Fielding an inexperienced side, Didier Deschamps insisted he will continue his search for optimal balance following France's 1-1 draw away to Croatia on Monday.

Following their opening Nations League defeat at home to Denmark, Les Bleus could only manage a point at the Poljud, with Andrej Kramaric equalising from the penalty spot following Adrien Rabiot's opening goal.

Deschamps went back to 4-4-2 after the opting for a 3-5-2 against Denmark, with several starting players under 10 caps including Moussa Diaby, Matteo Guendouzi, Christopher Nkunku and William Saliba.

With that relative lack of experience in mind, Deschamps was buoyant following his side's performance against the other 2018 World Cup finalist.

"We had overall control with two chances for 2-0 but we conceded a few too many situations to this Croatian team at the end," he said post-game. "The lines were stretched, but it was consistent overall. We could also have avoided the loss of possession at times. I can't be completely satisfied even though there are a lot more positives.

"We must also take into account the merit of the opponent. We also gave them the opportunity to equalise with this penalty. There are also all the changes at the end of the match. There were less than 200 caps in the team selected against Croatia. This is no excuse, but there are fewer automatisms."

The Vatreni finished the stronger of the two sides in Split, with chances falling to Luka Sucic and Nikola Vlasic upon their introductions.

France ended the game with a cumulative xG of 0.69 from seven shots in comparison to Croatia's 1.55 from eight, speaking to their growing inability to turn possession into something substantial in front of goal.

With one point out of a possible six, Deschamps insisted that while Les Bleus are not out of Nations League calculations, November's World Cup in Qatar requires experimentation in preparation for their title defence.

"We are in contention," he said after the match. "But with one point out of six, we are not in the best of moods. They are also preparation matches in anticipation of what awaits us at the end of the year. You have to see different things, different players and different systems.

"There were a lot of forced changes with worries and injuries. Compared to my starting lineup, I still have the same concern to put each player in the best conditions.

"We can always improve in defensive animation, but we can have problems with three, four or five [in defence]. I'm not frozen for the next game. But that doesn't mean I'm going to give up. I want to have more answers."

Andrej Kramaric's VAR-assisted penalty snatched a late 1-1 draw for Croatia against France to deny Les Bleus a first win of the new Nations League campaign.

Adrien Rabiot's strike shortly after the break looked to have fired the visitors to victory in Group A1, in what was a rematch of the Russia 2018 World Cup final won by France.

But the hosts were able to take a share of the spoils in Split with the aid of VAR. Referee Marco Guida's decision to award a penalty for Jonathan Clauss' clumsy challenge on Kramaric was initially kiboshed by the linesman's flag but a review showed Luka Sucic had been onside when receiving Mislav Orsic's pass in the build-up.

Kramaric duly converted with seven minutes remaining at Stadion Poljud to inject a degree of late drama into a game otherwise marked by cagey performances, particularly across a first half that had struggled to burst into life.

Having slipped to an opening loss in their title defence against Demark on Friday, Didier Deschamps rung the changes for this clash, with all but one face swapped out.

With fearsome talents like Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema benched, though, it took until after the interval for the deadlock to be broken.

Seizing onto a terrific ball from Wissam Ben Yedder, midfielder Rabiot steered a superb finish above Dominik Livakovic and into the top-left corner.

That had looked to possibly be enough for the visitors, even as Luka Modric - on his 150th appearance for his country - had helped push for an equaliser.

Kramaric's late intervention, however, proved a return blow, and the two sides ultimately were forced to settle for a point.

William Saliba has said he wants to show Arsenal his "true face" next season.

The France international has still not played for the Gunners since his transfer from Saint-Etienne in 2019, reportedly worth around £27million (€31.5m).

Loan moves with Saint-Etienne, Nice and Marseille have followed, but now the 21-year-old centre back is eager to finally show his parent club what they bought three years ago, although he admits he does not know if the Premier League club still want him.

Speaking to Telefoot, Saliba said: "I belong to Arsenal, I still have two years left [on my contract].

"I will be back with Arsenal. I have played zero matches and I still want to show them my true face and have the chance to play for these fans and this great club.

