Inside France's Kylian Mbappe vs Antoine Griezmann captaincy decision, from meetings with Didier Deschamps to a PlayStation session to diffuse tension
- Mbappe awarded France captaincy
- Decision made before 23-man squad selection
- PlayStation used to clear the air
WHAT HAPPENED? With both Hugo Lloris and Raphael Varane announcing their retirement after the World Cup, there was great anticipation over who would take over the armband. Deschamps had been coy over his future captain, highlighting one key quality of Mbappe but refusing to be drawn beyond that. He explained in Monday's press conference that he would need time to reflect before making a decision, but GOAL can reveal that this choice was made long before the announcement of his latest 23-man squad.
📣 HAVE YOUR SAY: Did France mess up with Mbappe?
THE BIGGER PICTURE: In fact, the supposed "meetings" with both candidates on Monday was not to discuss his options but was instead to inform them of the decision he had already made. France players - save for a few receiving treatment - were gathered in the common room of their Clairefontaine training camp at 9 p.m. on Monday, GOAL can confirm. Deschamps first told Mbappe of his captaincy before letting Griezmann know the bad news, and an hour passed before the rest of the squad learned of the decision.
AND WHAT'S MORE: As has been reported, Griezmann was naturally disappointed with the call, having built up a wealth of experience as well as a strong relationship with Deschamps.
But GOAL can reveal that a PlayStation session was used to clear the air between the two candidates, as both the PSG and Atletico Madrid stars played video games as a way of avoiding a spoiled atmosphere in camp. Griezmann, for his part, is thought to be resigned to the fact that Mbappe represents the future of the France national team, having already been allowed certain privileges in Qatar, such as skipping press conferences and sponsorship workshops.
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WHAT NEXT FOR FRANCE? Deschamps' side face a blockbuster European qualifying opener against the Netherlands on Friday, with Mbappe expected to wear the armband in his new role.