Controversial former France coach Raymond Domenech has labelled Bayern Munich star Franck Ribery a ‘‘diva’’ who he “would have gladly strung him up’’ and revealed the depth of his hatred for several of his other former players.
Domenech’s reign, which included the controversial player mutiny at the 2010 World Cup, are chronicled in an explosive memoir Tout Seul (All Alone), published tomorrow.
The book is based on the diary he kept during his spell in charge of the national team from 2004 and 2010.
In the book, Domenech blasts several of his former players, accusing Nicolas Anelka of ‘‘killing the group’’ by verbally abusing him at the 2010 World Cup, hits out at the “self-interest” of Manchester City winger Nasri, whom he describes of “symbolising a kind of player who talks without thinking’’ and slams the “arrogance” of Real Madrid’s Benzema.
However most of his anger is directed at Ribery.
“Ribery, he continued to poison the group by his attitude as a susceptible diva,’’ Domenech wrote in September 2009 shortly before France secured a place in South Africa after a controversial play-off win over Giovanni Trapattoni’s Republic of Ireland.
“When I wanted to thank him, he cold-shouldered me, pulling his arm away: ‘Don’t touch me!’ For everything Ribery stood for, I would have gladly strung him up.”
Domenech claims a senior player warned him about Ribery’s influence.
“A senior player from Euro 2008 warned me about Ribery and I gave him the key! What a fool I am,” wrote Domenech after France’s 2-0 defeat to Mexico at the 2010 World Cup.
Referring to his bust-up with Anelka that sparked the infamous training ground player strike, Domenech claims the widely-reported words of “fuck off, son of a bitch”, used by the former Chelsea striker were false and that the correct wording was actually “fuck off, look after your shitty team alone”.
“I was less shocked by the insult than by the fact he used it towards me,” Domenech wrote. “It broke a barrier of positions, ages, hierarchy — Anelka had killed the squad. After this shipwreck, an image woke me up a bit: (William) Gallas and Anelka joking after the game. What unconsciousness.”
Domenech does however express respect for former World Cup winners Lilian Thuram and Zinedine Zidane.
“I thanked him (Thuram) for his honesty and assured him of my admiration and respect,” he wrote of Thuram on the eve of the France-Italy Euro 2008 clash. “We talked about the team and the young players of course, (Thuram) revealed: ‘there are little assholes, hear me well coach, little assholes’.”
Regarding Zidane, Domenech wrote: “Nobody could take the place of Zidane. His authority as a leader proved undeniable.’’
© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved
More in this section