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Mbappe urges young people to vote against 'extremists' in French elections


France superstar and captain Kylian Mbappe on Sunday declared himself "against extremes and divisive ideas" when asked about crucial upcoming legislative elections in the country.

Mbappe did not explicitly speak out against or in favour of any party ahead of the elections, the first round of which will take place on June 30 with the second round on July 7.

However, the striker defended comments made on Saturday by his teammate Marcus Thuram, saying he "had not gone too far" in calling on the country "to fight every day to stop" the far-right National Rally (RN) winning the elections.

"I think this a crucial moment in the history of our country, an unprecedented situation," Mbappe, 25, said at a press conference in Duesseldorf, where France play Austria in their opening Euro 2024 game on Monday.

"The Euros is very important in our careers, but we are citizens first and foremost and I don't think we can be disconnected from the world around us," added Mbappe, an icon in France and who has just signed for Real Madrid from Paris Saint-Germain.

"Today we can all see that extremists are very close to winning power and we have the opportunity to choose the future of our country.

"That is why I call on all young people to go out and vote, to really be aware of the importance of the situation. 

"The country needs to identify with the values of diversity and tolerance. That is undeniable. I really hope we make the right decision."

'We must not hide'

It is the first time Mbappe has spoken publicly since far-right parties including the top-scoring RN managed to take almost 40 percent of the vote in France in last week's EU elections. 

President Emmanuel Macron responded to those results by calling the snap poll for the National Assembly, which could see the RN become the biggest party.

"Kylian Mbappe is against extremes and against divisive ideas. We have the opportunity to choose the future of our country. That is a very important task," Mbappe continued.

"There might be a lot of young people who are not conscious of the importance and urgency of the situation, when you look at the abstention rate whether it be in the countryside or in the banlieues (suburbs)."

France, who have been to the final of the last two World Cups, are one of the leading favourites to win Euro 2024.

They will also play the Netherlands and Poland in Group D and the team will still be in Germany when the elections take place, assuming they reach the knockout phase.

Any last-16 tie for France would be played between June 30 and July 2, with the quarter-finals on July 5 and 6.

"I want to be proud to wear the shirt of my country on July 7. I don't want to represent a country that does not correspond to my values, to our values," added Mbappe, one of many France players who come from an immigrant background.

"We must not hide. People often say we shouldn't mix football and politics, but when it is situations like this, it is very important, more important than tomorrow's game."

After Thuram spoke on Saturday, the French Football Federation issued a statement demanding the team not be subject "to any form of pressure and political use."

The FFF said that although they respected freedom of expression, they "wish (their) neutrality to be respected by all ... as well as that of the squad."

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