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Clairefontaine Press Conference 5: World Cup Preparation

Coming shortly after the news broke that both Franck Ribery and Clement Grenier will miss this summer’s World Cup due to injury, today’s pre-tournament press conference was understandably surrounded by a level of shock and disappointment.

With the news representing a huge blow to the French side with just days to go until the big kickoff in Brazil, Didier Deschamps, Yohan Cabaye and Raphael Varane did little to hide their true feelings on the matter. It was not all doom and gloom, however, as both players gave some cause for cautious optimism with talk of a strong sense of unity within the squad.


Didier Deschamps:

On the two key injuries to Ribery and Grenier: ‘Franck was feeling better but stepping up the intensity of his training led to him aggravating the injury. We have to be ambitious, but I can’t deny that we’d be much stronger if we had Ribery playing at 100%.’

‘It’s a sad day but we need to press ahead and prepare for our final friendly match.’

‘Ribery and Grenier are more upset than anyone.’

On the replacements coming in: ‘We all know what Franck is capable of but I have other players who have played in the two friendly matches so far and I’ve prepared for this situation.’

‘We have several players that offer something different, it’s not the end of the world.’

‘In terms of what I’m aiming to do, I decided that the best players to call in were Schneiderlin and Cabella.’

On playing Benzema out wide: ‘Benzema on the left? That’s certainly been part of my thinking. Griezmann and Remy have done very well too.’


Yohan Cabaye:

On the injuries: ‘It’s a huge blow to lose Ribery and Grenier.’

‘The longer it went on, the more we felt that Ribery wouldn’t make it back into the team. His situation just wasn’t improving.’

‘We all know about Ribery’s upbeat nature and the way he sets the mood in the camp, that’s going to be missed.’

‘At lunch Grenier was extremely upset. I don’t know how Ribery is yet.’

‘Grenier has had a tough end to the season, he worked so hard to be a part of the 23-man squad.’

On moving forward without Ribery: ‘Remy and Griezmann have shown some quality on the left but Franck was definitely the undisputed first choice.’

‘We have a young squad that has a lot of quality. Ribery was our key player but we have to carry on without him, we have no choice.’

‘We need to keep on playing as a team and work hard with the 23 players that we do have at our disposal.’

On returning to Lille for the Jamaica match: ‘It’s going to be strange going back to Lille. I’ll be playing in front of my family and friends and that always stays with you.’

On Thiago Silva: ‘Thiago Silva is a leader, he does everything he can to ensure that the team plays to its full potential. I know that he’s desperate to lift the trophy, he’s one of the best defenders in the world.’

On Varane: ‘It’s great to watch Varane play, he’s so tidy in everything that he does on the pitch. At his age it is brilliant to see and his success is well deserved.’

On Remy: ‘Remy is powerful, quick and a deadly finisher. It was great to play alongside him at Newcastle.’

On Pogba: ‘Pogba is starting to get a grip on himself now, that’s part of his character. You need to keep him in check and speak with him but what makes him so strong is his carefree nature, everyone believes in him.’


Raphael Varane:

On the injuries: ‘The loss of Ribery is tough to take, he’s an important player both on and off the pitch.’

On changes within the squad: ‘The changes shouldn’t make too much difference. The players all know each other and it all comes together on the pitch.’

On his own fitness: ‘I’m feeling good, my knee has been fine for a few weeks now.’

On his style of play: ‘I’ve never really followed any role models, my style of play has developed naturally based on my own qualities.’

On his progress: ‘I’m very happy with the way my career is progressing and I hope it will keep heading in the right direction.’

On playing in a World Cup: ‘It’s such a pleasure to play in a World Cup. We want to make people happy.’

On France’s chances: ‘I don’t like to talk about favourites too much. France can do very well. The group works well together and we have plenty of strengths.’

On Benzema: ‘Benzema is in form and full of confidence. We’ll certainly be relying upon him but he also relies upon the team’s efforts.’

‘We shouldn’t always expect individual brilliance from Benzema, he’s playing within a collective system.’


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