configuration in the hierarchical relations between the Blues and the supervisory Federation. With at the center of the struggle for symbolic power, the original and singular figure of the PSG striker.
Initially, this time, an interview with Noël Le Graët in the JDD in which he tried to explain that if Kylian Mbappé “didn’t want to play for the France team anymore” , it was because he found that the Federation had not defended him after his missed penalty and the criticism on social networks. Challenged, the player felt obliged to re-establish his truth, with a personal media immediately available, Twitter and his 8.2 million followers. Taking up the excerpt in question, he sharply attacked the official propaganda: “Yes finally I explained to him above all well that it was in relation to racism and NO to the penalty. But he considered that there had been no racism … ” Despite an election day, this tweet has largely found its audience and its audience, and the boss of French football hastened to calm things down by caressing Mbappé in the direction of the hair with RMC Sport: ” I agree with him. I understood everything, and there is no problem with Kylian. I have always had a deep attachment to his personality. » Not sure that’s enough to put out the fire.
And it goes on and on and on
This umpteenth skirmish should not be reduced to incompatible personalities or the generation gap. Admittedly, the child of Bondy and his entourage had little taste for the communication of the FFF and the declarations of Noël Le Graët, after his refusal to attend a photo session with the partners of the Blues during the March rally in Clairefontaine. In question, the desire to suggest that the player was motivated by the lure of profit, to the detriment of his teammates, when on the contrary he put forward ethical problems and the question of the redistribution of this commercial windfall to amateur football . Since then, the lawyers have spoken to rediscuss the contracts.
In fact, the situation is quite unprecedented for the Federation, and the score that Kylian Mbappé recites marks a turning point for the Blues. The French team, the main “asset” of the federal enterprise, has always been watched like boiling water by the authorities. The failures always fell on the coaches and possibly the staff. In addition, the capés always displayed the same profile of the black sheep, selfish and megalomaniac, who refused the discipline and respect for authority implied by wearing the blue jersey. Personalities easy to disqualify from public opinion, like Nicolas Anelka. The South African disaster illustrates this perfectly. The will of the players to erect themselves in front of their direction to defend one of their own had been completely scuttled by a disastrous staging on the part of the mutineers.
Mbappé and the new order
However, and this brings us back to the current case, Kylian Mbappé seems infinitely more in control of the game, and not only on the ground, but also in his communication, than the Federation. Sometimes to the point of weighing as much as the institution. He perfectly controls his public and media expression, and understood that he represented much more than a footballer, especially in selection. His positions and statements are meticulous and precise. His interview on the set of the TF1 evening newspaper, detailing the reasons for his extension to PSG, was a masterpiece in the matter, mixing patriotic impulses and professional choices, with the little personal touch on private life. He is well aware of the model he now embodies in the country. A sportsman whom the President of the Republic calls in order to convince him to stay in Ligue 1, and therefore in France.
The balance of power has therefore changed. The blows of intox or com ‘of the president of the FFF find opposite an opposition which weighs also heavy. Kylian Mbappé is no longer afraid to express himself and to contradict. He knows he is essential in the workforce and can count on the sympathy of a large part of the country, above partisan divisions (unlike Karim Benzema, very divisive). Furthermore, Noël Le Graët found himself weakened at the end of his reign which dragged on. The Federation is also going through a difficult period, as evidenced by the turmoil around its social plan or the fiasco of the Champions League final. Five months before the World Cup, and after a disastrous month of June in the League of Nations, the rest promises to be just as exciting to watch. Didier Deschamps, he will not be able to stay away forever.
By Nicolas Kssis-Martov