Paris: France’s Euro 2016 preparations took a knock on Tuesday with key defender Raphael Varane ruled out injured of next month’s tournament on home soil with his place taken by Adil Rami.
Coach Didier Deschamps had feared the worst after Real Madrid announced Sunday that the 23-year-old Varane, capped 29 time for France, had suffered a serious left thigh injury.
And scans confirmed his fears and the diagnosis of Real Madrid team doctors that the player would be out of action for up to three weeks.
“The clinical examination and MRI Tuesday morning at Rambouillet hospital confirmed the initial diagnosis of the medical staff of Real Madrid, namely a torn left biceps femoris grade 2,” the French Football Federation (FFF) said in a statement.
“Given the unavailability time considered too long against national team deadlines, Didier Deschamps decided not to retain Raphael Varane for Euro 2016,” the FFF said.
“As a result, the coach made the decision to integrate Adil Rami in the list of 23.”
The absence of 23-year-old Varane is a fresh blow for Deschamps who is already without a key defender as Liverpool’s Mamadou Sakho was left out of his 23-man squad due to a provisional doping ban, with Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, not selected over his alleged involvement in a sex tape blackmail case.
Varane will also miss Real’s Champions League final against Atletico Madrid on Saturday in Milan.
“I expect he will be out for two or three weeks. I hope for him it isn’t as severe as anticipated,” Real coach Zinedine Zidane had said earlier Tuesday.
“For sure it is a big blow, but above all for him. I am very disappointed for him.”
Varane’s absence means the Blues will begin their campaign without a key defender who has played every game since the 2014 World Cup.
Deschamps must now find an alternative in defence and a player to work in tandem with Arsenal’s Laurent Koscielny, with the Blues’ first friendly against Cameroon on May 30 likely to serve as a test.
Sevilla defender Rami had been called up by Deschamps on Monday as cover in case Varane was ruled out.
The 30-year-old Rami has 26 caps for France and was a regular team member under the tenure of former national boss Laurent Blanc from 2010 to 2012 but had not been called up by Deschamps since June 2013.
He had a good season with Sevilla, winners of the Europa League and Spanish Cup finalists, and had been severe in his criticism of Deschamps after failing to make the initial squad.
France, winners in 1984 and 2000, open their Euro campaign against Romania on June 10.