Speaking to L’Équipe in an exclusive interview, PSG midfielder Adrien Rabiot’s mother and agent Véronique discussed her son’s plight, currently excluded from the squad after refusing to sign a contract extension and thus deciding to leave the club for nothing in June. Highlights.
PSG have suspended your son. How is he dealing with this situation?
I do not want to cry to the hills, nor weaken Adrien’s position any further by saying that he is not in a good way. He is being attacked as a human. We are modest. I can only tell you that he is struggling greatly over everything that is happening.
What has he done on a daily basis over the last week since PSG decided to suspend him?
Adrien is training, but I am not going to tell you where, with whom and how. But of course he is training. He is obliged to. A footballer at the top level like him, who is not injured, cannot stop training for 13 days. And as access to Saint-Germain (the Camp des Loges training ground) is completely banned for him, he had to organise himself.
Does he regret going out to a nightclub on the night of PSG’s Champions’ League exit against Manchester United and for “liking” a video of Patrice Evra’s which was quite pro-Manchester United? For PSG, these are “serious faults”.
Already, for the video that he is reproached for interacting with, it is not the one that people are trying to convince you it was. It is not the one where Patrice Evra “is celebrating” PSG’s elimination. Aside from that, there is the nightclub trip… but PSG also want to be in control of Adrien’s private life and he can’t take it anymore! They want him to put his pyjamas on at 21:00, before the match, in front of the TV, for him to then go to bed at 23:00!
These people really don’t know the rhythm of a player’s life? When a player plays, that is his job, there is a rhythm at training. There, nothing is happening for Adrien anymore. Adrien is not going to go and do pottery whilst he waits for the time to pass. He needs to look after himself, live! He is being criticised for going out but he is not being allowed to play. That is contradictory. It is not possible to shut him away. All that energy inside him, he is supposed not to use it… I am revolted!
How did he become informed of his suspension?
(Antero) Henrique arrived in the dressing room to give him an official letter. It was the 14th March. He asked Adrien to sign it. Adrien did not want to. It was just before the beginning of training. Henrique repeated to him that he could not stay. He repeated that he had to sign. Adrien said no again to him, that he had come to train. He put his boots on and went to train. He did the session. At the end, in the gym, it was the team manager who came to see him and told him that he could not stay here. He repeated that he was suspended, that he could not come back to the training centre.
Do you feel like your son is a prisoner at PSG?
That is not an impression. Adrien is a prisoner. He is even a hostage at PSG. Soon, it is dry bread, water and a dungeon! This world is cruel… A footballer exists to play, not to stay on the shelf. Adrien has not played since December, and likely won’t until June. Over the course of a professional career, 6 months is enormous! He has been taken hostage because he does not want to sign again, when all he is doing is respecting his contract. Adrien is only asking for that: to respect his contract.
Do you have a lot of support?
There is only the UNFP (Union nationale des footballeurs professionels). They have been there since the beginning to see his rights respected. Aside from them, the whole thing isn’t stirring a reaction amongst anyone else. And in the highest places… I am surprised that the Ministers of Sports (Roxana Maracineanu) and Work (Muriel Pénicaud) are not outraged. A lot of people are aware of this situation, but nobody is doing anything about it. There have been a cascade of sanctions against Adrien, but nobody is moving. They are taking away his bonuses, a part of his salary, but nobody is saying anything… There are players who are six minutes late to a meeting (Rabiot vs. Marseille) and there are others who are injured but can go to the other side of the world, to the Rio carnival…