Following France’s World Cup final loss to Argentina, Emmanuel Macron has long sought to comfort Les Bleus star Kylian Mbappé. An image denounced on social media.
[Mis à jour le 20 décembre 2022 à 19h03] If the Azzurri lost in the World Cup final against Argentina (4 penalties 2, 3-3 after extra time), one of the images that remains is that of the disappointment of the French team’s players. After the match, Emmanuel Macron, who had made the trip to Doha, immediately took to the field to console the French players, and in particular Kylian Mbappé. In the images, widely disseminated and commented on social media, we first see the President of the Republic crouched next to the French attacker, sitting on the ground, who is comforted by the Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martinez. As the player stands up, Emmanuel Macron turns to him, stroking his stomach, holding his arm and taking his face in his hands. Kylian Mbappé, visibly embarrassed, does not answer a word to the president.
The images of the head of state who tries in vain to comfort the Habs, and above all Kylian Mbappé – the French man of the match thanks to a hat-trick – are numerous: on the ground, on the podium and also in the dressing room. And in front of the press, the politician praised the French player: “Mbappé is a great player but he’s young, I told him he was only 24. What do you want, I’ll tell you: he was the top scorer in this Cup, he’s an extraordinary player, he already won a World Cup, he made a final.But in his somewhat disjointed emotional speech, Emmanuel Macron acknowledged the bitterness of defeat: “I’m not the best at reasoning with people tonight, because I’m at least as sad as he is”.
“I have seen such sad people”
Even Emmanuel Macron took a few moments to measure the pain of the France players at the end of the match. “I told the players that they made us very proud and in the end we lost a football match, we went to nothing. This is sport. But I have seen such sad people. It is also sport. I congratulate the Argentine team, he’s a great sportsman, great footballers, there are times here, we win legendary matches, with shots on goal, we’ve won some, we’ve won others too. […] It makes us sad, but we can be proud of our team, it’s very rare, after winning a cup, to go back, go to the finals and almost win.”
Emmanuel Macron then went to the France locker room after the long minutes spent on the Lusail pitch. A moment during which the President of the Republic reminded the players that “they made us immensely proud”. “You made millions of French people dream, you played great football”, launched the Head of State, giving the impression of stepping out of his role to almost adopt that of coach, next to a closed-faced Didier Deschamps in front of dull players. And the politician added: “The lessons you will learn, there will undoubtedly be some regrets after this match but […] you are a great team! There you go, tonight will be tough but tomorrow we will attack again because that’s how we beat them.”
The insistent and unwelcome consolations of Emmanuel Macron?
On the pitch, on the podium, in the locker room and finally in front of the press. Emmanuel Macron didn’t miss an opportunity to console the France players after the penalty shootout defeat. “Congratulations to France for its progress and its combativeness in this World Cup. You have thrilled the nation and the fans from all over the world”, repeated the Head of State on Twitter, briefly congratulating Argentina on their victory. The politician preferred to dwell on the exploits of the Blues at length: “At the end of the first period we were very far away. It has already happened, there have been such comebacks but it is very rare in the history of football. We recovered well. It is extraordinary what Mbappé did, but the whole team. We were hungry again. I believed in it immensely. Afterwards, we performed a second miracle by coming back from nothing.
Emmanuel Macron’s speeches and attentions appeared insistent in the eyes of viewers and internet users who saw in the attempts of the President of the Republic to comfort the Azzurri of a political recovery or a strategy to improve his image. Others simply believe the head of state has done too much and intruded on the team at a time when footballers would have preferred to remain between themselves in the privacy of the dressing room and those just missing a second consecutive crowning as world champions. Internet users want proof of this in the stoic face of Kylian Mbappé in the images of Emmanuel Macron’s hugs to the French striker. “Kylian Mbappé is uncomfortable with Macron’s forced approach, which is only trying to play on his image. There is no exchange, reciprocity, emotions …”, writes a user in a tweet spotted by The voice of the North. Didier Deschamps was no longer effusive towards the French president, the coaches as well as his players were not in the mood for talkativeness.
Emmanuel Macron would therefore have shown himself too much after the World Cup final, at least after a defeat. But other Internet users on the contrary welcome the presence of the Head of State with the players even without a victory at the end of the game.
Emmanuel Macron out of his role and criticized by the opposition
It’s not just among internet users and football fans that Emmanuel Macron’s intrusion into the Blues’ defeat has been poorly received. The entire political sphere, already very critical of the World Cup and the visit of the Head of State to Qatar, is also watching the speeches and praises of the President of the Republic with ridicule. The scene was “ridiculous” for the deputy of the National Gathering, Sébastien Chenu, a guest of LCI extension this Monday, December 19, which established that the Head of State “was not [à] his place”: “It was a little scary to see him, yesterday, trying to cling like a crampon to Mbappé”. in the face of the approaches of Emmanuel Macron who was relieved, in particular by the ecologist Sandrine Rousseau. Others were more fragile and without real empathy for the Blues like LFI MP Manon Aubry who played derision on Twitter: “Don’t worry, Kylian you can work until you’re 65 and win many other world cups!”