On Tuesday, the France national side had a photoshoot, just like other national sides in their training camps all over the world are having this week.
But Mbappe did not participate in it.
What was Mbappe’s grievance?
On the face on it, it seemed like a problem with Mbappe’s image rights.
“I have decided to not take part in the photoshoot after the French federation’s refusal to change the image rights agreement with the players,” Mbappe said in a statement.
However, the real reason could be something deeper.
In March, Mbappe led a boycott of certain commercial activities by players who did not want to be associated with certain sectors — such as gambling websites and fast-food chains.
The French Football Federation (FFF) has a major deal with Betclic, the country’s leading online gambling website.
Probably, Mbappe feels that posing for a team photograph means validating Betclic’s deal with FFF.
The French media has also reported that Mbappe also does not want to be associated with fast-food chains such as KFC.
This has led to a war of words between the star striker and a company executive.
Alain Beral, vice president of KFC France, has said that the company is considering legal action over Mbappe’s refusal to participate in the big-money deal.
“We have paid for something clear. If necessary, we will assert our rights,” he said.
Beral also accused Mbappe of a “tantrum” and a “crisis of youth”.
However, KFC France then distanced itself from Beral’s views in an attempt to calm the situation, saying these words were “personal opinions” and did not reflect the stance of the company.
At the same time, Mbappe’s anti-gambling stance has been accused of hypocrisy in some quarters.
In June, he signed up as an ambassador for Sorare, a controversial non-fungible token (NFT) company, which deals with a speculative quantitative hedging fund.
The site has been blocked as a gambling website in Switzerland.
Sorare is also subject to investigation by the UK Gambling Commission.
The site itself is insistent it is not an investment or gambling product and maintains it is about “collectibles”.
The FFF appears to be in the mood for compromise with its star player.
The federation put out a statement saying it would “review” the image rights agreement with certain players “as soon as possible”.