Expatica news

Mueller leaves Lyon to fight for place in Swiss team

26 May 2008

LUGANO – Patrick Mueller has left his French club Lyon to join the Swiss national team in a last-ditch attempt to make the squad for next month’s European Championship.

Mueller has not played all year for the French league champion because of knee injuries, but Lyon was refusing to release the defender ahead of Saturday’s French Cup final against Paris Saint-Germain.

Caught in a tug-of-war between club and country, Mueller left Lyon on Friday and has arrived at Switzerland’s training camp in Lugano, the Swiss Football Association said ahead of the friendly match against Slovakia on Saturday.

Switzerland coach Koebi Kuhn wants to get Mueller some match fitness before 28 May, when he has to trim his squad to 23 players.

“He’s here and he will be present at the training session tonight,” Swiss FA spokesman Pierre Benoit said Friday. “He will play tomorrow.”

Benoit said it was Mueller’s decision to leave Lyon, which was holding him in reserve in case defender Jean-Alain Boumsong was unfit for the final.

But when Lyon’s squad left Friday for Paris, Mueller headed to Lugano.

Benoit said he did not believe the 31-year-old player would be penalised by his club.

Lyon had already announced it will not renew Mueller’s contract, which expires at the end of this season.

Mueller would be a sure starter for the Euro 2008 co-host if he can regain fitness by the 7 June start. The Swiss already have lost defender Steve von Bergen, goalkeeper Fabio Coltorti and striker Blaise Nkufo to injuries.

[AP / Expatica]