French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet has apologised after being accused by Kylian Mbappe and Real Madrid of disrespecting Zinedine Zidane.
Paris Saint-Germain forward Mbappe was one of many to take aim at Le Graet over comments he made after it was confirmed Didier Deschamps is staying on as France head coach.
Le Graet said he did not care whether Zidane, who had been strongly tipped to succeed Deschamps, ended up taking on another job.
The 81-year-old also said he would not pick up the phone if former midfielder Zidane called him to discuss coaching the national team.
Many called for Le Graet to apologise, with Mbappe posting on Twitter: "Zidane is France, we don't disrespect the legend like that..."
Madrid issued a statement on Monday criticising the "unfortunate comments".
Los Blancos also referenced previous remarks made by Le Graet regarding striker Karim Benzema, who recently announced his retirement from international duty.
Madrid's condemnation was swiftly followed by Le Graet releasing a statement of his own in which he attempted a U-turn.
"These awkward remarks created a misunderstanding," said Le Graet, who has been FFF president since June 2011.
"I'd like to present my personal apologies for these remarks which absolutely do not reflect my thoughts, nor my consideration for the player he was and the coach he's become."
Zidane has been out of work since leaving Madrid in May 2021, having led Los Blancos to three Champions Leagues and two LaLiga titles across two spells in charge.
As a player, Zidane earned 108 caps for France and helped his country win the World Cup in 1998 and the European Championship two years later.
The 50-year-old has also been touted as a candidate to take over as head coach of Brazil, while the United States are reported to have made an approach.