As a schoolboy, he played defense on the left.
Before the 2022 World Cup, L’Équipe, citing the Elysee Palace, said that President Emmanuel Macron would visit Qatar if France reached the semi-finals. Immediately after the victory over England, National Assembly deputy Laurent Giacobelli confirmed that Macron would come to the match. “The president will support the team, this is not surprising,” the politician said. – Yes, of course, it raises many questions. The issue of relations between France and Qatar, the issue of the World Cup being held in a country where, as we well know, human rights are not respected. But the tournament is taking place there, there is no going back. The president will support the French national team, there is nothing like that.”
The day before the start of the tournament, Macron spoke about the criticism of Qatar: “I don’t think that sport should be politicized. Questions must be asked when awarding a tournament to a country. We are not going to discuss the issue of climate or human rights every time we talk about the tournament. I constantly talk with Qatar on all topics. We have sincere, friendly and constructive relations.”
Macron’s position was criticized in France. The left urged the president not to fly to Qatar, and the philosopher Thibault Lepla wrote in a column for Liberation: “Defend the apoliticality of sport? For a politician, there is nothing more valuable than the “apoliticality” of something. There is nothing more political than the apolitical. Let me get back to you. Maybe instead of apoliticizing football, we should “afootballize” politics?”
Football has long been part of Macron’s political image. We recall the most striking examples of this amazing connection.
Macron was a left back at school and university, and in 2021 he played in a charity match with Pires and Wenger
“My first football memories are Michel Platini, Panini albums, Téléfoot and the French national team,” Macron told Téléfoot in 2018. – I fell in love with football thanks to my brother – he is a much more passionate fan than I am. I have always enjoyed watching matches and playing.”
At a young age, Macron ran as a left-back for the National School of Administration. After Macron’s victory in the presidential election in 2017, photos of his football license for the 2006/07 season were actively distributed on social networks.
“I was a tough and not very technical defender,” Macron recalled. – Let’s put it this way: on the field, I was rather one of those who motivate teammates and tell them not to give up. In character, I was similar to Pardo (a former midfielder of Marseille and Saint-Etienne, who was imprisoned in 1993 for drug trafficking – Sports.ru). I can’t say that as a child I imagined that I would become a professional football player, but I have many childhood memories related to football. We all tried to take free kicks, pretending to be Franck Sauze or Michel Platini.”
After becoming president, Macron did not forget about football. In October 2021, he took part in a charity match with Poissy hospital workers. The game was played to raise funds for the Paris and France Hospital Foundation. To do this, they connected television and called Robert Pires, Arsene Wenger, Christian Carambe and Alain Giresse. Macron scored from the penalty spot in that game (he hit the center with force, and the goalkeeper collapsed to the right) and became a Twitter star – the politician was compared to Ronaldo and offered PSG to buy him to replace Mbappe.
“Macron is a team player who sees the field very well and timings the pass correctly,” Wenger praised the politician. “Of course, he doesn’t have the same technique as the former players who played next to him, but you can work on that.”
Macron’s favorite club is Marseille. He was conquered by the team that took the Champions League in 1993
“Why am I rooting for Marseille? Because they helped me dream! Sometimes I cried because of this team. They gave me deep feelings,” Macron tweeted during the 2017 election campaign.
“Macron loves Marseille very much, a real fan,” said journalist Clement Pernia, one of the authors of the book La République du foot about the connection between politics and football in France. – The fact is that he grew up in the 1990s, when Marseille won the Champions League. Macron loves football, but not as much as his two predecessors, Nicolas Sarkozy and Francois Hollande. They not only love football, but also understand it. They read the sports press, watch matches, go to stadiums. Macron is not such a fan and connoisseur, but he simply adores Marseille.
In April 2017, at the height of the election campaign, Macron attended the match between Marseille and Dijon at the Velodrome. In May, he became president, and in August he arrived at the Marseille base. The politician was photographed with Rudi Garcia – in their hands they held a Francesco Totti T-shirt. “A Marseille fan and a huge football fan,” the coach later wrote. “Thank you for visiting, President.”
“Thank you to the president for this wonderful day in Marseille and many good memories,” Marseille president Jacques-Henri Ayraud wrote, posting a photo of Macron in the club’s number 10 jersey. In 2021, Macron awarded Eiro the Legion of Honor and said: “You know how much I love this club. I know what you gave to Marseille. Fans will always remember that.”
After Macron’s victory in the 2017 elections, a documentary about that campaign was released. It included the following dialogue between Emmanuel and his wife Brigitte:
– Oh shit! For the second time, damn it!
– Well, what happened?
– Monaco beat Marseille again.
In 2018, when Marseille reached the Europa League final, Macron said: “I am very happy. This is great news, this hasn’t happened in a long time. Congratulations to the players.” The president even wanted to come to the match, which Atlético won 3-0, but could not because of the summit that took place these days in Bulgaria.
“I am from the Marseille generation,” Macron told Téléfoot. “The genius of that team was that they were constantly reinventing themselves. There were a lot of players who helped me dream. Of course I liked Papin. Also, Chris Waddle. He had an inimitable style, he personified nonchalance.
In an interview with So Foot, the president named Basil Boli as his favorite footballer. “I love him for that incredible headbutt on May 26, 1993,” Macron said.
Macron’s relationship with Mbappe is a special story. Post-Euro 2020 support and phone calls that convinced Kylian to stay at PSG
Kylian Mbappe was the star of the summer transfer window. Everyone was waiting for him to choose – PSG or Real Madrid. The Frenchman signed a new contract with the Parisians, and then explained himself many times. He paid a special place in the interview to Macron.
