PARIS: Paris St Germain forward Kylian Mbappe has been named France captain to succeed Hugo Lloris, the French football federation (FFF) said on Monday.

French sports daily L’Equipe reported that Mbappe had accepted the captaincy after speaking with coach Didier Deschamps.

“Didier Deschamps has named Kylian Mbappe the new captain of Les Bleus. Antoine Griezmann if the vice-captain,” the FFF said on Twitter.

“Kylian meets all the requirements to have this responsibility. On the field as in the life of the group, by being a unifying element,” French TV channel TF1 quoted Deschamps as saying in an interview.

Mbappe, 24, had been touted as one of the candidates for the role since goalkeeper Lloris retired from international football in January, weeks after leading France to a second straight World Cup final, where they were beaten by Argentina.

Atletico Madrid attacker Antoine Griezmann was named vice-captain after Manchester United centre-back Raphael Varane also hung up his boots following the defeat to Argentina in December.

Michel Platini, who captained France to victory in the 1984 European Championship, said the decision was “a very good idea”.

“In giving him the responsibility of the captaincy, it allows Kylian, when necessary, to go still further, higher, stronger,” Platini, the ex-head of European football’s governing body UEFA, said in a statement.

Mbappe helped Les Bleus to World Cup glory as a teenager in 2018 and has established himself as arguably the leading forward on the global stage.

Mbappe has been capped 66 times and played a key role in their successful 2018 World Cup campaign as well as their runners-up finish in 2022.

France take on the Netherlands at the Stade de France in their first Euro 2024 qualifier on Friday, before travelling to Ireland next Monday.

The other two teams in France’s group are Greece and Gibraltar.

Published in Dawn, March 22nd, 2023

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