"But it doesn't just depend on me. In any case, to leave like this, would be a shame."

Saliba enjoyed a strong 2021-22 season at Marseille, finishing second in Ligue 1 and reaching the semi-finals of the inaugural Europa Conference League.

He played 36 games in Ligue 1, keeping 13 clean sheets, and attempted 490 passes more than any other player in the French top flight (3,044), completing 599 more than anyone else (2,834).

Asked to describe his campaign in one word, he said: "Surprising, or magical. It's my first full season. I was keen to show who I really am. It's a very positive assessment and really I'm very happy with my season.

"And that's why I had this little lump in my stomach saying to myself: 'Here you go to a club and you mustn't laugh, you mustn't have fun, you must play every game thoroughly.'

"It's as if I stayed at least two or three years, it's really special. Even if I don't come back to Marseille, I'll never forget. Thanks to OM, I spent a great course in my career and it was they who boosted me."

Didier Deschamps has handed Liverpool centre-back Ibrahima Konate his first call-up to the France senior squad as a replacement for Raphael Varane.

Manchester United defender Varane sustained a hamstring injury during Les Bleus' 2-1 Nations League defeat to Denmark on Friday, and has had to withdraw from the squad ahead of the next three games.

Kylian Mbappe was also forced off with a knee problem at half-time in the game at the Stade de France, with assistant coach Guy Stephan saying the Paris Saint-Germain star would be assessed.

Konate has had an impressive first season at Liverpool after joining the Premier League side from RB Leipzig last year.

The 23-year-old made 29 appearances in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp's side in 2021-22, scoring three goals and helping to keep 10 clean sheets.

Konate also started the Champions League final against Real Madrid, which Liverpool lost 1-0, and that was the first game in which Konate had played that the Reds were defeated.

France play away to Croatia on Monday, before further games away to Austria and then the return game against Croatia.

Karim Benzema has decided to drop his appeal against a one-year suspended sentence handed out after he was found guilty of complicity in the attempted blackmail of Mathieu Valbuena, his lawyer has said.

The Real Madrid striker was handed the sentence along with a €75,000 fine back in November over an extortion case that dated back to 2015 in relation to a sex tape, and saw him exiled from the France national team until his recall last year.

Benzema, who has consistently denied the accusations, was one of five people who stood trial in a case that rocked French football, and it was initially reported he would appeal against the verdict with the hearing set to have taken place over June 30 and July 1.

The 34-year-old's lawyer, Hugues Vigier, told L'Equipe that his client will withdraw the appeal but will continue to maintain his innocence.

"My client is worn out by this process,” he said. "This withdrawal endorses a ruling of condemnation and apparently guilt. It is a judicial truth. 

"But this is not the reality. Karim Benzema will always claim his innocence in this case and he never wanted to participate in a blackmail operation against Mathieu Valbuena."

Benzema had been accused of helping the four other men blackmail former Les Bleus team-mate Valbuena over an intimate video that had been taken from Valbuena's mobile phone.

He had originally been expected to attend the Versailles court himself at the appeal. French agency AFP reported that the Versailles court of appeal will notify the relevant parties of the withdrawal order on Tuesday.

Benzema was on target as France were beaten 2-1 by Denmark in the Nations League on Friday.

France's surprise 2-1 loss to Denmark in the opening game of their Nations League title defence was down to a lack of sharpness, according to assistant boss Guy Stephan.

Substitute Andreas Cornelius scored twice for Denmark in Friday's contest at Stade de France, where Les Blues had taken the lead through Karim Benzema's 51st-minute strike.

The defeat is France's first inside 90 minutes in a competitive game on home soil since losing 1-0 to Spain in March 2013.

It is also the first time the reigning World Cup winners have lost a game in which they have led since going down 3-2 to Colombia in a friendly a little over four years ago.

And at the end of a long season, France coach Stephan – filling in for Didier Deschamps, who is mourning the passing of his father – believes fatigue played a big part.

"We knew that Denmark were a good team, with a very good structure," Stephan told M6. 

