Adrien Rabiot says France are targeting top spot in the FIFA world rankings ahead of completing their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign away to Greece.
Les Bleus secured a place at next summer’s tournament in Germany last month before completing their home fixtures with Saturday’s record-breaking 14-0 demolition of Gibraltar in Nice.
Didier Deschamps’ side have little to play for on Tuesday evening in Athens.
But Juventus midfielder Rabiot dismissed the notion of a dead rubber as he outlined ambitions of leapfrogging Argentina, who defeated France in last year’s World Cup final, in the global rankings and finishing Group B with a 100 per cent record.
“I am motivated by the idea of winning a match,” the 28-year-old told a press conference, according to L’Equipe. “I think it’s the same for my team-mates.
— French Team (@FrenchTeam) November 18, 2023
“We have challenges together, like finishing with the maximum number of points.
“If we win and do better than Argentina, we will finish the year first in the FIFA rankings. These are small goals that we have in mind.”
France boss Deschamps has confirmed Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba will start in place of AC Milan’s Mike Maignan at Agia Sophia Stadium.
He is planning further changes, with a host of his squad poised to return to club action on Friday evening when Paris St Germain host Monaco in Ligue 1 and Bayern Munich travel to Cologne in the Bundesliga.
At least one alteration will be enforced after 17-year-old PSG midfielder Warren Zaire-Emery suffered an ankle injury on debut against Gibraltar which will keep him sidelined for the remainder of 2023.
“I have eight players playing on Friday evening,” Deschamps replied when asked about managing players’ minutes and avoiding further injuries.
“If I take all that into account, I bring the technical staff into play!
“We are never safe from anything. Football is a contact sport. If there is a feeling from a player, I take it into account. If I have negative elements, I will not force it.
“I take all of that into account as much as possible and distribute the time with the five changes (substitutions). We have to adapt for the future.”