France Football reports that Laurent Blanc travelled to Munich last week to clear the air with Franck Ribéry ahead of his recall to the France squad.
FiFiR can reveal that the seeds of this controversial rapprochement were, in fact, sown several months ago when Ribéry wrote to Blanc and Fernand Duchaussoy (the president of the FFF) in the hope of expiditing his return to international football.
Below is a full, translated transcript of Ribéry's letter.
In circumstances such as these, one reflects with fresh insight on Alexander Pope's celebrated line, 'To err is human, to forgive divine.' During recent, sleepless nights, I have been moved to revisit Pope's Essay on Criticism in its entirety, and have found therein some small justification for my actions in Knysna. I humbly submit to you my thoughts on a series of relevant extracts from that magnificent, enduring work.
But of the two, less dang'rous is th'Offence,
To tire our Patience, than mis-lead our Sense
In South Africa, an ancient land of boundless variegation and energy, a malign force did indeed tire our patience; and also sought to mislead our collective sense. Was I to stand by, silent as the hopes of my nation were extinguished by the incompetence of a single man? Preposterous! I do concede, however, that the method of my protest was misjudged. Again, I defer to Pope:
A Fool might once himself alone expose,
Now One in Verse makes many more in Prose.
I do not doubt that, given time, Domenech would have been exposed by his own gargantuan idiocy, but I must insist on the urgency of our plight. My comrades and I could ill afford to temporise. Witlessly, we adopted a course of action instinctive to all Frenchmen: the strike. Pope was right to urge caution against cliché:
And ten words oft creep in one dull line:
While they ring round the same unvaried chimes,
Refusing to train was our gravest error; we ought first to have exercised our bodies, then our minds and perhaps - in the spirit of the Scriblerus Club - penned a satirical essay as an antidote to Domenech's pedantry. Alas, our powers of reason were temporarily tainted.
Today, hindsight casts an unsparing light on the sorry debacle which I have addressed. I pray that you find within yourselves the wisdom to comprehend my folly, which was provoked by haste and an undying conviction that ignorance shall not prevail.
Most respectfully yours,