Romain Rouillard 22:18 p.m., March 23, 2023

From Rome, where they participated this Wednesday in a match of the Variétés club de France, Robert Pirès and Christian Karembeu returned to the choice of Didier Deschamps to entrust the captaincy to Kylian Mbappé in the France team. The two former 1998 world champions delivered two divergent points of view.

We would almost forget that the race for Euro 2024 begins on Friday evening for the Blues. It must be said that the reception of the Netherlands on the sidelines of the qualifiers of the next European Championship was rather overshadowed this week by a decision of coach Didier Deschamps. That of entrusting the captain's armband to Kylian Mbappé (24 years old). The Parisian striker succeeds Hugo Lloris, who put an end to his international career in the wake of the 2022 World Cup, and wins a status that Antoine Griezmann would have dreamed of obtaining. The Atlético Madrid player (117 caps - 42 goals) was affected by this choice even going, according to L'Equipe, to wonder about the follow-up to his career in the jersey flanked by the rooster.


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"When you see the players that there were or still are in relation to the selection, for me, it was quite logical that the armband goes to Antoine Griezmann," said in Europe 1 Sport Robert Pirès, world champion in 1998 with the Blues. According to the former Arsenal player, the native of Macon would have deserved reward for his "longevity" and "continuity". Antoine Griezmann has worn the France shirt since 2014 and has always enjoyed the confidence of Didier Deschamps, even when his club performances were declining. He has not missed a single game in the France team since June 13, 2017, 74 consecutive games. "Griezmann is a bit 'his man'. His player, his soldier. So I was a little surprised. Also disappointed for Antoine Griezmann, because he expected it and especially deserved it, "continues Robert Pirès.

"If he bequeaths it to Kylian, it means that he sees it in the long term"

According to him, it would have been better to wait a little longer before giving the armband to the PSG striker. "Obviously, I have nothing against Kylian Mbappe. But to answer your question, yes, I think it's a little too early because he already has huge responsibilities, even if he takes them. He did it at the last World Cup," Pirès said. The Bondynois had indeed distinguished himself in Qatar, finishing top scorer with eight goals including a hat-trick in the final against Argentina. A competition in which Antoine Griezmann had also shone, reminds the former OM player. "For me, he was the best French player in the whole World Cup. So I'm surprised by the choice of 'DD', but we respect it as usual."

For his part, Christian Karembeu, teammate of Pirès (and Deschamps) during the epic of 98, approves the decision of the coach. "I understand Robert's opinion but I know Didier very well (...) and he knows that if he gives it (the captaincy) to Kylian, it means that he has all the parameters required to be captain. And so it doesn't surprise me because Didier was captain very young and very early. And if he bequeaths it to Kylian, it means that he sees it in the long term." The first step for Kylian Mbappé will be to put his family on the right track for the qualification for Euro 2024 to be played in Germany.