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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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Diarra: My France career is over

Lassana Diarra has told L'Equipe he believes that his international career is over after again missing out on a France call-up.

Diarra, 28, picked up the last of his 28 caps under previous France coach Laurent Blanc in 2010, but did not play in that year's World Cup and has not been able to force his way into successor Didier Deschamps' plans.

After finding himself out of the squad for the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers for against Georgia and Spain, the Anzhi Mahkachkala midfielder said: "Les Bleus - it's finished. It's been finished for a while.

"There's no point in telling yourself tales. I'm not bitter. I was hurt after [missing out on] the World Cup, but now I'm happy.

"It's been great to play for France. I met [Patrick] Vieira, [Lilian] Thuram, [Claude] Makelele, [David] Trezeguet. I also met Raymond Domenech, who gave me my debut. I thanked him in the media. His successor didn't like that, and thought I was pro-Domenech. I was pro the French national team."

Blanc often justified Diarra's absence by citing his lack of regular playing time at Real Madrid, but the former Chelsea, Arsenal and Portsmouth man featured in more than half the Spanish club's fixtures between his arrival in December 2008 and his departure for Russia in the summer

"Blanc said several times I wasn't playing enough. But what was he talking about? I always played 30 games a season for Madrid," he said.

"Who, apart from [Iker] Casillas, [Sergio] Ramos, [Cristiano] Ronaldo and Xabi Alonso plays every game? I would have preferred they call me and tell me that I wasn't part of their plans. I would have accepted that."

Deschamps described Anzhi as an "exotic" club and said it was hard to keep tabs on Diarra there, but did attempt to draft him in following a spate of withdrawals for October's friendly with Japan and the subsequent qualifier in Spain.

"He called me because there was no-one else in midfield! And I was still at [what Deschamps called] my exotic club. I would have liked to have been told the truth," Diarra, who was unable to answer that call because of a back injury, said.

"I'm not attacking anyone, I assure you. I respect the choices, but not the justifications given in the media. I would have preferred to talk on the phone."

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