“Zinédine Zidane must be treated with respect” asks former French PM Lionel Jospin

Following the controversial comments made by the French Football Federation president Noël Le Graët about Zinedine Zidane during an interview with RMC on Sunday evening, former Prime Minister Lionel Jospin felt compelled to reply. The FFF supremo, when asked about the former midfielder following the extension of Didier Deschamps’ contract at the head of Les Bleus until 2026, stated he didn’t “give a toss” about Zidane’s projects. “I don’t really care. Did he try to ring me? Definitely not. I wouldn’t have even picked up the phone for him”, claimed Le Graët.

Noël Le Graët sparked outrage with these comments. Paris Saint-Germain striker Kylian Mbappe (24) stepped up on Twitter, coming to Zidane’s defense, and Sports Minister Amelie Oudéa-Castéra called for an apology. Le Graët obliged and sent an apology to AFP for “his clumsy comments“. “I want to give my apologies for those comments that absolutely don’t reflect my thoughts, nor my consideration for the player that he was and the manager he has become.”

Political pressure keeps mounting on the 81-year-old president of the FFF. So much so that Lionel Jospin, who was France’s Prime Minister from 1997 to 2002 came to the defense of the legendary playmaker turned successful manager with Real Madrid. “On July 12th 1998 (…), I saw our players, led by our manager Aimé Jacquet, by their skipper Didier Deschamps and their playmaker Zinedine Zidane brought our country its first World Cup,” wrote Jospin to L’Equipe.I acknowledge the work accomplished by Noël Le Graët at the helm of the French Football Federation (…) but I simply want to state that Zinédine Zidane, an immense player that exemplified French sport and a great manager, deserves our admiration. He must be treated with respect.

GFFN | Bastien Cheval

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