Speaking in a press conference on Sunday, Kylian Mbappé further called out Olivier Giroud following a week of controversy after the PSG attacker took a statement by the Chelsea man after France’s 3-0 win over Bulgaria that he was not being passed to enough badly – in full.
On why he wanted to give a press conference earlier this week:
I wanted to come on Thursday, but today, I did not want to come, I was chosen. I wanted to come on Thursday to explain myself. We spoke with the coach, it was not the best moment. He decided that the best moment was today. So I obeyed and I came today.
On Olivier Giroud’s post-match statement after the Bulgaria game when he said that he felt he was not being passed enough to:
We spoke. It is true that we have spoken about this matter. We did not speak for long, perhaps because there was not too many things to say. On the pitch it went well. After, everyone knows a little what happened. It is true that I was a bit affected by that. But, we are not going to make a big deal out of it because we are here to represent France, and France remains the most important thing. This is a major competition and little quarrels are not going to interrupt our preparations because we have other objectives, me and him, and the 24 other players all focused on the same objective, which is the Euros.
On Christian Eriksen’s collapse:
We were training, we were coming towards the end of training. When the coach was telling us who is taking free-kicks and penalties. It is true that in that instant, it is really horrible, because we as players know the stresses of the pitch. The match was secondary. The players had a lot of courage to return to the field. The first thing I thought was that I hope he is doing well, that his family and those close to him are doing well because it is a truly difficult thing to endure. And we were all anxious, we feared the worst, although the latest news suggests that he is doing well, what I saw this morning. We are really relieved, we hope to hear more good news to come, and that there won’t be any other incidents like this during the competition and in the future.
On whether he will wait until after the Euros to make a decision on his PSG future:
I am not interested in this. I am not interested in this. I am here to represent France, PSG, with all the respect I have this for this club, and I am an employee of this club, it does not interest me. The most important thing is the French national team and I will not be speaking about anything else in order not to bother the squad or the other players, because that is the most important thing.
On what bothered Kylian Mbappé about Olivier Giroud’s words on Tuesday night:
Was my answer before not good? (smiles) I will explain. It wasn’t what he said, honestly what he said did not bother me much at all. I am an attacker, and it is a feeling, he is expressing a feeling when he speaks. It does not bother me. I am an attacker, I have this feeling 365 times during a match and I will have it more, the feeling when you are not receiving service. It is more that he put it out there publicly, to say that I saw him in the dressing room, I congratulated him for his two goals, he didn’t say anything, and then I learned about it in the press. It is more that than what he said, because what he said, there was nothing nasty about it. He is an attacker, he wants to score goals, and he is not far off of a certain record.
And when you are an attacker that goes around in your head and if he could have scored another he would have. It is more putting it out there publicly, I would have liked him to come to me and be more vicious. In a dressing room, that has happened to me, we know each other for a little while now, you know how I am in the dressing room, if I have something to say I will say it. I have no problem, it stays in the dressing room. It is not a problem, it is a little quarrel, I don’t want our preparation that has started well, as we have done good matches, I don’t want it to bother the team, the team doesn’t need it we already have very difficult challenges.
On the idea that Kylian Mbappé wants to have a say on PSG signings:
This does not interest me, but I will answer it and be very clear. This is the only thing about PSG I will discuss or anything else. I have never asked for a player to be signed to Nasser Al Khelaifi, Leonardo, or anyone else at the club. I have never even advised, I think I am simply a football player and I must concentrate on what happens on the pitch. Despite everything that is being said, and the president and Leonardo can respond, I have never asked the club to sign a single player.
On if his quarrel with Olivier Giroud will have an adverse impact on the squad:
Of course it can, if things are not explained. If you leave something like that in the air, there will be a lot of things not said. The situation is clear, it was a bit tense, but it is often like that, I have got to know several dressing rooms. The most important thing is to discuss it and make things clear. And there you go, to concentrate and to move beyond it. The most important thing is the squad and the Euros. I think this little micro-episode has detracted a little from the fact that we are concentrating on one unique thing: the Euros. This first match vs Germany, in 48 hours, super important. I am surprised nobody has asked questions about the match so far. The most important thing is that we are all preparing together, the 26 players plus the staff, for this important match that is coming.
On Antonio Rüdiger saying that Germany might have to play dirty against France’s front 3:
Each man fights with the weapons at their disposal. Our weapons are to play together, to play our game. If those are their weapons, then they will play with theirs, we will play with ours. And we remain focused on our preparation, analysing well what their strengths and weaknesses are, and to try to begin this tournament well.
