Didier Deschamps’ criticism of Adrien Rabiot has been met with an angry response from the Paris Saint-Germain midfielder.
Rabiot rejected a call-up to Deschamps’ reserve list after being omitted from France’s 23-man squad for the World Cup.
Deschamps said he was “surprised” by Rabiot’s choice, which the France coach labelled a “huge mistake”.
But in a lengthy open letter released via RTL on Friday, Rabiot hit out at Deschamps and explained he made the choice as he does not believe he was left out due to any “sporting logic” reasons.
“I suspected the impact of my decision, but I regret to be caricatured as a young immature player unable to measure the scope of his actions,” Rabiot said.
“It’s my job, but football is my passion, and to climb to the highest level, I’ve worked again and again, and all I’ve got today I’ve earned on the pitch. And then I have a dream, like all footballers, it’s playing for my country.
“Wearing the blue jersey is for me an honour, a pride. To win with France, to win for France, is a mission. Since the age of 15 I have worn the colours of France. I have the culture of France. Also, I do not allow anyone to speak on my behalf about my relationship with the French team.
“Since my first call, as a reserve in May 2016, I played with my club, PSG, a big European club, 88 games including 13 in the Champions League, scored seven goals and I was rewarded by seven trophies.
“If I decided to withdraw from the list of alternates, it is because I consider that the choice of the coach towards me does not answer any sporting logic because for all these years the message was clear, it is the performances in a club which open the doors of the national team.
“I am a competitor without qualms, but I am also a man, and as such I would have liked to be considered as such. My approach does not target the selected players. And I thank [Noel] Le Graet, the president of the French Football Federation, for having highlighted the exemplary nature of my selection behaviour over the past eight years.
“Finally, I will assume all the consequences of my choice with the support of my family and my relatives.”
Although PSG stopped short of criticising Deschamps and the club said it did not want to “interfere” in the coach’s squad selection for the World Cup, the club released a statement publicly backing Rabiot on Friday.
“Beyond the debate that has emerged in the public sphere, the club wishes to emphasise the special connection it has with a player who arrived at the training centre in 2010 and who then climbed with talent and character at all levels to become a major part of our professional workforce,” PSG said.
“Highly competitive under our colours, which he has already worn 207 times at just 23 years old, Adrien represents one of the brightest flag-bearers in our club’s training system.
“The club recalls its deep attachment to the national teams and the values they embody and wishes the best to the Franch internationals convened for the World Cup.”