Raymond Domenech slams Franck Ribery in memoirs, calls him 'diva'

Former France coach Raymond Domenech has branded international winger Franck Ribery as a "diva" whose influence poisoned the national side in his memoirs to be released on Wednesday.

Last updated on Monday, 19 November, 2012 22:05 IST
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Paris: Former France coach Raymond Domenech has branded international winger Franck Ribery as a "diva" whose influence poisoned the national side in his memoirs to be released on Wednesday.

Domenech's reign, which included the controversial player mutiny at the 2010 World Cup, are chronicled in a book Tout Seul (All Alone) which is based on the diary he kept during his spell in charge of the national team between 2004 and 2010.

The book is set for publication on Wednesday with AFP receiving a copy on Monday.

In it the 60-year-old Domenech reveals his struggles with players including Ribery, Nicolas Anelka, Samir Nasri, Karim Benzema, Yoann Gourcuff and Florent Malouda.

Domenech was particularly scathing about Ribery, who last week said his Bundesliga club Bayern Munich was more important to him than the French national team ahead of the international friendly against Italy.

In an extract from September 2009, Domenech wrote: "Ribery, he continued to poison the group by his attitude as a susceptible diva.

"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 went on to say that he had been warned about Ribery by a senior player.

"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.

Regarding Nicolas Anelka, whose exclusion from the squad for insulting Domenech during the 2010 World Cup led to the infamous training ground strike by the players, the former coach's opinion was divided.

"A centre forward of high level," he wrote after a 2-0 win over Serbia in September 2008.

But after France's 2-0 loss to Mexico and Anelka's insults, Domenech wrote: "Anelka has killed the group ... after this shipwreck, an image woke me up a bit: (William) Gallas and Anelka joking after the game. What unconsciousness."

As well as criticising the "self interest" of Manchester City winger Nasri and "arrogance" of Real Madrid's Benzema, Domenech expressed his 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 the France-Italy match during Euro 2008.

"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, who retired after being red-carded for his headbutt of Marco Materazzi in the 2006 World Cup final which Italy won, Domenech wrote: "His authority as a leader proved undeniable.

"Nobody could take the place of Zidane, an obvious leader with the team as well as an outstanding player on the pitch."

Domenech led France to a runners-up finish at the 2006 World Cup in Germany but the rest of his tenure, which began in 2004, became synonymous with failure.

After a group-stage exit at the 2008 European Championship, France were eliminated at the same stage of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa with only a single point and a single goal to their credit.

Domenech was also criticised for refusing to shake hands with South Africa coach Carlos Alberto Parreira after France's final group game.

Story first published on: Monday, 19 November 2012 22:00 IST

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