The details of the heated quarrel between Paul Pogba, Raphael Varane and Benjamin Pavard during their shock Euro 2020 exit have emerged in the French press.
The trio clashed during Les Bleus’ last-16 fixture with Switzerland, in which they squandered a 3-1 lead before losing on penalties in dramatic fashion.
France arrived at the tournament as favourites after their World Cup triumph three years ago, but there were immediate concerns about the morale of the squad due to a public spat between Olivier Giroud and Kylian Mbappe.
Further tensions were laid bare during the knockout encounter with Switzerland as Pogba was confronted over a perceived lack of defensive contribution.
The Manchester United midfielder scored a sensational long-range goal to extend France’s lead, but Bayern Munich right-back Pavard accosted Real Madrid centre-back Varane to voice concerns about Pogba’s tracking back.
“Benj (Pavard) thinks that you are not defending enough,” Varane – who is strongly linked with a move to Old Trafford – told Pogba, according to Le Parisien .
This was not well received by the latter, who furiously approached Pavard to ask: “What did you say?!”
The report claims Pavard responded to the former Juventus star with insults, while it also suggests the disharmony in the squad contributed to the penalty-shootout defeat.
Pogba is believed to have apologised to vice-captain Varane in the dressing room after the match, before the defender delivered a unifying message to the squad.
However, the French outlet claims this has done little to improve the strained relations between players, with Mbappe and Giroud among those still at loggerheads.
Manager Didier Deschamps struggled to rekindle the togetherness his side showed in Russia in 2018 and the report adds there were multiple problems between younger and older players.
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Moreover, coronavirus regulations preventing players from leaving the team bubble to see family and friends further worsened the mood.
Nonetheless, Deschamps insisted he is not going anywhere despite France crashing out of Euro 2020 at the last-16 stage.
“That is not the question,” he said on the subject of leaving his role. “There is a unity and solidarity in this squad. I am responsible, when things go badly, I am with them, they are with me.
“We will need time to manage this. There are no magic formulas, there are balances for us to find in the future.”
Meanwhile, French Football Federation president Noel Le Graet plans to hold talks with Deschamps next week.
“We will meet next week. I always let 10 days pass first,” La Graet told Telefoot . “We’ll meet in my office in Guingamp and spend the day together.
“Everyone has to think about what went right and what went wrong. We’ll spend the day chatting. He’s a friend, someone who has always been faithful. This is his first failure.”