"Without looking for an excuse, we're coming to the end of a season in which the players have played a lot. I have nothing to blame them for.

"It was a match between two good teams. We had some good spells and some less good spells.

"We just needed some freshness to be able to express ourselves and we didn't have that today."

 

The hosts had 19 shots to Denmark's eight, yet Cornelius' double – making him the first substitute to score twice against France – earned his side a shock win in Paris.

Cornelius volleyed in from a fine Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg pass for his opener and then thumped a winner past Hugo Lloris at his near post two minutes from time.

"There are never good times to suffer defeats," Lloris told M6. "There's still a long time to go until the World Cup, though of course it's never good to start a campaign with a defeat.

"We fell against a good, well-organised team. At 1-0 we had chances for a second, but we were so committed to the attack that there were also risks that Denmark exploited."

France replaced Kylian Mbappe with Christopher Nkunku at half-time, which Stephan confirmed was a precautionary measure after the Paris Saint-Germain star injured his knee.

Raphael Varane also hobbled off in the second half and will undergo a scan on his thigh ahead of Monday's trip to Croatia in Les Blues' second Group A1 outing.

Deschamps is set to return to the France camp on Saturday ahead of that game, which takes on added importance following Croatia's 3-0 loss to Austria elsewhere on Friday.

Andreas Cornelius struck twice in the second half as France's Nations League title defence began with a shock 2-1 loss to Denmark in Paris.

France took the lead through Karim Benzema at the Stade de France, the venue where he lifted the Champions League with Real Madrid six days earlier, but they were unable to see out the win.

Trabzonspor striker Cornelius volleyed in a delightful equaliser and then fired in a winner two minutes from time to stun France, who lost Kylian Mbappe to a first-half injury.

Denmark join Austria, who beat Croatia 3-0 elsewhere on Friday, at the top of Group A1.

The visitors enjoyed a near-perfect campaign in qualifying for Qatar 2022, where they will meet France in the group stage, and started the brighter in this contest.

Kasper Dolberg got in behind the home defence inside the first three minutes and picked out Joakim Maehle, who hit the outside of the post with the angle against him.

France soon grew into the game, with Benzema having a goal-bound shot blocked by Jannik Vestergaard and a low strike past Kasper Schmeichel ruled out for offside.

Mbappe sustained an injury shortly before half-time and played no part after the break, but Didier Deschamps' men did not require long to open the scoring in the second half.

Benzema played a one-two with Mbappe's replacement Christopher Nkunku, took the ball past three opposition players and slid the ball away from Schmeichel for the 51st-minute opener.

Les Blues did not build on that lead, however, as Cornelius flashed a first-time finish past Hugo Lloris in the 68th minute with the side of his boot after being spotted by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

N'Golo Kante hit the post with a curled effort, but it was Cornelius who had the final say in Paris with a thumping finish into the roof of the net at Lloris' near post.

Kylian Mbappe was forced off the field at half-time in France's Nations League opener against Denmark on Friday.

The striker, who last month signed a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain despite interest from Real Madrid, sustained a knee injury towards the end of the goalless first half.

He pulled up with nobody around him and did not return to field for the start of the second period, with Christopher Nkunku introduced in his place.

Mbappe limping down the tunnel would have been a concern for Didier Deschamps, whose side have three more Nations League games to come in the next 10 days.

However, Deschamps' assistant Guy Stephan confirmed to French outlet M6 that the substitution was purely precautionary.

Mbappe watched the second half from the substitutes' bench at Stade de France with his leg heavily strapped.

Roberto Mancini vowed to start a new era with Italy as the Azzurri look to rediscover their Euro 2020 magic, but warned not to expect instant fixes as he cannot "invent players".

Italy lifted the European Championship last July, their first since 1968, with a penalty shoot-out victory over England at Wembley.

The Azzurri followed that up by failing to make a second straight World Cup, following play-off defeat to North Macedonia in March, which led to questions over coach Mancini's tenure.

Development problems were also cited with the Italian system, which was bemoaned for struggling to produce younger players for the national team with Serie A coaches reluctant to trust the youth.

