Kylian Mbappe has hit out at French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet over comments made on the striker’s motivations to quit the French national side.
Le Graet had claimed that Mbappe was considering walking out on the national setup after missing the crucial penalty in Didier Deschamps’ side’s Euro 2020 elimination against Switzerland in the quarter-final of their Round of 16 tie. The FFF chief claimed that the striker felt he was not given sufficient support after missing the spot-kick.
Mbappe has now refuted this version of events and while he confirmed that he had considered quitting Les Bleus after that incident – missing the penalty itself was not the reason for his thought process, but the racist abuse that followed.
The Paris Saint-Germain striker states that he informed the FFF that he received racist abuse after missing the spot kick that concluded a tense penalty shootout, but that was not something that was followed up on by the governing body.
Le Graet stated on Mbappe’s situation with the French national team: “I met with him after the Euros, he felt that the Federation had not defended him after his missed penalty and the criticism on the networks. We met for five minutes in my office. He was angry, he didn’t want to play for the French team anymore – which he obviously didn’t mean.”
However, Mbappe responded to that suggestion in the strongest terms on Sunday by accusing Le Graet of ignoring racism in a social media post: “I explained to him well that above all else it was in relation to racism, NOT the penalty. However, he thought that there hadn’t been any racism…”
The PSG superstar had at the time publicly stated that he would leave the French international setup if he was thought of as a “problem” – in ambiguous comments that appear to now have their context.
Mbappe said: “I have never taken a single euro to play for the French national team and I will always play for my national team for free. Above all, I never wanted to be a problem. But from the moment where I felt like that I was starting to become a problem and that people felt I was a problem… I received the message, that my ego was what made us lose, that I wanted to take up too much space, and that without me, therefore, we might have won.
“The most important thing is the French national team and if the French national team is happier without me, (then I will leave). I met with the president and we talked about it. What I went to complain to him about was that I was insulted and called a ‘monkey’ for missing a penalty. That is not the same thing. I will never complain about a penalty. The penalty, I was the one who missed it.”