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 pitch in Poissy outside Paris alongside former international defender Marcel Desailly and former Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger.
Playing in central midfielder, Macron drew crowd cheers 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 shot 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.