Photos of model Ines Rau and soccer star Kylian Mbappe side by side.

All eyes have been on Kylian Mbappé after his recent stellar showing at the World Cup in Qatar. In the Cup’s final match against Argentina, the star secured a hat trick after scoring all three of France’s goals. Though the French team lost in a nail-biting penalty round, Mbappé certainly walked away as the MVP.

This closer look at the 24-year-old’s talent has brought with it a new level of scrutiny and attention, especially on romance rumors that have linked the star to a certain famous model since earlier this year.


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A post shared by INES RAU (@supa_ines)

Rumors of a relationship between Mbappé and French-Algerian model Ines Rau have swirled since this May when paparazzi pictures of the player and a woman people believe to be Rau were released online. The pair were seen on a yacht together following the Cannes Film Festival, with one picture showing him scooping the woman up in his arms.

Though her identity wasn’t confirmed and the two haven’t been spotted interacting since, people have taken the rumors as fact:

Related: Isn’t it bromantic? Photo of two sexy soccer stars hugging it out at the World Cup goes viral

The trailblazing cover girl made headlines back in 2017 when she became Playboy’s first ever transgender Playmate of the Month, as well as the second trans woman to ever be featured in the magazine. The first was Caroline “Tula” Cossey in 1981, though she was outed by tabloids against her will.

With Rau, media outlets have once again proven themselves as enemies of trans women. The majority of reporting on the alleged pairing makes heavy emphasis on hersex reassignment surgery as a teen, and plenty insinuate that their involvement would mean that Mbappé must be gay or bi.


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A post shared by Kylian Mbappé (@k.mbappe)

Of course, relationships between cis and trans figured should be normalized and accepted just like any other relationship in the public eye. The issue with picking up this story and running with it is without either party saying a word is that it unduly opens up Rau and the trans community to rampant transphobia by sports fans worldwide and the outlets that cover them.

Searching “Mbappé Rau” on Twitter brings up any number of sexual, inappropriate, and offensive posts from users with hundreds of followers who would likely not be turning a single eye towards this model were she not linked to a famous athlete.

Related: Gay soccer player Zander Murray shares homophobic hate mail but still manages to get the last laugh

The pairing is being treated as so salacious and controversial that it’s overshadowing much of the other reporting on each figure involved. Rau has been romantically linked to French actor Staiv Gentis for years and Mbappé is currently alleged to be seeing Belgian model Rose Bertram, yet Mbappé and Rau’s alleged relationship is still taking cultural precedence.

If this relationship is genuine and real, that should absolutely be celebrated. What shouldn’t be accepted is bringing large scale harassment against a trans woman solely through unfounded rumors.

Related: French World Cup star Kylian Mbappe turns 24 and his sexy thirst traps are a true gift

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