The South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) have criticized FIFA’s director of development Arsene Wenger for his comments on Paris Saint-Germain star Kylian Mbappe.
During a conference in Germany on May 24, the former Arsenal manager claimed that Mbappe would not have been as great a player had he “been born in Cameroon.” The Frenchman attributed his compatriot’s successes to the methods of training in Europe, stating that the rest of the world needed help in that regard.
His comments have not sat well with CONMEBOL. They have called his remarks “very unfortunate,” adding that the sacrifices and contributions of non-European footballers needed more recognition. Their statement read (via RMC Sport):
“CONMEBOL rejects and condemns the very unfortunate remarks of the senior official of Fifa, very close to the presidency of the institution. In addition to revealing an unusual ignorance of the valuable contribution of African players to world football, especially to European football, shows a disparaging bias that makes invisible the efforts of footballers and sporting institutions that are not in Europe. The most reprehensible prejudices are disguised as ‘founded’ and ‘informed’ reflections.”
The statement added:
“We South Americans know very well and on the front line this type of attitude that stems from the belief that the world begins and ends in Europe. The talent, the spirit of sacrifice and the desire to excel of African and South American players must be valued and respected.”
Mbappe, who is widely hailed as one of the best players of his generation, has represented France 57 times in his career, registering 27 goals and 21 assists.
Arsene Wenger tried to bring Kylian Mbappe to Arsenal
In the summer of 2016, then-Arsenal manager Wenger reportedly went to Mbappe’s house to convince him to move to the Emirates (via the Metro).
The youngster was nearing the end of his contract with Monaco and the Gunners chief wanted to capitalize on the opportunity. The deal did not materialize, of course, as Monaco managed to retain him for the 2016-17 season.
The young forward bagged 26 goals and 14 assists in 44 appearances across competitions in the 2016-17 campaign. His heroics helped AS Monaco to the Ligue 1 title that season. The Ligue 1 outfit also reached the Champions League semi-finals, where they eventually lost to Juventus (4-1 on aggregate).
The following campaign, the 2018 World Cup winner moved to PSG and has been with them since.