Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Mbappe reveals Griezmann was ´disappointed´ to miss out on France captaincy

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 23 Mar 2023

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Kylian Mbappe revealed Antoine Griezmann was disappointed to have been overlooked for the France captaincy, but insisted he is not superior to any other player in the squad.

France head coach Didier Deschamps confirmed on Tuesday that Mbappe will take the armband from Hugo Lloris – who retired from international football in January – with Griezmann named as the Paris Saint-Germain star’s deputy.

Mbappe has earned 66 caps for Les Blues, compared to Griezmann’s 117, though the Atletico Madrid forward is eight years his senior.

Reports from France this week suggested Griezmann did not take the news well, feeling he was better suited to the role, and Mbappe can understand why his team-mate was upset at the decision.

“I spoke with Antoine. He was disappointed and it’s understandable,” Mbappe said at a press conference on Thursday. “I told him that I would have had the same reaction.

“He is perhaps the player who has been the most important in the Deschamps era. But I am not his superior. We will be hand in hand, he and I, to try to make this French team reign at world level.

“If he has something to say in front of the group, I will sit down and listen. We must not close the door to anyone. Everyone is free to express themselves.”

Mbappe’s first assignment as skipper will be Friday’s opening Euro 2024 qualifier against the Netherlands at the Stade de France.

Explaining his decision to hand the armband to Mbappe, Deschamps said the superstar attacker “ticks all the boxes” to lead the team, explaining that Griezmann is more than willing to play his part.

“I had discussions [with Griezmann], but I will not go into details,” he told reporters. “I can assure you that Antoine, since Monday has been smiling.

“That he was disappointed at the time, it is legitimate. But that stopped there.

“From what I see, everyone has the same objective in relation to the group. Antoine is vice-captain; he has an important role as he always had.

“He is radiant, whether it be in the sessions or in the group.”

Mbappe, who has also occasionally captained PSG, does not believe the new role will alter the way he plays.

“I’m not going to change,” he said. “I will always do what my coach asks me. A good captain is someone focused on the team, who is able to unite.

“It’s beyond cool. I’m captain of my country. It’s a new responsibility for me which I will assume naturally. It won’t change the way I play, but maybe the way I behave.”

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