Florent Malouda claims to have been banished to train with Chelsea under-21 squad

 

Florent Malouda today revealed he had been banished from training with the Chelsea first team for what remained of his Stamford Bridge career.

Winger Malouda took to Twitter to announce he was to keep fit with the club's youth side, posting a picture of the headquarters of their under-21 squad, along with the message: "This is where I'll train for my last season with the blues !!!"

Press Association Sport understands the 32-year-old, who is in the final year of his contract, was segregated from the first team after failing to secure a move away this summer.

His banishment evoked memories of those of Nicolas Anelka and Alex by former boss Andre Villas-Boas last season, a move which reportedly did not go down well with their team-mates.

Malouda's circumstances are slightly different and it is understood Chelsea were willing to sell or loan him out during the transfer window - he was even linked with a return to former club Lyon ahead of last night's midnight transfer deadline in France.

The midfielder has not featured at all in any of the Blues' matchday squads this term and was yesterday left off the roster for their Champions League group-stage campaign - although he was named in their selection for the first half of the Barclays Premier League season.

A transfer to Brazilian giants Santos reportedly collapsed earlier this summer due to the wage demands of the France winger, who has been with Chelsea for five years but has become increasingly peripheral.

He will doubtless be on good money and may have been reluctant to join a club where he would earn less, preferring to see out his current deal and move as a free agent at the end of the season.

It remained to be seen today whether Malouda would be punished for revealing his banishment on Twitter, with team-mate David Luiz rebuked two weeks ago after posting that he would miss Chelsea's match with Reading through injury.

Malouda's news ironically co-incided with that of the man who has effectively replaced him in the Blues squad, Ryan Bertrand.

Chelsea confirmed this morning that Bertrand had penned a new five-year contract - barely a year after agreeing a four-year deal - following his remarkable progress in recent months.

The 23-year-old became the first man ever to make his Champions League debut in the final itself in May when he was selected ahead of Malouda.

He also made his England debut in last month's friendly win over Italy and kept his place in the squad for Friday's opening World Cup qualifier in Moldova.

Reacting to the news today, Chelsea and England team-mate Gary Cahill said: "I think people are just starting to sit up and realise how good a player he is from the couple of spells he had at the end of last year and to be thrown into the Champions League final and start.

"He has got a great reputation, especially at our club, and is going to have a massive future, that's for sure."

Prior to Roberto Di Matteo's appointment as Blues boss in March, Bertrand barely figured for his parent club since making a controversial move from Gillingham seven years ago and spent most of the time out on loan.

He did not make his Chelsea debut until April last year and there had been speculation he may be forced to leave in search of regular first-team football.

But he is now very much seen as the heir apparent to left-back Ashley Cole, whose own contract expires next summer.

He could also succeed Cole in the England set-up but will probably play second fiddle to Leighton Baines in Friday's opening World Cup qualifier in Moldova - Cole has been ruled out of that match through injury.

Bertrand's performances for Great Britain at the Olympics impressed England boss Roy Hodgson and Cahill added: "It only benefits him coming here with England and seeing the likes of Bainsey and obviously training with Ashley."

Reports suggest Bertrand, who has been deployed in midfield much of the time by Di Matteo, has earned a pay rise to £35,000 a week.

PA

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