- Mbappe captaincy decision questioned
- But Konate calls those critics "crazy"
- Feels forward is fully deserving of armband
WHAT HAPPENED? The Paris Saint-Germain star was announced as Les Blues' skipper for their upcoming European qualifiers by Didier Deschamps on Tuesday, taking over from the retired Hugo Lloris and Raphael Varane. But given his occasional turbulent past behind the scenes, both at club and international level, questions have been raised over whether Mbappe is deserving of the armband.
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WHAT THEY SAID: But Konate, who only made his France debut in June of last year, couldn't speak highly enough of the 24-year-old forward, telling Eurosport: “Even if I had a say in this, it would not change a thing. It’s the coach’s decision but I’m very happy. Honestly, Kylian deserves it. We’re unanimous on this. He deserves it with what he’s done at the World Cup and with PSG as well.
"He’s a very good leader, on and off the pitch. He’s a young lad who loves to laugh and have fun, nothing more. He’s a very good person. Some may think he’s arrogant. It’s something I was asked about in my club and elsewhere. To them, I say ‘Are you crazy? He’s so nice.’ Of course, he will be a good skipper.”
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Despite the announcement coming on Tuesday, GOAL revealed that the decision had been made some days before, with Mbappe pipping the experienced Griezmann to the armband. The Atletico Madrid star, who turned 32 on the day of the announcement, was thought to have reacted badly to the call, but Konate played down such reports, joking: “I did not see him sulking at all. Besides, it’s his birthday.“
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WHAT NEXT FOR KONATE? The 23-year-old will be hoping to add to his tally of seven international caps, as he looks set to feature in Deschamps' defensive line for years to come. He will be hoping to get some game time in France's upcoming qualifiers against the Netherlands and Ireland, despite a season partially blighted by injury.