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World Cup 2022: why are six players from the South Korea team called Kim?



In France, the most common surname is Martin, borne by 235,846 people, which is equivalent to 0.35% of the population. In South Korea, 10 million people are called Kim… That is 20% of the country’s inhabitants! It is therefore not surprising that four defenders of the national team present at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar bear this surname.

The reason is to be found in the kingdom of Silla, which extended in the south-east of the Korean peninsula for almost a thousand years, between 57 BC and 935. One of the royal families of this period, which imposes and reigns during seven hundred years on Silla, decides to use the Korean word Kimwhich means “gold”, as his surname.

Fill the state coffers

If in Korea surnames have long remained the prerogative of aristocrats, it becomes advantageous to have one at the end of the Joseon period, which lasts from 1392 to 1897, because it confers economic and social advantages, according to the Encyclopaedia Britannica.

Indeed, two wars against China and Japan push the ruined Joseon dynasty to allow slaves and commoners to adopt a surname. The reform thus aims to fill the coffers of the State, since people without a surname were not taxable.

Kim, Lee or Park

The wealthy merchants of that time therefore wished to appropriate this symbol of power and could buy the right to bear the patronymic of prestigious but penniless families. The new rich fake the archives in order to be able to boast of a noble filiation.

Later, it was the Japanese who colonized the peninsula in 1905 and forced Koreans to adopt surnames. Most choose Kim, Lee or Park, three powerful clans in the region. Together, these three names make up 45% of contemporary South Korean surnames, and the surname of the current ruling dynasty in North Korea is also Kim.

This shared surname therefore does not necessarily presume a common ancestor. However, the law has long prohibited South Koreans from marrying someone with the same name as them. After three tries, the government finally succeeded in abolishing this provision in 1999.

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2022 World Cup: players’ timid initiatives in support of human rights



The day after the start of the controversial FIFA World Cup in Qatar, several European teams announced on Monday, November 21, that they were giving up wearing a “One Love” armband adorned with a multicolored heart. A sign that was intended to support LGBT + people and other minorities whose rights are not recognized in the emirate.

The initiative proposed by the Dutch federation at the beginning of September will therefore not be followed. A setback that comes after Fifa forbade them, Sunday, November 19, preferring to the multicolored armband slogans like “Football unites the world », “save the planet” or “protect the children”.

A ” Good choice “ according to Noël Le Graët, president of the French Football Federation (FFF), whose players had initially planned to wear the armband before backtracking. Hugo Lloris, the tricolor captain, again assured Monday that he would follow the recommendation of the international federation, preferring ” stay “ in his ” frame “, “that of player and competitor”.

Yellow card

Several team captains, including that of England which begins its competition against Iran on Monday, Harry Kane, or the Dutchman Virgil van Dijk, had however reaffirmed Monday morning their desire to display this symbol of inclusion and of diversity. The captain of the German team, Manuel Neuer, had even assured to be “willing to pay fines”, financial sanctions having been brandished by Fifa.

This was without counting the announcement of sporting sanctions. Captains who wear the armband would be penalized with a yellow card, threatened the institution that governs world football. A measure that decided the seven refractory to give up.

“As national federations, we cannot ask our players to risk sporting sanctions, including yellow cardswrote the federations of the seven countries in a joint press release published on Monday. We were ready to pay fines (…) but we cannot put our players in the situation where they could be warned, or even have to leave the field. »

FIFA assured that its official armbands would be flocked with the message “No to discrimination”its president Gianni Infantino assuring that ” Everyone is welcome “ in the country.

Jerseys sold at auction

Other teams have carried out their own “initiatives” to support minorities or immigrant workers, on the margins. The German team, for example, made the trip to Qatar with a plane bearing the slogan “Diversity wins”. On the American side, the Football Federation has replaced the colors of its logo with those of the rainbow, in support of LGBT + people whose rights are violated in Qatar.

In the Netherlands, the jerseys of players worn during the World Cup will be auctioned off and the proceeds will be used to help the families of migrant workers who died on stadium construction sites. As for Denmark, the leaders have given up sending an official representation of the government or the royal family to Qatar. The Danish players wanted to go further, wearing a flocked jersey with the inscription “human rights for all” but Fifa rejected their request.

Failing to defend the “One Love” armband, the Blues have committed themselves to “support NGOs that work for the protection of human rights”. They will feed, for an unspecified amount, the Génération 2018 endowment fund created by the world champions in order to finance social actions.

