Franck Ribery ruled out of World Cup
France star Franck Ribery has been ruled out of the World Cup after he aggravated his back injury in training.
The Bayern Munich star had been expected to play a part in Brazil despite his fitness troubles, with France assistant coach Guy Stephan telling RTL on Thursday that he was optimistic the 31-year-old would be fit.
However, France boss Didier Deschamps said on Friday that he had exacerbated the problem during Friday's training session and would not now travel to Brazil.
"Franck had been feeling better," he told the media. "The increase in intensity worsened the situation. This is a sad day, but we need to recover and prepare for the final friendly."
Ribery then revealed that it was a decision that he did not take lightly.
"It's with death in the soul that I am forced to leave the French national team and pull out of the World Cup," he told the French Football Federation (FFF) website. "I had always hoped, after noting encouraging signs in recent days, to be ready for France - Jamaica.
"But the extensive tests I underwent on Friday morning reawakened my back pain. The MRI scan I underwent at Rambouillet hospital only confirmed the initial impressions and the increase in pain, and therefore my inability to train and play normally.
"In these conditions, and despite the treatment given by the medical staff, whom I thank sincerely, my withdrawal was inevitable. I leave my team-mates with a heavy heart, but I know they will give their all for the blue shirt and try to go as far as possible in the competition. I know I can put my trust in them. I am now their number one fan."
The FFF also confirmed on its official website that Lyon midfielder Clement Grenier would also miss out on the tournament after an adductor tear was diagnosed following Thursday's training session. The pair will be replaced in the 23-man squad by Morgan Schneiderlin and Remy Cabella.
Ribéry et Grenier forfaits définitifs. Cabella et Schneiderlin, appelés, rejoindront Clairefontaine dans la soirée. #CM2014- Equipe de France (@equipedefrance) June 6, 2014
Deschamps said he had already had thoughts on who may fill in for Ribery after testing out different options during the recent friendlies with Norway and Paraguay.
"We know what Franck is capable of [but] I have other players who played in the two friendly matches," he said. "I was prepared for this. There are other possibilities. This is not fixed, with the profiles of the different players. Concerning what I will do, the best options were Schneiderlin and Cabella."
Asked whether Real Madrid forward Karim Benzema could be positioned out on the left in Ribery's absence, he replied: "We will reflect on this. [Antoine] Griezmann and [Loic] Remy did well [in the friendlies]."
Deschamps admitted Les Bleus' chances of success in Brazil would be hindered by the loss of a player who finished third in the voting for the 2013 Ballon d'Or.
"We have to be ambitious but, with Ribery at 100 percent, I can't deny that would be better," he said.
France face Honduras, Switzerland and Ecuador in Group E this summer.