’Keepers war affecting French preparations

FRANCE’S third-choice goalkeeper Mickael Landreau claims he is not taking sides in the rift between first-choice Fabien Barthez and number two Gregory Coupet, but admits Les Bleus are still talking about it.

Landreau, who has just moved from Nantes to Paris St Germain, is unlikely to play in the World Cup, but admits the bust-up between Coupet and coach Raymond Domenech, at the Alpine resort of Tignes last week, has had its effect.

Coupet was already dismayed that Barthez had been installed as number one but when 34-year-old Barthez refused to complete a mountain climb with his team-mates, and then chose to eat alone, the Lyon shot-stopper blew his top.

The 33-year-old and his family left the Alpine compound but returned within an hour and Domenech declared the incident closed.

However, Landreau admitted it wasn’t closed as far as the players were concerned.

“We feel like we are on a reality TV programme because everyone is looking at Coupet and everyone is looking at Barthez.

“Everyone has spoken about this story. We are still talking about it in the squad. Lilian Thuram said that something would happen. Thuram said that from the moment he arrived it would come to a head because Coupet wants to start.”

Landreau refuses to take sides, however, and realises the team needs to move on.

He added: “One week from the World Cup we need to stop saying who is number one and number two because it’s over now.

“Fabien seems to have detached himself from this story so he feels ready for the first match.

“It has not disturbed the squad, and I am also ready mentally,” Landreau added.

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