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World Cup 2022: Iranian players show their opposition to the regime



And meanwhile, on the other side of the Persian Gulf, the demonstrations continue, the repression too. Two months after the death of the young Mahsa Amini, the protest movement is not running out of steam in Iran, nor is the firmness of the regime weakening against this wind of revolt. The “Team Melli”, the national football team which starts its third consecutive World Cup against England on Monday, November 21, obviously reflects the sad face of the news.

The selection is usually unanimous. “It is a very powerful vector of national feeling in Iran, and both for nationals and for the diasporaunderlines the ethnologist Christian Bromberger, specialist in Iran and the popular passion for the round ball. The World Cup is a major event, especially since Iran has good relations with Qatar. But this time, the team is struggling to unite around her. »

Players dare to support protesters

Players have from the beginning of the movement supported the demonstrators. The star of the group, Sardar Azmoun, striker playing in Germany at Bayer Leverkusen, quickly expressed his indignation on Instagram: “Shame on you for killing the people so easily and long live the women of Iran!” » On September 27, before a preparation match for the World Cup against Senegal, in an Austrian stadium behind closed doors, the entire selection at the time of the hymns wore a black parka with no distinctive mark and hiding the national jersey. Just before the start of the World Cup, defender Saman Ghoddos, the only one to play in the Premier League (after three years in Amiens), dared in the English press: “People don’t want anything special, just freedom. Something has to change because it’s been going on too long. »

Some supporters applauded, others howled betrayal, while still others considered on social networks that the players, when leaving their country, had not distanced themselves enough from the regime. In any case, none were excluded for their positions. In Qatar, for his first press conference on November 15, the Portuguese coach of the Iranian team Carlos Queiroz defined the framework: “Players can protest as long as it complies with World Cup regulations,” he blurted out.

The Team Melli strategist only wants to talk about football. He has real support from the authorities. The qualification campaign in Qatar took place without him, but the Lusitano, already in charge at the 2014 and 2018 Worlds, was recalled at the beginning of September to the helm by the new president of the Iranian Football Federation, Mehdi Taj, elected a month earlier and a former member of the Revolutionary Guards, therefore very close to the regime.

Distrust persists for the regime

A regime that still maintains an ambivalent relationship with its selection. “Historically, the government has had more regard for wrestling, the other national sportexplains Christian Bromberger. The Pasdarans in particular have a low opinion of footballers, even though they also own many clubs. In fact, the authorities seek to exploit football while being wary of it. They will also avoid live broadcasts of the World Cup and shift them by two or three minutes to be able to react in case. »

In 2009, some players of the selection had already not hesitated to play while wearing a green armband of support for the movement, then contesting the re-election of conservative President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Among them, Ali Karimi, one of the country’s most famous internationals, now retired in Dubai and who shouts down the current regime on his 14 million Instagram account. followers.

The regime is all the more uncomfortable with football as another issue disturbs it: the presence of women in the stands. The last country in the Middle East to ban it, Iran continues to oscillate on the matter. In January 2022, female supporters were allowed for an Iran-Iraq, but excluded again in March for Iran-Lebanon. In August, a few hundred female supporters were able to attend a league match for the first time. An opening, however, without a future. A great classic of the Iranian regime.

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An experienced team

Iran remains on its best result in the World Cup, won in 2018 in Russia. “Team Melli” had narrowly failed to qualify for the round of 16 for the first time, with a victory (against Morocco, 1-0) and a draw (against Portugal, 1-1) in group stage. To face England, Wales and the United States this time, coach Carlos Queiroz bet on a very experienced group, including 16 players who were already present in Russia. Iran, today in twentieth place in the FIFA rankings, is also the nation with the highest average age in the competition: 29 years and 154 days.

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Human rights in Qatar: should players take a stand?



► Strong gestures in terms of communication

Jean-Claude Samouiller, President of Amnesty International France

On the side of Amnesty France, we would have liked there to be a strong sign from the players through an official declaration on the catastrophic situation of human rights. Otherwise, we would have liked them to wear the armband in support of the LGBT minorities who are persecuted in Qatar, but this highly symbolic act was obviously refused by the captain of the Blues, Hugo Lloris. In terms of communication, it would obviously have been very strong for the players to express themselves.

