When France faced Spain in the final of the UEFA Nations League, Bayern Munich defender Benjamin Pavard ended up drawing the ire of Paul Pogba during an incident where Spain were pressing high on the French side of the pitch. The Manchester United midfielder was was visibly furious at the lack of support from his teammate, who failed to drop back and offer himself as a passing option.
Of course this being Les Bleus, the short spat quickly got turned into a big thing by the media, with Pavard apparently the subject of tensions within the French squad. While France did end up winning the Nations League tournament this year, the dressing room atmosphere probably isn’t very pleasant.
So what does the man himself think? Speaking to Canal Football Club (via Goal), Benjamin Pavard explained the part that the media didn’t report, where he sorted it all out with Pogba: “I watched the incident several times and we talked afterwards with Paul. He told me he was sorry for reacting like that.”
However, the defender doesn’t exactly accept blame either, which might irk some of his more sensitive teammates. Here’s Pavard’s version of events: “When I watch the incident, okay, I’m not moving well enough, but I’m not standing still either. There could have been other moves, other players, everyone was stopped. We had an explanation. I don’t blame him at all. We talked about it after the game. Everything is settled.”
Is it all settled, though? Guess we’ll know when the World Cup rolls around. Reports out of France seem to indicate that Pavard’s teammates have lost their faith in him, but Deschamps still trusts him. For a national team that is notorious for imploding at tournaments due to off-pitch issues, France probably doesn’t need this right now. Their World Cup defense starts in a year’s time.
Or maybe this is part of the plan? Agent Benji, sent in by Hansi Flick to derail French ambitions. Now that would be a real 500IQ play.