Kylian Mbappe has stressed that the disappointment of missing a penalty at Euro 2020 was not behind his decision to contemplate international retirement, but rather the racist abuse that came along with it.
The president of the French Football Federation, Noel Le Graet, recently revealed that Mbappe considered walking away from Les Bleus because he didn’t feel protected from ‘criticism on social media’, later suggesting the forward’s feelings stemmed from frustration towards France’s elimination from the tournament.
Mbappe has since taken to Twitter to insist that the outcome of the game – the PSG forward missed the decisive penalty as France fell to Switzerland in the round of 16 – had absolutely nothing to do with his actions.
“Yes, well, I explained to him clearly that it was in relation to racism and not the penalty,” Mbappe said of Le Graet’s words. “But he considered that there had been no racism…”
Le Graet has attracted criticism for several comments he has made in the past, including a claim from 2020 that racism in football ‘does not exist’.
“Racism in France…in a whole match there may be some discrepancies, but we have less than 1% of difficulties today,” Le Graet told BFM.
“When a black guy, forgive me, scores a goal, the whole stadium is standing. So quite frankly, the phenomenon of racism in sport, and in football in particular, does not exist, or [it is] little.”
Le Graet has also publicly questioned the FFF’s ruling that matches can be temporarily halted by referees if any homophobic chants or banners are spotted in the crowd, insisting he did not want to be ‘held hostage’ by homophobia.