Macron delivers emotional pep talk to French team after loss
From leaping from his seat in the VIP box to consoling crestfallen players on the pitch, French President Emmanuel Macron delivered a wide-ranging performance at the World Cup final that was not to everyone’s taste.
The 44-year-old was an unmissable presence at the game at the Lusail stadium in Qatar on Sunday, even making an appearance in the team’s changing room to deliver an emotional post-game pep talk.
“You’re an amazing team,” Macron told the players, pounding his fist in his hand for effect. “No other team would have got here and come back on two occasions and being so close to winning it.
“You had the heart, the hunger, the desire and the talent to get here and that’s why I wanted to come and say thank you,” he added, according to a video posted on his social media accounts.
France were 2-0 behind until the 80th minute before a quickfire double by Kylian Mbappe levelled the game.
In extra time, Argentina went ahead 3-2 thanks to a second goal from Lionel Messi before another Mbappe penalty led to a shoot-out to settle the final.
Macron strode onto the pitch after the game, notably grabbing Mbappe in front of the TV cameras and holding the striker’s head to his chest.
He talked animatedly to the distraught player who showed little inclination to exchange pleasantries with the head of state on the pitch and barely acknowledged him.
“It was a bit disturbing to see him stuck like glue to Mbappe,” the far right opposition MP Sebastien Chenu told the LCI channel.