French football chief apologizes to legendary player Zidane as remarks cause stir

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French football chief apologizes to legendary player Zidane as remarks cause stir
French football chief apologizes to legendary player Zidane as remarks cause stir

Africa-Press – Eritrea. The French football body’s head on Monday apologized to former FIFA World Cup champion and France legend Zinedine Zidane for dismissive comments about him.

“I would like to present my personal apologies for these remarks which absolutely do not reflect my thoughts, nor my consideration for the player that he was and the coach he has become,” French Football Federation President Noel Le Graet said in a communique, as local sports daily L’Equipe reported.

“These clumsy remarks have created a misunderstanding,” he said.

Le Graet, 81, who has been the French Football Federation chief since 2011, told a French sports channel on Sunday that Zidane, 50, had never been approached to coach the French national team.

“Zidane to Brazil (national team)? I don’t care. He does what he wants, that does not concern me. I have never met him (to talk). We have never considered parting with Didier (Deschamps),” Le Graet previously said.

French football star Kylian Mbappe, who won the 2018 FIFA World Cup, called on Le Graet to respect Zidane as he is a football legend.

“Zidane is France, we don’t disrespect the legend like that,” Mbappe tweeted.

On Monday, Zidane’s former club Real Madrid regretted the unfortunate statements of Le Graet, which is lacking respect towards a famous football figure.

This winter France failed to win the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar but the French national team head coach Didier Deschamps inked a contract extension through 2026 on Saturday.

Deschamps, 54, a former France midfielder, has been coaching Les Bleus since 2012.

In the Deschamps era, France won the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the 2021 UEFA Nations League.

In addition, France were the UEFA EURO 2016 and 2022 World Cup finalists.

Deschamps and Zidane were teammates at France when they won the 1998 World Cup and EURO 2000 titles.

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