Macron dons boots for charity football match


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Paris (AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron, who has his eyes set on the election goal next year, slipped on his football boots and rallied the midfielder in a charity match on Thursday.

After a kiss from his wife Brigitte, the 43-year-old was all smiles as he stepped onto the Poissy pitch outside of Paris alongside former international defender Marcel Desailly and former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger.

Playing in central midfielder, Macron drew cheers from the crowd with his first touch – and had plenty of room to shy away from intimidated opponents who deferentially retreated as he advanced with the ball.

The Marseille supporter was also allowed to take a penalty, scoring the equalizer with a less than fierce strike that the political centrist sent directly to the center.

Macron, who played college football and is an avid tennis player, had spent the day visiting the construction sites for the Paris 2024 Olympics.

“The goal is not just to get medals, it will be to put sport at the heart of the nation,” he told reporters, announcing 200 million euros ($ 232 million) for new sports facilities.

His political party and his collaborators are preparing for the presidential elections next April, when the head of state is expected to run for a second term.

A new poll released Thursday showed him leading the first round with 24-28% of the vote, then winning the second round.

Analysts say the election remains highly unpredictable, however, with far-right media scholar Eric Zemmour surging in recent weeks demonstrating how quickly voter sentiment can change.

The charity match featured a team of former players and public figures including former France international and Arsenal star Robert Pires, while their opponents were a team of medics who have been at the forefront of efforts to fight against Covid-19.

Images of the match and Macron’s successful penalty kick were broadcast on 24-hour news channels.

The money raised from the sale of around 3,000 tickets was intended for a hospital charity led by Brigitte Macron.

Macron is not the only world leader to take the field in a bid to impress fans with his sporting prowess.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan took advantage of kicks on the football field, while Russian President Vladimir Putin regularly competes in an amateur ice hockey league.

South American state vice president of Suriname Ronnie Brunswijk, 60, saw it above – last month he had selected himself in attack in a professional competitive game for the club that ‘he owns.

The club, Inter Moengotapoe, suffered a 6-0 beating and have since been excluded from the CONCACAF League.

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