AP Sports Writer (AP) — World Cup top scorer Kylian Mbappé was named as France’s new captain on Tuesday, succeeding goalkeeper Hugo Lloris.
France coach Didier Deschamps made the announcement in a short video clip which is set to be aired on soccer show Téléfoot.
“It will be Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann will be vice-captain. Kylian ticks all the boxes to take on this responsibility, given what he does and will continue to do on the field,” Deschamps told Téléfoot. “And because he’s a unifying link between the youngest, the not so young and the oldest players. That’s why I made this choice but it’s not to the detriment of Antoine, because Antoine will also have an important responsibility.”
Griezmann, who turned 32 on Tuesday, has played 117 games for France and the forward is regarded as being very close to Deschamps.
The 24-year-old Mbappé will captain France against the Netherlands at Stade de France on Friday when qualifying starts for next year’s European Championship. France then plays Ireland in Dublin on Monday.
Mbappé scored eight goals at last year’s World Cup in Qatar, where he became only the second player to score a hat trick in the final, taking his tally to 36 goals in 66 matches for Les Bleus of which 12 have been scored in World Cups. France lost on penalty kicks to Lionel Messi’s Argentina in Qatar following a wild 3-3 draw.
This season, Mbappé became French champion Paris Saint-Germain’s all-time leading scorer after overtaking Edinson Cavani and has 202 goals for the club in 250 games.
Lloris and central defender Raphaël Varane, who won the 2018 World Cup alongside Mbappé, announced their retirements from international play after France lost the 2022 final.