Valbuena gets captain’s support

Olympique Lyon skipper Maxime Gonalons believes Mathieu Valbuena is mentally tough enough to handle the criminal investigation he is currently embroiled in.

Valbuena, along with France teammate Karim Benzema, was left out of the recently announced national squad after the winger was charged with complicity over an alleged sex-tape blackmail plot that surfaced earlier this week.

"It's true that it's always very tough to have to hear such things," Gonalons said. "It becomes difficult for us to comment. This is a matter that touches Mathieu.

"Inevitably he is still affected. This is a situation which is not easy for him. In any case, we are going to make sure to support him even if the situation is delicate for him.

"I repeat and I repeat that Mathieu is mentally strong. These are things not easily accepted."

Lyon head coach Hubert Fournier also lent his support to the player by refusing to rule him out of Sunday's derby game against Saint-Etienne on Sunday.

Les Gones, who are second in Ligue 1, are desperate for a win this weekend to try and maintain some form of pressure on a rampaging Paris Saint-Germain, who have already opened a 10-point gap at the top of the table after just 12 games.