20 Jun, 2024 @ 11:35
2 mins read

‘Stick to football’: Spain’s goalkeeper Unai Simon slams Real Madrid star Kylian Mbappe after Frenchman urged his compatriots to vote against far-right Marine Le Pen

The French forward had warned that 'extremists' were on the precipice of power

SPAIN’S goalkeeper Unai Simon criticised the Real Madrid star Kylian Mbappe in a press conference this week after the French forward urged his compatriots to vote against far-right Marine Le Pen after snap legislative elections were called for later this month.

Mbappe, who joined Spanish giants Real Madrid from Paris St Germain earlier this month, called on young people to vote, warning that ‘extremists are at the gates of power’ and he wanted to be proud to wear his country’s shirt.

His comments came after the French President Emmanuel Macron called a surprise snap election after Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally scored a big victory in the European elections.

At a press conference ahead of their Euro 2024 fixture against Austria, Mbappe said: “This is a never-before-seen event and that is why I want to talk to not just the French people, but also the youth. We are a generation that can make a difference. We see extremists knocking on the doors of power and we have the opportunity to shape our country’s future”.

READ MORE: Vote Macron, urges Spain’s PM Pedro Sanchez ahead of French presidential election

“The Euros are very important in our careers, but first and foremost we are citizens and I don’t think we can be disconnected from the world around us. The country needs to identify with the values of diversity and tolerance. That is undeniable. I really hope we make the right decision”, he added in an unprecedented political intervention.

Mbappe’s outspoken comments were applauded by many, but not by Spain’s No1 goalkeeper, Unai Simon, who plays for Athletic Bilbao.

Ahead of Spain’s crunch group match against Italy on Thursday, Simon said: “Kylian is someone who has a lot of influence in the world and in society. In the end, it’s a political topic. I think we sometimes have the tendency to give too many opinions on certain topics when I don’t know if we should or not, I don’t know if we should do these things”.

Marine Le Pen’s far-right National Rally scored a major victory in this month’s European elections in France, prompting Emmanuel Macron to call surprise legislative elections. Credit: Cordon Press

He added: “I’m here, a football player, I focus on football, the only thing I should be talking about here with you is sporting topics, and leave politics to other people and organisations”.

Both Spain and France have made perfect starts to the 2024 Euros – La Roja convincingly defeated Croatia 3-0 in their opening group game, which saw 16-year old Lamine Yamal, who does his homework between games and training, became the youngest player to feature in a European Championship, whilst France beat Austria 1-0 thanks to a fluke own goal.

However, Les Bleus’ triumph was overshadowed by an injury to Mbappe, who broke his nose in a collision late in the second half putting his participation in Friday’s match against the Netherlands in doubt.

The match against Austria was Mbappe’s first competitive game since his highly-anticipated move from PSG to Real Madrid was confirmed.

The French forward, who scored a remarkable 256 goals for PSG in just seven seasons, will lose out on €80 million in loyalty bonuses from the Parisian club, but will cash in on an eye-watering €150 million signing-on fee from Real.

The 25-year old will officially move to Estadio Bernabeu on a free after his contract expires on June 30.

As part of a five-year deal, Mbappe will earn €15 million a year on top of his whopping signing-on bonus, as well as retaining a portion of his valuable image rights.

Kylian Mbappe broke his nose after a collision with Austria’s Kevin Danso. Credit: Cordon Press

The former World Cup winner will join a star-filled squad hailed as a new era of Galacticos, including Vinicius Jr, Rodrygo, Brazilian prodigy Endrick and English superstar Jude Bellingham.

Mbappe will also hope to win the Champions League – the only major trophy to have eluded him so far in his career – with a side who won a record-breaking 15th title at Wembley earlier this month.

Hailing his move on Instagram, Mbappe said: “Nobody can understand how excited I am right now! A dream come true. So happy and proud to join the club of my dreams”. 

Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to ben@theolivepress.es

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Dog in Spain was beaten and starved to death by owners who left her tied up on a balcony for YEARS and routinely shocked her with an electric collar
Previous Story

Dog in Spain was beaten and starved to death by owners who left her tied up on a balcony for YEARS and routinely shocked her with an electric collar

Next Story

Spain’s Iberian lynx is no longer at risk of extinction following years of conservation efforts

Latest from Lead

Go toTop

More From The Olive Press

An anti-tourism slogan at a demonstration in Barcelona on July 6, 2024

US tourists change their holiday plans in Spain after seeing anti-tourism protests and ‘feeling guilty’

THE recent wave of anti-tourism protests in Spain is beginning
2 bedroom Villa for sale in Corralejo with pool garage - € 560

2 bedroom Villa for sale in Corralejo with pool garage – € 560,000

Villa Corralejo, Fuerteventura   2 beds   2 baths €