In a move that surprised some, the France Football Federation (FFF) announced that manager Didier Deschamps had been handed a new deal that would see him remain in charge of the national team until 2026.
Few could argue with his results on the pitch. Having led the team to a World Cup triumph in 2018, he would also get them to the decider in Qatar as well as the Euro 2016 final.
In saying that, many felt that now was a natural time to move on. Deschamps has been in charge of France since 2012, a very lengthy tenure in modern football. Despite his successes, some had also questioned his fairly conservative tactical approach with a hugely talented squad.
Of course, they also had a potential replacement waiting in the wings.
Zinedine Zidane was believed to be hugely keen on the position, so much so that he has turned down numerous club advances in order to keep himself available for the France job after the most recent World Cup.
Kylian Mbappe furious over Zinedine Zidane comments
Media speculation over Zinedine Zidane's potential move to France have been ongoing for some time now, with many feeling that a deal was inevitable.
However, it appears that those who would be tasked with making such a decision had a very different idea.
When question about Zidane by RMC, French FA President Noël Le Graët said that there was no chance that the former Real Madrid boss was ever going to get the job. He was also less than complimentary about the World Cup winner.
I don’t give a damn, he can go wherever he wants. I know very well that Zidane was always on the radar.
He had a lot of supporters; some were waiting for Deschamps’s departure ... But who can make serious reproaches to Deschamps? Nobody.
He [Zidane] does what he wants; it’s none of my business. I’ve never met him, we’ve never considered parting with Didier. He can go where he wants, to a club ... If Zidane tried to contact me? Certainly not, I wouldn’t even pick up the phone.
Le Graët was clearly frustrated by the constant queries about Zinedine Zidane, although to speak about him in this manner was always unlikely to go down well.
The ex-midfielder is among the most popular characters in French football.
Kylian Mbappe was quick to leap to his defence, calling out the comments from the FFF president.
Zidane c’est la France, on manque pas de respect à la légende comme ça… 🤦🏽♂️
— Kylian Mbappé (@KMbappe) January 8, 2023
Zidane is France, we don't disrespect the legend like that.
If you are the FFF president, one person you want to keep on your side is Kylian Mbappe.
You get the feeling he could end up regretting those comments.