Benjamin Pavard has been accused of creating a ‘toxic’ atmosphere in France’s World Cup camp after falling out with head coach Didier Deschamps and making a series of ‘inappropriate’ comments about his team-mates during their final defeat against Argentina.
Pavard was included in France’s starting lineup for their opening 4-1 win over Australia, yet after being replaced by Jules Kounde late on in that victory he failed to make another appearance at the tournament.
From that point onwards in Qatar, Deschamps stuck with Kounde as his first-choice right-back despite the Barcelona defender being a more natural centre-back, which assistant manager Guy Stephan insisted was a ‘sporting’ decision.
Benjamin Pavard has been accused of creating a ‘toxic’ atmosphere in France’s World Cup camp
The 26-year-old is said to have fallen out with boss Didier Deschamps (right) out in Qatar
The Bayern Munich star is said to have had a heated dispute with boss Didier Deschamps
French publication L’Equipe claimed he received criticism from both Deschamps and his team-mates after the Australia win, although veteran stars Olivier Giroud and Hugo Lloris reportedly expressed their support for the player.
But according to French journalist Romain Molina, Pavard went on to cause significant problems in France’s dressing room at the World Cup, with his team-mates accusing him of leaking private information to the press.
The Bayern Munich star is first said to have fallen out with Deschamps, despite previously being considered one of his favorite players by other members of the dressing room.
After being criticized by Deschamps and his coaching staff, Pavard reportedly refused to accept their words and fired back with his own frustrations, which led to a heated dispute behind the scenes.
However, things are understood to have come to a head during Sunday’s final against Argentina, with Deschamps having ‘big words’ with the player after he was heard making ‘inappropriate’ comments about his compatriots on the bench.
Pavard’s actions in Qatar came as a huge disappointment to both the manager and his staff, who believe they have protected him for a number of years despite some average performances on the pitch.
Reports claim the 26-year-old’s team-mates were also left furious with his behavior and even accused him of leaking private details to the press because of his close relationship with certain journalists.
Pavard started France’s opening World Cup game but failed to make another appearance
Jules Kounde was preferred at right-back during Les Bleus’ run to the final against Argentina
Last year French publication L’Equipe reported how Pavard had lost the trust of his France colleagues on the pitch, with his defensive vulnerabilities concern causing in the dressing room.
Now it appears he has also gained enemies off the field, plunging his future with the national team into serious doubt.
Pavard was one of the heroes of France’s triumph at the 2018 World Cup, starting six of their seven matches in Russia.
He also started three of their four outings at Euro 2020, but Kounde was preferred at right-back out in Qatar.
After dropping Pavard for their second World Cup fixture against Denmark, Deschamps said: ‘I took the decision not to play him. I won’t go into the details.
Deschamps refused to go into details as to why he dropped Pavard after the Australia win
‘I’ve had several conversations with him. I don’t consider him to be in the right disposition. So you’ll ask me – is it physical, is it in his head?
‘The first match didn’t help, of course. That’s why I made a different choice.’
Pavard and Deschamps’ rumoured fall-out in Qatar is not the first time France have been brought into disrepute at the World Cup, nevertheless.
Back in 2010, the country endured one of the darkest days in its sporting history as players revolted against manager Raymond Domenech out in South Africa.
Members of Les Bleus’ squad went on strike and refused to train in protest at the decision to send home Nicolas Anelka, who was punished following a foul-mouthed spat with Domenech during a group defeat against Mexico.
France have encountered off-the-field issues at previous World Cups, and none were more scandalous than in 2010, when Raymond Domenech’s disgruntled players went on strike
Patrice Evra also had to be held back after squaring up to the France boss during a heated disagreement on the training ground.
In the end, Domenech’s side finished rock bottom of their group and were sent packing earlier than planned, marking a disastrous outing at the 2010 tournament.
France’s Euro 2020 campaign was also marred by tensions off the field between Kylian Mbappe and Giroud, with the PSG superstar left furious after criticism from his strike partner over the service he was receiving in attack.
Mbappe and Giroud’s rift reportedly caused disharmony in Les Bleus’ camp, which came before they suffered a shock penalty elimination at the hands of Switzerland.