France have confirmed that star striker Kylian Mbappe has taken the captaincy role in the wake of Hugo Lloris’ retirement ahead of their March internationals.
The French reached the final of the World Cup in Qatar, but despite a Kylian Mbappe hat-trick they were eventually defeated by Lionel Messi’s Argentina on penalties, denying them the chance of winning back to back World Cups after their 2018 success in Russia.
It led to a mass exodus, with Lloris, Karim Benzema and Raphael Varane all among the high profile stars that announced their retirement from the national team, leaving a leadership void.
And, in a press conference ahead of Les Bleus taking on the Netherlands and the Republic or Ireland in their Euro2024 Qualification openers, Didier Deschamps confirmed that Mbappe was set to take the armband from the retired Hugo Lloris.
“Kylian Mbappé is in the new France captain”, he explained. “Antoine Griezmann is the vice-captain. Kylian ticks all the boxes to have this responsibility. On the pitch as well as within the squad, by being a key element.”
Still just 24-years-old, Mbappe has already racked up a weighty 66 caps for France, though he will have to go a long way to match Lloris, who appeared 142 times for his country.
One much more manageable record, however, should be the all-time top goalscorer. He has already found the net 36 times, good enough for sixth on the list, and is only 17 behind Olivier Giroud, who currently holds the record having overtaken Thierry Henry in the World Cup group stages.
The decision has not gone down well in all corners, however, with speculation that Antoine Griezmann could retire from the national team after being named no.2, rather than no.1, by Deschamps.