There was widespread disappointment across much of the football community when it was revealed on Saturday that Karim Benzema would not be present for the second successive World Cup.
The French forward has a quadriceps injury which is expected to keep him out for the next three weeks. Having missed the 2018 World Cup due to helping to blackmail teammate Mathieu Valbuena, it will likely mean his last World Cup appearance will have been in 2014. He will also be the first active Ballon d’Or to miss the tournament since Allan Simonsen in 1978.
However former Uruguay captain Diego Lugano believes it might actually help the French side in terms of group atmosphere in a famously tense dressing room.
“I am certain, because I was a teammate with some of them, (there are players from France) who are very happy with the departure of Benzema.”
“This would never happen in Uruguay, Brazil or Argentina… It depends a lot on the way the team was put together and on the care that the coach has with the player profiles, not only technically, but [in terms of] personalities. It has a lot to do with do with that.”
Lugano made the comments to ESPN Brasil, which were carried by Marca.
The now-retired central defender played at Paris Saint-Germain for two years between 2011 and 2013, although the second was spent on loan at Malaga.
The interesting thing is there are only two teammates that it could have been from his time at the Parc des Princes, goalkeeper Alphonse Areola and Adrien Rabiot.
The latter has a history for controversial statements and even a tricky relationship with Didier Deschamps, once refusing to be a stand-by player for the French coach after being left out the 2018 World Cup squad.