Kylian Mbappe was prepared to walk out on the France national team after his penalty miss against Switzerland at Euro 2020, Noel Le Graet – president of the French Football Federation (FFF) – has revealed.
The Paris Saint-Germain superstar fluffed his lines from 12 yards during a last-16 encounter at last summer’s European Championship that led to the reigning world champions bowing out of continental competition.
Criticism was aimed in his direction, despite all that he has achieved for club and country, and there were suggestions at one stage that the 23-year-old would make himself unavailable to Les Bleus.
Did Mbappe come close to quitting international football?
Le Graet has told Le Journal du Dimanche of discussions held with Mbappe on the back of his failure from the spot against Switzerland: “I met with him after the Euros, he felt that the Federation had not defended him after his missed penalty and the criticism on the networks.
“We met for five minutes in my office. He was angry, he didn't want to play for the French team any more - which he obviously didn't mean.
“You know how it is, he's a winner, he was very frustrated, like all of us, by the elimination.
“He's so media-friendly. He's a great guy, much more collective than people think.”
Was Mbappe prepared to leave the France squad?
The PSG frontman now has 57 caps and 27 goals for France to his name, but he admitted to L’Equipe in October 2021 that he was prepared to walk away if he was considered to be a “problem” for Didier Deschamps’ side.
He said at the time: “I have never taken a single euro to play for the French national team and I will always play for my national team for free. Above all, I never wanted to be a problem.
“But from the moment where I felt like that I was starting to become a problem and that people felt I was a problem… I received the message, that my ego was what made us lose, that I wanted to take up too much space, and that without me, therefore, we might have won.
“The most important thing is the French national team and if the French national team is happier without me, [I'll go].
“I met with the president and we talked about it. What I went to complain to him about was that I was insulted and called a 'monkey' for missing a penalty. That is not the same thing. I will never complain about a penalty. The penalty, I was the one who missed it.”
Mbappe and France are now counting down the days to the defence of their World Cup crown in Qatar, with FIFA’s flagship event due to get underway on November 21.