One of the more unsettling things that has occurred in Chelsealand over the past twelve months has been the club's treatment of Florent Malouda after they failed to sell him ahead of the final year of his contract. Relegated to the youth team for his obstructionism, Malouda's been sidelined for the whole season, and although you can question the decisions that led the Frenchman to this confrontation with the club, it's difficult to find fault in how he's handled it.
The Jamaica Gleaner sat down with the 32-year-old for a lengthy interview, and naturally touched on his difficult final season at Stamford Bridge:
Football can be [tough], it's a business and coming from French Guiana I have been through many things, but I always stand for my principles and I don't bow to pressure. We have been talking about my career, but if I told you I managed all of this without a manager would you believe me?
It's difficult not to respect a man who refuses to be cowed into breaking a contract just because the club wants him to. While Malouda's always been an up-and-down character on the pitch, sometimes excelling and sometimes... not, he comes away from this saga looking like a really good, grounded guy. It's not hard to imagine a player in his situation cracking or whining, and Malouda's just got on with life and helped mentor the kids despite his exile.
This isn't how anyone envisioned he'd be making his exit after the heroics of 2009/10, but seeing Malouda handle himself with dignity in a very difficult situation has only made me like him more. Good luck to him in future.