Patrice Evra said France are a nation that “loves controversy” ahead of their hosting of the Euro 2016.
The Juventus and France full-back has been no stranger to such controversy throughout his international career and was reportedly the leader of a mutiny against former coach Raymond Domenech during his time as captain at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
There have been similar threats to squad harmony ahead of the European Championship, too, as Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema accused coach Didier Deschamps of having “bowed to the pressure of a racist part of France” by not picking him.
But Evra, who was himself embroiled in an infamous case of racism while at Manchester United involving then-Liverpool forward Luis Suarez, said there was no basis for Benzema’s claims.
“This is my country and I love it,” Evra said.
“We are in a country that loves controversy. We have a Euro to play in France and we talk nonsense. We must focus on the field.
“Everything that has been said around it, frankly, it did not make me mad because these are lies and it does not hold any truth.
“What is important is the training of just now to prepare for the match against Scotland. I understand the controversy, it helps to sell newspapers. I understand. But it is completely the wrong topic. It’s ridiculous.”
Evra said focusing on the players that France did not have available was pointless and insisted the focus should instead be on the squad Deschamps has assembled.
“I have always said that the strength of this team, it’s the group, the 23 players,” he said.
“Other players will play instead of the injured, they will do the job.
“I think that we are all behind them, we will give them the confidence. We must talk of the players who are here.
“The injured, absents, they will not be in the Euro. We can talk a long time about them, we will not be able to get them back.”
France face Scotland on Saturday in their last pre-tournament friendly, before kicking off Euro 2016 against Romania on June 10.
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