Portugal’s Euro 2016 hero Eder, Nigeria legend Vincent Enyeama and France international Rio Mavuba are among 11 players who have been frozen out over the summer by new Lille coach Marcelo Bielsa.
After being appointed by the club’s new owner, Gerard Lopez, on a two-year deal in May, Bielsa immediately set about reshaping the squad that finished 11th in Ligue 1 last season.
While the former Argentina, Chile and Marseille boss has added to the players at his disposal, he also informed a number of long-serving squad members not to report for preseason training on June 19, and only to start preparing for the new campaign on July 3.
Among them is Eder, 29, who scored the winning goal in last summer’s European Championship final against France, which helped earn him a permanent move to Lille from Swansea City on a four-year deal.
Mavuba, 33, was a member of France’s 2014 World Cup squad and has made nearly 300 Ligue 1 appearances for the club since joining in 2008, and 34-year-old former Nigeria international goalkeeper Enyeama, who moved to Lille in 2011, are also among those ostracised by their new boss.
“It’s a bit bizarre, but I’m handling it OK,” Ivory Coast international Junior Tallo told L’Equipe. “I was informed like the others, by text. We’re under contract, the club does what it wants. We would have liked to have had a discussion. But it’s a business choice made by the bosses.
“As for me, I’m under contract. I will respect the two years I have left. I’m in no hurry. I want to establish myself at Lille. It’s the club that wants me to leave. We’ll see if they find a solution between now and the end of the transfer window. I’m calm.”
On Monday, Enyeama tweeted a selfie with some of his fellow outcasts, who also include Montenegro international Marko Basa, France international Marvin Martin and Zambia defender Stoppila Sunzu, stating: “Always a pleasure to be back with the team.”