Bowing out of a tournament is never a good thing, even if it is at the hands of the best side in the world.
The Czech Republic's players took the time to applaud their fans who had made it to Poland-Ukraine after their defeat to Portugal. The Dutch realised that they needed to do some soul-searching and introspection, and the English left Eastern Europe with their heads held high.
But when France were eliminated after a rather insipid 2-0 defeat at the hands of Spain last Saturday in Donetsk, Samir Nasri took the concept of sore losing to another level. While he had refused to speak to journalists after their match at the Donbass Arena, he went back to the dressing room to collect his personal effects when a French journalist caught up with him to ask him how he felt. Nasri launched into a tirade riddled with an expletives.
"Always looking to write s*it! F**k you! Go f**k your mother, you son of a b**ch!" came flying out of his mouth. And it didn't end after his insinuation about the press writing 'Cr*p stories' about his team, as he invited the journalist to settle the matter outside.
"Now you can say I have been badly brought up! Come over here and let's fix this!"
France coach Laurent Blanc was highly critical of Nasri. "It's a lack of respect towards the journalist," he said on French football show Telefoot. "I told (Nasri) what I thought of it and what I would have done in his place. It's very unfortunate."
Noel Le Graet, the President of the French Football Federation was also quick to condemn the midfielder's actions, saying, "He has a difficult way of behaving. We will discuss things and take a look at his problem."
"There's a problem between Nasri and the press," Blanc added.
But here's the thing: Samir Nasri is a professional athlete. Is it not part of the job to speak to the press after the game? Surely there are more tactful ways of responding to a question without actually answering it. A simple 'no comment' would suffice. Nasri should take a leaf out of Arjen Robben's book in this instance.
"I would prefer to sit on a bus right now but I am here in front of the camera because it is part of my job," the winger said after the Netherland's elimination from the Group of Death.
If, as a 'professional athlete', he can move to Manchester City for thrice the amount of wages he was getting at Arsenal, then as a 'professional athlete', he has to behave properly in front of the press.
Despite Nasri saying on air several times that his move to the Etihad wasn't fuelled by money, Arsene Wenger disagrees. "Samir trained on Tuesday morning (before the Udinese game)," said Wenger. "But I knew before training. He didn’t know, the decision was made this morning just before training. He came in to practice.
"At the end of the day, of course, we are forced into a decision like that for psychological and financial reasons. I am a realist so I have no illusions. It's part of the modern life of a professional football player. It's not that by coincidence that everybody suddenly lands at Man City.
"Nasri is a situation where the player didn’t want to extend his contract with the proposals he had somewhere else. What kind of commitment can you have when the player is not there long-term? That is the question you have to answer."
If it's a psychological problem, as Wenger puts it, then surely his move to City has not helped.
He began berating his former Club after he moved. "Arsenal have good fans but they are not that passionate since they moved from Highbury to the Emirates," he said.
‘City fans are really passionate. I remember when we played against City and lost 3-0, the crowd was amazing. That’s what I want." If that was the case, then the Emirates Stadium would be empty every week on account of Arsenal's trophy drought.
And about the Arsenal fans, one must remember how they stuck around at Old Trafford for 20 minutes after the 8-2 mauling at the hands of Man United.
Nasri has featured regularly for City, but not as much as Yaya Toure, Vincent Kompany or David Silva. A Facebook post with the statement "What's the difference between soup and Samir Nasri? Soup is always a starter" has gone viral on the internet.
Nasri has been at the centre of attention for all of France's Euro tournament. His ferme ta geule (shut your mouth) celebration against England was roundly criticised by pundits and coaches, and he was also involved in a dressing-room showdown with Alou Diarra and Hatem Ben Arfa after his side's 2-0 loss to Sweden.
Nasri may not have been picked for the squad to South Africa, but he doesn't seem to have learned from the debacle that became a political incident two years ago. His actions, rather, seem to stem from a combination of insecurity and arrogance.
If he continues to be arrogant, then he has burnt his boats in Laurent Blanc's France, as was seen when he was dropped for the Spain game. His insecurity stems from the fact that he knows it is only a matter a time before he reaches his sell-by date with City. The question is 'when'.
He has everything he wants. He's won titles, has money to flush down the toilet and is dating former French tennis pro Tatiana Golovin. What then, is his problem?
As Wenger puts it, "Football rules are made like that, that the player can be worth a lot of money today and nothing in six months."
That is what seems to be at the heart of the problem, and on that day, Samir Nasri will realise what he left behind at Arsenal.
First Published On : Jun 26, 2012 14:54 IST