French President Emmanuel Macron has met the national football team and set a high standard for the players at the World Cup, telling them that “a competition is only a success when you win.”
Macron, in fact, set a loftier goal for coach Didier Deschamps’s team than that laid out by French Soccer Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet, who said making the semifinals would be a success, Efe news reported.
The French leader said he would travel to Russia if the national team advanced beyond the quarterfinals.
In response to questions from reporters, Macron refused to comment about the team, saying only that “inside every Frenchman there is a coach and a president.”
However, when speaking to the players at Clairefontaine Castle, the traditional site of the French national team’s training camp outside Paris, the president was less tight lipped.
“Stay united, always focus on the effort, which is what got you here, have confidence and give others confidence,” Macron said. “You know how to do the rest better than me.”
Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris, the team captain, told the president that the squad would do “whatever it takes to go as far as possible”.
Deschamps, for his part, told Macron that the team would be “worthy representatives of the country”.