Macron wants injured French stars at World Cup final – media
The French president is reportedly hoping to bring some high-profile cheerleaders to Qatar
France President Emmanuel Macron hopes to bring a host of injured Les Bleus stars to join him in the stands at Sunday’s FIFA World Cup final in Qatar, it has been reported.
Didier Deschamps’ men take on Lionel Messi and Argentina in the crunch match at the Lusail Stadium, in what will be a second successive World Cup final for France, following their triumph against Croatia in Moscow four years ago.
This time, their route to the final has been made all the more impressive by the fact that they were without the injured big-name trio of Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Karim Benzema throughout the tournament.
Pogba and Kante formed a formidable pairing in France’s midfield to fire them to the title in Russia, while Real Madrid striker Benzema is the current holder of the Ballon d’Or.
And according to Marca, the trio are set to be invited to the final alongside Macron if it can be arranged.
“I know that he is keen to do it and that it is being studied. We will see if it is possible,” France’s sports minister, Amelie Oudea-Castera, was quoted as saying.
It remains to be seen, though, if Benzema specifically would accept such an offer amid rumors of a rift with Deschamps.
The 34-year-old marksman was initially included in the French squad ahead of the tournament, but an injury sustained in the lead-in to the tournament saw him excluded from team affairs.
Now fit, Benzema has featured in a friendly game for Real Madrid – but Deschamps refused to entertain the idea of inviting him back to the squad when pushed by the media this week.
“Next question,” he said, when asked about the matter during a press conference.
The attendance of Macron in Qatar has been complicated further by claims of hypocrisy related to an ongoing corruption scandal which links the Gulf state to the EU Parliament.
An investigation is underway to determine if Doha gave financial support to EU ministers in return for influence over policy-making – though Macron batted away any claims of impropriety when pressed on the issue this week.
“I’m totally comfortable with it,” he said to reporters.
“Four years ago, I backed the French team in Russia, and I’m backing them in Qatar.”
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