France midfielder Adrien Rabiot has been ruled out of the UEFA Nations League final against Spain on Sunday night after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Juventus player played 75 minutes of the semi-final win over Belgium on Thursday and has been a regular starter for France since returning to the national team fold in late 2020 – including three of the country’s four games at Euro 2020 in the summer.
At club level, Rabiot has started every game when fit for Juventus so far this season, missing two Serie A matches a few weeks apart because of minor injury problems.
It makes his absence for France a blow when an international trophy is at stake.
A statement from the French federation confirmed Rabiot’s positive COVID-19 test. He was put into self-isolation as soon as the results were delivered and has had no further contact with his teammates as they prepare to face Spain in Milan.
The 26-year-old also cannot be replaced in the squad because of tournament protocol.
Rabiot’s absence makes France’s midfield even less experienced at this level as he was the only player other than Paul Pogba with more than a handful of senior international appearances.
N’Golo Kante is also missing from the squad after testing positive for COVID-19 before the list was announced, with new midfield trio Aurelien Tchouameni, Jordan Vertout and Matteo Guendouzi having only seven caps between them – Guendouzi remains uncapped at this level.