Each footballer represents the tension between what he is and what he thinks he is.
It happens to the best.
To Kylian Mbappé, a
who feels he was born to be a
, and to Joshua Kimmich, an accompanying midfielder who sees himself as the new Lothar Matthäus.
How the young leaders of France and Germany solve their complexes will depend a good part of the loudest match that this group stage of the Eurocup reserves (Tuesday 9:00 p.m., Telecinco).
Mbappé is only 22 years old but he has lived together with Neymar at PSG for four seasons. From this prolonged immersion in the concoction saturated with bohemia and
has resulted his suspicion that to be someone important in this business it is necessary to play football in an ostensibly aesthetic way, without disregarding ornaments, whatever the occasion that presents itself with the ball at the feet. The surprise arrival of Benzema to the national team has generated mistrust in most of his teammates - many still see him as a suspect of extortion pending oral trial - while fascinating Mbappé. The star of France has seen in the madridista the opportunity to be paired with the most plastic of the
That Giroud, one of the most prudent and beloved men in the squad, denounced on television last week little less than a conspiracy not to pass balls to him, revealed the moral gap that opens in the locker room.
The scandal not only did not scare Mbappé, directly pointed out, but it reaffirmed it.
This Sunday he gave a laudatory lecture towards Benzema - "his sense of the game, his technical quality, his efficiency ..." - and criticism of Giroud's attitude - "I have been a little affected, I would have preferred him to say it to my face ... ”-.
Less poetry, more Kimmich
Deschamps: "I did not speak with Zidane"
France with Benzema, double or nothing
Sources close to the French federation assure that Giroud feels so humiliated by the imminent replacement that he threatens among his colleagues to abandon the concentration. Deschamps has not stopped rehearsing a starting team with Mbappé, Benzema and Griezmann. It is the most creative forward that a technician has ever known for ordering his attacks with sophistication. "I give offensive players all the freedom," he says, out of doors, "I just want them to know what to do when we lose the ball." Inside, according to a federative witness, the discourse is exactly the same.
Whether the game in France stalls or flows will depend solely on the ingenuity of Griezmann, Benzema and Mbappé to improvise exchanges of positions without closing the spaces to each other.
If inspiration leads them on the right track, France will become a roller of virtues.
If they encounter problems, they will require all the solidarity and collective sacrifice of a squad that has been under great stress lately.
One of those responsible for drowning the French forwards will be Kimmich.
Joachim Löw, the German coach, has stated that the midfielder will carry out his mission from the wing, as a winger in a 5-2-2-1.
"Joshua is like Lahm," said Löw, "he can play winger."
Duel in Champions
The decision to put him as a full-back against Latvia in the last friendly sparked a heated debate in Germany. There the man enjoys a large media chorus that affirms that he is the reincarnation of Matthäus, at least. "If Joshua doesn't play in the middle, France will blow us away," prophesied Berti Vogts. The truth is that, except for Flick, all the technicians he had at Bayern —Guardiola, Ancelotti and Kovac— preferred to put him on one side rather than give him the handle of the team. Löw favors Gündogan and Kroos as double pivots because, like his colleagues, he sees a dangerous tendency to overreact in Kimmich.
Overconfidence misguided by Kimmich precipitated Bayern's elimination from the Cham? Pions quarter-finals this season, against PSG.
It was minute two of the first game when the midfielder tried to control a ball whose dominance exceeded his possibilities.
Neymar took advantage of the bad control, who stole and ran before enabling Mbappé for the 0-1.
That was the penultimate occasion that he placed Mbappé and Kimmich face to face.
They met again in the Parc des Princes in the second leg, after Kimmich, in another display of blind faith, declared that Bayern would pass with ease: "They are going to watch the semifinal on television."
When the game ended in Paris, the PSG players began to pass by Kimmich, shouting "Go watch TV!"
Poor Kimmich's ears must still hurt.
Tonight he will meet Mbappé at his home in Munich.
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