A good quarter of an hour. Or even less, because we quickly understood: if tangible proof was needed that the Lloris style was over, Kylian Mbappé did not hesitate on Thursday during the first press conference of his mandate. He brought them on a tray. The Parisian, appointed captain by Didier Deschamps during the first evening of the gathering, has already laid down his milestones, while paying attention to others, recalling on several occasions that he would have and had to have a role “unifier”. And that, responsibilities aside, it was all the same “un how”.
Not necessarily fond of the media exercise, as we saw during the last World Cup, Mbappé has already warned: he will not be at all the pre-match press conferences, to leave the room for others. But this one, the first, was an obligatory passage with, in a way, a speech of general policy that he delivered from his first answer: “A good captain is someone who is above all team-oriented, who is able to unify and unify, and must take others in his wake”.
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Credit: Getty Images
So much for the overall idea, which he clarified a little later, as if to give assurances to the skeptics: “There are fundamentals that are difficult to move. But I think I’m going to be a captain turned towards others, I don’t want to decide to impose, I want to open up to others and let the possibility for others to express themselves. It would be a mistake to upset all that”.
The first proof of openness and magnanimity, he gave it to Antoine Griezmann, vice-captain disappointed at not having been dubbed by his coach. “I spoke with Antoine because he was disappointed and it’s understandable, it’s a reaction that can be heard and I might have had the same, he confided. He is 32 years old and spent ten years in the France team. It is perhaps the most important player of the era of Didier Deschamps. I am not his superior, he has experience in the France team that I do not have. He is respected and loved by the whole group. We will be hand in hand to try to make this team reign. If he has something to say in front of the group, I sit down and listen.”
Why do you want me to change
All these signs of openings have not eluded the personality of the principal concerned. Because it is not enough to drive out the natural to remove it definitively. So, Kylian Mbappé was asked if he understood the doubts when some see him as an individualist, even selfish player. “I don’t understand, but I accept because it’s the life of a high-level ultra-mediatized player, people judge without being inside, he regrets. The players know that my first obsession is to win and I win with the team. A player who scores goals, when he doesn’t score, he can be accused of selfishness. We will say ‘he could have played with the others’, etc.”
One thing is certain, the function will not change it. “Why do you want me to change?”he replied to a journalist who asked him if he would evolve, armband on his biceps, if he would become more diplomatic, like his predecessor? “I’m not like Hugo, he was not like me, he swept away without flinching. Everyone does according to their personality. The coach didn’t put me as captain thinking ‘he’s going to do the same thing as Hugo’.”
The proof a few seconds later, when he was asked to speak about Noël Le Graët and his tweet, which sounded the hallali of the president of the FFF: “I know my words are loud, I know that. That’s why I spoke out. You have to thank him for what he did, because he didn’t just do negative things. But he resigned and is no longer part of the news of the France team and the French Football Federation. Thank you good night. The Mbappé era has begun.
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