Football: Mbappe named new France captain after Lloris retirement

France forward Kylian Mbappe has played 66 times for his country. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS – Kylian Mbappe has succeeded the retired Hugo Lloris as France captain, a source close to the team said on Monday.

The 24-year-old Paris Saint-Germain forward accepted the proposal after discussions with coach Didier Deschamps earlier in the day.

Tottenham goalkeeper Lloris brought an end to his international career in January after losing the World Cup final on penalties to Argentina.

Lloris, 36, had been skipper for more than a decade and said that he preferred to go out at his peak and that he also wanted to spend more time with his family.

Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann was named vice-captain after Manchester United centre-back Raphael Varane also hung up his boots following the defeat in Doha on Dec 18.

Mbappe, who has played 66 times for his country and scored 36 times, had been heavily linked with the role for weeks and scored a hat-trick in the title decider in Qatar after helping Les Bleus to the crown in 2018.

The former Monaco attacker is vice-captain at PSG behind Brazil’s Marquinhos and led the side in the defender’s absence in Sunday’s loss to Rennes.

His first game as captain will be Friday’s Euro 2024 qualifier against the Netherlands at the Stade de France.

France are in Group B with Gibraltar, Greece and Ireland, whom they will face in Dublin on Monday. 

Mike Maignan will be the team’s new No. 1 goalkeeper following Lloris’ retirement, Deschamps said.

“The No. 1 ‘keeper will be Mike Maignan. I’ll have a chat with him. There will be a pecking order,” Deschamps, who also called up goalkeepers Alphonse Areola (West Ham) and Brice Samba (Lens), said last Friday.

AC Milan’s Maignan, 27, missed the World Cup through injury while Samba got his first call-up.

Deschamps, however, stopped short of confirming who his new captain will be. “I will make the decision in the coming days,” he said.

“There will be a new distribution of leadership. Among the 23 players, there will be a captain and a vice-captain. It’s something that has to happen naturally. It will always go in the direction of the team, with the interest of the squad in mind.” AFP, REUTERS

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