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Is a title challenge possible for Man Utd?

Manchester United
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By ESPN Staff

France suffer blow as Diarra misses qualifiers

Real Madrid midfielder Lassana Diarra has been ruled out of France's Euro 2012 qualifiers against Belarus and Bosnia.

Confirmation came hours after coach Laurent Blanc had anticipated the move by adding Lille midfielder Yohan Cabaye and Lyon defender Anthony Reveillere to his squad. Blanc said he needed two players to cover for the versatility that Diarra supplies.

"Lassana can cover two areas, defensive midfield and possibly right-back," he said. "That is why it was deemed useful to call on a right-back and a defensive midfielder."

Diarra played the full 90 minutes of Real Madrid's 0-0 draw with Mallorca on Sunday without any obvious sign of a problem, but it later emerged he had taken a heavy blow to his right leg.

France will face Belarus on September 3 and Bosnia and Herzegovina four days later.

Reveillere was in France's World Cup squad, and his recall means Blanc now has ten members of the team that controversially crashed out in the group stages.

Cabaye made his debut in Blanc's first game in charge of the team against Norway on August 11, and the 24-year-old has spoken of his "immense joy" at getting another chance with the senior squad.

"Even if it's as a replacement, it is still a call up to the national team and it's is always good, it gives me immense joy," he told L'Equipe. "The national team is special and you have to enjoy every moment."

Having made his only appearance to date in a friendly, Cabaye said it would be something special to play for his country in a competitive qualifier.

"It's serious, it's the next level up," he said. "It's a very good thing for me and I hope we will be able to remain in line with what we did in Norway, but also to win the game."

Meanwhile, Cabaye admitted he was disappointed not to have secured a move away from Lille this summer after seeing his name linked with several clubs.

"It's still not quite finished, but I think I'll have another season at Lille," he said. "We have good things to play for this year in Europe and the league. I had been hoping it would move a little bit more, but I must put aside the disappointment."

Cabaye, who has been at Lille since joining as a youngster in 1998, breaking into the senior team in 2004, said he had been contacted by other clubs, but nothing came to fruition.

"(The interest) was not strong enough for it to advance," he said. "The market is complicated. Clubs have less and less money, so my out-clause does not make a difference as it is still a significant amount.

"But there are more difficult situations than mine so I do not want to complain. I have three years left on my contract and we'll see what happens next summer.

"There was interest from Bordeaux, but they chose to sign a midfielder instead."

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