Juventus midfielder Adrien Rabiot, who is managed by his mother and was reportedly unhappy at being asked to take a pay cut to his $8.5 million annual salary, has reportedly enraged the club by refusing to return to Italy.
While Juventus stars including Cristiano Ronaldo have returned to Italy ahead of an official return to training on May 18, former Paris Saint-Germain outcast Rabiot is thought to have stayed in France as a form of protest over the pay agreement that led to the Serie A leaders’ squad deferring four months’ pay at the end of March.
The move, led by manager Maurizio Sarri, was designed to help the club deal with the indefinite suspension of professional football in Italy amid the COVID-19 outbreak that has caused more than 30,000 deaths across the country.
Rabiot, who left the French champions on a free at the end of last season amid rumors that the 25-year-old led a partying lifestyle and was a disruptive influence, is thought to be annoyed at the cut to his hefty wage and keen to engineer a move to Premier League clubs Manchester United or Everton.
Keep working hard 🏃🏻♂️⌚️ #workhard #stayfit
He has remained at home on the French Riviera – less than three hours’ drive from the club’s Continassa training complex in Turin – after consulting his mother and agent, Veronique, according to Italian newspaper La Stampa.
The outlet reports that the likes of Ronaldo and fellow midfielder Blaise Matuidi, who is one of three Juve stars to have recovered from the coronavirus, have entered a two-week quarantine while Rabiot “has not raised a finger”.
With the exception of Gonzalo Higuain, whose is with his unwell mother in Argentina, Rabiot is the only Juventus player still abroad.
Daily session completed 🥵🎯☑️ @prp.team #stayfit #stayhome
He was suspended by PSG last March when he went to a nightclub after the agonizing 3-1 home defeat to United that sent the club crashing out of the Champions League and liked an Instagram post by former France and United defender Patrice Evra celebrating the result.
French football expert Robin Bairner said Rabiot was repeating the kind of behaviour that led to his acrimonious departure from PSG and was “well on his way to burning his bridges” at Juve.
“Of course, this is off the back of the advice of mum and agent Veronique,” he added.
“She’s already had a massive negative influence. [He’s] a player with all the raw attributes to be the best central midfielder in the world, but he’s got a poisonous attitude.”
Rabiot posted a photo of himself celebrating with his teammates at the Allianz Stadium after they beat top-of-the-table rivals Inter Milan 2-0 in their last match on March 8.
He has since posted clips of himself carrying out training sessions in isolation at home, telling his Instagram following of more than 1.7 million: “Stay fit and keep positive. Better days are coming.”