1998 FIFA World Cup and 2000 Euro Championship winner, Frank Leboeuf, has opened up on some topical issues arising from Qatar 2022 FIFA World Cup.
In an exclusive interview with Safe Betting Sites , the former France international and Chelsea Centre-back spoke on why Pele is in a league of his own despite Lionel Messi’s World Cup heroics, how Argentina lacked class after final win and why Chelsea’s should write off the rest of this season, among other personal opinions.
Lionel Messi is great but Pele’s three World Cup wins make him greater
Leboeuf hailed Messi’s World Cup final performance and classy demeanour in the aftermath of Argentina’s win over France but he believes Pele will never be outshone as the GOAT because he lifted the Jules Rimet trophy three times in his career.
Leboeuf said: “Messi is undoubtedly a great player and he definitely deserved to win the World Cup. Considering his incredible career it’s something he’s certainly earned. He was also one of the few Argentina players who showed humility and respect towards their opponents after the match.
“But in terms of who is the GOAT, I think if there can only be one it has to be Pele. He won the World Cup three times, the first time at the age of 17 years old. This was at the time where you had no medical or physical training sessions. The guy was simply a monster. He only played in Brazil so he couldn’t get the Ballon d’Or because it was only given to European players at that time. So I don’t even know how we can compare anybody else with Pele. Yes, Messi is a great player, as were Maradona and Platini and Johan Cryuff. But the greatest of the greatest in that position is Pele because he won it three times.”
Emiliano Martinez needs to grow up! After ‘stupid’ antics at WC penalty shootout
Emi Martinez saved two penalties to help win Argentina their third World Cup but Leboeuf says the Aston Villa goalkeeper needs to grow up after he was filmed singing about Mbappe and making a lewd gesture with his Golden Gloves trophy after the match.
Leboeuf said: “I was saying good things about Emiliano Martinez before the final and I think he’s a great goalkeeper. But his behaviour? Oh, my God, grow up man! What are you doing in front of the world? Playing with your trophy. Are you stupid, or what? And what the players did afterwards in the dressing room [singing about Mbappe]? Come on, the guy scored four goals against you. What are you teasing him for?
“Martinez played with Tchouaméni when he threw the ball away and made him go to pick it up [in the shootout]. I would have gone to the spot and said I will wait for somebody to give me the ball. But overall Martinez is an exceptional goalkeeper. It’s crazy to see that he was a substitute for Arsenal for so many years. We can all see his talent now. I don’t like his behaviour but what a goalkeeper.”
PSG will not let Kylian Mbappe join Real Madrid anytime soon
Kylian Mbappe has been linked with a move to Real Madrid but Leboeuf is adamant that the star striker is destined to stay in Paris for the foreseeable future and he says Qatari owned club have no plans to cash in on the 24-year-old anytime soon.
Leboeuf said: “Mbappe was born close to Paris, he plays his football in Paris, he earns millions of Euros per year and is the hero of his nation. Why would he want to leave? Yes admittedly Ligue 1 is not the best but neither is La Liga in terms of quality throughout the league below the top five. He wants to make history with PSG right now. He’s writing his history and hopefully that is going to include Champions League trophies alongside Messi. I don’t see him leaving. It’s too early for Qatar to let him go and don’t forget he just signed a new contract so the fans would be outraged if he left straight after.”
N’Golo Kante may be forced to consider retirement over injury hell
Leboeuf said: “I haven’t spoken to Kante directly about his fitness and how he feels but it could be that he’s nearing the end of it [his career]. Because the thing is we have to understand that we are talking about a human being. Suddenly your body says okay, enough, leave me alone. The end of your career is also a part of your career, and you have to choose the right time to give up. Even if you don’t want to and even if your football is great and you want to carry on.
“You have to give envy to people and not pity. So you have to make a decision in your own mind [regarding retirement]. You have to talk to your family and say maybe okay, it’s over. So I don’t know his shape but if he feels that he can serve Chelsea well then he should stay.”
Croatia star Joško Gvardiol would be ideal January signing for Chelsea
With Thiago Silva approaching the end of his career, Lebeouf urged Chelsea to sign Joško Gvardiol, who shone for Croatia at the World Cup and could potentially form a dream partnership at centre back with Wesley Fofana.
Leboeuf said: “Gvardiol is a great player. He was turned inside out by Messi in the semi-final for that great goal but that was partly Dejan Lovren’s fault for not helping him and also the mask he was wearing probably didn’t help either [laughs]. I know I’m making excuses for him but he’s a great defender, he had a great World Cup and if Chelsea can get him, I say to the club, “Yes thank you.”
Arsenal must be wary of splashing cash on Cody Gakpo
Arsenal risk upsetting their squad harmony and antagonising Gabriel Jesus if they sign PSV star Cody Gakpo reckons Leboeuf.
He said: “Gakpo would be a good target. He had a fantastic World Cup. He’s young, he’s a great talent and he represents the future of football. But there is always a dilemma when you want to replace somebody with a great player. When that injured player returns, what happens then? Does he go straight back into the team in place of the new signing?
“So if you sign Gakpo and put him in competition with Gabriel Jesus, who then finds himself back in the situation he was in at Man City. Maybe you risk upsetting him and the dressing room? But equally maybe he is not going to worry. But it is also possible that he’s gonna be unhappy because he was playing great before his injury.
“It could be dramatic at the end of the day. So you have to believe that Mikel Arteta and the Arsenal board have already thought through the pros and cons but will have to be 100% sure that Gakpo can be good for the team in the squad before they try to sign him. It’s a tricky balance that’s the problem.”
Zinedine Zidane should succeed Didier Deschamps as France manager
Leboeuf said: “I think Deschamps did a great job. To reach the final was unexpected if we go back to a month ago. He is a winner and he wants to win the European Championship and I’m pretty sure that he’s gonna stay until at least the next Euros and after let’s see let’s see if Zinedine Zidane will take the job. I think it would be great to go from Laurent Blanc to Deschamps to Zizou. It’s great that so many players from the ‘98 team have embraced the role of being coach.”
Southgate shouldn’t replace Potter at Chelsea
Leboeuf said: “I want to see Mr. Potter given more time. This is the first time in a long time Chelsea have employed someone who’s not coached at the top level – with all due respect. This is not somebody who has already won the Champions League before coming to Chelsea. I like that they’ve given an English coach a chance. He proved at Brighton that he knows how to deal with the players. So give him the time to prove himself. Yes it has not been perfect so far but it’s not been an easy transition for Mr Potter, but give him time to be judged.
“I remember Gareth Southgate not being very nice to me when I came to Chelsea. The media were nice to me and said that for the first time they could see a sweeper being able to play with the ball. And Southgate made a comment when we lost against Liverpool that he was happy that even with a very good sweeper we had been smashed by the Reds. I’m not resentful, but that comment wasn’t worth it in my view. If the media decided to like me, that was because of my football, and not because of me. I had a very good relationship with Tony Adams. They never mentioned that. I still respect Gareth Southgate, and I think he should stay as England coach, because he does very well with the national team. I don’t want to see him at Chelsea right now, but maybe one day.”
Copyright © 2024 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.