World Cup ab­sence is a ‘death in the soul’ for Ribery

The Herald - Herald Sport - - FOOTBALL - GIANNI RUSSO

FRANCK RIBERY, the Bay­ern Mu­nich winger, de­scribed his en­forced with­drawal from France’s World Cup squad as “a death in the soul”.

A back prob­lem meant he was ruled out of the tour­na­ment on the same day as Cle­ment Gre­nier, the Lyon mid­fielder, who has a thigh in­jury. Mont­pel­lier’s Remy Ca­bella and South amp­ton’s Mor­gan Sch­nei­der­lin will re­place the pair.

Ribery said: “It is like a death in the soul that I am forced to leave the France team and give up on the World Cup. I al­ways hoped to be able to play against Ja­maica [in this Sun­day’s fi­nal warm-up friendly] but when I pushed it phys­i­cally on Fri­day morn­ing it ag­gra­vated my back pain.

“The MRI scan con­firmed those feel­ings and there­fore my in­abil­ity to train and play nor­mally. In these con­di­tions and de­spite the ef­forts of the med­i­cal staff, who I thank sin­cerely, my ab­sence was in­evitable.

“I de­part from my team-mates with a heavy heart but I know they will do all they can for the blue jersey and go as far as pos­si­ble in the com­pe­ti­tion.”

The 31-year-old had been fol­low­ing an in­di­vid­ual train­ing pro­gramme since he was in­jured in Bay­ern’s DFB-Pokal fi­nal vic­tory over Borus­sia Dort­mund on May 17. How­ever, he was un­able to re­cover in time.

Di­dier Deschamps, the France coach, said: “It’s a sad day. You have on one side two play­ers who are happy to be join­ing us, and two oth­ers who are very sad. We in­creased the in­ten­sity of [Ribery’s] work but this morn­ing, be­fore he could join the col­lec­tive train­ing, he stopped dead on a move­ment with a sharp pain.

“As of today, ev­ery­thing leads us to be­lieve that he will be un­able to train for sev­eral weeks, and still less able to play. We know what Franck is ca­pa­ble of. With Franck Ribery at 100%, we are bet­ter. But I have other play­ers. There are lots of pos­si­bil­i­ties. [An­toine] Griez­mann has done some good things.”

Deschamps had pre­vi­ously been forced to call up St Eti­enne’s Stephane Ruffier in place of in­jured Mar­seille goal keeper Steve Man­danda. Re­fer­ring to his lat­est re­place­ments, Sch­nei­der­lin and Ca­bella, he said: “These two play­ers were on the re­serve list and they are sim­i­lar to the two play­ers who left us.

“It is not a cut-and-paste, but Mor­gan can link up play like Gre­nier and Ca­bella is clos­est to the pro­file of Franck Ribery.”

Ca­bella made his se­nior France de­but as a 79th-minute sub­sti­tute in last Tues­day’s 4-0 friendly win over Nor­way, while Sch­nei­der­lin has yet to ap­pear at full in­ter­na­tional level.

IN­JURED: Ribery picked up a back strain in the Ger­man Cup fi­nal

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