Nearly reaching the baseline on the left wing, Lucas Hernández looped his cross well into the right backcourt. There, right-back Benjamin Pavard of France advanced and slipped the ball over the instep before firing a flawless volley into the top left corner. It was the 2-2 tying goal in the World Cup round of 16 in Kazan, Russia, and it was afterwards recognized by Fifa as the most exquisite goal of the championship matches. Finally, “Les Bleus” prevailed 4:2 to claim the championship.
When France plays in the World Cup round of 16 this coming Sunday, the two main characters from that iconic incident won’t likely be the focus of attention. Not Hernández, who suffered a torn cruciate ligament moments before the Équipe tricolore’s opening-round loss to Australia (4:1). And most likely, neither is Benjamin Pavard, who left the club shortly after Hernandez’s accident and completely missed seeing goal scorer Craig Goodwin. He appears to have already slipped down the internal hierarchy, behind debutants Axel Disasi (AS Monaco).
Although national coach Didier Deschamps used what was meaningless for France to rotate nine new players into the starting XI, and did so throughout the game changed five times, Pavard was ignored in the 2-1 tie with Denmark and sat out 90 minutes in the 1-0 draw with Tunisia. After the Tunisia game, Deschamps stated that he had “now made a different choice,” which was an oblique confirmation that the Bayern professional, who had repeatedly requested to be used in the center of defense prior to the World Cup, has even lost his regular position on the right flank to Jules Koundé from FC Barcelona. The coach is unsure of the “physical or mental reasons” for Pavard’s bad health.
The 26-year-old virtually seems to have dragged his discontent from the club to the World Cup. Pavard had never been overlooked at FC Bayern throughout the previous season’s matches, although he was never a regular starter or in the center of defense. But it is precisely what Pavard wants to do.
The 26-year-position old’s on the right in the chain is no longer uncontested with the record champions, as the Moroccan Noussair Mazraoui is playing more and more in the foreground. However, the northern Frenchman, who once trained at OSC Lille and switched to VfB Stuttgart in the Bundesliga in 2016, faces tough competition even after the departure of Niklas Süle and the loss of Hernández with Dayot Upamecano and access Matthijs de
In terms of his future goals, Pavard positioned himself fairly offensively in the final few weeks before the World Cup. He stated the following in the French sports publication The Team: “I have no problem starting a brand-new initiative. Perhaps this is the ideal time.” I won everything with Bayern Munich, he said in der sports gazette, the Italian edition of the publication. He is prepared to “evaluate new interesting projects, but as a center defender” and plays to win. Additionally, he has publicly expressed interest in AC Milan, a club that Olivier Giroud, a friend and member of the national team, frequently gushed about.
How does FC Bayern respond when its players declare their intention to quit the media? Historically, the club’s managers have not been fond of this. “Nobody may start their leave with a statement with us, certainly not in front of others. The lack of that “Oliver Kahn, CEO, spoke on Sky a few days ago. In addition: “Bayern offers Benjamin exactly what he needs. We also understand what he has to offer. The participants’ sometimes fluctuating emotions can be categorized and controlled.”
He won’t likely receive a central defense guarantee from Nagelsmann.
The Bayern management is aware that Pavard’s contract in Munich expires in 2024, which means that the world champion could only be profitably sold this summer. For this reason, it is also reasonable to believe what the Kicker reports: Bavaria wants to tie the Frenchman down for the long term; negotiations should begin as soon as he returns from Qatar. The player’s insistence on being used solely as a central defender may also prove to be a sticking point in this situation. Julian Nagelsmann, his coach, is unlikely to make this promise to him.
Therefore, the self-assured North Frenchman runs the risk of ending up between all chairs, which is where he has recently positioned himself with the national team.