But, in reality, one can hardly ask them to boycott a competition for which they have sacrificed themselves for years and which undoubtedly represents the peak of their career. It’s buying a conscience on the cheap to ask our Blues to take a stand when we close our eyes to many other scandalous dealings, such as the companies that sell Rafales in Qatar. For the players, it is obvious that keeping quiet means ensuring a certain peace of mind. For example, it is difficult for a player like Kylian Mbappé, who is paid by Qatar within Paris Saint-Germain, to criticize his boss head-on.

Finally, at times, certain positions taken by the players of the France team have also been criticized. Some wondered why players were taking a knee to fight racism by specifically choosing one fight over another. There are always those who think that the French team is doing too much and those who think it is not doing enough. But basing that on 26 young people, aged between 20 and 30, is unreasonable. The players, who were barely 15 on average when the World Cup was awarded to Qatar, must not answer, coerced and coerced, for decisions made by others many years ago.

A reaction from the governing bodies

To be honest, beyond the players, we expected a lot more from Fifa and the French Football Federation (FFF). At Fifa, we have asked for the allocation of a fund of 440 million dollars to compensate the families of the workers who died during the construction of the stadiums. We will be vigilant about this. From the French Federation, we wanted proof that it was also vigilant on this point with international bodies and not with a view to permanent communication.

Many sections of Amnesty around the world, particularly in the countries of the North, have had contacts with the national federations of their countries, to obtain a symbolic gesture or a position. In France, our demands have remained a dead letter. There have been meetings but which have yielded nothing and it is clear that the staff of the France team and the players are padlocked today, if indeed they really wish to express something.

► Protesting is not in the tradition of French football

Francois da Rocha Carneiro, doctor in contemporary history and historian of the France team

Noël Le Graët, the president of the French Football Federation (FFF), seems to have a familiarity with the players. This can allow him to avoid a scandal and suggests a possible controlled silence on the part of the France team. But, to be honest, it’s not particularly in the tradition of French football to have players who rise up.

Generally, they only do so if they themselves are implicated. They are indignant or react to defend their image. This was the case of Raymond Kopa, in the 1960s, who left the selection in reaction to attacks from the coach and to protest against the status and image of the players, who were then in the hands of club leaders. We also remember the anger aroused by the remarks of Jean-Marie Le Pen, in the mid-1990s, who took the French team to task by evoking the “naturalization of convenience” of some players.

More recently, everyone remembers Knysna in 2010, during the African World Cup. We tend to see this event only from the angle of scandal – which suited politicians well that year – but in the end it was only a social movement towards a player who , after insulting his coach, had been sidelined.

Young players

For Qatar, remember that it was not the players who decided on the award. We identify footballers with stars having an opinion on everything, while we must also understand that they are employees. Even if their employers are the clubs, as part of the France team, Fifa remains their authority. Should they put themselves at odds with these authorities? In the name of values ​​that we certainly all share, should they risk sacrificing their careers?

Finally, we tend to assimilate the sportsman to an artist who must take a stand, but the sportsmen are generally very young. Thus, if Hugo Lloris is one of the oldest in the selection, with one of the biggest experiences in the France team, he must, as captain, remain vigilant not to put his younger or less experienced teammates in a delicate situation.

For the players, not taking a position will not particularly affect their image. It all depends, in reality, on what they will show on the pitch. If Karim Benzema and Kylian Mbappé send France to the final and score a hat-trick on D-Day, no one will blame them for not taking a stand. If, on the other hand, the French team is eliminated in the first round, we will hear: “They didn’t even dare to speak. »

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Football: Fifa is trying a new regulation of players’ agents



Full reverse: this is the maneuver that the International Football Federation (Fifa) applied to execute on Saturday, October 22 by ratifying, during its council meeting in New Zealand, the new regulations for players’ agents. The reform is in fact the exact opposite of that decided in April 2015, when FIFA abolished the international agent license introduced in the mid-1990s, but many countries in Africa, South America and Europe (Spain and Portugal in particular), unlike France, were unable to impose.

Problem: this deregulation has resulted in total chaos in the player transfer sector. Many players have entered an effervescent market. “Agents, licensed or not, recruiters, lawyers, more or less recommendable intermediaries… A catastrophic system has been put in place supporting huge commissions, retrocommissions and other all-out abuses”sums up Jean-François Brocard, researcher in sports economics at the Center for Sports Law and Economics (CDES) at the University of Limoges.

