TIGNES, France — France midfielder Lassana Diarra was ruled out of the World Cup because of a genetic red-blood cell disorder, according to his Spanish club Real Madrid.
Diarra has now gone home after missing the last three days of training in the French Alpine resort of Tignes, and coach Raymond Domenech has yet to decide whether to call up a replacement ahead of Wednesday’s home friendly against Costa Rica.
Real Madrid said in a statement on its website that Diarra is “now resting at home following medical advice due to asthenic syndrome secondary to a sickle-cell anemia that will be subjected to a hematological study in Lyon Hospital.”
Sickle-cell anemia is a genetic blood disorder where red blood cells form an abnormal and rigid, sickle shape.
“Of course it’s a blow when you lose a player. It’s even harder because it wasn’t a choice, it’s destiny,” Domenech said. “It’s tough for him because I know how much effort he had put into this World Cup. He was one of the driving forces of this team in terms of the way he played and his attitude.”
Diarra has played 27 times for France since making his debut just over three years ago, and was a regular in the qualifiers in a holding midfield role alongside Jeremy Toulalan.
Domenech, who must now rethink his plans as to what formation to play, has until June 1 to name his 23 players for the World Cup. The coach decided to keep his original roster, without Diarra or a sub.
The sad part about this whole situation is that Lassana will probably feel better by the time the World Cup starts in June. But due to sickle cell he has missed his chance. I know it can be disheartening and frustrating to continue to work hard and aim for those dreams, only to be constantly battered down by the frailties of our condition, but Diarra is actually an inspiration instead of a cautionary tale. Despite the fact that he has sickle cell anemia ~ he is an athlete, and an excellent one at that. He plays with and against some of the best soccer players in the world. He worked hard, and he was good enough to place for the World Cup.
He could have sat on the couch, not even trying to play a sport because of sickle cell. But he didn’t! He worked on his craft, and practiced hard, and didn’t let sickle cell stop him. Watch the embedded video, he is such a determined and dedicated young man. Go Lassana!