• “We talked many times. I will say this: it was good advice. He wanted me to stay and that was part of the negotiations. Macron is one of many people I have talked to about football. Obviously, football has changed and now it has an important place in society,” Mbappe said at a press conference on the occasion of the signing of a new contract with PSG.
• “I never imagined that I would be talking to the President of the country about my future, about my career decision. This is something crazy, real madness. Macron told me: “I want you to stay. I don’t want you to leave now. You are so important to the country,” Mbappé told The New York Times in September.
• “There were several calls – in December, January, February, March…. Macron called and said: “I know that you want to leave. I want to tell you that you are important to France. Do not want you to leave. You have the opportunity to write history here. Everyone loves you.” I replied that I appreciate it, because it is really crazy. The president is calling you and wants you to stay,” Mbappé told Sports Illustrated in November.
Back in June 2021, Macron talked about the possible departure of Mbappe from PSG and admired the player:
“I think it’s important that Mbappe stay at PSG. Important for the club, important for Ligue 1. But I will never put pressure on a player because of such a question. This is a personal matter of a football player, and I respect his right to choose. Kilian is admired by millions of French people. He is amazingly gifted as a football player, his physical and technical qualities are amazing. He has traits that only the great have. And I, who was a rather mediocre player, say this with particular admiration. It can be seen that on the field he understands what is happening not on the same level as the others. He has amazing intuition – like Platini and Zidane. So it’s a big player.”
When Mbappe did extend his contract, Macron smiled when asked about his influence and said: “I assure you that I don’t interfere in transfers! We had a conversation with him. I simply advised him to stay in France. When asked in an informal and friendly manner, the role of the president is to protect the interests of the country.”
Real Madrid president Florentino Perez gave a big interview to El Chiringuito after Mbappe’s transfer failed. “He made the easiest choice, and as a result, his dream changed,” snapped Perez. “He is very young, we are all subject to pressure, but young people are even more so. The call from the President of France had a big impact on him, that’s for sure.”
In April, French media RTL reported that Macron regularly talks to the striker about football and more. It was claimed that the communication began in 2018 – the young Mbappe made a very pleasant impression on Macron during a meeting at the Elysee Palace after the World Cup gold. After the unsuccessful Euro 2020, in which Mbappe never scored in 4 matches and missed the decisive penalty in the series with Switzerland, Macron contacted Kylian and supported him.
“Unfortunately, the option of Mbappé moving to Marseille is not even considered,” Macron lamented in an interview with Quotidien. “If he was ready for this, then I would have fought, but he refused me very quickly.”
Macron was one of the first to speak out against the Super League. So Paris got the Champions League final
Macron is a close friend of UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin. He was one of the first politicians to criticize the Super League.
“The President welcomes the position of the French clubs that refused to participate in the Super League project,” the Macron administration told Reuters. “This project threatens the basic principles of sport and solidarity.”
Macron’s tough stance was one of the reasons for the transfer of the Champions League final from St. Petersburg to Paris.
“The European Union and President Emmanuel Macron were the first to support us when the crazy Super League project came up,” Čeferin said. “Paris is a city with enough hotels, airports and so on.”
Before the 2022 elections, Macron was once again asked about his attitude towards the Super League.
“Of course I’m against it! Macron said in an interview with So Foot. “This project threatens the basic principles of unity and sporting merit. I actively supported the position of our clubs and football authorities, who refused to participate in it.
Macron often talks about football – he praised Wenger, waited for Zidane in France and set Benzema as an example to immigrants
When Karim Benzema was not called up for the 2018 World Cup, Macron backed Didier Deschamps. “I am the president, not the coach of France,” the politician told Téléfoot. – I love football and I can express my opinion, but Didier Deschamps is responsible for the team, and I trust him. No one will argue with the fact that Benzema is doing great in Spain and the Champions League. But sometimes it happens that even one very talented player can destroy the atmosphere in the team.
In June 2021, when Deschamps finally returned Benzema to the national team, Macron said: “There were various unpleasant moments, but for many French people, Benzema is first and foremost a great champion. I also believe that he is an example for many young people with an immigrant background. He is truly a role model for them. Benzema matured, and I’m glad that he returned to the team. I think the coach made the right choice – for the good of the team, for the good of football. He also committed an act symbolic for the nation. It shows that you may have disagreements, but people change, grow up, correct their mistakes. Benzema has matured both as a player and as a person. We can feel it.”
Macron is also waiting for Zinedine Zidane to return to France.
“I have not spoken to Zinedine Zidane, but I admire him immensely as a player and as a coach,” Macron said in June. – We really want the French Championship to have an athlete and coach with such talent, who managed to win the Champions League three times, the victory in which we so long for our clubs. I want him to come back and come to coach a big French club. It would be great”.
Macron admires not only Zidane, but also Arsene Wenger.
“Wenger is the success story of French football,” Macron said in 2018. “His success was made possible by his longevity. He stayed at the top for so long… I hope he helps our sport with his experience.”
During the 2022 World Cup, Macron sparkled with forecasts – he predicted the victory of France over Poland (he guessed the score and the authors of the goals!) and England
Prior to the 2022 World Cup Round of 3 match between France and Poland, Macron told Le Parisien: “I think we will win 3-1! Lewandowski will score one like Mbappe and possibly Giroud who wants to make history. France’s third goal could be scored by a joker.”
We remember how that match ended – France won 3-1 with Mbappe’s brace, Giroud’s ball and Lewandowski’s penalty goal.
Before the game with England in the quarter-finals, Macron said: “I have little doubt that we will win. Although I can’t name the score yet, I think we will win. I’ll call the score on the eve of the match, I’ll have to look at the applications first. I want to congratulate our team on a great match [against Poland]. If we beat England, then I will fly to the semi-final and final, as promised.
Today, Macron will support France from the stands – his prediction for the match with Morocco is still unknown.