Kylian Mbappe missing from France's Olympic soccer roster as Thierry Henry unveils squad ahead of Paris games



Thierry Henry has unveiled his France under-23 roster for this summer’s Olympic Games in Paris and the hosts will be without Kylian Mbappe who was not on the list of players released Monday. The French superstar is expected to be announced as Real Madrid’s latest signing after the Spanish giants’ 15th UEFA Champions League triumph was secured over the weekend.

However, Mbappe appears to have fallen short in his quest to represent Les Bleus in back-to-back tournaments with UEFA Euro 2024 and the Olympics this summer. The 25-year-old has been vocal about his desire to participate and French president Emmanuel Macron was involved in trying to obtain Real’s blessing for Mbappe’s involvement.

Henry admitted that it was hard to concoct a squad capable of winning the competition given that the Olympics are outside of FIFA’s jurisdiction, so clubs are not obliged to release players. “Real Madrid were really straightforward about the Olympics,”  said the legendary former France international who has selected Olympique Lyonnais’ Alexandre Lacazette.

“The last time I suffered this many rejections was back in my college days,” added the Paramount+ analyst. “There have not even been negotiations. You go, you ask, they say no and you leave.” Ex-Arsenal striker Lacazette will be one of two Premier League-based stars who qualify as overage along with Crystal Palace’s Jean-Philippe Mateta but Henry had originally hoped for Mbappe and Atletico Madrid’s Antoine Griezmann.

Elsewhere, Lille OSC have provided three players in Lucas Chevalier, Leny Yoro and Bafode Diakite while Stade Rennais have also provided Adrien Truffert, Desire Doue and Arnaud Kalimuendo. Paris Saint-Germain pair Warren Zaire-Emery and Bradley Barcola feature, although the former might not captain the team as he does at under-21 level with the experienced Lacazette present.

Diakite, Kone and Thuram are all 23 which is the maximum eligibility age before a player can be deemed overage and the last French Olympic squad featured Andre-Pierre Gignac, Florian Thauvin and Teji Savanier as the overage trio. One possible solution to the remaining available overage slot could be a player who misses out on the Euros or a player who has fallen out of contention under Didier Deschamps but fits the bill in terms of Henry’s needs.

Aurelien Tchouameni is struggling with injury and missed the Champions League final at Wembley and is 24 so would qualify as overage although Real’s stance on the Games is unlikely to change. There is also the possibility of a Savnier-esque wildcard option which could present itself in the form of Stade Brestois 29’s Pierre Lees-Melou who had interested Deschamps after his integral role in the Breton club’s sensational UCL qualification pre-injury.

Full France Olympic squad

Goalkeepers: Lucas Chevalier, Guillaume Restes, Obed Nkambadio and Robin Risser.

Defenders: Bafode Diakite, Leny Yoro, Maxime Esteve, Bradley Locko, Castello Lukeba, Kiliann Sildillia and Adrien Truffert.

Midfielders: Maghnes Akliouche, Joris Chotard, Desire Doue, Manu Kone, Khephren Thuram, Enzo Millot, Lesley Ugochukwu and Warren Zaire-Emery.

Attackers: Arnaud Kalimuendo, Alexandre Lacazette (overage), Bradley Barcola, Jean-Philippe Mateta (overage), Michael Olise and Mathys Tel.

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