Tiemoue Bakayoko was not among Didier Deschamps’ 24-man France squad for a pair of international friendlies, and the Chelsea midfielder was candid in his assessment of the decision at the expense of some of his Les Bleus teammate.
Tiemoue Bakayoko claims he is better than his Chelsea teammate, N’Golo Kante.
Kante has been Antonio Conte’s key man in midfield since his arrival at Stamford Bridge and was crowned PFA Player of the Year last season as he helped guide Chelsea to the Premier League title.
Chelsea have also struggled in Kante’s absence in recent weeks as the midfielder has been sidelined with a hamstring injury.
But Bakayoko, a £40 million summer signing from Monaco, believes his France and Chelsea teammate does not offer more than him on the pitch.
When asked about being left out of France’s squad, Bakayoko told Canal+:
I’m disappointed. ‘I believe in this World Cup, it’s still my goal. I play for a big club; I think that can work in my favour.
‘I feel [Adrien] Rabiot, Kante, [Blaise] Matuidi, [Corentin] Tolisso are not better than me.
I respect the coach’s decision and I also respect the players who were called up – they are talented, some are friends of mine.
‘I’m proud that they were called up. I’d like to be with them. But I’m not below them.’
Like Bakayoko, Chelsea teammate, N’Golo Kante who’s lacking full fitness after a hamstring worry, did not get the call from Deschamps,
though Matuidi, Tolisso, and Rabiot were all in the squad for last week’s 2-0 victory over Wales. Sevilla’s Steven Nzonzi was also handed a maiden France cap against the Welsh.
If Bakayoko’s argument has any merit, it would be with 28-year-old N’Zonzi, and while the Blues ball-stopper doesn’t mention the latest two-way midfielder to get the nod from Deschamps,
his hopes of appearing at the 2018 World Cup in Russia are no less dashed.
“I’m disappointed. I believe in this World Cup (next summer), it remains a goal. I’m playing for a big club, I think that can work in my favour.