Italy were 3-0 losers to Argentina in the 'Finalissima' on Wednesday, a meeting between the Euro 2020 winners and Copa America champions, and Mancini promised change after that game.

The former Manchester City coach reiterated his desire for new beginnings with Italy, although he does not expect quick solutions ahead of the Nations League opener at home to Germany on Saturday.

"The victory of the European Championship is part of the magic that are part of those tournaments. Now we have to start again and go back to that magic," he told reporters on Friday.

"I have never had this type of problem. In football, however, when you win everyone is with you and when you lose almost everyone against you. That's how it is.

"Against Argentina we paid for the loss of players, one after the other. We weren't such a huge group and the injuries affected us: Argentina were better than us, they had fresher players and maybe it's the first game in three and a half years where we find a team that has put us under pressure, even if we made two mistakes on goals in the first half.

"It takes time, we cannot invent players and we know that we will have to suffer enough.

"The restart is from now. The new cycle starts again from tomorrow.

"The common thread is the same: looking for players with quality, speed, who they will not be like [Marco] Verratti and Jorginho who played in certain teams and therefore it will take a little longer.

"If we can give some minutes to these guys who have never played in the national team, and see them integrated well, it would be better."

Italy host Germany and Hungary before visiting England on June 11, with a return trip to Hansi Flick's side three days later capping off the internationals for this month.

Mancini believes that England and Germany pose two of the toughest tasks in international football at the moment, and cited Brazil, France and Argentina among the favourites for the World Cup in Qatar.

"We face the two strongest teams at the moment, Germany and England," he added. "They are among the best, they have great players and we take a lot of risks by changing a lot, it could be a good start.

"The most important thing will be to defend well and attack better. We face one of the strongest teams in the world along with Brazil, Argentina, France...

"Germany are technical, very fast when they counter-attack and come to press. They will be among the favourites for the World Cup victory in Qatar.

"We must defend all together and attack and press as we did for three and a half years: we did it for three and a half years with players who didn't seem able to do it, yet they have done."

Eduardo Camavinga hopes to see French compatriot Aurelien Tchouameni join him at Real Madrid after his own impressive debut campaign in the Spanish capital.

Camavinga adapted very quickly after signing from Rennes at the beginning of the season, playing an important role in midfield as Los Blancos claimed LaLiga, the Supercopa de Espana and the Champions League.

Meanwhile, Tchouameni continues to be linked with a move away from Monaco, and Madrid are reportedly among the prime suitors.

In an interview with L'Equipe, Camavinga threw his weight behind a similar move from Ligue 1 to the Santiago Bernabeu for the 22-year-old.

"He's fun, that's for sure," Camavinga said. "He's a player I already know from the national team. I hope he comes to Madrid.

"I don't know exactly what the situation is, but I've already spoken to him. We'll see what happens in the next few days."

Despite a notable first season in Madrid, Camavinga has not appeared for France since October 2020, coming off the bench in their 2-1 win over Croatia in Zagreb.

Playing with Les Bleus in this international window while another rematch of the 2018 World Cup final beckons for the senior team in the Nations League, the 19-year-old admits he is still yet to fully comprehend his Champions League triumph.

However, he still harbours the ambition to be called upon by Didier Deschamps when the World Cup eventually comes in November.

"I'm still in a dream," he said. "I already had the opportunity to go to Cibeles to celebrate LaLiga and I came back for the Champions League. You experience huge emotions, but then you have to know how to make sense of things and get back to work.

"I had a few days to enjoy myself, but now I have to concentrate on the national team. Although I still have the Champions League on my mind.

"It's my club performances that will determine whether I'm selected or not. I'll go back to the club and try to play as much as possible. Then whatever happens will happen."

One of the worst-kept secrets in football is out in the open after Manchester United confirmed Paul Pogba's second stint at the club is coming to an end.

The France star departed for Juventus back in 2012 before returning to Old Trafford in an £89million deal four years later.

Few Premier League players have proven as enigmatic as Pogba, with the 29-year-old capable of incredible individual brilliance but frequently subjected to fierce criticism throughout his difficult second spell at United.