Drifts all over the place

When we know that transfers generated 5.2 billion euros in compensation last summer, a record figure after the relative drop recorded during the transfer windows disrupted by the Covid, we understand that appetites are whetted. Especially since, for ten years, agents or similar have been eating an ever larger part of the cake: “From 6.1% in 2012 to 9.9% in 2022”notes the latest FIFA report on the subject. “For my part, I consider that the sector is even criminogenic”says Michael Terrien, assistant professor of sports economics at the University of Lausanne.

Fifa was quick to see the fire, opening a consultation process to find the parade as early as 2017. But the pandemic, in particular, delayed the reform, now finally voted and to come into force from November 16, 2022 It provides for the reinstatement of the license, “which should all the same make it possible to partially purify the marketwelcomes Jean-François Brocard. Fifa seeks above all to increase the transparency of the system, in particular financial, through the creation of a clearing house through which all transactions will have to pass. »

In addition to this imperative, Fifa hopes to limit the amount of commissions, which, in certain rare but striking cases, could reach almost 40% of the amount of a transfer. The new regulations thus provide for a ceiling of 10% maximum on the commission on transfers when the agent is remunerated by the selling club. If the agent is mandated by a player, his commission is then set at a maximum of 3% of the player’s gross annual salary. In the same vein, Fifa also prohibits the “triple representation” which allowed certain agents to make learned arrangements by representing the player, the selling club and the buying club at the same time.

The weakness of controls

Still, this desire for sanitation comes up against a few principles of reality. “Agents crystallize criticism, but all football players participate in the systempoint Jean-François Brocard. The clubs are largely jointly responsible for the excesses, and the players are often irresponsible, surrounding themselves very badly. What happens if the actors don’t play along? Will Fifa really have the ability to control and sanction? » Mickael Terrien strongly doubts it: “In 2015, Fifa was already unable to impose its rule, and I don’t see how it would be much stronger today. This reform, in my cosmetic sense, will not be really effective. »

Sports historian and author of a History of sports agents in FranceStanislas Frenkiel is just as skeptical: “A club will always find tricks to get what they want. For example, if the commission is limited to 10%, he will offer a disguised contract to the agent. Or to work in the security of the club, or even to join the organization chart. Everything will be done to get the desired player. » This is already the case. In club accounts, the heading “other expenses” is sometimes used to hide disguised commissions.

“Fifa’s weakness is, as often, to represent members who are not all interested in this regulation”breathes Jean-François Brocard. “No doubt things would move more if some big transfer players, like the English Premier League, really pushed hard to clean things up.concludes Mickael Terrien. But for now, they don’t really take it seriously. »

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Better reward training clubs

FIFA is counting on the new clearing house to regulate transactions to better ensure payments related to the remuneration of training. During the transfer of a player, the club having ensured his training (at least during three years after his 15 years) can touch a part of the amount of the transfer. For the transfer window last summer, 70 million euros were donated to training clubs. Fifa, however, estimates that around 405 million euros should swell their portfolios each year.

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Football: image rights at the heart of a legal dispute between former players and Panini vignettes



The Panini stickers, known to all young football fans, are at the heart of a legal battle between former players against Panini and the National Union of Professional Footballers (UNFP), the players’ union.

Fifteen professional football players who have played in Ligue 1 or Ligue 2 have taken Panini France to court. They consider that the use of their image rights, ceded to the company by the UNFP, is illegal.

“There is no more consent”

The former French international Jérôme Rothen, passed by the PSG, but also lesser known players like Nicolas Dieuze, Tripy Makonda, Vincent Bessat or Pierre Ducasse filed a complaint against the company which manufactures the famous stickers, last October. The case is now in the hands of the Paris court, which is examining the case on Wednesday June 30.

For mee Élie Dottelonde, lawyer at the Paris bar and counsel to these players, “The UNFP, via the professional football charter, monopolizes the right to market their image”. When several players from several teams are represented, “there is no longer any concept of consent” individual, he explains to AFP, the management of rights falling to the UNFP.

The lawyer also deplores the“opacity” of the union, which “holds the monopoly of the image rights of the players and derives profits from it”through a contract with Panini. “The amounts of these contracts do not show”, he points out. But the players do not draw from it, on their side, “only 150 to 200 € per year”depending on whether they play in Ligue 1 or 2. A consideration deemed “ridiculous”“compared to the millions of euros of turnover achieved by Panini” and the sums “unknowns” affected by the UNFP.

