Blanc takes charge of France and promises clean slate for players

Laurent Blanc has expressed his pride after being unveiled as the France coach yesterday. The former Bordeaux manager was named as Raymond Domenech's successor with the national team at last week's meeting of the French Football Federation's federal council.

Blanc was a key part of the France team that won the 1998 World Cup, on home soil, and Euro 2000, and he insists even their dismal 2010 World Cup campaign under Domenech in South Africa this summer did not deter him from continuing his link with the national team.

"I am very proud to be here as coach of the France team," he said. "For me, the France team is above everything, it was a thread throughout my career. As a player I experienced difficult times but also some great moments.

"My commitment to the France team is absolute. I had other challenges available to me, but this one with the French team most attracted me. The recent difficult events never called that into question.

"The France team does not belong to anybody. It is for everyone, for you [the media] the same as for me. I understand what the France team represents, the rights and the requirements linked to this jersey."

Blanc has signed a two-year contract to guide Les Bleus through the qualification campaign for Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. The former national team midfielder Alain Boghossian will remain as assistant coach, the role he occupied under Domenech, and is joined by Jean-Louis Gasset.

Blanc has pledged a clean slate for the players who orchestrated a training walkout ahead of this summer's final group game against the host nation. The Chelsea striker Nicolas Anelka had been dismissed from the squad after a dressing-room bust-up with Domenech at half-time in the defeat to Mexico and the captain, Patrice Evra, was angered that details of Anelka's verbal attack were leaked to the press. Evra confronted the fitness coach, Robert Duverne, on 20 June, three days after the game, and the players then refused to take to the training field.

Blanc admitted: "The thing which shocked me the most was the group's behaviour in training 48 hours ahead of the third match against South Africa." But he added: "Those responsible for this badly thought out decision are numerous. It is not for me to decide on sanctions. I am not the bogeyman.

"I will be judged on results, and in order to achieve the best results I must have the best team. If I consider they are the best players in their position, I will take them. I will speak with them about what happened but in the FFF's rules, there are no disciplinary sanctions set out. I will make my decisions based on sporting considerations."

The winger Florent Malouda, meanwhile, said France's World Cup fiasco had been the fault of the system, a poor environment and the coach's refusal to listen to players.

"With France I came to play where I was asked to and that was it," Malouda said. "We didn't even try to see the coach to talk about the tactical system, 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. It was just, 'Put yourself there and no arguments.' We did not look for explanations. Never in the last few years did my words have any influence on the coach."

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Career Services

Day In a Page

Greece debt crisis: EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

EU 'family' needs to forgive rather than punish an impoverished state

An outbreak of malaria in Greece four years ago helps us understand the crisis, says Robert Fisk
Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge: The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas

Gaza, a year on from Operation Protective Edge

The traumatised kibbutz on Israel's front line, still recovering from last summer's war with Hamas
How to survive electrical storms: What are the chances of being hit by lightning?

Heavy weather

What are the chances of being hit by lightning?
World Bodypainting Festival 2015: Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'

World Bodypainting Festival 2015

Bizarre and brilliant photos celebrate 'the body as art'
alt-j: A private jet, a Mercury Prize and Latitude headliners

Don't call us nerds

Craig Mclean meets alt-j - the math-folk act who are flying high
How to find gold: The Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge

How to find gold

Steve Boggan finds himself in the Californian badlands, digging out crevasses and sifting sludge
Singing accents: From Herman's Hermits and David Bowie to Alesha Dixon

Not born in the USA

Lay off Alesha Dixon: songs sound better in US accents, even our national anthem
10 best balsamic vinegars

10 best balsamic vinegars

Drizzle it over salad, enjoy it with ciabatta, marinate vegetables, or use it to add depth to a sauce - this versatile staple is a cook's best friend
Wimbledon 2015: Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Brief glimpses of the old Venus but Williams sisters' epic wars belong to history

Serena dispatched her elder sister 6-4, 6-3 in eight minutes more than an hour
Greece says 'No': A night of huge celebrations in Athens as voters decisively back Tsipras and his anti-austerity stance in historic referendum

Greece referendum

Greeks say 'No' to austerity and plunge Europe into crisis
Ten years after the 7/7 terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?

7/7 bombings anniversary

Ten years after the terror attacks, is Britain an altered state?
Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has created

Versace haute couture review

Beautiful evening dresses are some of the loveliest Donatella has ever created
No hope and no jobs, so Gaza's young risk their lives, climb the fence and run for it

No hope and no jobs in Gaza

So the young risk their lives and run for it
Fashion apps: Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers

Fashion apps

Retailers roll together shopping and social networking for mobile customers
The Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy