Mbappé must let go of his dream: 'It's been a long time since I've been rejected so often'

Thierry Henry has not included Kylian Mbappé in his preliminary selection for the Olympic Games. Antoine Griezmann also seems unlikely to participate in the football tournament in Paris, although the coach of the French U21 team has left room for one overage player.

Mbappé must let go of his dream: 'It's been a long time since I've been rejected so often' Embed from Getty Images

Both Mbappé and Griezmann have expressed multiple times their desire to participate in the Olympic Games in their home country, but it has also been clear that their (future) employers are not supportive of this.

Real Madrid seems unwilling to release any players for the Olympic football tournament, which is not on FIFA's international match calendar and starts shortly after the Euros. Griezmann recently mentioned that Atlético Madrid is not in favor of his participation.

On Monday, Henry confirmed that there was indeed no room for negotiation with Real Madrid regarding Mbappé's participation in the Olympic Games (July 26 to August 11). "The last time I was rejected this often, I was still in school," joked the former French international. "The list can still change, but players need to know what to expect. They need to prepare. But the door is not closed for anyone yet." There is still room for one overage player in the French squad.

Olympique Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette and Crystal Palace forward Jean-Philippe Mateta are the only players over the age of 23 on the preliminary list. Moussa Diaby was also considered, but Aston Villa did not cooperate. Many foreign clubs were not willing to release players. Henry is not surprised. "Clubs have the right to say no." In France, clubs did cooperate. For example, Euro participants Bradley Barcola and Warren Zaïre-Emery (PSG) have been called up.

Henry emphasized the importance of the Olympics for the players and the nation. "The Olympics in Paris is a unique opportunity, and many players dream of representing their country on such a prestigious stage," he said. However, he acknowledged the challenges posed by club commitments and the tight football calendar. "We understand the clubs' positions. They have their own competitions and priorities, and it's within their rights to protect their players."

Despite these obstacles, Henry remains optimistic about the French squad's prospects. "We have a talented pool of young players who are eager to prove themselves. The inclusion of players like Barcola and Zaïre-Emery shows that we have strong support from domestic clubs. Our focus is on preparing the team to compete at the highest level and make the nation proud."

The final squad selection will be crucial for France's chances at the Olympics. With the tournament not falling under FIFA's international calendar, securing player releases is a complex task. Henry and his coaching staff will need to balance the aspirations of the players with the realities of club football, aiming to field the best possible team for the home tournament.

Updated: 11:49, 3 Jun 2024

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