“Small Reward”

For UNFP lawyers, this “little reward” of players only constitutes“a small advantage in all those whose (professional players) benefit thanks to the union: end-of-career savings, actions for young footballers”. And the sums collected by the syndicate “are only a source of budget for the UNFP”.

For Panini, football – excluding special editions, not governed by contracts with the UNFP – “represents only 10% of turnover”, assures Alain Guerrini. At the head of Panini France for more than 40 years, he recalls “the importance of complying with the law and respecting existing agreements”like the one linking Panini to the UNFP in the use of players’ images.

First complaint

“Everything is done legally”he assures. “We are surprised by these actions, which came much after the fact (most of the complainants were no longer professional players), the players could not ignore” that they were reproduced on the thumbnails, since they received the albums, insists Alain Guerrini.

During their career, “none of them ever complained” with Panini on questions of image rights. “Only once did a player not wish to be reproduced. He told us about it, and he didn’t..

For Panini, contractual relations with the UNFP are “confidently and transparently”. “Everything has been working very well for several years”recalls Alain Guerrini, hoping that justice will reinforce these contractual links.

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E-sport: French players settle on the international scene



The Head of State opens the doors of the Élysée to several representatives of French e-sport (or electronic sport) this Friday, June 3. Among the best known: specialist journalist Laure Valée, Zerator and Kameto, pseudonyms of streamers (they broadcast and comment on video game games online). This invitation comes on the occasion of the Trackmania Cup, an international competition organized in Bercy (Paris) by Zerator. This game, flagship of French e-sport, has also been brought out of oblivion by French players.

Emmanuel Macron is visibly interested in this environment, which is increasingly publicized, recognized by legislation and an integral part of the daily life of 9.6 million people (according to figures from the France Esports association).

Several advances were thus observed during his mandate. LREM created the first study group on video games at the National Assembly and the Ministry of Sports launched the “E-sport Strategy 2020-2025” program.

During an interview for The Big Whale (a media specializing in cryptocurrencies), last April, Emmanuel Macron boasted “ this area of ​​French excellence”, likely to participate in the influence of the country, especially at the time of the 2024 Olympic Games. “It’s up to us to take advantage of this to make the link between the Olympiads of the two worlds by hosting the biggest e-sports events in the world that year”he adds.

Recent sports performances and exploding audiences

The French began to break into the global esports scene in the 2000s, but then fell significantly behind countries such as China, Korea and the United States. The legal status of professional player is only recognized in 2016 in France. While they now have job security and social coverage, the discrepancy observed with other nations has pushed back the emergence of French leaders. Added to this is the lack of infrastructure dedicated to the organization of tournaments and the expectation concerning the deployment of fiber optics.

It was in 2007 that France imposed itself on Counter-Strike (a shooting game). Since then, the Vitality team has been among the best in the world and one of its champions “ZywOo” was voted the best player in the world in 2019 and 2020.

Another Vitality structure team lifted France to the top of the game Rocket League (mixture of ball game and car driving). The sports minister at the time, Roxana Maracineanu, did not hesitate to congratulate the players.

Players from the very popular League of Legends (battles within arenas) even received a private message from the Head of State. Members of the famous Karmine Corp team, they won the title of French League champions six months after the creation of the team in 2021, then the European Masters. With Vitality, Karmine Corp is one of the benchmarks in French e-sport.

Beyond the performance of e-sportspeople, France also shines with the enthusiasm aroused by video game competitions. The audiences for the competitions League of Legends exploded in 2021. Nearly 190,000 people followed the final online, peaking at 380,000. minutes and 200,000 online viewers were recorded.

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Mbappé, Pogba, Dembélé… The market for free players is upsetting the football economy



Unheard of in recent football history. Since the opening of the winter transfer window, the first day of the new year, the best player on the planet, in the eyes of many observers, is free to engage with the club of his choice. Kylian Mbappé seems determined not to wait until the end of his contract, on June 30, to decide on his next destination, despite the insistent court of Paris Saint-Germain to keep him.

Consequence: the French prodigy will then be able to join any club without the latter needing to pay a penny in favor of Paris Saint-Germain to offer his services. The player going to the end of his commitment, his suitor does not need to pay transfer compensation to redeem the remaining years of contract.

