Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro, while delivering a speech recently, said that Africa are the true winners of the 2018 Russia World Cup, not even France.
France beat Croatia 4-2 in Sunday’s final in Moscow, but with a team with many players having an African root.
“The French team seems like the African team, in reality Africa won, the African immigrants who arrived in France,” Maduro said at an event to celebrate police day in Venezuela on Monday.
“How much have they despised Africa, and in the football World Cup France won the trophy thanks to African players or the sons of Africans.”
Two of France’s goalscorers against Croatia have African roots: Paul Pogba’s parents are from Guinea while Kylian Mbappe’s parents are Cameroonian and Algerian.
Of the players who started in the final, Samuel Umtiti was born in Cameroon, Blaise Matuidi’s parents are Angolan and Congolese, N’Golo Kante’s parents are Malian while Raphael Varane’s father is from the Caribbean island of Martinique.
Of the 23-man squad, 16 have African roots of some sort, although captain Hugo Lloris, goalscorer Antoine Griezmann and striker Olivier Giroud are of European heritage.
Maduro nonetheless congratulated the team for the “beautiful” way they played and paid tribute to his ally and Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for putting on “the best World Cup in the history of football.”