From a World Cup success to sparring with Jose Mourinho, Stats Perform looks back on the highs and lows of Pogba's second spell with United.

High: Cup glory in triumphant first season

Pogba played his part as Mourinho, also in his first season at the club, led United to what remain their most recent major trophies.

The Frenchman made 51 appearances in all competitions as the Red Devils scooped an EFL Cup and Europa League double, ensuring Champions League qualification despite a sixth-placed Premier League finish. 

After starting United's 3-2 Wembley triumph over Southampton in February 2017, Pogba opened the scoring as United beat Ajax 2-0 to lift their second piece of silverware of the season in May, as the Red Devils won their sixth major European honour.

High: Conquering the centurions as City's celebrations put on hold

Manchester City's 2017-18 Premier League campaign was record-breaking in many ways, with Pep Guardiola's men becoming the only side to pick up 100 points in the competition, the first to win 32 of their 38 games, and the first to win 18 consecutive matches as they romped to the title.

They also, however, missed out on wrapping up the sweetest of title triumphs in a Manchester derby – a fact which owed primarily to a rampant performance from Pogba.

With City 2-0 up at half-time and seemingly cruising to the win they required to wrap up the title at a jubilant Etihad Stadium in April 2018, Pogba scored twice in two second-half minutes before Chris Smalling completed a sensational comeback, as United put the City celebrations on ice. 

High: World Cup glory with France

United finished the 2017-18 season as Premier League runners-up, with Pogba registering six goals and 12 assists in 37 appearances throughout the campaign.

And the midfielder carried that form into the 2018 World Cup in Russia, scoring in a 4-2 final win over Croatia as Les Blues were crowned world champions for the second time – his strike was the first goal scored from outside the penalty area in a World Cup final since Italy's Marco Tardelli did so against West Germany in 1982.

Pogba started six of the seven games France played during their triumphant campaign, but any hopes he may have harboured of building on those displays with his club were soon proven to be misplaced…

Low: Sparring with Mourinho as the world watches on

Reports of Pogba and Mourinho possessing a strained relationship were widespread during the Portuguese boss's time at the club, and such tensions were laid bare for the world to see in September 2018.

After an Instagram post appearing to show Pogba laughing with team-mates Luke Shaw and Andreas Pereira while United fell to an EFL Cup loss to Derby County, Sky Sports' cameras captured Mourinho discussing the incident with a visibly irked Pogba on the training ground.

It was not a good look as United struggled desperately in Mourinho's final months at the helm, with the former Chelsea boss relieved of his duties with the Red Devils sat sixth in the Premier League in December 2018.

Low: Penalty woe in 2021

Pogba enjoyed a renaissance of sorts under Mourinho's successor Ole Gunnar Solskjaer, ending the Norwegian's first half-season in charge with 13 league goals and nine assists, making 2018-19 his most productive campaign in a Red Devils shirt.

But Solskjaer's men frequently fell short on the big stage, most notably in their 2021 Europa League final loss to Villarreal, as David de Gea missed the vital kick at the end of a long penalty shoot-out after Pogba had been substituted for Dan James during extra-time.

That was not the only penalty heartache Pogba would experience in 2021, as France crashed out of the delayed Euro 2020 after a round-of-16 shoot-out loss to Switzerland, with Kylian Mbappe failing from the spot as Pogba's stunning 25-yard strike counted for nought. 

 

Low: Seeing red in Liverpool rout

Pogba's final season at Old Trafford was one to forget, as United finished sixth in the Premier League with their lowest-ever points tally in the competition (58), and interim manager Ralf Rangnick ended his six-month tenure with the worst Premier League win rate of any United boss (41.7 per cent – 10 wins from 24 games).

But before Rangnick entered the United dugout, Pogba endured the ignominy of being sent off as Solskjaer's Red Devils fell to a dire 5-0 home loss to Liverpool in October 2021 – their heaviest home loss without scoring since a 5-0 thrashing by Manchester City in February 1955.

Pogba's dismissal came just 15 minutes after he entered the fray at the break, making him the first substitute to be sent off in a Premier League for over three years (since Marcus Rashford in September 2018).

