Without playing in the World Cup final, he attracted the spotlight.

Sitting in the Luzhniki Stadium's grandstand, French President Emmanuel Macron had his picture taken while celebrating a goal "like a Roman emperor in front of his gladiators" according to the words of the French daily Le Figaro. He also dabbed for some players' Instagram stories and gave an emphatic victory speech in the French changing rooms right in front of Vladimir Putin.

As part of this brilliant communication plan to be associated with the wave of joy and pride following Les Bleus' success, Macron brought a special guest with him in Moscow.

It's a French soldier who lost an arm and a leg fighting terrorists in Mali. After calling out to the players like a father ("les enfants!", meaning 'children'), he introduced the soldier met two days earlier according to Macron.


"I asked him who the person he admires the most is. He answered Didier Deschamps (the French manager)". He added ironically "it slightly hurt me".

"When you see the players, tell them they built a dream for a little Frenchman like me. That's why I brought him, because I wanted you to realise what you have done" ended the French President with the players' applause.

This scene is the symbol of Macron's clever strategy to thwart negative interpretation of his intrusion in the World Cup winners' team.

"He balanced the symbols" thinks lecturer Arnaud Benedetti in Le Figaro. "By bringing a wounded soldier, he reminded the true nature of heroism". A way for Macron to temper the madness following the win and to show his sense of the priorities.

The players took charge of the President's communication. Their social media skills were a godsend for Macron, giving sincerity to the moment and to him.

Moreover, unlike his predecessor Jacques Chirac who won 15 percent of approval rates after French win in 1998, Macron is a genuine football fan, giving him credibility to celebrate.

At the dangerous game of the political appropriation, Macron's Muscovite plan is a clear success as he appeared credible enough for most of the French.

However with this attempt Macron could be flogging a dead horse.

On Le Figaro website, to the question "Will the World Cup triumph be beneficial to Macron" 54 percent of the 40.000 voters reckoned it won't.

Macron "the hypnotist", as branded by Mediapart before his election, hits rock bottom in the polls with 34 percent of approval rates according to the French polling institute Elabe.

For CEVIPOF analyist Bruno Cautrès, Macron will remain "the President of the rich" for a part of the population. "Any World Cup bounce may be short-lived, finishing with the end of summer holidays".

In 1998 President Chirac took advantage of a far more favourable context which explains his historic bounce in the polls. It was especially an economic growth period which supported on a long term the post-World Cup recovery of the households' confidence.

Few hours after greeting the newly World Champions and another 1,300 guests at the Élysée Palace, President Macron receives furious unions at the same place this Tuesday's morning.

France which marches against Macron gets back on top after France which parades for Les Bleus. It's the symbol of the World Cup victory for Macron: a single break not a rubber.

On his side, French manager Didier Deschamps remains at his post and will still have the "privilege to make people happy" as he said last week after beating Belgium.

From that point of view Macron was probably not totally ironic when he told the players he's envious of Didier Deschamps.