After the failure of the team in France in the final, the president made sure to show his support for the Blues. At the risk of being accused of political recovery.
Beautiful images for a defeat difficult to digest. Between his hug to Kylian Mbappé and his speech in the locker room, Emmanuel Macron multiplied the gestures to the Blues who lost to Argentina. What give the impression that the president lacked sincerity, trying to pull the cover to him.
No sooner had Argentina won against France than the president had already taken to the field to console a very dejected Kylian Mbappé.
“We wonder what could have gone through his head”
The player, obviously upset, did not react to the words of the Head of State who also stroked his back for a long time and ruffled his hair.
“We wonder what could have gone through his head. When did he say to himself that his presence was needed on the lawn? When did he say to himself that the players needed his shoulder? to relieve their grief?” asks Matthieu Croissandeau, political columnist for BFMTV.
The president then took the direction of the locker room of the Blues where he split a few words, ensuring that the whole country greeted “a very great team”.
“In life, it’s the same, something is missing, that’s life, that’s sport. You can’t do anything about it, but you had the heart, the hunger, the desire and the talent to go there. Just for that, I wanted to come see you to say thank you”, assured Emmanuel Macron again in front of the footballers.
A very “political” support
If the players hardly reacted to the compliments of the president, his remarks are in line with his attitude adopted since last Wednesday and his presence during the semi-final.
Criticized for having gone to Qatar, while the environmental impact of the World Cup and the 6,500 workers who died on the construction sites were debated, the president had replied “to fully assume”, underlining “the good organization of the competition”.
If Emmanuel Macron had called for “not to politicize sport” before the World Cup, he has never ceased to show his support for the Blues for the past three weeks. With a certain sincerity: the 40-year-old is a real football fan. Brigitte Macron had even confided that she had “never” seen her husband “as happy” as the evening of France’s victory in 2018 against Croatia at the last World Cup.
That year, the president had however been strongly reprimanded for his management of the reception of the Blues. This is because political calculation is never far away.
“A feeling of omnipotence on the part of the president”
While in 1998, Aimé Jacquet’s players took 4 hours to go up the Champs-Élysées, the 2018 champions were only entitled to 20 short minutes. This express parade has a reason: the Macron couple wanted to welcome the players on the Elysian steps and provide television with beautiful images before 8 p.m. from the various channels. To the chagrin of fans and some players who would have extended the walkabout.
“It’s difficult in these moments – we saw it 4 years ago and during the final this Sunday – not to see excess, a feeling of omnipotence on the part of the president”, further remarks Matthew Croissandeau.
Take advantage of player popularity
It is that Emmanuel Macron kept in mind the 20-point increase in the popularity of Jacques Chirac after the first victory of the Blues in the World Cup. In a very complicated moment politically, between inflation, risk of power cuts and pension reform, there is therefore no question for the Élysée to do without the support of such a unifying event, watched by a record number of more than 24 million French people. this Sunday, and gestures of affection to very popular players.
Kylian Mbappé is regularly part of the top 10 of the favorite personalities of the French. But, with the exception of its distant predecessor, the presidents’ popularity has never been linked to the Blues’ World Cup journeys. Something to put into perspective the political impact of Emmanuel Macron’s gestures of brotherhood this Sunday.