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FRENCH LIGUE 1

2016/2017 Season

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 By Ian Holyman

Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani fined and dropped by PSG

Paris Saint-Germain boss Laurent Blanc has punished Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani for their late arrival following the Christmas break, sidelining the wayward duo for two matches.

Lavezzi, 29, and Cavani, 27, returned to Paris from South America four days late, and having missed PSG's winter training camp in Morocco. Blanc, 49, told the media that the club had fined the pair, while he had decided to leave them out of his squad for Monday's Coupe de France tie at Montpellier as well as next Saturday's league game at Bastia.

"We really could have done without it. Let's not kid ourselves. It has come at a bad time. The return to training is important. All the more so given the first part of the season was mediocre, and that we need to set out with significant momentum to take up the challenges that we'll be faced with," Blanc told media, adding he and deputy sporting director Olivier Letang had taken action after talking to both players.

"The club took steps, financial ones, but I won't get into that. There were also sporting ones. That concerns me. It's me who took them with the support of the club. Firstly, they will train away from the squad until next Saturday, and won't be called upon for the next two games, against Montpellier and Bastia. We'll see where we are after that.

"We'll see if the punishments will continue or whether they'll be brought back into the squad. It's not necessary for me to add that I find it inadmissable and unacceptable. You can well imagine that."

The incident is the second such disciplinary issue Blanc has had to deal with this season following Adrien Rabiot's unexplained absence from training earlier in the campaign.

Ezequiel Lavezzi and Edinson Cavani are in hot water over their absences.

The promising midfielder, 19, has since signed a new contract, however, and been brought back into the PSG squad, and Blanc rejected speculation he would be ready to allow the youngster to join Tottenham on loan.

"I have always said that he's a boy I want to keep," said Blanc, who left Rabiot out of his matchday squads until the teenager agreed to extend the deal that initially expired next summer.

"My position is clear. He has signed a new contract. In my opinion, he's part of PSG's future. He has come back well after a very difficult first part of the season for him personally. I would like to keep him, help him improve, play him.

"It's a very complicated case. I will see if Adrien is still with us at the end of January. I would like to keep him in the squad. I cannot be more clear."

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