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‘Lack of respect’ – Real Madrid weigh into Zidane vs FFF row following France job snub jibe from Le Graet

11:10 AM WAT 09/01/2023
Zidane
Real Madrid have added their collective voice to those calling out the “lack of respect” shown to Zinedine Zidane by FFF president Noel Le Graet.
  • Ill-advised comments from FFF president
  • Blancos join Mbappe in condemning him
  • Le Graet has apologised for his actions

WHAT HAPPENED? The head of the French Football Federation has claimed that he never spoke to Les Bleus icon Zidane about becoming national team coach on the back of a runners-up finish at the 2022 World Cup, while also stating that he would have snubbed any attempts from the former Ballon d’Or winner to enter into talks. Le Graet told RMC Sport: “Zinedine Zidane in Brazil? I don't care, he can go where he wants! Did Zidane tried to reach me? Certainly not, I wouldn't even have picked up the phone anyway. I've never met him, we never considered parting with Didier [Deschamps].”

WHAT THEY SAID: Paris Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappe was quick to call out the FFF president on the back of that statement, as he responded to an apparent show of “disrespect” against a national icon, and Real Madrid have now posted in a statement on the club’s official website: “Real Madrid C. F. laments the unfortunate comments made by the president of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, regarding Zinedine Zidane, one of the world's biggest sporting legends.

These remarks show a lack of respect for one of the most admired figures by football fans around the world and our club is awaiting an immediate correction. Zinedine Zidane, World and European champion representing his country, amongst many other honours, he embodies the values of the sport and has proven this throughout his professional career as a player and as a coach. The statements by the president of the French Football Federation are inappropriate for someone holding such representation and are in themselves unsuitable, like those he also made about our captain Karim Benzema, current Ballon d'Or, Nations League champion with France in 2021 and winner of 5 Champions Leagues, amongst many other honours.”

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Le Graet – who branded Benzema a “donkey” during an infamous legal dispute with former France team-mate Mathieu Valbuena - has apologised for his “clumsy” comments on Zidane, saying in a statement released through the FFF: “I would like to apologise for these remarks which absolutely do not reflect my thoughts, nor my consideration for the player he was and the coach he has become.”

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT NEXT? Zidane – who spent five years with Real Madrid as a player before going on to oversee three Champions League triumphs and two La Liga title successes across two stints as coach – has been out of work since leaving Santiago Bernabeu at the end of the 2020-21 campaign.