The aftermath of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar saw several senior members of the runner-up team France retire from international football, including captain Hugo Lloris, Raphaël Varane and Karim Benzema. The exit of Tottenham Hotspur’s shot stopper Lloris left a big question to the French side, as he has kept the captain’s armband for his country for almost one and a half decades. The Didier Deschamps-managed side is set to take on Netherlands in the 2024 UEFA European Championship Qualifiers, and the 54-year-old had just announced his new captain for France, Golden Boot winner and Paris Saint-Germain forward Kylian Mbappé.
Youngest French Captain
The Paris-born Mbappé made his international debut back in 2017 and has since then scored an emphatic 36 goals in 66 appearances for the France national team, including 12 tallies in the biggest football event, the FIFA World Cup. His incredible goal to game ratio made him the best candidate to break the French national team and FIFA World Cup’s all-time scoring records, with the 24-year-old forward now only 18 and 5 goals away from rewriting the history book respectively.
While these two records will likely take some time to surpass, Mbappé will be given the honour of France’s youngest ever captain at international stage, after Deschamps decided to promote his young forward to permenantly lead his French side in future games, including two 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers against Netherlands and Ireland this coming international break.
Mbappé’s admission as the new France national team skipper will fuel his motivation in leading the team to regain its status as the best national team in the world, after failing to defend its FIFA World Cup trophy that was won in Russia four years ago. Besides, the 24-year-old will now join the likes of Michel Platini, Zinedine Zidane, Eric Cantona, Thierry Henry, etc. as French greats who had captained the national side in the past, with some of them led the national side to glories namely the 1998 FIFA World Cup and 1984 and 2000 UEFA European Championships.
Deschamps: “Kylian Ticks All the Boxes.”
Didier Deschamps spoke about the 24-year-old Mbappé’s qualities of being a captain, stating that the player has everything it takes to be the new French skipper and succeed at the role, having already captained his club Paris Saint-Germain multiple times despite being a young player. During a press conference, the 54-year-old Frenchman also mentioned his decision to elect Atlético Madrid’s 32-year-old versatile attacker Antoine Griezmann as the new vice captain of France.
“Kylian Mbappé is the new captain of Les Blues. Antoine Griezmann is the vice-captain. Kylian ticks all the boxes to have this responsibility. On the field as in group life, by being a unifying element”, said Deschamps.
Deschamps is not the only one who thinks Mbappé is more than qualified to lead the France national team in international matches. Earlier this year, former French captain Hugo Lloris, who held the post for a long 14 years, complimented the Paris-born forward’s traits as a leader on and off the field as well. “There is one player that is becoming more powerful in every aspect on and off the pitch and even in the functioning of the dressing room – it’s Kylian Mbappé” was the 36-year-old’s response.
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First Captained the Side Against Denmark in September 2022
Kylian Mbappé had led the France national football team once in the past, which was a 2022/2023 UEFA Nations League A Group Match against Denmark at Parken Stadium, in which the French lost by a 2-0 score line. The 24-year-old forward will officially start his reign as the newly-selected France captain, when he leads Deschamps’ side to take on Netherlands for a 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifier clash at Stade de France, where he will be celebrated as the country’s youngest ever captain before the cheering home fans. The France national team will then travel to Aviva Stadium for an away fixture in this qualifying round against Ireland.
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