Lyon captain Maxime Gonalons has offered support to Mathieu Valbuena as a criminal investigation into allegations of a sex-tape blackmail attempt against his team-mate continues.
Valbuena’s France international colleague, Real Madrid striker Karim Benzema, was charged with complicity over the alleged plot this week, while both players were subsequently left out of national coach Didier Deschamps’ squad for the forthcoming friendlies against Germany and England.
Nevertheless, Lyon coach Hubert Fournier refused to rule Valbuena out of Sunday’s local derby against Saint-Etienne and Gonalons praised the midfielder’s mental strength during what he conceded was a trying time.
“It’s true that it’s always very tough to have to hear such things,” Gonalons said.
“It becomes difficult for us to comment. This is a matter that touches Mathieu.
“Inevitably he is still affected. This is a situation which is not easy for him.
“In any case, we are going to make sure to support him even if the situation is delicate for him.
“I repeat and I repeat that Mathieu is mentally strong. These are things not easily accepted.”