Mbappé, Pogba, Dembele and other stars

Until very recently, this market for free players was reserved for less successful professional footballers, struggling to find an employer at the end of their fixed-term contract. We also came across former glories in search of an ultimate sporting challenge.

Now it’s some of the best active players who are making their mark there. From French internationals Paul Pogba, Ousmane Dembélé and Hugo Lloris to the Croatian Ballon d’Or Luka Modric, or even the Argentine star of Juventus Turin, Paulo Dybala: all will be free next June.

Economic crisis

How to explain this evolution ? “The clubs are facing great financial difficulties”, answers Mickael Terrien, professor of sports economics at the University of Lausanne. Hard hit by the health crisis, “they can no longer afford these great players”, continues the economist. Few, for example, were the European teams able to pay the 200 million euros requested for Kylian Mbappé last summer, or to meet the requirements of Ousmane Dembélé, whose salary at FC Barcelona reaches 20 million euros annually.

Seduced by all the biggest clubs of the Old Continent, these star players also know that they are not likely to find themselves unemployed at the end of their contract. “The player who goes to the end of his contract can not only choose his club but also maximize his income on signing”, explains Stéphane Canard, agent at CLK Foot and president of the union of French sports agents (Uasf). The buyer does not have to pay a transfer fee, he uses part of this sum to attract the desired player with bigger bonuses for him and his entourage.

Philippe Piat, former footballer and president of the French professional players’ union, welcomes this market development “Sometimes players signed contracts to be sold for more three weeks later. The contract was used to create a financial asset when its original purpose was to protect the players. »

The players in power

This new phenomenon is however not without consequence on the economy of football. In the medium term, the market for free players calls into question the economic strategy on which many clubs are based. “In France, most clubs live beyond their means and hope to bail out three or four years of deficit thanks to a big sale”, details the economist Mickael Terrien.

It remains to be seen whether this development will be long-term or whether it is a temporary phenomenon. According to Mickael Terrien, this will depend on the global economic context in the aftermath of the health crisis. “A few years after the subprime crisis, which also hit club finances hard, transfer prices have reached new records. » And, more specifically, income from television rights: “If these amounts stagnate, clubs will still find it difficult to afford the most expensive players. »

This new deal also testifies to the empowerment of star players in the relationship with their club. Sure of their sporting and marketing potential, they no longer hesitate to complete their contract, despite pressure from their employer to extend or sell them while there is still time. Leonardo, sporting director of Paris Saint-Germain, in the columns of JDD on December 19, thus declaring that Kylian Mbappé had “still good possibilities to extend”. A call from the foot that sounds like wishful thinking.

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Paul Pogba tempted by PSG

Like Kylian Mbappé, his teammate in the France team, Paul Pogba is also free to engage with the club of his choice. Rather inclined to extend his contract with Manchester United last fall, the world champion now has desires elsewhere. Often injured, the 28-year-old midfielder has never been able to fully satisfy his leaders, who had paid 110 million euros to bring him back to the north of England in 2016. The native of Seine-et-Marne would be tempted by the Paris Saint-Germain project, very interested in repatriating a player estimated at 80 million euros for free last summer.

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Euro 2021 football: the players to watch



During major international football tournaments, there are different categories of players expected and scrutinized by observers and fans: very promising young players, stars and those who are about to play their last major competition.

► Pedri and Musiala: early talents

At only 18 years old, Pedri is already a starter at FC Barcelona, ​​where Lionel Messi dubbed him. The young attacking midfielder from the Canaries caused a sensation in Catalonia with his vista, his sense of passing and his constant activity. Result: coach Luis Enrique called him for the first time in March and did not hesitate to invite him to the Euro.

“We saw a player who meets the ideal conditions to play in the middle of the field, with the foresight and the quality necessary to play both in attack and defense”, said the technician, who relies heavily on Pedri.

→ READ Euro 2021: what you need to know about the regulations of the European Football Championship

Jamal Musiala is also 18 years old. This attacking midfielder who has dual English and German nationality, played in the youth teams for England. Born to a Nigerian father and a German mother, the Bayern Munich player nevertheless opted for Germany and coach Joachim Löw retained him in his list of 26 players for the Euro.

