Real Madrid have issued a statement condemning the ‘lack of respect’ shown towards Zinedine Zidane after French Football president claimed that he would not even pick up the phone to hear Zidane’s interest in the France job.
Zidane had been hotly tipped to succeed Didier Deschamps in the France hotseat after the World Cup, but the French Football Federation (FFF) opted instead to hand the current Les Blues boss a new deal running until 2026, leaving Zidane without a job.
And it led to inevitable questions, which FFF President Noel Le Graet dismissed.
In comments quoted by Get French Football News, Le Graet told the awaiting media: “Zidane to Brazil? I don’t give a toss.”
“He can go wherever he wants, to a club or to a national team. I don’t really care about it. Did he try to ring me? Definitely not. I wouldn’t have even picked up the phone for him.”
It led to backlash across football, with France posterboy Kylian Mbappe taking to Twitter to hit back at the ‘disrespect’ shown to Zidane.
“Zidane is France, we don’t disrespect the legend like that”, the current France star wrote on social media.
And Real Madrid, who Zidane starred for as both player and manager, also took issue with the comments. The Frenchman made over 200 appearances for Los Blancos, before turning his hand to management and winning three successive Champions League trophies with the Spanish outfit, embellishing further his legend status at the club.
“Real Madrid CF regrets the unfortunate statements made by the president of the French Football Federation, Nöel Le Graët, about Zinedine Zidane, one of the greatest legends of world sport”, they wrote in an official statement.
“These words imply a lack of respect towards one of the figures most admired by football fans around the world and our club expects an immediate rectification. Zinedine Zidane, world champion and European champion defending his country’s jersey, among many other titles, represents the values of sport and has demonstrated 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 who holds that representation and disqualify themselves, like the ones he also makes about our captain Karim Benzema, current Ballon d’Or, champion of the League of Nations with France in 2021 and winner of 5 Champions League, among many other titles.”
La Graet has since apologised for his ‘awkward’ comments, explaining that “These remarks absolutely do not reflect my thoughts, nor my consideration for the player he was and the coach he has become”