Emmanuel Macron downs a bottle of Corona in one while cheered on by Toulouse rugby players
He can often be seen chanting ‘Allez Les Bleus’ from the stands as he cheers on French sports stars.
But it was more a case of ‘allez les booze’ when French President Emmanuel Macron downed a bottle of Corona in front of cheering rugby players over the weekend.
The 45-year-old tipped his head back and drank the beer back in the Toulouse dressing room after the team’s dramatic 29-26 victory over La Rochelle – a victory that secured the national league title.
As Macron slammed the empty bottle back onto the counter, he was met by thunderous cheers from Toulouse’s coaching staff and players following their win in France’s Top 14 final at the Stade de France on Saturday night.
Macron, who had watched the game from the VIP lounge, was then seen smiling broadly and shaking hands with the rugby players.
Afterwards, players and staff agreed to take a ‘vow of silence’ over Macron’s antics, the newspaper reports Le Figaro. But the images appeared on French TV channels before going viral on social media.
French President Emmanuel Macron caused a stir today after drinking a bottle of Corona in one while being cheered by Toulouse rugby players after they clinched the national league title last weekend
It quickly went from the French sporting cry of ‘Allez les bleus’ to ‘allez les booze’ for the 45-year-old leader after a video emerged of him inhaling the bottle of beer in the Toulouse dressing room after their dramatic 29-26 victory over La Rochelle
After handing over the beer and urging them to drink it all in one gulp, Macron downs the Corona bottle in 17 seconds before throwing it back on the counter to cheers from Toulouse coaching staff and players after their victory in the French Top 14 final at the Stade de France on Saturday night.
Reactions to Macron’s antics were mixed – some saying it was a “really fun, spontaneous moment,” while others decried it as illustrative of “toxic masculinity.”
Toulouse coach Clément Poitrenaud said: “All I can tell you is that he has been well received.
Jean-Luc Moudenc, the mayor of Toulouse, told local French radio station France Bleu: ‘It was a very nice, very spontaneous moment. The president was challenged to empty a bottle and he did it in a matter of seconds.
‘After that he was generously sprayed by the players who, of course, let off steam after so much (match) tension’.
But Sandrine Rousseau, MP for the Greens, shared the footage on Twitter, saying: “Toxic masculinity in political leadership in one image.”
“A president who shares in the fun of 23 players and participates in their traditions. That’s all,” said MP Jean-Rene Cazeneuve of the governing party.
Macron is an avid sports fan and is known for his locker room visits to French sports teams, but things don’t always go according to plan.
In December, after Les Bleus lost the World Cup final in Qatar, Macron appeared in the team’s dressing room to give an emotional post-match pep talk.
But the players, many of whom did not look at Macron, seemed unimpressed and only gave him a lukewarm applause when he had finished.
And shocking footage from the World Cup final showed Macron clumsily trying to comfort French football star Kylian Mbappé on the pitch after France lost 4-2 on penalties to Argentina – only for the player to ignore the leader’s attempts to waive.
During the World Cup in December, Macron interrupted an emotional moment between French soccer star Kylian Mbappé and Argentine goalkeeper Emiliano Martínez
At the award ceremony at the World Cup in December, Macron, who handed out medals to the dejected French players, again tried to hug Mbappé, but he refused to make eye contact with the president and quickly walked away to shake hands with another official.
And Macron again tried to take center stage after Toulouse’s win in France’s Top 14 Rugby final – this time by sipping a Corona beer.
Like most French presidents, Macron is more often seen with wine in his hand, and he once claimed to drink one glass at lunch and another at night.
He has also given staunch support to France’s famed wine industry, even blocking attempts by public health authorities to promote the “Dry January” concept – making the first month of the year four weeks of alcohol abstinence.
“The president has a responsibility as a role model when it comes to setting a healthy example of behavior,” Bernard Basset of the charity Association Addictions France told the BFM channel on Monday.
“In this case, he associates sports, partying and alcohol consumption in a context of male peer pressure where everyone drinks a little too much,” he added.
“It’s inappropriate,” William Lowenstein, a doctor and addiction specialist, told the same channel. “You could do it, but not in front of the cameras.”
However, the footage could help boost the ratings of a politician who has long been criticized for being out of touch with ordinary people.
His popularity sank to a near nadir in March and April this year when he pushed through a highly unpopular increase in the retirement age and was booed by sections of the crowd when he took to the pitch for Saturday’s game.
His popularity was so low that it was thought that the best way to shake hands with the players of the French Football Cup Final was in the hallway and not on the pitch.
Although alcohol consumption in France has fallen over the past 50 years, the intoxicant kills about 49,000 people each year and excessive use is “one of the leading causes of hospitalizations,” according to the health ministry.