With six goals scored in 26 Bundesliga games this season, Musiala is one of the youngest talents to have evolved in the “Rekordmeister”, who hastened to have him sign a contract until 2026. His first selection, in March against Iceland (3-0), was encouraging, also allowing Germany to permanently attach this highly coveted player.

► Ronaldo and Mbappé: the stars of the tournament

It is an understatement to say that Cristiano Ronaldo is impatiently awaiting Portugal’s first match, against Hungary on June 15 in Budapest. At the end of a largely disappointing 2020-2021 season with Juventus, “CR7” wants to set the record straight and silence those who say it is in decline.

At 36, he admittedly finished Serie A top scorer with 29 goals, but Juve finished in a disappointing 4e place in the league after a bitter elimination from the 8e Champions League final. With 103 goals in 174 selections, the five-time Ballon d’Or is however undisputed in the selection.

Euro 2021: “Write my name in Blue”, Youssoupha signs the song for the French team

All signals are green for Paris-Saint-Germain superstar Kylian Mbappé (43 caps, 17 goals). At 22, he delivered the most prolific exercise of his young and prodigious career with 41 goals in all competitions, including 27 in Ligue 1, winning the titles of top scorer and best player in the championship. The football world shudders in advance to see him associated for the first time with Karim Benzema in a triangle of fire completed by Antoine Griezmann.

► Benzema and Chiellini: the ghost and the veteran

His return surprised and attracted the football world: long dismissed because of his legal disputes, Karim Benzema was recalled to the French team for the first time since 2015.

At 33, Karim Benzema (82 caps, 27 goals) has grown in maturity and responsibilities at Real Madrid, where he is the undisputed attacking leader since the departure of Cristiano Ronaldo in 2018. His excellent season (30 goals in all competitions) ranks him among the elite of European scorers, and his ability to play is promising for the French team. It remains to be seen whether this recall will not shatter the momentum of the world champions.

→ ANALYSIS Euro 2021: Karim Benzema back, the risky bet of Didier Deschamps

His broken mouth and his firmness in the duels made many attackers nightmares and Giorgio Chiellini (107 caps, 8 goals) is still there, at 36, to terrify them. Returning from a long period of injury, the central defender has regained his place at the center of Juventus, as well as in the Italian team with which he is preparing to play his fourth Euro.

This tournament could be the last meeting of the ” Pisa tower “ with a Nazionale of which he is the captain since the international retirement of Gianluigi Buffon in 2018. It also remains to decide his future in club, since his contract with Juventus ends at the end of June.

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Rugby: five new players of the XV of France positive for Covid-19



Concern grows around the XV of France. Five new players have tested positive for Covid-19, including captain Charles Ollivon, the French Rugby Federation announced Monday, February 22, six days before the Blues match against Scotland.

Toulouse’s Cyril Baille and Peato Mauvaka, Toulonnais Romain Taofifenua and Charles Ollivon as well as Rochelais Brice Dulin will therefore not be able to challenge the Scots, Sunday February 28 at the Stade de France, for the third match of the Blues in the Six Nations Tournament.

14 positive cases in total

Their positive screening brings to fourteen the number of proven Covid cases within the selection and management, after the coach Fabien Galthié, the scrum half Antoine Dupont or the pillar Mohamed Haouas.

→ PORTRAIT. Matthieu Jalibert, the boss size lining

Two members of the management are also considered a suspicious case, adds the FFR on Monday. “With a view to isolation, the return home of the players and members of the management concerned is underway”, specifies the press release of the Federation.

In contention for the grand slam, the XV of France is weakened

Hooker Gaëtan Barlot (0 selection, Castres Olympique), pillar Thierry Paiva (0 selection, Union Bordeaux Bègles), second row Cyril Cazeaux (0 selection, Union Bordeaux Bègles), third row Baptiste Pesenti (2 selections, Section paloise ) and the back Thomas Ramos (14 caps, Stade Toulouse) were called in as reinforcements.

“The return to collective training is set for Wednesday February 24, subject to the results of tests carried out every 24 hours”, again indicates the instance.

The multiplication of absences weakens the French team, still in contention in this 2021 edition to achieve the tenth grand slam in its history, eleven years after the last. Leader of the Six Nations Tournament, after two successes in Italy (50-10) then in Ireland (15-13), the XV of France must receive Scotland before going to England on March 13 and then face the country of Wales the following week.

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