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FA president apologizes for Zidane’s “clumsy” remarks

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Paris (AFP) – French football coach Noel Le Graet apologized on Monday for what he described as his “clumsy remarks” about Zinedine Zidane’s potential interest in coaching the French national team.

Le Graet had joked in a French radio interview that he “would not have accepted his call even on the phone” when asked if Zidane had invited him to express his desire to take over as coach Didier Deschamps.

Criticism was drawn from Paris Saint-Germain and French star Kylian Mbappe, who described Le Graet’s statements as “disrespectful”.

French Sports Minister Amelie Audia-Castéra also entered to demand an apology from Le Graet for his remarks, which she said showed a “shameful disrespect”.

The French Football Federation’s 81-year-old duly apologised, Monday, saying: “I would like to apologize for these statements which absolutely do not reflect my view or my appreciation for the player he was and the coach he has become.

“I did an interview with RMC that I didn’t have to do because they were looking for controversy by opposing Didier and Zinedine Zidane, the two greats of French football.

“I admit that I made embarrassing remarks that led to misunderstandings.”

Deschamps’ contract expired after the World Cup in Qatar, where defending champions France lost to Argentina on penalties after a thrilling final on December 18.

However, on Saturday Deschamps signed a new contract until the 2026 World Cup.

Asked in an interview with RMC whether Zidane, who won the 1998 World Cup as a player alongside Deschamps and runner-up in 2006, had contacted him in recent days, Le Graet dismissed former Real Madrid coach as a possible candidate.

“I wouldn’t have answered his call,” Lu said. “To tell him what? Good morning, sir. Don’t worry. Find another club. I just signed Didier.”

Le Graet also responded curtly to reports of Zidane’s interest in coaching the Brazil national team.

He said: I would be surprised if he went there. »

“It’s up to him what he does. It’s none of my business. I’ve never met him and we’ve never thought of breaking up with Didier Deschamps.”

“He can go to any club he wants. He will have what he wants in Europe, a big club. But the national team hardly has credibility in my opinion.”

Zidane left Real Madrid last year after winning two La Liga titles and three consecutive Champions League titles as coach of the Spanish club.

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