Sacré Bleu: Zidane to Mbappé – A football journey

Matthew Spiro

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From the publisher: 

Remember when Zinédine Zidane lifted the World Cup in 1998? Kylian Mbappé doesn’t. The gifted young forward wasn’t born when the French team became world champions for the first time. But it was Mbappé’s unique talent that helped France to reach the summit of world football once again in 2018, erasing years of failure, rancour and shame.

These two crowning achievements made Les Bleus the envy of the world, but 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. This was also a turbulent time for French society,  as the promise of racial harmony in 1998 gave way to rising tensions and riots.

Mbappé witnessed it all, honing his prodigious talent in the banlieues of Paris as the nation threatened to implode. His story embodies France’s journey from disaster  to triumph; football’s hottest new property growing up in a troubled neighbourhood  and inspiring a divided country on and  off the pitch.

In Sacré Bleu, Matthew Spiro traces the rise, fall and rise again of Les Bleus through the lens of Kylian Mbappé. Featuring a foreword by Arsène Wenger and interviews with leading figures in French football, including Marcel Desailly, Lilian Thuram, Emmanuel Petit, Robert Pirès and Olivier Giroud, Spiro asks what went wrong for France and what, ultimately, went right.

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Biteback
15 x 23 cm
Hardback
352 pages
May 2020
English
9781785905544