Adil Rami has hit back at Valencia's decision to freeze him out of the first-team squad, calling the Spanish club's sanction "unfounded".
Rami, 27, was ordered to return to Valencia from the team's hotel ahead of their Liga game against Granada on Wednesday following criticism he made to a Valencia radio station of some of his team-mates and coach Miroslav Djukic.
According to L'Equipe, Djukic met club president Amadeo Salvo and sporting director Braulio Vazquez before the midweek win in Andalucia to make it clear he did not want Rami, who is under contract at the Mestalla until 2015, to play for him again.
It is reported that he will not be paid while suspended from duty, but the France international is clearly determined not to allow the Serbian coach to have his way easily.
A press release published by Rami read: “It's an unfounded punishment of which I disapprove. This difference of opinion will be sorted out in a sporting spirit and in dialogue with the club, just as I have always wished, and with the frankness which characterises me.
“I regret this situation which tarnishes my relationship with the club and the fans for which I have always worked with the greatest respect and most perfect loyalty.”
Rami had started the club's first three league games of the season before finding himself on the bench. Having reportedly spoken out when Djukic asked the players their opinion of him and for an explanation for their poor start to the season, Rami was also left out of the squad for Sunday's 3-1 win over Sevilla, ostensibly with an ankle problem which Spanish media claimed was merely an excuse for his absence.
Valencia won 1-0 on Wednesday courtesy of a 93rd-minute Jonas goal, and Djukic told reporters afterwards that he wanted to draw a line under the matter.
“For me Rami’s case is closed,” he said. “It is in the hands of the club. I could talk to you about Víctor Ruiz, who was here and who played. The rest is in the hands of the club. It does not depend on me. I have done what I had to do. We will take a quick decision for the good of the club.”
Other Valencia players seem happy without Rami -- Joao Pereira tweeted photo of a group of them in dressing room after the Granada game and wrote: “United we are stronger.”
Mais 3 pontos !!! Unidos somos mais fortes. @ Nuevo Los Cármenes http://t.co/vVlh1nfrEc— João Pereira (@jpsp47) September 25, 2013
Djukic was pleased with the commitment his team showed in gaining the three points.
“This victory, after all the turbulence, will be very good for us as a group and to show that we can win as a team,” the coach said. “The problems have reinforced us and brought us together, each day we are getting better as a team. Teams achieve objectives, not individuals. We must all sacrifice ourselves along the road to our objective.”