Remember when Zinedine Zidane lifted the World Cup in 1998? Kylian Mbappe doesn't. The forward wasn't born when the French team first became world champions. But it was Mbappe's unique talent that helped France reach the summit of world football once again in 2018, erasing years of failure, rancour and shame. For Les Bleus, the road between these two highs was blighted by bitterly painful lows. Zidane's headbutt; a players' strike; infighting and recriminations; even sex scandals and blackmail. Mbappe witnessed it all as he honed his prodigious talent in the banlieues of Paris, and his story embodies France's journey from disaster to triumph. In Sacre Bleu, Matthew Spiro traces the rise, fall and rise again of Les Bleus through the lens of Kylian Mbappe. Featuring a foreword by Arsene Wenger and interviews with leading figures in French football, Spiro asks what went wrong for France and what, ultimately, went right.
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Date of Publication: 04/05/2021