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 By Ian Holyman
Aug 26, 2014

Valbuena confident over France future

Valbuena has agreed to a three-year deal with Dinamo Moscow, ending an eight-year spell with Marseille.

Mathieu Valbuena got the green light from France coach Didier Deschamps before deciding to join Dinamo Moscow this summer, the midfielder told RMC.

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Valbuena, 30, has been one of Deschamps' most impressive performers in the former France captain's two-year tenure at the head of Les Bleus, and was influential in his nation's run to the World Cup quarterfinals in Brazil.

However, with Marseille looking to reduce their wage bill, Valbuena signed a three-year deal with the Russian Premier League club this summer.

Deschamps, 45, has been sceptical about French players joining what he termed "exotic" leagues in the past, notably in reference to Lassana Diarra's move to Anzhi Makachkala in 2012, which has all but spelled the end of his international career.

However, Valbuena, who has 38 caps for his country, said the national team boss had supported his decision to leave the Stade Velodrome after eight fruitful seasons.

"I think we're close enough to be able to talk," said Valbuena, who was initially told he was surplus to requirements by Deschamps when the latter took over at OM in 2009, only to develop into one the team's key members during the coach's three-year spell with the club.

"We've known each other for quite a few years. He knows me perfectly. He was really very positive. He told me he respected my decision a lot and that he would follow my progress. But I know very well that football isn't an exact science. You always have to ask questions of yourself, and work."

When asked whether he would have reconsidered had Deschamps told him the move would have meant international exile, Valbuena replied: "It would have been tough! It's up to me to play well and always stand up and be counted when asked to. I want Dinamo to be more well-known.

"It's also a life-change for me. It's perhaps at the other end of the world, but it's a really exciting challenge. The main thing is that I flourish and that I am always ambitious."

Linked with a move to Spain, the country from which his father hails, Valbuena admitted he had been approached by La Liga clubs, notably Sevilla, while Italian outfit Fiorentina were also interested -- but he acknowledged the financial aspect of Dinamo's proposition had swayed him.

"I'm still ambitious, but I wanted to ally the sporting side of things with the financial side, and the other clubs did not give me that opportunity," he added. "I'm not going to deny it: financially, Dinamo put me in a very good position. And also what the coach had to say and the board was very positive in the sense that Moscow is a very beautiful city and the club is ambitious."

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