Football Notebook: Malik Tillman picks USMNT, Idrissa Gueye controversy, Kylian Mbappe’s decision and more

Despite a riveting UEFA Europa League final which Eintracht Frankfurt eventually won on penalties in Seville, there was a lot going on off the pitch this midweek with big storylines unfolding across Europe. Idrissa Gueye and his Paris Saint-Germain team-mate Kylian Mbappe featured prominently, while there was plenty of activity outside of Germany.

Here are some you might have missed.

Gueye controversy

Paris Saint-Germain and Senegal’s Idrissa Gueye have sparked controversy in France after refusing to play for PSG against Montpellier HSC in a round of Ligue 1 games last weekend, which featured the rainbow flag on the shirt numbers in support of LGBTQ+ -Permissions was added. The 32-year-old missed out on the 4-0 win for “personal reasons” and it is an “isolated case”, according to Mauricio Pochettino, while the French Football Federation have demanded an explanation after Gueye’s representatives suggested his repeated absences were to blame The game was not due to injury or illness.

Why it matters: Homosexuality is against the law in Gueye’s home country of Senegal and carries a prison sentence of up to five years, while PSG have Qatar’s backing as it is also illegal in the 2022 FIFA World Cup host country. This comes in the same week that Blackpool’s Jake Daniels came out as gay to become the first professional footballer in Britain since Justin Fashanu 30 years ago, and the allegedly homophobic reaction has prompted international team-mates and Senegalese politicians to question Gueye’s stance to support.

Mbappe’s “Choice”

After months of speculation, the moment is expected to come on Sunday when PSG and France star Kylian Mbappe finally announces where his future lies. The 23-year-old is set to announce his decision on national TV after hinting at last week’s UNFP Awards that he had “pretty much” made his choice.

“I don’t know what his decision is,” said Pochettino on Friday before the season-ending game against FC Metz on Saturday. “It’s something personal between Kylian and the club. I might have an inkling, but it’s up to Kylian and the club to communicate it. There’s a lot of information and a lot of rumours. I want him to stay at PSG for many years. I I’m the head coach. It’s nothing new and it doesn’t mean I know what’s going to happen. I don’t know if there’s a firm date for his pick either.”

Why it matters: Mbappe’s potential Real Madrid move or PSG renewal is one of the most talked about topics in esports right now. Not only will this announcement put an end to a protracted period of speculation, but the nature of his expected decision parallels NBA superstar LeBron James’ infamous “decision” in 2010 when he joined the Miami Heat.

Tillman chooses USMNT

Bayern Munich talent Malik Tillman has opted to play for USMNT over Germany as the German-born 19-year-old qualifies for the United States through his father.

“We regret Malik’s decision and it surprised us a lot,” said Germany U21 coach Antonio Di Salvo in an interview with Kicker. “We encouraged him as a younger player in the U21s, placed a lot of trust in him and gave him match practice. We were also in close contact about his prospects for the senior national team.”

Why it matters: Tillman has been with the German team since he was 15 so this is not only a coup for the USMNT but also a blow to his home country of Germany with four Bundesliga games last season suggesting he is on the verge of a breakthrough.

Change in the Bundesliga coach

Another week, more changes for German sides ahead of next season with VfL Wolfsburg, FC Augsburg, TSG 1899 Hoffenheim, Borussia Monchengladbach and now Borussia Dortmund all looking for new bosses, with Niko Kovac expected to fill the vacancy at Wolfsburg will be after Florian Kohfeldt has left. Markus Weinzierl could replace Sebastian Hoeneß at Hoffenheim, Adi Hutter could come back from Gladbach with Hertha Berlin and Lucien Favre is linked with a foal return while Edin Terzic could return to BVB.

Why it matters: The Bundesliga is known for having something of a merry-go-round when it comes to coaching and this is no different to what we see most years where characters are recast in different roles. The fact that Marco Rose is now back on the market could mean that a few clubs are suddenly interested in Germany and beyond.

Aubameyang retires from international duty in Gabon

Barcelona’s Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang has retired from international football with Gabon, which he captained: “After 13 years of proudly representing my country, I want to tell you that I am retiring from international football,” he wrote he wrote in a letter to the Gabonese association FEGAFOOT. “I want to thank the Gabonese people and everyone who has supported me through good times and bad.

“I will always have great memories, like the day I made my debut or the day I came back from Nigeria with the African Player of the Year award. It’s an unforgettable moment to share with everyone. I want to thank my dad who made me want to be like him and I hope I made him proud by wearing our colors.”

Why it matters: Aubameyang is enjoying a new life with Barcelona and after the recent international controversy, the 32-year-old can finally focus on his football again.

Iraola extends with Vallecano

Staying in Spain and LaLiga side Rayo Vallecano have announced Andoni Iraola is staying for another year, with the 39-year-old coach guiding the side to 12th in the table despite limited resources.

Why it matters: A rising star in Spanish football, Iraola will be on the radar of many clubs in the near future, particularly his beloved Athletic Club.

Leave a Comment