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Mbappe, Griezmann absent from initial France Olympic team list

Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann were on Monday left off the preliminary list of 25 players called up by hosts France for the Olympic Games football tournament.

Both players had indicated their desire to participate in the Paris Games, but their Spanish clubs — Real Madrid where Mbappe, 25, is set to play next season and Atletico for 33-year-old Griezmann — have said they will not release them. 

World Cup-winning forward and France captain Mbappe will lead France at Euro 2024 which runs from June 14 to July 14 in Germany.

“I have to give a fairly realistic list, even if I know that it is virtual,” said France Olympic football coach Thierry Henry, before adding that he was “still hoping” to be able to call upon Mbappe during the Olympic tournament.

“Everything is open for everyone, but we must give a list so that everyone can prepare. But we are not closing the door to anyone.”

Paris Saint-Germain duo Warren Zaire-Emery and Bradley Barcola and Lyon forward Alexandre Lacazette were named in the preliminary list.

“It’s a pre-list for preparation, it can evolve and, in my opinion, it will evolve,” continued Henry, with the final deadline on July 3.

A source close to PSG had indicated that the French Ligue 1 champions had refused to release Zaire-Emery, 18, and 21-year-old Barcola, who have also been called up for Euro 2024 in Germany.

Former France and Arsenal forward Henry only retained two players over 23 years, despite being entitled to three, opting for 33-year-old Lacazette, whom he described as “a player of quality, a leader of men”, and Crystal Palace striker Jean-Philippe Mateta. 

France will begin training on June 16 with friendly matches against Paraguay on July 4 in Bayonne, the Dominican Republic on July 11 and Japan on July 17 in Toulon.

The Olympic football competition begins on July 24 and runs to August 9, with France in a group alongside the United States, New Zealand and Guinea.

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