 

France coach Didier Deschamps has backed Paul Pogba to find a new club and arrest his slump in domestic form, as he hailed the upcoming Aurelien Tchouameni.

Pogba endured another frustrating season with Manchester United, who finished sixth in the Premier League and will hope Erik ten Hag can transform their fortunes next campaign.

World Cup-winning midfielder Pogba is widely expected to depart Old Trafford when his contract expires in June, with Juventus seemingly in the running to bring the 29-year-old back to Turin, while Paris Saint-Germain have also been linked.

Pogba has come under scrutiny for failing to replicate his international performances for France, who he will not feature for in upcoming Nations League games due to injury.

Deschamps heaped praise on Pogba's efforts for his country and expects the France star to move on from United after another underwhelming campaign.

"Pogba has had a lot of injuries, with his club's results not up to par," Deschamps told a news conference on Saturday.

"He too will have to change scenery this summer."

Deschamps additionally spoke of players who may have struggled on club duty, saying: "There has to be credit for what they have been able to do with the France team."

Tchouameni has enjoyed another productive season in Ligue 1 with Monaco, leading to reports he could join Liverpool, Chelsea or Real Madrid in the next transfer window.

The midfielder appeared 35 times in Ligue 1 this campaign, with only Wissam Ben Yedder (37) and goalkeeper Alexander Nubel (38) featuring more for Philippe Clement's side.

The 22-year-old represents a threat at both ends of the pitch, leading Monaco's charts for successful opposition-half passes (932), while making the most tackles (86) and winning the most duels (260).

Tchouameni will compete with the likes of N'Golo Kante, Adrien Rabiot and Matteo Guendouzi for a spot in midfield, and Deschamps is delighted to see the Monaco man coming into contention.

"He doesn't have the experience of Pogba and Kante, but he has potential... I took him on quite early, and in his head, he has the necessary maturity," Deschamps said.

"It's good to have these young people who make sure the older players do not rest on their laurels! The young players continue to grow, and even the others who are not selected are also growing.

"It's the new generation. Today a 19-year-old, it can seem a bit presumptuous, they go to the big clubs, but they have no worries, they do everything to succeed."

Kylian Mbappe staying at Paris Saint-Germain can only be a positive outcome for French football, according to Les Bleus coach Didier Deschamps.

World Cup winner Mbappe appeared set to move to Real Madrid when his contract expired in June, but opted to sign a three-year extension with PSG.

That denied Madrid talisman Karim Benzema the chance to link-up at club level with international team-mate Mbappe, who insisted he stayed at PSG "because the project had changed" and for sentimental reasons.

Deschamps will have the attacking duo to call upon for the Nations League campaign, starting against Denmark next Friday, and the France coach was delighted to see Mbappe stay in Paris.

"It's his choice. It's obvious that he stays in Ligue 1, it's a very good thing for French football," he told reporters on Saturday.

"He is attached to the club, he said what he had to say but in being French, that can only be a good thing.

"We can grow by staying. Today the objective of PSG is the same as in all the big clubs, and to win the Champions League. It may be necessary one day to go abroad, but that is not an obligation.

"We are not going to speak in other periods when there was a lag compared to France. But today, the choice of players is not the same.

"It is perhaps less of an obligation to go abroad to accomplish beautiful things."

 

There were reports of tension between Benzema and Mbappe after the former uploaded a photo of late rapper Tupac Shakur that was deemed to be a veiled reference to betrayal.

Benzema has since denied those suggestions, insisting he does not feel betrayed by Mbappe, and Deschamps does not envisage problems between the pair when they arrive for international duty.

"From my position as coach, where I have the players live where I know from A to Z what is going on, the main thing is the group," he added.

"It can lead to misunderstandings. From a situation where we can all draw negative conclusions when they are not necessarily negative... It can turn into a misunderstanding, which does not reflect reality.

"Today with the connected world it can go very very quickly, the slightest photo goes quickly. Even if I'm not on there!"

Christopher Nkunku, Moussa Dembele and Wissam Ben Yedder will also join Mbappe and Benzema in France's attacking ranks, with Olivier Giroud missing out from selection.

