President Alberto Fernández and his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron are engaging in a bit of banter ahead of Sunday’s World Cup final clash.
In a series of exchanges on Twitter, Argentina’s Peronist leader this week wished the French leader all the best for the future – except for on Sunday, when the teams of their respective nations will battle it out for football’s most coveted trophy.
"Dear friend @EmmanuelMAcron, I have great affection for you and I wish you the best for the future. Except for Sunday. Argentina is my wonderful country, and it is Latin America! Let's go the light-blue-and-white!" Fernández wrote in a post online, responding to a cheeky message from Macron, his friend and diplomatic ally.
The French president, who was at the stadium on Wednesday when Les Bleus beat Morocco 2-0 to qualify for the final against Argentina, had written to Fernández on the same platform after Brazilian president-elect Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva wished both leaders good luck ahead of Sunday’s match.
In a message written in Portuguese, Macron thanked Lula and also said: "Dear @alferdez, one of us two will have more luck. On Sunday we will know which of the two. With all my friendship... Adelante Les Bleus!"
Although it is taken for granted that Macron will be in Qatar on Sunday, Fernández has so far rejected an invitation to attend, reportedly worrying that Argentines could brand him "mufa” or back luck.
"Football and politics do not mix. We are not interested in mixing, the citizenry has to enjoy it. The president has a good relationship with Macron and they have previously exchanged chats, but there has been no decision made" about a trip to the final, said Argentina’s Presidential Spokesperson Gabriela Cerruti said on Thursday.
One Argentine leader will be there, however: former president Mauricio Macri. The opposition leader, who has attended a host of matches thanks to his role as head of the FIFA Foundation, has been mocked by his critics online for bringing bad luck to Argentina’s opponents.