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World Cup | In the head to “DD”: “Macron, twelfth man? »

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“But what got into him? We were calm, the cushy fathers of football, the apostles of war diplomacy, well positioned on our concrete creed, that of furtive indignation against our host country. Everything was set from the angle of respect for local customs, of the well-tempered proximity to Qatar, this benefactor of French football, employer of our star, our national Kiki, Mbappé the supersonic, new planetary icon. We were in the process of achieving an unprecedented feat: doing minimal service, with the humility of a sportsman who is not equipped to play the sixty-eighters, the rebels on the cheap. And now, in the middle of a match against Denmark, the President, who knows why, sends a message of support, not even subliminal, to our Qatari friends.

Pure Macron, the king of the opposite, the cantor of the change of wing, of the Trafalgar coup. We had managed to confine ourselves to our space, our natural reserve, that of sport outside of controversy, outside of ideology. Patatras, Emmanuel Macron ruined our position, that of neutrality, of the Blues in the gray zone, mentally protected from the maelstrom of the defense of human rights. Quite a stone in the pond, this enthusiastic support from the President to the Emir of Qatar! After a big blow of anger, interior, of course, because I have a principle, never to show my deepest feelings, I understood where Manu, my twelfth man, was coming from.

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This World Cup, despite all these contradictions, all its excesses, its ecological aberrations, is also a great place for the mixing of peoples. An exceptional moment of gathering. In the midst of the war in Ukraine, seeing a dove of peace floating in the air-conditioned stadiums is something invigorating. And above all, through the performances of Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, Morocco or Tunisia, it floats in the air like a North-South rebalancing, a revival of Middle Eastern pride. This leveling of the values ​​of world football, still in the making, but very perceptible, is very good news. It remains symbolic, but it can play a role in the years to come in Arab opinions. My number 12, without the slightest scruple, jumped with both feet on this wave. He surfs on all opportunities, this man. His untimely interventions often irritate me, but here, I must say that he bluffs me. He has a Brancaleone or Capitaine Fracasse side that amazes me.

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A few days earlier, as if to protect the Blues, he had warned that it was important not to “politicizing sports”, and, today, turning on top speed, he throws himself into the arms of the Emir Al-Thani with a boundless cheek, just to be the Lawrence of Arabia of the Arab media. I was given the message that this diplomatic takeover, in the middle of a Les Bleus match, was intended to put us at the top of the list of buyers of liquefied natural gas, in Doha, to prevent France from being cut running in the heart of winter, and that a small hug with the Al-Thani dynasty was well worth a good supply to heat the homes of France. And football in all this? I have to face the facts: it is precisely at the heart of these energy issues.

“When Macron says that sport should not be politicized, it is denying a reality”

Among the Blues, for example, my nuclear reactor, my jet engine, is called Kylian Mbappé. He still scored two goals against Denmark, and qualified my kids on his own, or almost. Kiki the arrow has a very special characteristic, I repeat: he is an employee of the Emir of Qatar, as a PSG player. Translation: our number 10 is therefore bound by a duty of reserve, not to say absolute silence towards his boss, who happens to be a State. It is therefore impossible for him to play pro-LGBT bravado, whatever he thinks. He has become a centerpiece of Qatari soft power, its gondola head, its figurehead. We now understand better why, a few months ago, the small Gulf emirate did everything to prevent the transfer of “Kiki” to Real Madrid, with hundreds of millions of euros. The Emir was ready to sell his last shirt to keep him for the World Cup. Emmanuel Macron, a skilled political poker player, is also betting all his game on Kylian Mbappé. The string is a little big? Without a doubt. But I forgive this president a lot, an unconditional supporter of Olympique de Marseille, my favorite club, the one where I won the one and only Champions League won by a French team. But if I can slip him a message, without official grumpiness, with all due respect, I would like him to forget about us a bit…”

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