Lyon striker Alexandre Lacazette says he has been hurt by president Jean-Michel Aulas’ actions during the close-season.
The France international scored 31 goals in all competitions last season as Lyon returned to the Champions League and was eventually rewarded with a one-year contract extension through to 2019.
However, the saga over his new deal rumbled on prior to the start of the new season, with Aulas revealing Lacazette would earn “at least €4million a year” in June.
On the Lyon president’s actions, Lacazette told L’Equipe: “It hurts. I think that’s the right word. When you’re a young guy at the club, from the city, who’s never behaved badly towards anyone, to be treated like that… yes, it’s hurtful.
“I’d just had my best season – I’d really helped the team to get back into the Champions League. It is his attitude. When he talks, a lot of fans listen and when he retells things, seen from his point of view, it makes you think that the player is in the wrong. His behaviour hurt and disappointed me.
“I was waiting for something. He told me that [my demands were] too much, that it was my first complete season, but if I could follow it up, we could discuss these numbers.
“He explained to me that he could not give so much to a young player after one good season. I accepted that. After that, I think that I followed up with what he wanted. So, I imagined that the negotiations would restart in September on the basis of the numbers that I was expecting.
“But for him it was always the maximum. So, after that, you ask yourself questions. And when I see the way that he dealt with it, you would think he has a real problem with me.
“I would have preferred that he might act like in every negotiation. He could have said to me ‘it’s too much’, simply.
“He could have not employed this method that made me look like someone that I’m not. I had decided to stay – everything should have been straightforward.”
Lacazette was also critical of coach Hubert Fournier, suggesting the Lyon boss could have clarified the situation regarding his recent struggles for form.
“He could have explained what was happening,” added the 24-year-old. “Of course I played some bad matches. You could say that I was rubbish and everything. But I had pains in my back. I wanted to help and it didn’t do me any favours.
“I would have preferred that he defend me, that he might show that he was behind me rather than knocking me further and to agree with supporters who were criticising me.
“The simple fact of saying that I had played through some pain would have allowed people to understand that I was trying all the same.”