Nasri the new villain as France crash out
Published: 26.06.12 / Written by: David Gold
France's exit from the European Championships may not have been quite the disaster their World Cup performance in South Africa two years' ago was, but they still went out amidst infighting.
Specifically, it seems as though he has found himself the worst enemy of all - the press. Following a good performance and goal against England in the first game, Nasri said his lips to mouth gesture in celebration of his strike was aimed at the media who had criticised him. After the 2-0 defeat to France, Nasri swore at a journalist as he made his way through the mix zone.
It was a comment which earned the ire of his manager, Laurent Blanc. "There is a problem between the press and Samir Nasri. It was embarrassing and regrettable," he said. If this is true, it is a disrespect to the journalist. This is unfortunate for his personal image and that of his national team. I already told Samir what I had to say, obviously the message did not get through."
Blanc may not be around for much longer though, as he could be set for the exit door and a new job, but Nasri has the President of the French Football Federation to worry about. Noel Le Graet said his behaviour was intolerable and has pledged to look into what to do next. A ban could be coming Nasri's way. It is a method France have used before, Franck Ribery and Patrice Evra both serving French imposed suspensions for their role in the players' strike during the World Cup two years' ago. Nicolas Anelka, for his part, was suspended for 18 games, effectively retired from international football.
Nasri may face a ban too now, after his outburst. There were strong rumours almost tacitly confirmed by the French players of arguments following the 2-0 loss to Sweden in the final group game. Nasri was apparently accused of selfishness. He was then dropped for the Spain defeat.
France at war with itself is not a new tale and seems a persistent problem that continues to dog them. The solution may be to outcast Nasri. The Manchester City midfielder is earning a controversial reputation, having left Arsenal last summer in circumstances which let the Premier League side down hugely and largely contributed to a shocking start to the season. On paper, the move could not have been for football reasons. Even if it was possible to argue that Man City had a better chance of winning the league than Arsenal, the same was not true of Man Utd, also apparently keen on him.
A clearly hugely talented player, with supreme technique, shooting and passing skills, Nasri could be one of the best players in Europe. He has the ability, but needs to become more intelligent, humble, mature. He has become the pariah of the French team after their ignominious exit, and now could be consigned to international football oblivion.