‘Offside’?: Macron stirs critics with World Cup final role | Football News

PARIS: From jumping from his seat in the VIP box to consoling discouraged players on the pitch, the French president Emmanuel Macron delivered a high-profile performance at the world cup final it was not to everyone’s taste.
The 44-year-old was an unmissable presence during the match at Lusail Stadium in Qatar on Sunday, even making an appearance in the team dressing room to deliver an emotional pep talk after the match.
“You are an amazing team,” Macron told the players, banging his fist in his hand for added effect. “No other team would have come here and come back twice and been so close to winning it.

(AP Photo)
“You had the heart, the hunger, the desire and the talent to get here and that’s why I wanted to come and say thank you,” he added, according to a video posted on his social media accounts.
France led 2-0 until the 80th minute before a quick double from Kylian Mbappe equalized the game.
In extra time, Argentina took a 3-2 lead through a second goal from Lionel Messi before another penalty from Mbappe led to a shootout to settle the final.
Macron entered the pitch after the game, notably grabbing Mbappe in front of the TV cameras and holding the striker’s head to his chest.
He spoke animatedly to the distraught player who showed little desire to exchange pleasantries with the head of state on the pitch and barely acknowledged him.


Macron congratulates Messi, consoles Mbappé

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“It was a little disturbing to see him stuck like glue to Mbappe,” far-right opposition MP Sébastien Chenu told LCI.
The famed touch leader also stood alongside the Emir of Qatar in the VIP line as players presented awards and medals during the closing ceremony.
“Sport should not be politicized,” quipped the new leader of the ultra-left party La France insoumise Manuel Bompard on Twitter, using a phrase used by the president himself on November 11.
Macron made the comments about the World Cup when asked about Qatar hosting the competition despite its human rights record.
“Has Macron gone too far?” asked the BFM news channel, adding that he had acted as France’s “12th man” throughout the evening.
Macron is an avid national team follower who also made headlines in 2018 by jumping to his feet from the stands when France won the World Cup in Russia.
“The president is not on the field”, we read on the SoFoot.com site under the title “Macron, offside at miles”.
“His role and his position should not be seen like that, in these kinds of moments which, whether tragic or glorious, belong only to the players and perhaps to the staff,” he added. .
The president also traveled to Qatar to watch France beat Morocco in the semi-finals on Wednesday, after which he made another dressing room appearance.
As the team returned to Paris on Monday, the president visited the French aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle, which is anchored off the coast of Egypt, for the traditional Christmas meal with French troops.
Sports Minister Amélie Oudéa-Castera told France Inter radio that he would officially congratulate the players on the New Year.


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