On if he plays better with Karim Benzema in the team:
We have not played together much yet. This is only the start, but I think that Karim’s quality does not have to be proven. We know the qualities of this player, we hope that he will bring us an enormous amount. I don’t have many doubts on this subject. He will bring his technical quality, his vision and his finishing, because he is capable of scoring goals. He is a complete attacker, who will work with the team. I think it will only be beneficial for the French national team. Time will tell. We played together for 60 minutes vs Wales when they had 10 men, then we played together for 30 minutes vs Bulgaria and then he got injured. If I tell you he makes me play better it is a bad answer, if I tell you that he does not make me play better it is also a bad answer. Time will tell.
On what changes for him in the 4-1-2-1-2 with and without the ball & in terms of Karim as a person, how does he feel:
The shape has changed, he is a very different player to Olivier, who is a lot more static. Karim likes movement, he can find himself on the left or the right, they are two completely different players. So of course the shape changes. On the human side, he really is a good guy, I didn’t know him. I was not here when he was for the French national team, I have played against him a bit with Madrid, but now I am getting to know him, he is a good guy, relaxed, jokey, he has acclimatised well to the squad. I hope it will continue like that.
They are a good team, who have started to undergo a little rebuild, they have installed some young players, but they have also had guys come back, like Thomas Müller and Mats Hummels. They are significant players. It is a nation that has always been able to build a strong team, who have united behind a playing identity, so they will be an impressive opponent, no doubt. We like to play against these types of teams, this is why we are playing football, these sorts of matches are the ones you dreamt of as a kid. So we will prepare well to try to counter this team as much as possible.
On Michel Platini’s record of 9 goals in a Euros tournament:
Yes, that is a lot, but we always say that records are made to be broken. If it happens great, if it doesn’t happen, no worries.
On being favourites:
Yes people have been talking about this a lot, but we have achieved this status by what we have done on the pitch. We were vice-champions of Europe, World Champions, when you achieve these sorts of results you cannot hide. We should also not avoid the main topic, which is what happens on the pitch. We won this respect on the pitch, and this is where we will continue to win it. Of course, we are in the limelight, and that is a good thing, because in the past, even we have asked why aren’t we supported etc. Now we have the opportunity of being supported by people, by the media, now the most important thing is what happens on the pitch, to remain focused to continue winning matches.
On the difference between Mbappé in 2018 & Mbappé in 2021:
Back then it was about confirming my potential, stepping my feet into the big world so to speak. Today, we are 3 years later, I have done 3 full seasons. I have won quite a few titles, collectively and individually, but it is always about confirming your potential, football is incessantly about that, now I am in a different stage of my career. But it will be about helping the team, it is never about isolating yourself from the team, it is always about helping, which I am trying to do to the maximum. Now, we need to stay united and play to our strengths. We were able to do it at the World Cup, even though we had a wobbly start. Now we cannot afford a wobbly start, when you see the opponents that I am immediately up against. And to continue on this path.
On penalties, with the national team recently missing them:
I don’t know, I saw Grizi was speaking about it, but the coach hasn’t said anything, maybe I wasn’t there, but I haven’t heard anything. Maybe the coach will make a hierarchy, but for now I don’t know of one. We will see.
On his personal responsibility at the tournament:
It is difficult, because when I spoke about this last time I regretted it and apologised. I think you earn that on the pitch, it is on the pitch that I must continue to show what I can do. And to continue to take the steps to arrive to where I want to arrive.
On the 4-1-2-1-2 turning into a 4-3-3 at times:
For me it doesn’t change much, it doesn’t change my position much either way. The two systems, when you have a #10, you have the front two who are much more free. When you have a 4-3-3 you have a deep block that is much more compact, less holes, the coach will decide. We are just there to execute. Of course we speak with him, but he will decide.
On whether or not it seems that Mbappé feeds the ball more rapidly to Neymar and Benzema than Giroud:
They are completely different players, completely different. We speak about Neymar, who touches the ball 150 times per match, Benzema who touches the ball 80 times per match, and Olivier who touches it a lot less because of his profile. If you compare how many passes I make to Benzema or Neymar vs Olivier, of course I pass less to Olivier. But that does not mean I am not looking for Olivier, it is just that his profile is different. Karim comes 40m deep to get the ball, Olivier likes to remain up top to be present in the box for the final balls. I think that is a bit unfair, you are trying to say things without saying them. You are basically saying that I don’t want to pass to Olivier.
I think you pass more to some players than other.
That is your view, I respect it. That is your choice, I am telling you that they have different profiles.
On being criticised for not tracking back enough:
I have no problem for being criticised for things in the game, I know I am not the most irreproachable in terms of tracking back, I am trying to improve daily. So I just try to help my team as much as I can. I am not a perfect player, we all have strengths and weaknesses, which is why I am working on that.