Didier Deschamps Praises Lassana Diarra's Strength After Death Of Cousin

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Didier Deschamps believes Lassana Diarra has given strength to his France team-mates in the wake of his cousin's death during the Paris terror attacks.

Diarra remains part of the France squad that will face England in an emotionally charged friendly international on Tuesday, where players and fans at Wembley will pay tribute to 129 people killed in a co-ordinated terrorist assault on the French capital on Friday.

In a statement released on Sunday, Marseille midfielder Diarra confirmed that his cousin Asta Diakite died as six locations across Paris, including the Stade de France as Les Bleus played Germany, were targeted.

The sister of Antoine Griezmann was in attendance at the Bataclan theatre, where 89 people were killed after gunmen stormed a concert by American rock band Eagles of Death Metal, but survived the attack.

Like Diarra, Griezmann remains in contention to face England and coach Deschamps told his pre-match news conference that their presence promoted unity and solidarity among the squad at this difficult time.

"Of course two of our squad have been profoundly touched by the terrible incidents," Deschamps said.

"On the one hand, Griezmann was fortunate enough to have a feeling of relief and happiness – the fact that his sister managed to stay alive in the incident that happened at the Bataclan concert.

"Lass unfortunately has been touched deeply by the loss of a relative who he was very, very close to.

"We've managed to stay together. I think that it's great that he's stayed with us.

"I've talked with both the lads, as I have with a lot of the players and I think that his presence has almost been a sense of reassurance for us.

"Lassana has been very strong. He, as we all have, has learnt the value of unity and solidarity.

"I can only repeat at this time the message that Lassana Diarra has put out on social media, the very strong message that sport knows no colour and knows no religion."


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