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Macron tells Madrid: Send Mbappé to Olympics

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French President Emmanuel Macron on Monday pressured European clubs to release their players for the Paris Olympics men’s football tournament this summer, placing particular emphasis on Real Madrid, with France star Kylian Mbappé reportedly joining the Spanish giants at the end of his Paris Saint-Germain contract in June.

The men’s Olympic tournament is not included in FIFA’s international windows and thus clubs are not required to release their players to the national teams. It is also an under-23 competition, though three senior players are permitted in each squad.

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The issue is complicated by the fact that the men’s European Championship takes place in June and July this summer and concludes just weeks before the Olympic football tournament begins.

“I think that European clubs need to play the game so that we can put on a great show,” Macron told RMC Sport.

Asked if that was directed at Real Madrid, Macron added: “Exactly. When I said European clubs that is what I meant. The players need to think about it when they consider their preparations and training sessions, because we have the Euros — I hope that we will be playing on July 14 [the date of the Euros final].

“I haven’t spoken with him [Mbappé] but I hope that his club in particular lets him.”

Mbappé said he wanted to play at the Olympics in a news conference ahead of France’s game against Germany in March, though he added that “it doesn’t depend on me.”

Sources have told ESPN that Madrid are not allowing any of their squad to play at both the Olympics and Euro 2024. That means that their players, including Mbappé’s fellow France internationals Eduardo Camavinga and Aurélien Tchouaméni, will have to choose between the competitions.

Atlético Madrid‘s Antoine Griezmann has also expressed his desire to feature at the Games, telling French outlet Le Parisien that he will “do everything” to be there.

The men’s tournament at the Olympics is set to begin on July 24.

Information from ESPN’s Rodrigo Faez and Julien Laurens contributed to this report.

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