Needle phobia: Franck Ribery. Photo: AP
Franck Ribery could have played at the World Cup if he wasn't afraid of injections, the France team's doctor Franck Le Gall says.
A week ago Bayern Munich star Ribery pulled out of the World Cup due to a back injury that virtually stopped him running.
But Le Gall now claims that Ribery could have played if the France team had listened to him rather than another doctor, while he also said Ribery's own fears hampered his willingness to take such a route.
"Franck belongs to a club where the treatment for all problems, whatever they are, starts from a base of injections," said Le Gall.
"He can have 10, 20, 25, 40 per problem, per year. We could have chosen this option, which we didn't do.
"The time came when he couldn't cope with any more injections, so we didn't do it because he's afraid of injections.
"There was no reason for him not to play at the World Cup but seeing as I'm less well known than certain others, they went to Professor Saillant," said Le Gall, in reference to the sports medicine specialist who has treated the likes of rugby star Dan Carter and Formula One legend Michael Schumacher.
"The exam at the clinic was very reassuring with Professor Saillant but he didn't manage to get past the pain and we didn't find any solutions for him to play with pain.
"He has a lumbago (lower back pain) which has been going on for a few weeks. He had a three-week rest and then played one match he shouldn't have (the German Cup final) where he came on (as a substitute) before having to go off again."
Le Gall said that if Ribery rests over the summer he will need six to eight weeks to recover, which should allow him to be fit for the start of the new Bundesliga season.