Deschamps says he did not call up Giroud as he wanted to offer the likes of Nkunku, Dembele and Ben Yedder a chance to show their worth.

"I said that in relation to the attacking players, who will be supposed to have a little more playing time," Deschamps continued.

"Olivier Giroud is not with us, it's to give playing time to Moussa, Christopher and Wissam, who are with us regularly, who have had playing time and will have the opportunity to have a little more.

"If possible we will make sure to involve everyone, some will play more than others. Through the four meetings, we will make sure that they are active, so that they get stronger, to have more experience. It will give additional information on the final list for the World Cup."

France's sports minister Amelie Oudea-Castera believes Kylian Mbappe will be the poster boy for the Paris Olympic Games.

Mbappe last week decided to stay at Paris Saint-Germain, despite having widely been expected to join Real Madrid on a free transfer.

The 23-year-old has signed a three-year deal with PSG, keeping him at the Parc des Princes until 2025.

It is a move that Oudea-Castera believes benefits the whole of France, as she suggested Mbappe, already a World Cup winner, will now be the star for the country to get behind in the 2024 Olympics.

"To be on the field, in our magnificent sites, to represent his country at the Olympic Games in 2024, he has always dreamed of it and he will make so many of us dream of it," she told RMC Sport, as quoted by Le Parisien. 

"It's a big 'YES' in capital letters. PSG will be fully behind the Olympic and Paralympic Games. I am certain that all this will happen."

Oudea-Castera thinks Mbappe is worth the huge salary the Ligue 1 champions are paying him.

"The amounts are very high, but that rewards an immense talent, constant work. He is a huge worker, sport also has its big stars as has entrepreneurship," she added.

"It's not dirty or ugly, especially since he gives a lot. Kylian makes his values clear, he is very committed."

Oudea-Castera also had a word for Mbappe's France team-mate Karim Benzema, who she backed to win the Ballon d'Or after an extraordinary season with Madrid that might culminate in a Champions League triumph, with Los Blancos facing Liverpool in Paris on Saturday.

"He has a good chance [of winning the Ballon d'Or]," she said. 

"We are all behind him, it would be a very nice reward."

Karim Benzema insists he does not feel "betrayed" by Kylian Mbappe's decision to stay with Paris Saint-Germain instead of joining him at Real Madrid.

After well over a year of intense speculation, Mbappe finally confirmed on Saturday that he had signed a new three-year contract at PSG.

It was a decision few saw coming given Madrid's apparent confidence the France international was going to join them on a free transfer at the end of June.

Mbappe's decision infuriated LaLiga chief Javier Tebas, while others associated more closely with Madrid were said to have been stunned.

An Instagram post by Benzema later the same day attracted particular attention, as he uploaded a photo of late rapper Tupac Shakur that was deemed to be veiled reference to betrayal.

According to Madrid-based newspaper Marca, which is generally regarded to have strong ties to Los Blancos, Benzema had been key in trying to persuade international team-mate Mbappe to join the club, hence why he might have felt betrayed.

But Benzema is adamant such stories are nonsense.

Speaking to Movistar Plus on Tuesday, Benzema said: "I'm going to tell you that we're going to play a Champions League final on Saturday. This is not the time to talk about those little things. I'd rather not talk.

"I'm not angry, I'm just telling you that I'm focused on the Champions League final, which is more important than listening to other things."

Asked if he felt "betrayed", Benzema continued: "Why? Everyone has to be focused on their things.

"Mbappe and other players have no reason to call me. Everyone decides their future. I'm calm here, preparing for Saturday's game. Each person does what he wants.

"There is no history of betrayal, or anything… Every month and a half I [post] photos of Tupac, who is my favourite.

"It's not a photo with a message; if I have a message I will see the person. Madrid is the best club in the world, but it was not a message."

Benzema did acknowledge, however, that the news was unexpected.

"I was surprised, like everyone else," he said. "He is a Paris player and we have a game on Saturday."

Both players are expected to be on international duty with France next month when Les Bleus begin their Nations League title defence.

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