France star Kylian Mbappe has hit back at claims made by the head of the French Football Federation, Noel le Graet, that he wanted to quit the national team after Euro 2020 over his penalty miss.
Mbappe missed the decisive penalty in France’s second-round tie against Switzerland at Euro 2020 in Bucharest. After the game finished 3-3 after extra time, spot-kicks were required.
Mbappe was the subject of mass criticism on social media after the miss. Speaking in October 2021, he told L’Equipe: “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 [I’ll go].”
What did Noel le Graet say?
Speaking earlier this week to the French outlet Journal du Dimanche, Le Graet alleged: “I had received him after the Euros. He found that the Federation had not defended him after his missed penalty, and the criticism on his missed penalty and the criticism on the network.
“He was angry, he no longer wanted to play in the France team – which he obviously did not think. You know what it is, a winner. He was very frustrated, like all of us, by the elimination. He is so publicised, he is a great guy, much more collective than you think.”
Kylian Mbappe fires back at France chief
Since Le Graet’s claims were made, Kylian Mbappe has hit back on social media. Although not denying that he had considered quitting the national team, he did dispute the reasoning given by the French chief.
He wrote: “Yes, but I explained to him above all that it was in relation to racism, and NOT to the penalty. But he considered that there had been no racism…”
After the Euro 2020 penalty miss, Mbappe was subjected to racial abuse online. He had already been subjected to racial abuse inside the stadium. Hungary fans directed monkey chants at him during the group stage game between the two nations.
UEFA later ordered Hungary to play two matches behind closed doors due to “discriminatory behaviour” at Euro 2020.
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