Mbappe ‘too wealthy to represent French immigrants’, says Le Pen

Kylian Mbappe
Marine Le Pen admitted that Kylian Mbappe is a 'good player' but said he should not engage in politics - Mateusz Slodkowski/Getty

Marine Le Pen has criticised Kylian Mbappé, claiming the football star does not represent immigrants after he urged his fans to vote against her party.

In an interview with CNN, the leader of the hard-Right National Rally (RN), said: “French people are fed up of being lectured and advised on how to vote”.

She added: “Mbappé doesn’t represent French people with an immigration background, because there are far more of them living on the minimum wage, who can’t afford housing and can’t afford heating, than people like Mr Mbappé.”

Since the snap parliamentary election was called, Mbappé has made repeated pleas for French voters to block the “extremes” from power.

The first time Mbappé spoke publicly about the vote, he refrained from identifying RN by name, saying: “I hope my voice will carry as much weight as possible… I hope we’ll make the right choice and that we’ll still be proud to wear the French national team jersey on July 7.”

Mbappe wearing a protective face mask as a result of breaking his nose
Mbappe has been forced to wear a face mask to protect his broken nose - Stu Forster/Getty

But during a press conference on the eve of the Portugal-France match on Thursday, an off-the-cuff joke that made the entire press room erupt in laughter made it clear which “extreme” he was fighting against.

When the footballer couldn’t locate a journalist who was asking him a question, and the reporter signalled that he was sitting to his “left, to his far left”, Mbappé couldn’t resist and said, “fortunately you weren’t on the other side”.

Values

The star forward, whose family originally come from Cameroon and Algeria, also said he did not want to “represent a country” that didn’t embody his “values”.

His political intervention sparked uproar among members of Ms Le Pen’s party.

“When you have the chance, the honour, of wearing the jersey of the French team, you have to show a little restraint,” Sebastien Chenu, the RN’s vice-president, said just a few hours before the French football team’s opening match at Euro 2024.

Ms Le Pen picked up the same line of attack on Friday.

“I think that Mr Mbappé is a very good football player. But this tendency for actors, football players and singers to come forward and tell the French people how they should vote, and in particular people who earn €1,300- €1,400 [£1,099-£1,184] per month, while they are millionaires, even billionaires, who live abroad, this is starting to be badly received, in our country.

“These are people who are lucky enough to live comfortably, very comfortably, who are protected from insecurity, poverty, unemployment and everything that affects and makes our compatriots suffer,” she said. “At a time when the population is preparing to vote, they should show a bit of restraint.”

She added: “This election is an election of emancipation, seen as a way for the French people to take back control of their destiny and vote as they see fit.”

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