In a major development, as reported by RMC Sport, Noel Le Graet has been suspended as the president of France Football Federation (FFF) following his derogatory comments on Real Madrid and Les Bleus legend Zinedine Zidane.
Le Graet came into the line of fire after he made ill-advised comments regarding Zidane and his possible candidacy for the French national team manager’s job.
Following the extension of Didier Deschamps until 2026, it was reported that Zidane might consider taking up the Brazil job. When asked about that development, Le Graet had said (h/t Guardian):
“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.”
Following this, Le Graet had attracted a lot of criticism from current and former footballers while Real Madrid had also issued a statement condemning those comments. The French Government were also forced to step in and condemn Le Graet, following which he had issued an apology.
However, now, FFF have moved to suspend Le Graet as the president at an extraordinary executive committee meeting, with Philippe Diallo taking over on an interim basis.
Whether this development affects Deschamps’ continuity as the manager of the French national team will be interesting to see.
Key Real Madrid defender still not 100% fit ahead of Club World Cup semi-final – report
Carlo Ancelotti heads into the FIFA Club World Cup in a pressure cooker situation. The pressure on the manager’s shoulders is immense, for his job could be on the line after Real Madrid’s poor run of form.
The injury situation does not favour the Italian tactician either. Lucas Vazquez, Ferland Mendy, Karim Benzema, Eder Militao and even Thibaut Courtois are out of the semi-final against Al Ahly, leaving him very few options to play with.
According to reports from Jorge C Picon, David Alaba too is not completely fit yet. The Austrian International was given the medical all-clear and entered the squad for Real Madrid’s game against Mallorca, yet started on the bench as he was not at 100%, and that remains the case ahead of tonight’s clash.
The report, however, adds that his mere inclusion in the squad comes as a breather for Ancelotti. Alaba is highly valued by the technical staff, not only for his reading of the game on the field but also for his leadership.
The defender has already missed seven games for Los Blancos since sustaining a muscular injury against Villarreal at La Ceramica. He did indeed come off the bench for under half an hour against Mallorca, but will likely not be risked to start on Thursday.
In his absence, Nacho Fernandez and Antonio Rudiger are expected to take centre stage in defence in Morocco. Eduardo Camavinga, meanwhile, could start as left-back again.
Alaba has played 17 games for Los Blancos this season and was one of the players with the most minutes until his injury. In his league campaign so far, he has scored one goal and provided three assists while also averaging a key pass every ninety minutes.
It remains to be seen if the Austrian recovers completely in time for the Club World Cup final should the European Champions make it. As it stands, using a cautious approach is in Real Madrid’s best interest.