Karim Benzema, crisis at the FFF, captain … What to remember from Didier Deschamps’ back-to-school lecture

With just days left before the French team’s first matches since the 2022 World Cup, Didier Deschamps has reviewed the intense news surrounding the Blues.

For Didier Deschamps and the Blues, the school year begins in March. On the sidelines of the announcement of the list of 23 players selected to face the Netherlands and Ireland in the Euro 2024 qualifiers on Thursday 16 March, the French coach was questioned at a press conference on the extensive news surrounding the French team.

For a good half hour, Didier Deschamps took his time, avoiding hardly any topics, not even that of the expulsion of his colleague Corinne Deacon from the women’s bench. But he did not want to fuel the controversy over Karim Benzema’s reaction to his statements. Here’s what to remember about this back-to-school press conference.

The Benzema case: “A closed topic”

After Karim Benzema’s untimely injury return ahead of the last World Cup last week in ParisianDidier Deschamps was asked to react to the reactions of the Ballon d’Or, who had made fun of him on social media. “It’s a closed topic, behind it, I won’t comment anything”first he kicked the coach, “It is a topic that interests you and that can lead to debates and controversies. Very calmly, I had to express myself to say what had happened. You are free to discuss, it is part of your job in quotation marks. For me the important thing is the future and 23 (players) you know.”

Relaunched a second time, Didier Deschamps again dodged the argument: “The disturbances, we have known them, they have always been there. You will never hear a word from me again. I took the floor to say what had happened. Today it is behind me, nothing will make me talk about this topic anymore”. We will therefore have to wait for Karim Benzema’s intervention to find out more. For the moment, the attacker has been satisfied with an Instagram story commented in particular on “What audacity”accompanied by a clown emoticon.

Departure of Noël Le Graët: “I adapt”

Extended by Noël Le Graët until 2026 after the World Cup, Didier Deschamps expected to be questioned about the departure of his former president, with whom he was close. But this organizational chart change was minimized by the coach: “I’m not worried, but I adapt. I have exchanges and functioning that can be different and I have met the president Philippe Diallo on several occasions. We have a common interest, which is that the French team is doing well. It’s not something that weighs on me, I accept and I adapt”.

The band: “It will go through internal discussions”

Hugo Lloris has retired from international football, as vice-captain Raphaël Varane, Didier Deschamps must appoint a new captain at the next meeting. But the coach hasn’t finalized his choice yet, and he still doesn’t know which arm the armband will go on during the match against the Netherlands. “There are some that I keep as a possible captain. Obviously, Kylian Mbappé is one of them, but I will discuss with them before I make my decision. There is a responsibility in relation to being captain, with somewhat bigger obligations“Deschamps warned.

After the question of an Italian journalist, however, we know that it will not be Adrien Rabiot: “Although he has some experience, we know each other well, he also has a form of leadership, but I don’t know if he really wants the captain’s armband. Leave him as he is, he will already be very good.”smiled the coach, who also clarified that he won’t make a test or a captaincy shift, his decision will be final: “For the captain I prefer to have a well-defined choice”.

Corinne Deacon kicked out: ‘It bothers me’

At the end of a press conference which saw him address a number of related topics – he was also asked about the health of Italian football and the possible sale of the Stade de France in 2025 – Didier Deschamps was asked to react to the crisis shaking up the French women’s team. The fate reserved for his colleague, Corinne Deacon, dismissed from her duties under pressure from the locker room. An episode that Didier Deschamps obviously didn’t appreciate.

Mastering the art of aphorism perfectly, he expressed himself on the question with a laconic answer, but which says a lot: “I have to weigh every word. I don’t have the details, I don’t know if there was a good decision. But as a coach, being fit, it bothers me. (Silence) I won’t say any more, but you will understand me.”

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