Mbappé urges vote against ‘extremes’ in France elections

Kylian Mbappé on Sunday called on the French public to vote against “extremes,” backing up the comments made by his teammate Marcus Thuram a day prior.

France striker Thuram on Saturday expressed his concern about the rise of the Rassemblement National, the country’s right-wing populist party, before the country’s general election at the end of the June.

“I share the same values as Marcus,” Mbappé, France’s captain, said in a news conference. “Of course I support him. For me, he hasn’t gone too far. It’s freedom of speech, and I’m on his side.

“We [the France team] are citizens, we cannot be disconnected from the world around us. We know that we are in an important situation for our country, an unprecedented situation. I want to address the French people. The extremes are at the gates of power, we have the opportunity to choose the future of our country.

“I call on all young people to go and vote, to understand the gravity of the situation. I hope that my voice resonates as far as possible. … I hope we will still be proud to wear this jersey on July 7.”

July 7 is the date of the second and final round of the legislative elections unexpectedly called by France President Emmanuel Macron following the European Union elections that saw the Rassemblement National receive 31.4% of the country’s votes last weekend.

Asked directly whether he was calling on the French public to vote against the Rassemblement National, Mbappé added: “Kylian Mbappé is against the extremes, the groups that divide us. We have the opportunity to choose the future of our country. We must not hide … I am in favour of ideas that unite us.”

France coach Didier Deschamps said he had no issue with his players discussing politics and respects their right to free speech.

“Everyone has their own opinion. … They are footballers but they are also citizens who don’t exist outside the situation which exists in France.”

Deschamps’ comments echo the statement issued by the French Football Federation on Saturday after Thuram’s news conference. The statement said the players were free to express their opinions but reiterated that the federation itself was obliged to remain neutral, while asking the media to refrain from asking its players in Germany to comment on elections at home.

France face Austria in their opening fixture of Euro 2024 on Monday.

Information from The Associated Press contributed to this report.