Kylian Mbappe has revealed he held talks with a “disappointed” Antoine Griezmann after the Paris Saint-Germain superstar was made the new France captain.
“I told him I am not his superior,” said the World Cup’s top scorer.
Didier Deschamps has given the job to Mbappe, even though the Atletico Madrid player is eight years older and has 117 caps for Les Bleus, compared to Mbappe’s 66.
The France manager spoke to both men on Monday before naming Hugo Lloris’ successor. And before his first game in charge in a Euro 2024 qualifier against the Netherlands, Mbappe said: “I spoke with Antoine because he was disappointed.
“It’s a reaction that I can understand. I told him that in his place, I might have had the same reaction. He is 32 years old, he was one of the best, if not the best, of the Didier Deschamps era.
“I told him that I am not his superior. He has experience in the France team that I don’t have, which is valued by the whole group. We need him and his joie de vivre
“We are going to be hand in hand, him and me, to try to make this French team reign at world level. If he has something to say in front of the group, I will sit down and listen. Everyone is free to express themselves in this group.”
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Mbappe paid a €10,000 fine rather than speak to the media in Qatar until after he got his third Man of the Match award in the last 16 victory over Poland in Qatar.
He increased his power after signing a new deal at PSG last summer – and becoming the world’s highest paid sportsman – but said he won’t hold a press conference before every game like Lloris.
“I am not going to change,” he said. “Everyone is a captain based on their personality. I’m going to be a different captain. I don’t think the coach made me captain thinking I was going to do the same as Hugo. I know my words make noise. People will see me a little more often but I want to leave room for others so I must not monopolise the media space.”
Mbappe added: “Putting aside the responsibilities, it is above all a great pleasure. When the coach asks you if you want to become captain, your mouth immediately says yes. I did not think about it at all.
“He wants me to be a unifier, and lead the team. And that I can be a link between the old guard and the new generation and lead this team to win titles.
“Players who have played with me know that my first obsession is to win. And I don’t win alone, but with the team.”
Deschamps said: “I don’t have any advice for him, Kylian knows what he needs to do.”