Coach Macron: Why is the president so interested in sports?

Coach Macron: Why is the president so interested in sports?

This Sunday afternoon, Emmanuel Macron has an appointment from 15 hours. Since the presidential residence of the Lantern (Versailles), where he likes to spend his weekends, the head of state will not miss a crumb of the television final of Roland-Garros. Like Friday already. He followed the shock Federer-Nadal since the Elysee. Like the days before. The head of state regularly took a look at the other matches of the fortnight, between two meetings.

Because it's no secret that tennis is one of his favorite sports. Formerly ranked 15-4, the president still taps the ball as soon as he can. Especially when he goes to Le Touquet (Pas-de-Calais), "even if it is necessary to privatize a court and the weight room just for him," grumbles the former mayor LR of the seaside town, Daniel Fasquelle.

Question sport, Emmanuel Macron – who is also engaged in boxing in the basement dojo of the Elysee to maintain its shape – has also been served these days. Especially on the football side, his other favorite discipline, since he attended Friday the opening game of the Blue from the stand of honor of the Parc des Princes.

Emmanuel Macron hands the Legion of Honor to the Blues on June 4th. LP / Arnaud Journois

Last Tuesday, he had already gone to encourage them to Clairefontaine, before receiving in the afternoon the boys world champions, to whom he awarded the Legion of Honor. The opportunity to have a word for each player, some of whom have remained in contact with him since the famous final won on July 15, 2018. To the point of exchanging regularly by telephone with Didier Deschamps, and even occasionally with Griezmann , Pogba, Varane or Thauvin, a Marseillais, his heart club. "The night of the final in Moscow, he was untenable in the stand," recalls a close, who keeps in memory this famous photo of him in shirt arms during the first goal. Until exulting at the final whistle: "I've never seen so happy," even told after his wife Brigitte.

Macron does not support "the fear of losing"

So many opportunities to display his passion and knowledge of the game. To get closer to the French … and also send very political messages. "You have to have the right game plan, the good collective and play together, that's what makes you win," he was so excited when he came to the Blue in Clairefontaine. "When we separate on the field, when we are disunited, when we do not have the right tactical scheme, we can not win," he continued, draped in the coach's clothes. To be mistaken! One would almost hear the comments made weekly by the members of the government after the council of ministers!

That says a lot, in any case, about his relationship to the competition. On land as in the city: "The fear of losing is something he can not stand. For him, everyone has to take his risk. We must not hide, we must assume to have ambition, "decrypts one of his staff. Faithful to the character he has shaped himself in the conquest and exercise of power …

Moscow (Russia), July 15, 2018. The President exults after the first French goal in the final of the World Cup. AFP

Because with Macron, sport and politics do not go without each other. The Elysee even assumes to have made a "vector" of its action. The Olympics of 2024 in Paris? The Head of State, who again received Friday the President of the International Olympic Committee (IOC), Thomas Bach, sees a way to promote the economic attractiveness of France around the world.

When he arrives at the Elysee Palace in May 2017, the candidature file is already almost completed. But in the last mile, Macron puts all his energy. Just like this preparatory meeting in June 2017 at the Élysée, a month before the last major decisive oral in Lausanne, where it reviews – two hours and thirty during – the biographical sketches of each of the 95 IOC members who will have to decide between Paris and Los Angeles. "He wanted to know where he was going, what the issues were for everyone, their language, who had already expressed a preference …", recalls one participant.

A diplomatic "gateway"

Sport, Macron is even a part of his diplomacy. As on November 28, 2017, during his speech in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), where he sees "a powerful vector of development and growth of African economies." An adviser rightly says that the president even makes it a "gateway" in some diplomatic exchanges: "When he goes to attend the World Cup in Russia for example, he takes advantage of course to see Vladimir Putin. "

And at a time when the head of state seeks to reconnect with the territories, the Palace also highlights the importance he gives "the fabric of small clubs" … yet abused by the cuts in endowments and assisted jobs. Never mind ! For him, sport is above all a means of brushing, says his teams, the "national novel". A register that he likes so often to use during official ceremonies, commemorations or tributes to personalities and military. For this young and so-called "rich man" president, to be in tune with popular emotion. Because, as one collaborator observes, "he knows that the victory of France counts". For the country, and of course for him.

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